Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Christmas a little early

I know many people say "Let's get past Thanksgiving before we think about Christmas," but not me. I have a lot to do for Christmas--some of it by Thanksgiving when I'll be with all my children and can deliver gifts so I don't have to mail. So I begin to think about the holidays early--many of my presents are wrapped, my lists are all made.
And I have started baking. This year I did something really smart. I made a list of what I wanted to bake and then made a list of all the ingredients I'd need. But instead of rushing out to the grocery, I rushed to my cupboard to check in back corners and see what I already had. Narrowed down my shopping list a lot and saved myself from buying some fairly expensive items such as chopped pecans and good dark cocoa powder.
Last night I made double chocolate banana bread--cocoa in the batter and chocolate chips in the final dough. Of course,  it didn't come out of the pan smoothly, so  there were bits for me to taste. Good, but I thought the banana was overpowered by the chocolate.
Today, chocolate chip/dried cranberry cookies with an astounding two-and-a-half sticks of butter. I never can cook without making some major flub, no matter how careful I think I'm being and how carefully I think I'm reading the recipe. Got the batter all made--a good, stiff one, hard to stir. Put in the nuts and the cranberries and thought, "Wait! It's supposed to have chocolate chips." You got it! I put in nuts that weren't in the recipe. Too late to retrieve them so I added the chocolate chips and now have chocolate chip/dried cranberries/pecan cookies in the oven. You know, if that's the worst mistake I make, I'm pretty well off.
Still to come--good old-fashioned peanut butter cookies, because Christian likes them. One year I dipped two edges of each cookie in chocolate and crushed nuts. He'd really like me to do that again, but it's too much trouble and work. Then I'll do some chocolate bars with a basic dough bottom and chocolate spread on top. Recipe calls for Karo syrup which should make them both good and different. And Oreo cookies truffles (hide that idea and the cookies from Jacob!) but they have to be made just before I serve them.
I can hear those Christmas bells ringing already!

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