Ever notice how time moves at a certain pace for a while, and then suddenly accelerates? It usually catches me by surprise at this time of year. I wouldn’t even say usually. It always catches me by surprise. I become preoccupied with a cookbook club and suddenly we are a week away from Christmas! How did that happen? Well, for one thing I guess I was having fun and didn’t notice the time.
This past weekend we participated in another round of RainydayBites Cookbook Club. As with the other rounds, we cooked from Baking for the Holidays by Sarah Kieffer. The choices of recipes for this round included anything from the Gift Giving chapter. There were lots of great candidates in this chapter. As for me, I chose to make two of the recipes. The only two I thought Tom would enjoy.
The first recipe I chose to work on was the Peanut Butter Cups. There was the option to use a silicone mold or a lined mini muffin pan. There wasn’t a size listed for the silicone mold, so I opted to order some silicone molds in a size that would fit a mini muffin pan. This was a very easy recipe to execute. Make and chill the peanut butter filling. Melt the chocolate, partially cool it, then begin filling the cups with chocolate while rotating the chocolate up the sides, fill with the peanut butter then top with more chocolate. The cups set in the refrigerator and are unmolded once set. So, what are my thoughts on this recipe? Mostly good. The decision to go with individual cups for molds was a good one as it made it very easy to fill and rotate up the sides. I saw other molds that would make 6 or 9 cups at a time, but I think that might give a result that would be a bit messier for me. Because there was not a mold size given, I think that perhaps I should have started with a smaller amount of chocolate in each cup and not filled them completely as the chocolate layer was a bit thick. I would also consider making the filling a bit thicker. All that being said, the peanut butter cups were delicious and quickly consumed!
The second recipe I made was the Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies. This was another very easy to execute recipe. I made the dough the evening before baking, and then baked the cookies up the next day with an efficiency that I don’t know that I’ll ever replicate again. The beautiful crinkle effect is achieved by rolling the balls of cookie dough into a mixture of granulated and confectioners sugar. The finished product is quite a showstopper. As for the taste. It was excellent and tasted even better a day or two later.
As usual, the pictures were posted on a specific day and a lot of good natured likes and comments followed. Now let’s see how things went for Ray.
Funny, Karen and I were clearly operating and living in polar opposite worlds for this round of the club. Where she was all into the club and seemingly forgot that Christmas was quickly coming at us, we were lost in Christmas land in my house and I forgot that it was the week for another round of the club. The day to post this round was Saturday and the afternoon of the Thursday before I casually texted Karen and asked “the club is next Saturday, not this one right?” A few minutes later the response came: “It is this weekend!”
So, I quickly pulled out the cookbook and made a choice based on two very important criteria for a last minute adventure:
- What ingredients did I have on hand – the odds that I’d have time to get to the store and buy anything in the next day were slim!
- What recipes could I make with those ingredients – and preferably, the easiest one possible as time was of the essence!
Sometimes the magic just happens. As it turned out, I had all the ingredients I needed to make the Vanilla Bean Sablés and the recipe was quite easy as well! They are a slice and bake cookie and the only thing I didn’t have on hand was turbinado or sanding sugar which would be used on the outside of the slice and bake log. I did have decorating sugar crystals in red and green on hand though, and in the spirit of holiday baking, it seemed like an excellent substitute!
The end result looked even better than I had imagined it would, and so many of the nice people in the club gave me compliments on my use of the red and green sugars. They tasted very much like a shortbread cookie and we really enjoyed them. It was a successful round for me after a rough start. I guess in this case the Phoenix really did rise from the ashes – the ashes in this case being my memory!
Stay tuned – we have one final challenge to go in the current round of the cookbook club. Until next time, have a great weekend.