Thursday, December 24, 2009

Let the Baking Begin ...

Other than the Christmas fruitcake and pudding, I have been told not to bake our usual Xmas cookies until Daughter #2 arrives. (That's late tonight!) But when Santa's Little Helper appeared, I thought I could at least do some prep. (Santa's Little Helper looks a little familiar, doesn't she? And just a tiny bit crazed!!! Must be the dual thoughts of the end of another toy-making season and a much needed sugar fix soon to come!)
Every job needs the right music. So, I dig out the old familiar "baking" cassettes....
And I get the ingredients ready ....
I'm not allowed to cut these out; but I can prepare them at least! It'll save on the work tomorrow morning as well as helping with crowd control; with 3 of us milling about in my tiny kitchen & dining area, it well get a little congested!
I've been searching for the ultimate shortbread recipe for years. LaHave Bakery in the community where I use to live make these beautiful golden, layered, crisp, buttery shortbreads that I keep (unsuccessfully to date) trying to replicate. And no matter how unsuccessful, it's wonderful fun (and calorific!!) to keep trying.
Here goes Attempt 2009 (the year and not the no. of attempts!). And I'm going to bake these in the pretty Xmas mold pan I bought last month at the church flea market.
But I'm also a sucker for anything with oats and bittersweet chocolate! So, let's try these as well.
Oooooo! Look at them - they're pretty huh! The "buttery shortbreads" are okay; yeah they're quite nice. But I should have known that with the icing sugar, they're more of a sandy, melty texture: so they don't meet the standards of my particular shortbread goal. And I now know that the Xmas mold was meant for cakes or muffins as they're a tad thick [somewhat like Santa's Little Helper] and the mold features are a bit "blurred" [also somewhat like Santa's Little Helper!!}). The oat & bittersweet chocolate shortbreads, however, look (and taste) to be a wonderful contender!!! Just look at these lovely little guys! They're like an extemely rich 'n' buttery oatcake! So, I'm hoping that after aging for a day or two, they'll be even better!! [If we apply this theory to Santa's Little Helper as well, do you think some rich, single, Christian guy would fall for it???]
With 10 expected for Xmas dinner, I thought I'd bake a couple of pies -- homemade mincemeat (containing real meat) and apple.
And because Brady is bring Molly home tonight, I think I'll thank him with a new recipe for cinnamon buns. *
And there was also enough for our house! Yum, yum, yummy! A little icing and some pretty packaging, and they're all set!


Now ... a quick shower and primp, and I'll be ready to meet friends for coffee and carrot cake. A much needed break and "fuel-up" as tomorrow will be more baking!


Oh dear! Enjoying oneself is such hard work!!!


Susan said...

Merry Christmas, Sandy! I hope you have a lovely one!

The cookies and cinnamon rolls look wonderful so far! Mmmmm!

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

You are so good making all those delicious things at your house for your family. I'm on the naughty list as I went to this fabulous bakery and bought my goodies. I thought I should have something on hand just in case so I drooled a bit when I walked in the place yesterday and bought way more than I should have. I got a mincemeat pie too as I love them. Merry Christmas from my house to yours!

Wanda said...

You make a nice Santa's Little Helper Sandy and it appears a wonderful baker too!
Have a Wonderful Christmas Sandy!

Lisa E said...

I am in total awe of your skills. Amazing!! Remember, Im a 50 year old who just made her first NON burnt cookies ever this year. Peace and joy to you.

Suburban Princess said...


I love all of your baking! What meat do you put in mincemeat pie? I have never had a mincemeat pie with meat in it!

Have a very merry Christmas!

Nezzy said...

You little elf you. You look so cute in you Sanata's Helper apron.

I'm ready! Fudge of all forms(my first food group), country apple pie and chocoate french silk pie, homemade truffles,( I'll just inject here everything is make from scratch) rolls,peanut clusters, ham, my world famous baked beans,cashew patties, Aunt Mary's scalloped potatoes, white chocolate dipped pretzels drizzled with dark chocolate, fresh garden salad topped with sun dried tomatoes. Sounds healthy right? OK, I'll go out and run some cattle 'round the pasture 'till it burns baby burns!

Sandy, you have a wonderful time with ALL your girls, family and adopted family. I wish you a most magical Christmas drenched in His love. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Anna said...

Dear Sandy,I wish you peace and joy!Kisses.Anna

The Garden of Egan said...

The cinnamon rolls look delicious!
You will be sooooo busy! Have a blast.
Hope you have such a GREAT Christmas!

Eva Gallant said...

Everything lokes so yummy! Merry Christmas, Sandy!

lynn'sgarden said...

Sandy, those cookies look amazing...when you find the perfect shortbread recipe..plese share! I can tell how much FUN you're's wonderful to see and hear in your words. Have the best Christmas ever!
Hugs to you and your girls,

Terra said...

This looks like a delicious feast you are preparing for your family.
I am impressed that you made a real mincemeat pie. My dh loves that kind of pie, but I haven't made it from scratch.
This year I bought a strawberry rhubarb pie from a bakery near our home.
Merry Christmas.

Suburban Princess said...

Oh I had cassettes up til I was about 18 - I just didnt think anyone still had them!

Is meat in the mincemeat an east coast thing?

ethelmaepotter! said...

Everything looks so delicious. How do you find the time to do it all?
And about the cassettes - my Carpenters cassettes are in my car and my living room cassette players right now! CD? What's that?