Saturday, January 3, 2009

Christmas Ham

I hosted my first Christmas Eve party this year and it was my first ham. It was so good, yes I am tooting my own horn.

I used my mom's preparation for the ham.

1 can of pineapples
brown sugar
whole cloves

I cut diamond shapes on the top of the ham and poured the pineapple juice over it. I added the whole cloves by placing a clove at each point of the diamond cuts. I then packed the brown sugar all over the ham and then placed the pineapples on top of the ham.

I filled the pan half full of water, mixed with the pineapple juice..... You cook based on pounds, which is on the package. This was cooked at 350 degrees for 8 hours. So tender and juicy.

Someone picked at it before I took the final picture, but you can see it's just falling apart.

My hubby carving the Ham, which didn't take much. Isn't he a cutie pie?

Butterfly Cake

I was very busy right before the Holidays baking. I made my niece a cake for her birthday as well. This is also butter with blueberry filling.

Christmas Eve Birthday Cake

Aaron's Aunt Carol is a Christmas Eve Baby so I made her a little snowman cake. I made this cake with Duncan Hines Strawberry cake mix with strawberry icing.

Happy Birthday Dad!

I am playing catch up. My dad's birthday was Dec. 13th and here is the cake I made for him. It's Butter cake (Duncan Hine's) and strawberry filling. I find it easier to just use the cake mixes when I decorate, but I will only use Duncan hines.

My Dad:)

and his cake

Friday, January 2, 2009

Santa Claus Cookies

The santa claus cookies smelled so good baking them. I made sure I made another batch so I could cook them last. This is from a little book of Christmas cookies sold my a local school.

4 Cups of flour
4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup butter
1 cup veg shortening
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup nuts, chopped (I used pecans)

In a medium bowl, combine flour and spices; mix well. Set aside

Dissolve baking soda in sour cream. Set aside

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, shortening and sugar unti lfluffy. Add Flour to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream. Stir in nuts. Knead. Shape into roll about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap in waxed paper or plastic wrap and chill for about 8 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut into 1/4 inch slices and bake on a non-stick baking sheet for 10-15 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool. Store in a tightly sealed container. 4 dozen

Peanut Butter Crisscrosses

Again another Dorie Greenspan recipe. I think these are by far my favorite peanut butter cookie.

2 1/2 cups of flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 sticks of unsalted butter- room temp
1 cup of peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
1 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups salted peanuts

About 1/2 cup sugar for rolling

Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.

Working with a stand mixer, with a fitted paddle. Beat the butter on medium speed for a minute or two, until it is smooth and creamy. Add the peanut butter and beat another minute. Add the sugars and beat until blended, then add eggs one at a time.

On low speed beat in dry ingredients, mixing a little at time until blended before adding more. Once blended, mis in chopped peanuts.

Pour the 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl.

Okay the book says to use a level tablespoon to measure a ball for each cookie, but I just grabbed a litte and rolled it into a ball. Once you have a nice ball, drop it and roll it around in the sugar. Then place it on the cookie sheet. Take a fork and press the fork against the ball of cookie dough in one direction and then again in a perpendicular direction, you should have a flat round cookie.

Bake for about 12 minutes.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I only made 3 types of cookies this Christmas. I had way too much going on, work was crazy busy. Two of the three types I made were from the Dorie Greenspan Baking: From my home to yours.

I sent them overseas to an officer in Iraq.

2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp Baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips or 2 cups store-bought chocolate chips or semisweet chocolate chunks (I used semisweet)
1 cup finely chopped walts or pecans (optional)

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed for about 1 minute, until smooth. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 minutes or so, until well-blended. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each egg goes inches Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 portions, mixing only until each addition is incorporated. On low speed, or by hand with a rubber spatula, mix in the chocolate and nuts.

Spoon the dough by slightly rounded tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between spoonfuls.

Bake the cookies- one sheet at a time and rotating the sheet at the midway point- for 10-12 minutes, or until they are brown at the edges and golden in the center; they may still be a little soft in the middle, and that's just fine. Pull the sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to rest for 1 minute, then carefully, using a wide metal spatula, transfer them to racks to cool to room temperature.