Thursday, December 24, 2009

Two days of baking, seven Christmas treats

Ah the holidays. How....uncomfortable you can be.

I drove back to Salina yesterday to beat the weather....that still hasn't hit Salina. It's come to Lawrence though, so I suppose leaving early was actually a good idea. Coming back, though, I'm still not so sure about. For one, I had a completely full car, including seven varieties of baked goods (yup! I said seven), all my Christmas presents for family, two blankets and a pillow, clothes, and the ever-whiny cat. Couple that with rainy/foggy weather, and it's can be an interesting 2-hour drive.

The older I get, though, the more I realize I only like part of the holidays. I love the baking, decorating and gift purchasing. I hate the actual day. Last night I went out to a bar in Salina, and throughout the course of the night there were at least 100 people from my high school there. Some were people I hadn't seen in forever and was happy about, but others were people I sort of recognized but couldn't place their names. I also found out my ex-boyfriend got engaged, which is doubly weird. We dated for four years, and for a while thought we would get married. It could have been me getting that ring last night, although I'm glad it wasn't. There are so many people getting engaged right now that I feel like I should be; after all, Drew and I have been together for as long as my ex and his girlfriend have. But I know I'm not ready for that. Not for a while.

I had nothing to do a couple days ago, and decided to go on a baking extravaganza. Last Christmas I brought cookies home that Drew's mom had made, but I wanted to bring home my own this year. I started with chocolate chunk cookies that I found in the Food Network magazine. They were one of the most labor-intensive cookies I've ever made because the dough isn't very sticky. I had to form each individual cookie, because it was more chunk (chocolate, white chocolate, M&M and cashew) than cookie. They were yummy though.

The next day was my big baking day. First it was pizzelles again to take to my grandma. I had Drew put them on the iron, and I've found he has quite a talent for it. I think I know what his job will be from now on. :)

Then it was my mom's old no-bake butterscotch cookies (essentially these minus the peanuts). We used to make them when I was little. They're super easy and only four ingredients, but get really hard to stir. You melt butterscotch chips in a pan, then add peanut butter and later marshmallows. The marshmallows make it really tough to stir, and then you add chow mein noodles. They're soooo rich but so yummy.

Then came one of my favorite recipes: peanut butter brownies. This is easily one of my favorite recipes, one I found on another baking blog. They go pretty quick too once you set people on them. They're basically brownies with chocolate and peanut butter chips in them. You bake them in muffin tins, then let them fall and fill the void with peanut butter. Top them off with chocolate and peanut butter chips and you're set! I went for the more festive vibe and did Christmas M&Ms.

I made three things I never had before as well. As you can tell, I baked for like a solid five hours. First were pineapple cookies with pineapple glaze from my Golden Book of Cookies. They are super moist from the crushed pineapple in them. Then I made biscotti a la Bobby Flay. It has blue and yellow cornmeal and pistachios. It's supposed to have Sambuca, a licorice-flavored liqueur, but I didn't have any of that and wasn't about to buy it (yuck!) so did Triple Sec instead. Last, I made chocolate-dipped pretzels. Mmmm.

Now I just need to figure out who's going to eat all this food. I'm not sure I'll be here as long as was planned.

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