As previously warned, I did not have too much planned for this weekend other than Brian’s Christmas party and doing some baking on Sunday. The Christmas party was okay. It is always nice to have an excuse to see Brian get all dressed up (he looks really good in his new dress clothes), and a free meal is always a winner in my books.
Saturday was filled with errands and very very cold weather. One day last week, we were colder than the North Pole. HOW IS THAT FAIR?! Saturday was one of those days where you walked outside and you could feel your nose hairs freezing. Disgusting but seriously true.
Sunday however was awesome. Jo and I conquered (yes conquered) six recipes in about three hours. Boom. I had never made any of the recipes before either so we both thought this was pretty impressive. And because we powered through all the recipes so fast, I only managed to get one photo from our whole baking day experience.
But this photo was during the making of my favourite recipe of the day so that counts for something I think right? Yes I ended up making the Pretzel Turtles from The Pioneer Woman. This recipe is gold I tell ya, and super easy to make just a bit time consuming. I would highly recommend it, especially if you have a turtle-loving partner like I do.
We also made homemade bits ‘n’ bites from a recipe that Jo’s mom uses all the time and is super easy as well. It is just two packets of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix with 1.25 cups of oil mixed with whatever snacks you like. We used goldfish, pretzels, shreddies, cheerios, and mixed nuts. Since we made a batch for each of us, the ratios vary because Jo doesn’t really like cereal and I do so she added more goldfish and I added more cheerios and shreddies. After mixing everything thoroughly in a roasting pan, pop it in the oven for an hour at 325 degrees, stirring every 10 minutes.
These chocolate crackle cookies were probably the hardest recipe that we did and I am not entirely sure they were worth all the time it took to make them. They involved a lot of refrigeration time and a lot of mess with the use of icing sugar. By the time these cookies were done, I had icing sugar EVERYWHERE in my kitchen and so far the reviews on them have been “meh”. The do look pretty cool though so that is a plus.
We also took a stab at shortbread cookies. They took a lot of time as well and they were just okay. Neither Jo or I had ever made them before so were kind of blind when it came to desired dough consistency and things like that so they tasted like shortbread in the end, but it seemed like we were missing something when were trying to roll the dough out and make shapes. Jo used to work at a store that made their own treats so she showed me how to make caramel popcorn balls. First she made her caramel out of corn syrup and brown sugar (I think that is all she put in there, I was too busy getting icing sugar everywhere to notice the measurements) in a pot over medium-high heat. I had made a big batch of popcorn on the stove so that was already waiting for her too. She then combined the caramel with the popcorn, shaped them into softball-sized balls and put them on parchment paper to cool off.
WARNING: the caramel is VERY HOT and will stick to your hands and burn when you are trying to shape them. I helped with the first batch and maybe made about three before I chickened out. Another trick that she used to help with the stickyness/skin-burning is to lube your hands up with butter. For real it helps even though tons of hilarious innuendos will ensue during this process. The laughter will help you forget that you are losing the first layer of skin on your hands too so that is an added bonus.
Last but not least, the easiest recipe of all, almond bark. All we (Jo) did was melt chocolate in a double boiler (we used a metal bowl over a pot of simmering water for all of our chocolate melting) then pour the melted chocolate over almonds that are laying on parchment paper. We (Jo) also sprinkled coconut on top for a garnish and some more flavour. We also decided to make use of the North Pole weather outside and put the almond bark in the BBQ to cool down and save us some space in the kitchen. Ingenious right? We thought so.
So how was your weekend? Did you do any holiday baking?