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Let the baking begin!

December 9th, 2005 (12:12 am)

current mood: accomplished

And we're off! Despite still trying to gather ingredients together (anise seed, hazelnuts, ramekins...), I started the annual Christmas / holiday season insanity with half of Ichi's Vanilla Crescent recipe and Ysa-chan's Eggnog Cookie recipe. Being a bit out of it when I started (I started with Ichi's recipe), I forgot that the almonds were to be put in the food processor to be ground. Well, while we do have a food processor, we've never actually taken it out of the packaging. It's hiding somewhere in the basement. (No counter space and doing things by hand was much easier back then...) ^^; So, being the bright eyes I'm not, and since I'd just taken the butter out of the fridge... Out came the mortar and pestle, and the cutting board, and Shadow starts crushing and finely chopping nuts for the next who knows how long! :P I still had a good while to measure everything out, lose things, find things and otherwise putter about afterwards waiting for the butter though, so all was well. That dough is chilling overnight so shall see how it'll turn out tomorrow night (I might have mucked up the mixing in of the flour... Oh, and the female sibling unit said something about picking up another mill for nuts / spices if I'm planning on doing anything so silly again. I'd briefly debated cleaning out the coffee grinder, but decided against using it). ^^;;

After putting the vanilla crescent dough in the fridge, I started in on Ysa-chan's Eggnog cookies... Umm, yeah. 7.5 dozen cookies my foot! I specifically aimed for smaller cookies (going for half teaspoon sized cookies) and ended up with about 6 dozen. If I'd gone for the size as written, I'd probably have gotten 1/2 to 2/3 that. That teaspoon sized dough must be a literal measuring spoon teaspoon. >_< Anyhow, the cookies themselves are *great*! I want to see how they taste after a day and see how the consistency holds out. The recipe suggested having it with espresso, but there's no way I'm having espresso at 11PM, so I had it with a cup of darjeeling tea. Yummy! The darjeeling cut through the cookie and cleansed the palate wonderfully. BTW, the first batch of cookies out of the oven never saw the cookie plate. There really must be some sort of black hole phenomenon in the kitchen. ^^;

The real shame is that, chances are, next time I make this recipe, it won't turn out so nicely. >_< I'm *notorious* for first timer's luck with cookies. The first time I make a cookie recipe, it'll turn out great. The next time... T_T

Anyhow, next up tomorrow night, the second half of the Vanilla Crescent recipe, and probaby three batches of choux to two batches of custard cream. Ichi's and Ysa's recipes combined give me 3 extra eggwhites, so I might as well make some more choux from them. (I don't know of any recipes calling only for whites and not yolks on my list). I hadn't planned on cream puffs yet but... the ingredients dictate.

Time permitting and depending on how work goes, I might swing the cookies forward or do a cake / loaf in the afternoon. Shall see. I'm thinking either the peppermint chiffon cake or one of the pumpkin loaf recipes. (I could use a loaf for breakfast and/or tea time). I have to double check which recipes take what sort of fat / oil; tonights recipes has knocked me down to a little over 1 c of unsalted butter left. I think I'm going to have to pick up another pound of unsalted... :P

Tomorrow's prep will hopefully be crushing candy canes for chocolates. I'm trying using the rolling pin and crushing them that way. The test cane seems to have worked reasonably well, and while not as fine as I'd like, it does end up crushed. Shall see how that goes. It certainly would beat pounding candies on the patio at 11PM in -20... unlike a certain other year. :P

Can't wait to see how things go tomorrow night! :P


Posted by: Ysabet (umadoshi)
Posted at: December 9th, 2005 07:51 am (UTC)
Christmas candles (skellorg)

You got SIX DOZEN out of that??? *_* I'm deeply impressed. (*laughs* And reminded that I rarely have the patience to try making cookies very small. ^^)

Yay for a good start! ^_^

Posted by: Shadow (kagedreams)
Posted at: December 9th, 2005 04:23 pm (UTC)

*laughs* I made them about 2-3 bite-sized, although it is possible to cookie monster them too. :P

Today the cookies are a bit crumby, but not too hard. They have a good crispiness. I don't know if I prefer the slight softness of freshly baked and still warm, or the fully cooled texture. :P Most of the cookies got sprinkled with freshly ground nutmeg. When asking my sister to pick up a couple of things, I distinctly remember telling her I only wanted whole nutmeg not ground because "we have lots of ground stuff"... which explains why after tearing apart the spice cupboard, there wasn't a single container of ground nutmeg to be found. >_<

These cookies are going fast though; alarmingly so. ^^;

Posted by: Laurie (ichi_san)
Posted at: December 9th, 2005 12:56 pm (UTC)

OMG ! XD I can't believe you chopped the almonds à la main !
Okay so the truth is that I did that too, the very first time I baked those cookies. This friend (co-worker, actually) from Vienna had told me that she and her mom always did it that way (because a food processor will grind the nuts *too finely* and it won't give the same results, she said). So à la main I went, haha. And it took me like FOREVER to chop all these almonds ! XD The following Christmas (that was last year) I totally went for the food processor (that - of course - was buried under tons of boxes in the basement since I never use it either). Now while shopping at Ikea last sunday, I bought an ustensil named KRAFTFULL (lol) and *that* will solve the problem for this year's batch of vanillekipferln.

You definitely have to let me know how things went ! I love it when I roll them into the vanilla flavored confectioners sugar while they're still warm, what an easy way to eat plenty of cookies without anybody noticing ! XD "hey where has that cookie gone ?" "wha- um, dunno, lost in the sugar bowl, maybe ?" XD

Posted by: Shadow (kagedreams)
Posted at: December 11th, 2005 05:52 am (UTC)

>>OMG ! XD I can't believe you chopped the almonds à la main ! <<

*laughs* Apparently I'm a glutton for punishment. ^^;; It wasn't bad, but towards the end, I was starting to zone out and I was afraid I'd do something stupid with the knife and hurt myself. Fortunately, I didn't. Unfortunately, all that chopping took the edge of my knife and it's feeling quite dull right now. >_<;

Hmm... that Kraftfull... is that a... I don't know how to describe it. But do the grinds fall through the machine to collect at the bottom so you don't grind things too finely? That looks like it'd be really nice for this recipe and would certainly take care of the overgrinding problem; especially if it also has a coarseness control. ^_^

The cookies turned out well and I'm quite happy with them (they're very nice with my darjeeling tea again) although I did have a couple of problems. My small cookie fix created a minor problem so I ran out of vanilla sugar! ^^;; Next time, I think I'll try increasing the vanilla and see how that affects the recipe, barring that, I'd probably go for using a more "mature" vanilla sugar. ^_^

Thanks for the recipe! ^___^

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