What can four ladies accomplish in 3 hours with just a handful of ingredients?
7 different types of Christmas treats including gingerbread cookies. cheesecake bars, fudge, chocolate crinkle, nutcho, coconut praline and lemon cookies.
What an efficient afternoon!
We each chose 2 recipes and came together to bake, visit and of course, taste test.
Before the ladies arrived, I made my gingerbread cookies so that the oven would be free for the myriad of other treats that needed to be baked.
I started by measuring out my dry ingredients in a bowl
- 4.5 cups of flour
- 4 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
In my stand mixer, I creamed together 1.5 cups of softened butter and 2 cups white sugar.
Then I mixed in 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons of water and 1/2 cup of molasses.
Next I slowly added in my dry ingredients.
I was so excited to try a new technique that I learned while watching one of my favorite cooking shows Good Eats. If you have never seen this show, Alton Brown is the “Bill Nye” of cooking. It is thoroughly enjoyable and full of great information.
Alton likes to use a paper plate to transfer dry ingredients to his stand mixer.
No more dropping ingredients all over the counter only to realize AFTER everything has been mixed in, which I often do. So I thought, what do I have to lose?
Mr.Brown, thank you for changing my baking life…the ingredients all made it in to the mixer and it was easy to control. I will never pour dry ingredients into my mixer any other way.
Once everything was well incorporated I shaped the dough into 1 inch balls and rolled them in sugar before baking them for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.
I let them cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack to completely cool.
The verdict- these are soft, spicy and completely delicious! I got 6 dozen from this recipe, so be prepared to share!
My next offering for the group was a no bake coconut praline cookie. I wanted something that didn’t need the oven. Plus you know how I feel about coconut…I just had to try these.
I started by mixing 5 cups of chopped pecans and 4 cups of coconut together.
A few things I want you to know:
1. Pecans are expensive…I didn’t realize how expensive pecans were until I was leaving Superstore looking at my bill. They are so expensive that I almost took them back! But I took a deep breath and reminded myself about the coconut cookie that I would be left with in the end.
2. I accidentally bought 1 bag unsweetened coconut instead of 2 sweetened. I decided to just go with it because I figured with 5 cups of sugar, a little unsweetened coconut might be ok.
3. From the bulk bin I was able to eyeball 5 cups of pecans EXACTLY.I felt pretty proud of myself.
In a large saucepan I mixed 5 cups of sugar, 1 cup evaporated milk and 1 cup of corn syrup. It was at this point that I COMPLETELY forgot about the cup of butter that was needed in this recipe and promptly started heating up the sugar mixture. I seriously did not even notice that I forgot the butter until I had all the cookies scooped out and I was busy cleaning up.
I brought it up to a rolling boil and stirred it for 3 minutes.
Then I took it off the heat, added in a splash of vanilla and mixed in the pecans and coconut.
I dropped it by scoopful onto parchment paper to cool and set up.
The verdict- thankfully these turned out amazing even though they had unsweetened coconut and no butter in them. They taste like candied pecans and they are PLENTY sweet.
Now my fridge is full of treats so I need to find a place to take them A.S.A.P or else Andrew and I are going to have to hit the gym waaayyyy more…