Baking Bonanza

Last year around this time, I got crazy in my kitchen baking tons of cookies, making holiday barks, and candies.  I had so much fun and loved having homemade gifts to give to the people I appreciate throughout the year.  One day in the midst of my baking bonanza, the BOY looked in our freezer overflowing with chocolate goodness and asked, ‘What are you going to do with all of this stuff?”  I rattled off a list of people who would be receiving tupperwares of cookies and he just smiled to himself as I admitted to sticking a bag of cookies in the mailbox for the mailman who I have never met and rarely see.  I was having such a good time trying new recipes, that I wasn’t too concerned with who would be on the receiving end.  I have been looking forward to December all year, and we all know it is not because of the weather.  I was looking forward to Baking Bonanza II (the 2011 edition) and excited to document my kitchen adventures on the blog this year. 

As of this weekend, the holiday baking season has officially begun…

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Before I begin, I forgot two important things on my MUST HAVE list…

An adorable apron (check out Anthropologie)



And Silpats…you can’t bake cookies without them!



For once, we actually remembered to set out our butter and cream cheese to room temperature.



Between my mom’s goodies and mine, there was not enough counter space, so I pulled an extra table into the kitchen to store all of our ingredients and chocolates.



Yet we still stored a few things in the laundry room.



We tried a whole bunch of recipes, mostly new, but one old favorite.  My grandma used to make these cookies and bring them with her when she visited Chicago.  My brother and I would run straight to the baggage carousel looking for the cardboard box filled with her treats.  This is exactly where my mom and I began. 

First, we just had to figure out how to put this thing together.



Grandma’s Cookies




We had a learning curve with our cookie press, but finally got the hang of it. 



I think it was the cold dough, so we needed a few minutes to thaw it out.  The first batch was a little doughy and the rest turned out perfect and crispy.




Grandma used to top her cookies with chocolate chips or M&M’s, but my dad told me that originally it was maraschino cherries.  We went with the holiday M&M’s.





If you don’t have a cookie press, run out and get one.  These cookies are so much fun!  You can find them everywhere (including TJ Maxx) for a reasonable price and there are tons of designs to choose from (I even saw pumpkins).


Chocolate, Coconut, and Almond Bars

From 100 Best Cookies Magazine




Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars



Kahlua Balls

Adapted from My Baking Addiction’s Rum Balls


I followed the recipe, but subbed in Kahlua since we didn’t have Captain in the house (I know…I was surprised too!). 



How bad could this recipe be with ingredients like this…



I rolled the balls in powdered sugar and chocolate powder.



And they turned out amazing!



Nutter Butter Bars (officially titled Candy-Crunch Peanut Butter Bars)

From 100 Best Cookies Magazine

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Looks like I didn’t get a good picture of these, but my mom worked hard on this three layer bar .  I did get a picture of our cookie crumbling workhorse who crushed up Nilla Wafers, Nutter Butters, and Oreos.



Oreo Balls

The BOY came home just in time to get a picture of us dipping Oreo balls.




This technique is creatively called the ‘two-fork method’. 



It worked out great for dipping the Oreos (although these are not as pretty as the one’s online…it was getting late).




The BOY was shocked that we were still hard at work in the kitchen.  He made himself a nutritious dinner and sat down to watch the Bear’s Game.



I finally crashed in bed, exhausted, but excited about all the cookies hanging out in my freezer getting ready for the holidays.



Next weekend…Same time, same place, more cookies to make!

5 thoughts on “Baking Bonanza

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