Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tis the Season

I must say that I am SO excited Christmas is FINALLY here!! Even though I've been wanting to listen to Christmas music since Halloween it has taken me a few days to get into the spirit. Well now that I've immersed myself in it I'm loving it!

One advantage of being a house wife during this time of year is that I have time to bake! Thanks to some fabulous peppermint cookies I made last year I've been waiting all year to try out some new holiday cookie recipes. I had no idea that when Christmas 2008 would roll around that I would have enough time to bake cookie plates for people! I barely had enough time last year to make one batch of cookies, and now I'm a cookie making machine!

Yesterday I made the following:

My award winning fudge and some marshmallow brownies. Both turned out with no probs, except I did forget to add the vanilla into the fudge, but you can't really taste that it's missing.

After those two batches I had to take a break because my ankle started to hurt. I did make one more kind of cookie later that night though. I'm not sure what to think of this one. They look like lemon bars but aren't. They are more of a soft lemon cake. At the end of the recipe it said to add whatever frosting you like, so I decided to drizzle some powdered sugar frosting over the top of it. It looked ok, but it didn't look like the frosting was going to harden. I need them to be firm because I'm planning on stacking all of the cookies in a small tin. My thought was to cover it with tin foil and put it in the fridge overnight. That should work, shouldn't it?

Well when I took them out this morning they still seemed a bit soggy, and part of the tin foil fell onto the top and a huge chunk of the frosting stuck to it. ARGH!

On to plan B...the freezer. I cut up the bars and put them in the freezer. That should harden the frosting, right? Apparently not. I'm not sure what is up with these things, but I have the feeling that they might look like mush when I put them in the cookie tins.

Here they are in the freezer bag and they are still a little mushy. I may have to sandwich two together to keep them from sticking to everything. Any other ideas?

After dealing with the lemon mess I thought I'd try to turn things around and make my fave peppermint sugar cookies. Everything turned out fine with them, but I can't help think that they don't look the same as last year. It's nothing major. I just think they looked cuter last year. Oh least they taste good.

The other new cookie I decided to make was called Orange Balls. You mix a bunch of stuff together, roll them in balls, and then roll them in powdered sugar. The recipe said to store them in an air tight container so my plan was to use my casserole dish. I knew it couldn't hold all of them, so once the dish was filled I was going to put a piece of wax paper down and start on the second layer. That should work perfectly because the powdered sugar would not stick to the wax paper right?

Well as I was finishing up with the first layer I noticed that the powdered sugar was absorbing into the cookie leaving it sticky. CRAP NUTS! Whatever...I put the wax paper on them and started on the next layer anyway.

When I finished I took a peak at the bottom layer and it looked like the cookies were starting to expand! What the heck was going on with these mutant cookies? I don't want to be handing out orange reindeer poops!

I put the lid on it and put it in the fridge. HOPING that some of the shapes will be salvaged. I'm totally scared to see what has happened to them.

Ok I just went and checked on them and take a look for yourself. As you can see 95% of the powdered sugar has absorbed. Also please note the area where one ball is missing. Do you see how much cookie is left on the paper? It doesn't seem like these balls are sticking together. Any ideas of what I should do? Should I roll them in more powdered sugar? (Yes the missing one is now in my belly, and it tasted pretty good!)
Here is a shot of the balls on the bottom level. See how they are kind of mushing together?
Total orange reindeer poop.

On a lighter note...

Another plus to being home at this time of year is that I get to hang out with all of my Christmas decorations all day long! I was lucky to have time this past weekend to get them all set up, and the house couldn't look more festive. OK, so it could. But only if I had a few more trees around.

Here is my snowman tree along with the decorated mantel:
Here is our real/regular tree in the other room:
Here is our other mantel with the stockings I made last year. I'm glad they made it through one year and no spiders laid any eggs in them. They look quite toasty.

I'm also 99.9% done with my Christmas shopping, and all I have left are the homemade gifts I'm supposed to be working on. I normally like to get all of my shopping done in November since I order the majority of my gifts online. It also gives me a little leeway in case I ordered the wrong item, like I did this year. Oops!

I had a few things I wanted to get at Gottschalk's this past weekend so John and I went and checked out the sales. They were pretty good, but I did notice one thing. When I am shopping in a store, I am much more likely to impulse shop than I am when I'm online. Conclusion...I am saving money by shopping online, even with the extra shipping costs. Granted there is a much smaller shopping high by shopping online, but you get a little bit of it when your gift comes in the mail.

I've been storing all of the gifts in our guest room, (I can't tell you how much I love having that extra room), and now the HUGE job of wrapping is daunting me. I know I should get started on it, but also looming in the background are the homemade gifts I promised I would make for certain people, and sending out our Christmas cards. I really need to get cracking. I'm hoping to get crafty while John and I watch some of our favorite Christmas movies. We've gathered quite the collection over the last few years, and like to watch one or 2 each weekend in December. Hopefully we will be able to do it this year.


Samantha said...

You are a wild woman! I barely have the Thanksgiving decor down. Hopefully some of the those peppermint cookies come my way - at least the recipe!

Sarah said...

I'm glad you have jumped on the Christmas spirit train. That holiday music works great for pepping up my sagging yuletide cheer. The cookies looks pretty good. I'll expect a shipment in the mail... hmmm... Monday? Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

Do you still have the pattern for your stockings? I want to make some for Tim and myself and the size you made looks perfect! Katy

Daniel and Brianne said...

The house looks awesome! You are so on top of it! I love the play by play on your holiday baking... your sugar cookies look DELISH! can't wait to see this years Christmas card. :)

Judy S said...

Well, when you get here your can decorate some more. So far, Daddy has the tree up with the lights on it.

Re the cookies: I think it is late in the game and you should stick to the dependable recipes. How many
cookie disasters can you endure without losing your
Xmas spirit???

Your decorations look great!!!!!