Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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Christmas Baking 2017

This year’s Christmas baking was a low key affair. We’d decided to do our baking on Friday, because we had a party to go to on Saturday and wanted to bring some baked goods with us. But then my sister got booked into a meeting all afternoon because Friday was still technically a workday and we were already scheduled to go to see Star Wars that night, so me, my mom, and my niblings just did the baking without my sister1.

I made my old stalwart, shortbread cookies from my Great Granny’s recipe that was taught to me by my Aunt Wendy:

Shortbread Cookies

And then I made fudge because (a) it’s easy, (b) who doesn’t love fudge?, and (c) it involves sweetened condensed milk, which means that I get to lick the lid of the can of sweetened condensed milk!

Chocolate Fudge

My niece made peanut butter snowballs, from a family recipe that she got from her grandfather:

Peanut Butter Snowballs

My nephew made Rice Krispie squares with festive rice krispies:

Rice Krispie Squares

My mom was the most prolific baker, as usual. She made butter tart squares:

Butter Tart SquaresApricot almond squares:

Apricot Almond Squares

And Eggnog Meltaways:Eggnog Meltaways

  1. Sucks to be her because baking >>>> meetings. []

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Christmas Baking 2015

For the official record1, the following baked goods were baked at the annual Snow family Christmas baking extravaganza 2015:

My Mom:

    • Tiger Cookies

Tiger cookies

    • Cranberry Nut Clusters

White Chocolate Nut Clusters

  • Fake Nanaimo Bars2

Fake Nanaimo Bars
Nancy (my sister):

    • brown sugar jam cookies

Jam sandwich cookies

  • cheese crackers

Daniel (Nancy’s friend):

  • lemon squares
  • almond crescent cookies

Beth:

  • shortbread cookies
  • amaretti
Ameretti

Amaretti dough

Ameretti

Amaretti cookies – pre-baking

Ameretti

Amaretti cookies – baked

Ameretti

Amaretti cookies – close up

  1. My blog is the official record. []
  2. Which I’ve been referring to as “Parksville Bars”. Parksville is the town next to Nanaimo. []

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Tomorrow is Christmas Baking Day

My baking plans for tomorrow include:

  • shortbread cookies, the cookies that I’m legally obligated to make every Christmas
  • amaretti, which I’ve never made before but expect to be delicious!

I will report back once all the baking is complete!

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Christmas Baking 2014

Sadly, this year I did not get to cyber-bake with my family, as my sister et al decided to spend the past week in Jamaica. Before they left was too early to do Christmas baking, so they will be doing their Christmas baking in the next few days. I have to work until Christmas Eve, so I can’t do my baking when they do theirs. And so I did my Christmas baking on my own, spread out over a few different evenings, instead of one giant 12 hour baking day like I usually do.

This year’s holiday treats included a few new recipes and a couple of classics.

Biscotti

My first ever batch of biscotti
My first ever batch of biscotti

I’ve never made biscotti before and I was surprised how easy it was to make. It’s a simple dough, baked in a loaf shape, cut into biscotti shape, then baked again. And then you drizzle some melted chocolate over them and omg, so delicious! And fancy looking! Here’s the recipe that I used.

Chocolate Peanut Clusters

Chocolate peanut clusters
Chocolate peanut clusters
Chocolate peanut clusters

I chose this one because it was an extremely simple one. Throw various types of peanuts and chocolates into a crock pot and let everything melt. Spoon melted goo onto parchment paper and let it set. The end.

Here’s the recipe I used for these.

Fudge

I also decided to make some fudge, basically because fudge is made using sweetened condensed milk and Christmas baking is not complete unless I get to lick the lid from a can of sweetened condensed milk1. However, my first attempt at making fudge this year was an epic, epic, delicious but gooey failure.

Attempt at maple fudge

Fudge attempt #1: FAIL!

I decided to try making maple fudge, the recipe for which was basically sweetened condensed milk (read: sugar sugar sugar and a wee bit of milk), brown sugar (i.e., sugar), and maple syrup (also known as sugar). Sadly, the fudge never set and, in retrospect, I realize I probably should have used a candy thermometer instead of being lazy and just cooking it for the length of time mentioned in the recipe.

So instead I decided to go back to tried and true chocolate fudge, which started to set pretty much as I melting the chocolate with the sweetened condensed milk.

Chocolate fudge

Fudge attempt #2: Tried and true!

Shortbread

And since it’s Christmas, I am obligated to make shortbread cookies because I was long ago entrusted with my Great Granny Snow’s shortbread recipe, which makes the best shortbread in the world, according to people who like shortbread2. I didn’t bother to take any pictures of it, since it looks the same as it does every year.

While I definitely missed virtually hanging out with my fam while we baked, I can say that splitting up Christmas baking across a few evenings is way less exhausting than a marathon baking session. Also, based on feedback from those to whom I have given some of these baked goods, the quality of said baked goods did not suffer3. At any rate, Christmas baking is done and everyone who gets some of this baking will probably gain 5 lbs because it’s 97% butter and/or sugar. Hooray!

  1. Usually this is accompanied by my mother going “You’ll cut your tongue if you do that!” and me never cutting my tongue. And I’m happy to report that I have successfully made it through my 37th year without actually cutting my tongue on the lid from a can of sweetened condensed milk. []
  2. Which I don’t, so I can’t really verify personally. []
  3. Maple fudge failure notwithstanding. []

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My Favourite Christmas Tradition

Ingredients for brandy snapsHands down, my favourite Christmas tradition is baking with my family. As far back as I can remember, we’d get together to bake Christmas goodies that we’d give out to family and friends and have around the house for when people came to visit. When I was young, my Aunt Wendy would come over to our house and bake with my mom, my sister and I. And it was always so much fun and the tasty treats were always much appreciated by whosoever was lucky enough to receive them.

Coddled Egg
When we got older, my sister and I carried on the Christmas baking tradition, and for a couple of years we made ornate ginger bread creations – one year it was a whole village of little gingerbread houses, another year it was a living room on Christmas Eve (with a fireplace, a chair, a table with cookies for Santa on it, and a cat asleep on a rug). I wish I knew where I put the photos of those gingerbread creations!

Chocolate Amaretto Cheesecake - mixtures ready to go

Long time readers will know that in 2009 we held the first ever Snow Family Cyber Cookies, where my mom, sister, and niece baked in Toronto and I baked at my place in BC and we hung out via Google Video Chat so that we could bake “together”. Not as good as baking in person – you can’t sample the baking over the intertubes – but still pretty fun. In 2010 I was in Toronto, so I could bake with my family in person and in 2011 we did Cyber Cookies again. In 2012 we couldn’t get coordinated with dates – I spent a bunch of time at the holidays on the Island with my then-boyfriend’s family and we couldn’t coordinate a day when I was home to do CyberCookies. And this year I’m in Toronto and we are having baking day this coming Saturday!

Chocolate Chip CookieWe decided that we each only get to choose two things to bake, as there are five of us in total who will be bakers (my mom, my sister, me, my niece, and my sister’s friend Daniel1 ), so that will be 10 different baked goods. I have to make shortbread, from my Great Granny’s secret recipe, because everybody loves it2, but I still have to pick my second item. I’m thinking I should do something that calls for sweetened condensed milk, because omg, I love sweetened condensed milk. I should probably get out some recipe books and make a decision!

  1. My nephew will also be helping, but he’s only 2.5 years old, so he’s still to wee to be able to make stuff on his own. []
  2. Everybody except me. I don’t like shortbread! []

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CyberCookies 2011

I’m freaking exhausted from a day of Christmas baking, so today’s posting on my Christmas-baking-while-chatting-online-with-my-family-who-was-also-baking is going to be mostly photos and short on words. I’m too tired for typing words.

Meringue snowflake

Meringue Snowflake

Chocolate mice

Chocolate Mice

For the record, here’s what everyone baked:

Beth

  • shortbread cookies
  • meringue snowflakes
  • chocolate mice (white and dark chocolate)

Mom

  • cranberry nut clusters
  • chocolate lollipops
  • reindeer cupcakes with Madeline
  • butter tarts
  • Muskoka tarts
  • whipped shortbread

Nancy

  • peanut butter fudge
  • rocky road drops
  • pecan pumpkin cookies
  • pumpkins pie squares
  • oat butter brittle
  • key lime cheesecake squares
  • blue cheese walnut crackers

Daniel1

  • lemon squares
  • graham cracker cupcakes
  • thumbprint cookies
  • banana chocolate loaf

 

  1. Nancy’s friend Daniel; not to be mistaken for Dr. Dan []

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Christmas Bakestravaganza 2010

So remember last year how I cyber-baked with my family over the intertubes? Not this year! This year I got to do my baking in person!

Baking, and especially Christmas baking, is one of my fondest memories from childhood. Every year at Christmas time, my Aunt Wendy would come over to our house and bake with my mom, my sister and me. Over the years, various other people joined us for baking good times and we always had a blast AND made delicious treats to give out to people! Baking simultaneously in Toronto and Vancouver while chatting via Google Video last year was fun, but nothing beats baking together with the fam.

This year, my sister’s friend Daniel joined us. Daniel was an early childhood educator at the daycare my niece went to and later was a babysitter for her. And he’s a tonne of fun, so he graduated to friend status and when he mentioned to Nancy that he was going to be doing his Christmas baking alone this year, she invited him to join us. Of course, this made for five bakers – my mom, Nancy, Madeline, me and Daniel – all in one kitchen. And we each had three different things we planned to bake! So Nancy, ever the creative problem solver, recruited the oven of the next door neighbours for the afternoon!

In the end, we made 11 different items over a span of only 6 hours1! Here’s the summary:

Daniel made:
  • lemon squares
  • rolled oat chocolate hay bales
  • thumbprint cookies

Beth made:

  • surprise cookies
  • shortbread cookies

My mom made:

  • rugala
  • chocolate-filled snowballs
  • white chocolate and macademia nut cookies

Nancy made:

  • black pepper cheese crisps
  • triple chocolate sandwich cookies
  • egg nog knots

And here are the photos!

Baking supplies

Just *some* of the baking supplies for the day

Nancy and her cookies

Nancy and her chocolate sandwich cookies

Day 183

Me and my mom!

My mom, Nancy & Daniel

My mom, Nancy & Daniel

Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

Me and my niece!

Me and Madeline

Madeline baking

Madeline and me

  1. we started at about 2 pm and ended at 10 pm, but took a two hour break to hit The Friendly Greek for dinner. Because there was no way in hell any of us were going to be cooking any meals! []