Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Holiday Bake-A-Thon

We have begun our holiday cookie/candy bake-a-thon. Every year I always tell myself I will make a bunch of treats, then package them up for friends and hand them out. I remember doing the same thing with my Dad when I was growing up. However, I don't think I realized then how hard that actually is to make, wrap and deliver so many treats to such a long list of people you want to spread some holiday cheer too. So most years, I start out with the intent to deliver holiday Joy to those I love but somewhere along the way i give up. I'm posting now to prevent that from happening this year. And to share this kid involved idea with those of you who might play this same game as me year after year.
We did Gingerbread candy cane cookies. The kid involved part was the candy cane dusting.
  1. I did the cookie cutting on my own
  2. While I did that I let the kids stomp the candy canes into dust. (I put the canes in a ziplock baggie and gave the kids something to hammer it with. Every once in a while there would be too many holes in the bag and we'd have to put it in a new bag.)
  3. When the candy canes were made into a small/fine dust I put it into a cereal bowl.
  4. Once the cookies were cool I striped frosting with a slanted icing tip (I used wilton #47)
  5. Then as soon as a cookie was frosted I gave it to one of the kids who dipped it frosting side down into the candy dust and then put it back onto the cooling rack.
It went great. I'm happy because they look so cute and the kids were happy because they got to help. You can see in the picture our first cookie (The one in the top right corner) has candy chunks that look a little bit too big. After we did it we realized that we needed to crush the candy up into finer pieces.

I also made homemade caramel and I gave fudge a try again.

Last year I made batch after batch of flops with fudge. I wanted to learn how to make it without just melting down a bunch of chocolate chips as part of the recipe or using marshmallow cream, I wanted to make "real" fudge. I had one that I think I burned, another that never set (like hot fudge for ice-cream) and one that was so dry it was just a bunch of crumbles.
Well this year my fudge turned out almost perfect (My Dad would be so proud :) my one and only problem was that at the very moment I turned off the mixer to pour my perfect fudge into the pan to cool, Gwen's school called to tell me that I missed Gwen's bus. In the 10 seconds it took to take that call the fudge began to set. I scooped it out of the mixing bowl and pressed it into the pan as fast as I could. I know that it will still taste great, but the top just doesn't have that beautiful look that fudge has when it is poured before it sets up.
So I guess next time I just need to pay better attention to the clock, otherwise Gwen's bus driver will hate me.

Happy candy making


  1. Look at you go! We're starting our baking this weekend. And we mostly just give treats to our visiting/home teach-es because December gets too crazy with all these birthdays we have going on to actually get a visit in. What fudge recipe did you do? We've always used the 'Sees' recipe until last year. I found a really yummy looking coconut fudge that we're going to try this year...just have to wait until I can get some coconut butter. I love holiday baking!!

  2. I used the "Chocolate Fudge" recipe from my betty Crocker cookbook. it uses half & half and unsweetened cocoa powder, so it actually is from scratch. Otherwise, I figure I might as well buy it someplace.