Holiday Treats!

Happy 2014 everyone!

For this post, rather than give an in-depth look at everything I baked this holiday season, I thought I’d give you an overview of the cookies and cupcakes I made. This is partly because some of the cookies I made are extremely basic and don’t warrant an entire blog post, and partly because there would be a lot of posts to cover everything. So I figure it’d be simpler to put it all into one holiday treats post, so you can feast your eyes on what I baked (and maybe keep to your resolutions too).

Holiday Cut-Out Cookies

I made these as the end-of-year treat for my colleagues. I actually spent an entire week on them, baking them the previous weekend, and decorating them a little bit every evening.

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I made nearly 120 cookies. I then personalized some of the stockings and the stars, with the first initial of my colleagues, and separated out the cookies.

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Each person got 4 cookies. I placed them into a holiday bag, with a note from myself and Josh.

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Old-Fashioned Butter Press Cookies

I went home for a few days at Christmas, so I had to make some cookies there too! Since I left my KitchenAid mixer and everything at my place, I made simple, hand-mixed, butter cookies. These were Mom’s favorites.

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My dad found a new cookie press tucked away in a corner, and to my delight, it had a tree form! (and a pumpkin, but that’s for a different holiday). I decorated these simply, with red and green sugar.

British Pudding – American-style

Actually, these aren’t mini British Christmas puddings at all. They’re leftover chocolate cake and icing, which I transformed into cake balls. I had a bit of white candy melts left, so I whipped these up and topped with festive sprinkles.

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Apple Pie

Okay, so maybe it’s not that festive, but it was one of my contributions for our annual Christmas dinner at some very dear friends of ours, so I figure it deserves it’s place here.

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My apologies for the bad-quality photo, it was hastily taken before I put it out on the buffet.

New Year’s Eve Cupcakes

My last festive piece of baking, were these pink champagne, New Year’s Eve cupcakes. What else would you need to finish off the year with a flourish?

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These were quite the hit at the party I took them to!

And so here ends my first blog entry for 2014. I can’t wait to see what new baking adventures the year brings me! In the meantime, one of my resolutions is to form healthier eating habits… so I guess whatever I bake, I shall have to bring in to work ^_^

Thanks for reading!

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American Apple Pie (minus the cinnamon)

Hello everyone!

Yesterday’s cooking experience was an apple pie. As always, this was for a birthday, my grandfather’s 84th to be exact. Being French, cakes with lots of icing just aren’t his cup of tea, so I asked my dad what he though Pépé would like. Dad suggested an American-style apple pie, but without the cinnamon, as neither he nor Pépé like it.

So I looked in The Joy of Cooking for an apple pie recipe and was given three different options. Reading through them, and considering the fact that I would need to transport the pie either by train or car to my Dad’s house in late morning, I went with the option that would allow me to re-heat the pie with no loss to taste or texture.

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My first job was to core, peel, and slice 8 apples. By the end, I had about 1kg of sliced apples, ready to sizzle in the pan. Looking back, I could have chopped one or two more and had a fuller pie, but it was also fine just the way it was.

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Cooking the apples (and sweetening them) before baking the pie was the key difference between this recipe and the two others, in terms of reheating it later. Apple pie is best served warm with vanilla ice cream, so this was perfect. I actually baked this the day before, and it was just as delicious reheated the next day as if it had come out fresh of the oven the first time.

After cooking the apples, they needed to cool to room temperature. This is when I realized I could have cut a couple more for a fuller filling.

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So while the apples cooled down, I prepared the crust. I lined the baking pan with one crust, and looked up how to do lattice-work for the top. I found a helpful, step-by-step photo tutorial online.

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After baking for 45 minutes, this apple pie came out looking and smelling delicious! It was a good thing I left it cooling on the counter and went to run some errands, because I’m not sure it would have made it to the birthday lunch otherwise ^_^

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And as always, reheated and served with a scoop of ice cream:

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A final side note: before buying the apples for this pie, I searched the internet for what the best kind of apple was. I found this website, which actually followed a sort of scientific procedure for the best apples. Golden apples scored an 8/10, so those are the ones I went with, and they were indeed delicious! Although, since the pie crust is sweet, I might reduce the amount of sugar in the cooking process, to bring out the tartness of the apples more. Either way, it was delicious and I’m excited to bake this pie again, but with cinnamon this time!

Thanks for reading ^_^