Friday, December 23, 2011

Last Minute Round-Up

I really haven't (intentionally) gone on vacation here. My holiday baking has gone just a little bit awry and most of the things I wanted to share with you got.... thwarted. So I'm going to beg your forgiveness and hope to make it up to everybody by providing a little list of some of the best traditional treats is you still need to make some. Please go visit the blogs of the nice people who shared these recipes. All pictures, unless otherwise noted, belong to them and are included her with the sole purpose of enticing you to click through to find the original post. Have fun! 1. Gluten-free, casein-free gingerbread, courtesy of Only Sometimes Clever. I made these last week, and sent them in for my daughter's classmates, teacher, and therapists. These pictures are actually mine:
As far as icing goes, I'm a follower of the Sweet Sugar Belle method.  Callye does lovely work and I drool over her blog on a regular basis. I used McCormick brand lemon extract, and found that it complemented the gingerbread nicely.  The trees are a wet-on-wet icing method presented (and done better) by Bridget at Bake at 350.  This is also true of the little mittens.  Marian of Sweetopia also has a fabulous video tutorial on marbling royal icing.  Go visit all of these ladies for a wealth of inspiration and fun in cookie-land.
2.  Sugar Cookies.  I like this recipe, again from Karen of Only Sometimes Clever.  I don't have any pictures, but I do have two batches in my freezer for when Cookie Fever strikes.  
If you prefer a softer cookie, head back a couple of posts for my soft Almond Sugar Cookies instead.
3.  Peanut Butter Blossoms.  These are a Christmas Classic.  And this version from Lori of www.recipegirl.com is a staple of my holiday baking these days.  I love the salty-sweet combo of peanut butter and chocolate.  And for extra fun, you can experiment with all the new flavors of kisses that are available for the holidays.  Hmmm, I might have to do a chocolate cookie base to go with the mint truffle or candy cane kisses...
Photo propert of Lori Lange - www.therecipegirl.com
4.  Buckeyes.  These were always a favorite when I was a kid.  And are gluten-free by their nature, rather than an "adapted" recipe.  A nice recipe for the classic version can be found on www.thekitchn.com.  Mom insists that she used to use 1 lb of semisweet chips and 1/2 lb of milk chocolate chips, and she may have.  I don't remember.  Like the authors of The Kitchn, I prefer the frozen.  Or at least out on the back stoop until the chocolate is crunchingly cold. 
Photo property of www.thekitchn.com
5.  Fudge, homemade marshmallows, caramel, and other candies and confections are all gluten-free.  Recipes abound on the web, especially Martha Stewart, Nestle, and other major commercial sites.  Go nuts.  In fact, I'll share my recipe for Hazelnut marshmallows now, though I don't have any pictures for you at the moment.  A local lack of Frangelico made getting a fresh batch made for the camera a no-go.

3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 c. water, divided
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 c. dark corn syrup
1/8 tsp salt
2 Tbsp. Frangelico or 1/2 tsp. Lorann Creamy Hazelnut flavoring
1/2 tsp cinnamon or 1/2 tsp espresso powder, if desired

Bloom gelatin in 1/2 c. water in the bowl of your stand mixer.  Set up your whisk attachment.
Take out a glass 9x13 pan.  Oil it, line with parchment - leaving parchment paper extending over the sides will help remove them later -, and oil the parchment.  Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a heavy saucepan, combine the other 1/2 c. water, sugar, and corn syrup.  Bring to a boil, then cook to 240 degrees.
Turn on the mixer and set on low.  Pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl in a this stream.  Once all the syrup is added, turn up to high speed, and whip for 12-15 minutes, till light and fluffy.  Add hazelnut flavoring.  Also cinnamon or espresso if desired.
Spread mixture into pan with an oil spatula.  Sprinkle nuts over the top.  Dust with cornstarch.  Let sit overnight.

In the AM, turn out onto a board, cut with an oiled knife or oiled pizza cutter.  Place in a bag a few at a time with some powdered sugar and shake.

Merry Christmas everybody!  I promise to be back after Christmas with more cookies, cupcakes, cake, and even a souffle or two!

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