I've been baking on and off since last Friday. But I haven't been greedy about eating all of it, in fact, I'm very proud of how moderate I've been while enjoying the fruits of my labor. I was up early and at the gym by 8am and got in a good hour and a half and now I have a completely free day, no errands or chores, just me in my kitchen.
I'm a cook and a foodie but I'm definitely not a baker. Normally I hate baking, it's just too damn precise. You've all seen my recipes, they're more like science experiments from Dr. Bunsen Honeydew. But there is something about the holidays that unleashes my inner love child of Betty Crocker and the Pillsbury Dough Boy. So, what I have I made so far...
Have you ever had panettone? It's a classic Italian Christmas bread. I did some reading on it and applied what I've learned from the Bread Machine Magic book and ended up with a stellar recipe. It turned out moist and fluffy and slightly sweet with vanilla and almond essence and scented with fresh orange rind studded with slivered almonds, candied citron and craisins. I have another in the bread oven right now.
I always bake and ship holiday goodies to my friends and family who don't live in the area. My nephew PJ is a gluten free/dairy free child so I wanted to make him something special. I made a batch of Flourless Double Chocolate Pecan cookies. I followed the directions to the letter and ended up with 15 ginormous cookies but only 14 made it to the mail box. Very easy and very moreish, they should be called Chocolate Goes Nuts because they are insane! My only advice is to be very careful when moving them from the parchment to the cooling racks as they are extremely fragile until they are cooled.
Saturday morning I made Mint Witchies. My sister and I made with with our Mom as kids and they are without question most delicious cookie in the entire Universe (when I hear myself saying that in my head, it has a really cool sci-fi echo sound effect.) Two crisp-chewy chocolate cookies sandwiching a melty thin mint. It wasn't the same baking them without my sister, but I hope she enjoys them when she gets her package.
I tried my hand at biscotti. The flavor was good but the texture was all wrong. Way good crumbly. I don't think I'd make them again.
I also made up an experimental shortbread with polenta, anise seeds and almond essence. Now these are a keeper! Very good for dunking, unlike the biscotti.
And because my husband can't have Christmas without mini-mince pies, we're going to make them tomorrow. I'm even going to try my hand at homemade pie crust. That's all for now. I'll be back tomorrow for a Thursday weigh-in. I unfortunately have to work Christmas morning but will be home by 3pm to enjoy the rest of the day with my husband.