Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Goodbye Christmas, Hello New Year

Another super busy Christmas has come and gone... New Years awaits.
We are closing on our house in a little over a week and I, as I believe I have mentioned my teaching career before, I will be starting my student-teaching this semester...
We can't wait to have a house! A larger kitchen to cook in... my little cook's heart is thumping in my chest thinking of the entertaining possibilities and all. Right now our kitchen is about the size of a large bathroom... and while it's been great for our first year and our lessons in cooking, we are quickly outgrowing it, literally!
The one-step-from-fridge-to-sink-to-dishwasher-to-stove-to-serving-window was truly quaint at first, but the idea of this larger kitchen is just heavenly.
One last season in our little home though. Boxes sit in the hallway, and the spic'n'span freak inside me has definitely seen better days. This season we seemed busier than ever, but I still found time to bake.
I actually found time to try (everyone gasp) baking bread!!!
I know, how could I do it and not let you all know? I didn't take pictures as I was focusing very intently on getting the bread right. I made Stollen, a German-sort of fruitcake... much more bread than fruit, and usually with a filling of marzipan. Mmm, the relatives from Germany usually send one or we get one from Cost Plus World Market, but this year I wanted to make it. So I did. The recipe made three loaves! I didn't put the marzipan in it, and I also used a recipe which didn't include the traditional rum, so it wasn't as authentic as it could/should have been, but it was still good. Daniel took some to work for a potluck and it was a hit, we ate one loaf, which made a good mid-morning snack, and the third loaf was reserved for the family Christmas.
Making it was not nearly as scary as I thought it would be. I followed the recipe and kneaded it and let is rise as it said, but the second rising didn't do near as much as I thought it would. It still turned out, and now, I'm eager to try some more bread recipes... I've found countless recipes... and I'm reminded of an old blogging friend who does her own sourdough... maybe I'll even get brave enough to try that!

And of course I did cookies. I love cookies. I want to own a cookie shop where I can decorate cookies all day and charge ungodly amounts of money for my artistry. Okay, I'm not that good, but I just love doing them... a background in cake decorating helps... and I just love the finished product all piled up on a plate. It's like the cover of one of those magazines you see at the checkout stand during the holidays... Like... people really DO that!?!? And I love seeing people smile when they eat one (imagine the decapitation of a gingerbread man).
I've told you of Ethels Sugar Cookies from BC's famous Cooky Book... so of course I made those. I use a thicker, powdered-sugar based frosting for those, in layers so I can do details.
We didn't have have cookie cutters, so I used my paring knife again... I mostly only made one or two of each shape! Below are the best of the batch.

I also made Lofthouse cookies... those soft chewy ones you get in the bakery of most grocery stores, covered with fluffly frosting and almost like little cakes. Originally, I had down a cook named Mimi Hiller as the author of the recipe... but she no longer lists the cookies on her site... here's my page with a half-sized-recipe if you want them :)
I used a cup to cut out nice circles for those, along with the powdered sugar frosting to provide a deep blue background for piped-on cake-frosting snowflakes. Still no piping bag so I used the ziplock bag method I've mentioned before... it works just fine when all you need are lines and dots!

I'm going to try making bread again. We'll be super busy for a while getting started with the New year, but I'll be sure to let you know how it goes with pictures and all. Happy New Year everyone!Stumble Upon Toolbar

Bookmark and Share


Michele said...

Good luck with your new home! A new kitchen is sooo exciting!

Your cookies look awesome!

The Blonde Duck said...

Congrats on your new home! How exciting!

haleysuzanne said...

A house! Student teaching! Cute cookies! Homemade bread! It doesn't get much better than all that. Congratulations - you have achieved Awesome!

Darius T. Williams said...

LOVE the cookies. I hope all your aspirations come true for you in the new year. Congrats on student-teaching!


Kevin said...

Great looking cookies!

Mimi said...

I came back to your blog to see if anything is new. I admired your cookies a couple of weeks ago but I only skimmed over your post. I just reread it and realized that you baked stollen! Good for you! (I think you are bitten by the bread bug!! lol!)

Jescel said...

oh my, your cookies are so cute! decorated like an expert... and congratulations on your new house.

The Blonde Duck said...

I moved! Come visit me at www.aduckinherpond.com.

Michele said...

Girlfriend, WHERE ARE YOU????