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PIECE OF CAKE, PEACE OF MIND

Exploring, creating, & reflecting one day at a time


Brandt and I like to bake, if I haven’t made that clear enough yet. We also really enjoy holiday festivities. Luckily for us, the two tend to go hand-in-hand. This fact, coupled with our love of what you could call excessiveness, led to the monstrous cookie-fest pictured. 

The lineup:

Candy Cane Jojo’s (from Trader Joe’s) covered in white & milk chocolate
Yeah, yeah, yeah, these are easy. And I got a lot of flack for adding these to the menu, but I wasn’t surprised to see them be one of the first plates to disappear. I did a drizzle of white chocolate over the tops of all of them, followed by a sprinkling of red sugar.

Rolled Sugar Cookies, iced with royal icing
We actually made two types of these (again with the excessive), though you can’t tell the difference from looking at them. One was Brandt’s mom’s recipe that contains almond extract, which was delicious. The other was a recipe found online that only contained vanilla–these tasted a little bit more plain and traditional, as you could imagine, but also delicious. The royal icing was a bit of a chore (I ended up beating it for close to 10 minutes with a hand mixer thinking the $5 Target mixer would almost certainly burn out after minute 7), but it came out beautifully, leaving a smooth matte finish on all our cookies.

Chocolate Chip
Again, yes I know, I know, these are just chocolate chip cookies. They’re not even really holiday related at all. To be honest though, these were not part of the original plan, but after I went shopping for baking supplies on Friday, I couldn’t resist making a batch that night. Plus, the mini chocolate chips were on sale! Woo!

Thumbprints
Filled with the aforementioned royal icing or strawberry jam, and rolled in various types of sprinkles. Brandt & I concluded at the end of all this that these were some of our favorites only because while they were baking, they didn’t look too pretty. Our eagerness to roll them in almost every kind of sprinkle looked mis-matchy on the cookie sheet in the oven, but when everything came together in the end, they looked pretty awesome, and tasted good to boot.

Butter/Spritz Cookies
Made with the Williams Sonoma cookie press my friend Nicole gave to me 2 years ago for Christmas. AWESOME piece of equipment, albeit somewhat specific. We made an assortment of wreaths, snowflakes, and trees. After a mishap with dying the dough, we pulled it off. My one complaint was my fault–the wreaths, because they’re so thin, came out overly crunchy, which I guess some people like, but not me. I’m a chewy cookie person myself. Which brings me to….

Snickerdoodles!
These were a last minute decision, and as I told many of my friends who came to taste some cookies, I could barely even look at these after I was done with them because they were begrudgingly baked at the end of an 8 hour, nonstop bake sesh. These were actually the first to go completely though, which is pretty impressive considering I made around 4 dozen of them. Cream of tartar and a butter/shortening mix did the trick, making them chewy and moist. I finally tried one yesterday, and I’ll definitely be making these again.

This creation–a close to 20-dozen cookie sugar high–didn’t come easily. Like I said, I was in the kitchen for 8 hours straight, Brandt for around 6.5/7 (before he ditched me to watch a volleyball game). And all this was only after we mapped out a game plan of which order we would go in according to their temperatures and bake times. Factor into all of this that our oven takes almost double the time to bake a batch than the recipe calls for, and you’ve got a recipe for stress. I also made the terrible judgement call of accepting a Coke Zero from Brandt halfway through the day, so my heart was palpitating like crazy during that last batch of snickerdoodles. And our oven is so monstrous that it heated our normally 65 degree-or-so house to over 75 degrees. We didn’t have too many other mishaps, aside from a defective first batch of thumbprints due to misreading of a flour measurement, and (if you didn’t notice from the pictures) a lack of red food dye. Everything kind of went off without a hitch.

As for whether or not this will become a Kitty House tradition…that is to be decided at a later date, once I recuperate. I think Brandt’s recovery process has moved along more quickly than mine, as he decided to bake yet another batch of cookies yesterday.

Just two more weeks of studying and finals, and maybe I’ll be up to repeating all (or at least some) of this performance back home…

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