Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mission Cookbook: COOKIES!!!

It's been a while since I have partaken in a bit of cookbook-cooking, so when it was time to bake my Christmas cookies I busted out the old "New Better Homes and Gardens" cookbook to select what tasty treats I would bake up for the holiday. The problem with baking cookies is that when you are trying to pick out what to make - they all sound so stinking good. I landed on fudgy cappuccino cookies, lemon-pistachio biscotti, and traditional fudge as the recipes I would snag from the book. A trip to the store to gather up the ingredients I was missing for the task and I was ready to go!

Because the fudgy cappuccino cookie batter needed to chill for 3 hours, I made that first. The main ingredients for that were unsweetened cocoa, instant coffee granules, sugar, and flour. I whipped up the batter making sure to follow the instructions carefully, covered the bowl with tin foil and popped it in the fridge.

Lick the batter for the cappuccino cookies? Heck yeah I did!
Next I got to work on the fudge. I got the ingredients measured out, in the pan, turned the pan on to heat... and discovered that my candy thermometer was busted. Devastating. This meant that for my first go at traditional fudge I would need to trust a timer and since I'm not an expert at candy making - the missing of the candy thermometer would turn out to be a bit of a bummer.

Boiling fudge mixture.
Fudge post-boiling with butter & vanilla added.
I followed the directions as best as I could without the thermometer, but as I mentioned this one piece of equipment being missing turned out to be a bit of a bummer. When the timer went off after I added the butter & vanilla, I returned to the fudge to discover that it had already set. Since the directions explicitly stated to NOT stir initially but wait until the temperature had dropped to stir in the butter & vanilla - this meant that I had fudge with a topping of butter. Not good. I turned the heat on to try and re-liquify the fudge, but this did not work out too well either - it made the consistency grainy. The butter was incorporated though, so I removed it and placed it in the pie pan to set. What I ended up with is more like the best tasting fudgy sugar cubes you'll ever eat rather than delicious fudge.

Mmmm... crumbly fudge.
After my disappointment with the fudge, Santa Steve felt bad and left me a new candy thermometer in my stocking so I can try it again. I was appreciative of this - especially since the new thermometer isn't encased in glass, so there is much less chance of breakage.

I didn't get any process shots of the lemon-pistachio biscotti because truthfully I forgot, but I have to say that I love making biscotti. It's incredibly easy to make and even though it's a bit time consuming (biscotti basically means twice-baked cookies) it's well worth it in the end. The ones I made were drizzled with a homemade lemon icing at the end as well - so good.

Lemon-pistachio biscotti with lemon icing - waiting for the icing to set.
My favorite cookie of the bunch turned out to be the fudgy cappuccino cookies. To quote Steve, these guys are "spot on". They're dropped in sugar before baking and they are just absolutely delicious. I could seriously eat a plate of these by myself, but I was wise enough to realize this after trying one when they came out of the oven and made sure to give some of them away in the cookie gifts.

And the winner is...
Baking Christmas cookies is always a fun project to do, and finding recipes that you really enjoy both eating and baking make a huge difference. I know that these cookies will probably be in my permanent rotation of Christmas baking, they were quite tasty.

What kinds of cookies do you like baking at Christmas time?


Marie said...

After nearly a week of meaning to make cookies and running out of time, I finally made butter cookies with Eric. We started them on Christmas and finished them on Sunday after several attempts to get the batter the right temp. Eric helped me "shoot" them (they're extruded with a "cookie gun") and decorated them with piles of colored sugar.

Laura Haven said...

I love Christmas cookies! My friend Ashlee and I make a few batches together every year. I have to say, I personally LOVED your chocolate cappuccino cookies! I brought them to my parents house and they (and all the others) were devoured in seconds... literally! :) Good job! Maybe we should make 'Christmas cookies' every month instead....