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David Ross

2018 Holiday Cooking and Baking

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55 minutes ago, MelissaH said:

... how cold do you think your kitchen is likely to be?

 

I live in southern California and my kitchen is normally at least 75 degrees F or warmer. My kitchen is on a southern-facing wall and even if the weather is in the low 60s solar radiation heats it up. Since I'm not baking anything fancy, mostly drop cookies, I doubt (but don't know for sure) that air pockets are really of much concern.

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47 minutes ago, Porthos said:

 

I live in southern California and my kitchen is normally at least 75 degrees F or warmer. My kitchen is on a southern-facing wall and even if the weather is in the low 60s solar radiation heats it up. Since I'm not baking anything fancy, mostly drop cookies, I doubt (but don't know for sure) that air pockets are really of much concern.

On the contrary, the air pockets in your dough SHOULD be at the top of your concern list. Without them, you might as well be baking rocks. If you don't have air pockets to start with, the leavening (baking soda or baking powder) in your cookie dough won't be able to generate lift, as they work by making air pockets bigger, not by creating holes from nothing. The post I linked to earlier has photos of what happens when you make cookies without properly creamed butter, and there is a distinct difference.

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2 hours ago, MelissaH said:

That sounds awfully warm. If the butter overheats, it will lose its ability to hold air pockets. Even in a chilly room, the friction from the mixing process will generate heat. BraveTart says that butter for creaming should only be about 60 °F; how cold do you think your kitchen is likely to be?

Thank you very much for this link. It taught me a great deal about cookie making that I did not know before.

 

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On 12/4/2018 at 11:31 AM, kayb said:

Yesterday, I made four applesauce cakes, and four dozen cheese wafers with bacon jam.

 

The applesauce cakes are @Arey's recipe. I cut one today for quality control purposes; these things are good. Very moist, "cakier" than a typical fruitcake, with a lower ratio of candied fruit. I will tweak the recipe just a tad when I make four more; they want some salt, and some ginger and nutmeg along with the cinnamon would not go amiss. I may also make an excursion to the liquor store and get some Calvados to mist them with. They'll be a nice addition to the Christmas treat collections.  

 

1462472385_fruitcakes1and2.jpg.4e806ef649c9ce480410e1c3083a0908.jpg812068446_applesaucecake.jpg.cf47620b23270d859eb9041ede71a3ae.jpg

Applesauce cake for breakfast? Yes, I think so!

 

The cheese wafers are a savory shortbread cookie with lots of cheese, in this case extra sharp cheddar. I used the pestle from my mortar to flatten the cookies inside my smallest biscuit cutter, and make little "divots" in the center, where I put bacon jam. Except on the last dozen, because I ran through my half-pint of bacon jam I'd opened, and rummaging about the fridge, found some sweet onion marmelade.  I'm going to make some more with blue cheese and put fig jam in the centers.

 

893405785_makingcrisps.jpg.7a4df27bdc0cd433fbd28a6ac4fc2b07.jpg

 

The wafers are about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, and about 1/4 inch thick. Here is the "mixed" pan, filled and baked.

843643527_mixedcrisps.jpg.0b6c090efdcc3a5af38dcbd7feca613b.jpg

 

Today will be cookies -- M&M dream bars, molasses spice cookies, maybe coconut macaroons, maybe chocolate stovetop cookies, maybe meringues, and the additional applesauce cakes. Then there'll be a candy day -- fudge, pralines, toffee -- next week, and somewhere in there, I'll make Chex mix. And the treat basket fillings will be completed, early!

 

 

 

 

@kayb I have just grated the cheese to make your recipe for Cheese Crisps.  Would you have links to the bacon jam and sweet marmalade onion recipes?  They should like wonderful toppers.  I'm thinking of doing some in mini muffin tins.  I have a tamper that will fit those pans.  Ever try doing them that way?

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Our discussion reminded me that our eG Cook-Off #59 has a lot of ideas and recipes for making some cured or smoked fish for the Holidays.  I'm thinking of making a version of this Salmon Gravlax dish I did for that Cook-Off.  In this case I served it with dark rye croutons and a vinaigrette as an appetizer/salad, but the salmon alone would be delicious.

Spiced, Cured Salmon.jpg

 

 

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2 hours ago, ElsieD said:

 

@kayb I have just grated the cheese to make your recipe for Cheese Crisps.  Would you have links to the bacon jam and sweet marmalade onion recipes?  They should like wonderful toppers.  I'm thinking of doing some in mini muffin tins.  I have a tamper that will fit those pans.  Ever try doing them that way?

 

From a post on my blog a while back:

  • 3 pounds bacon, diced and the fat rendered, but not crisp
  • 1 cup caramelized onions (about three medium onions)
  • 1 cup strong black coffee
  • 1/4 cup garlic confit from the fridge, or roasted garlic
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • about 1 tsp allspice
  • about 1 tsp Aleppo pepper
  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar (or brown; my hand found the turbinado first)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • about 1/4 cup brandy

If I don’t have caramelized onions in the fridge, I start with that; roughly dice the onions, put them in a bit of olive oil in your big Dutch oven, and let them go. Go ahead and use the big Dutch oven, because you’re going to use that pot to add everything else to. I go ahead and add the brown sugar to help the onions along in caramelizing.

While that’s happening, brown your bacon. I work with three pounds because Wright’s, my bacon purveyor of choice, sells a three-pound package of bacon pieces and ends. Same excellent bacon taste, just the trimmings, which is fine for these purposes. Wright’s, at $8.99 a pound, is pricy for making jam, but the ends-and-pieces, at $7.99 for three pounds, is a helluva deal. There’ll be some pieces big enough you’ll want to cut them up; try not to have anything bigger than an inch cube. I render it in batches, about a pound at a time, until it’s done but not necessarily crisp. Then when the onions get caramelized, I dump the bacon in with them. (The bacon grease replenishes my supply in the crock in the cabinet; one must, after all, keep bacon grease for one’s cornbread, and seasoning peas and beans!)

I add all the other stuff at whatever point I have a second amid stirring bacon. Measures, as in most all my recipes, are approximates. If you want yours hotter, add more pepper; sweeter, add more syrup. If you don’t have Aleppo pepper, a bit of minced chipotle will do. I used about 1/4 cup more coffee because that was how much was left in my cold-brew container in the fridge, and I didn’t see the point in wasting it. And then I just let it simmer.

 

Here is the bacon jam recipe, Unfortunately, the sweet onion marmelade was either something I bought or somebody gave me, not something I made.

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1 hour ago, kayb said:

 

From a post on my blog a while back:

  • 3 pounds bacon, diced and the fat rendered, but not crisp
  • 1 cup caramelized onions (about three medium onions)
  • 1 cup strong black coffee
  • 1/4 cup garlic confit from the fridge, or roasted garlic
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • about 1 tsp allspice
  • about 1 tsp Aleppo pepper
  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar (or brown; my hand found the turbinado first)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • about 1/4 cup brandy

If I don’t have caramelized onions in the fridge, I start with that; roughly dice the onions, put them in a bit of olive oil in your big Dutch oven, and let them go. Go ahead and use the big Dutch oven, because you’re going to use that pot to add everything else to. I go ahead and add the brown sugar to help the onions along in caramelizing.

While that’s happening, brown your bacon. I work with three pounds because Wright’s, my bacon purveyor of choice, sells a three-pound package of bacon pieces and ends. Same excellent bacon taste, just the trimmings, which is fine for these purposes. Wright’s, at $8.99 a pound, is pricy for making jam, but the ends-and-pieces, at $7.99 for three pounds, is a helluva deal. There’ll be some pieces big enough you’ll want to cut them up; try not to have anything bigger than an inch cube. I render it in batches, about a pound at a time, until it’s done but not necessarily crisp. Then when the onions get caramelized, I dump the bacon in with them. (The bacon grease replenishes my supply in the crock in the cabinet; one must, after all, keep bacon grease for one’s cornbread, and seasoning peas and beans!)

I add all the other stuff at whatever point I have a second amid stirring bacon. Measures, as in most all my recipes, are approximates. If you want yours hotter, add more pepper; sweeter, add more syrup. If you don’t have Aleppo pepper, a bit of minced chipotle will do. I used about 1/4 cup more coffee because that was how much was left in my cold-brew container in the fridge, and I didn’t see the point in wasting it. And then I just let it simmer.

 

Here is the bacon jam recipe, Unfortunately, the sweet onion marmelade was either something I bought or somebody gave me, not something I made.

@kayb  thanks so much for this.  I baked a few test biscuits and used red onion confit for one of the fillers a nd left the second one plain.  Pepper jelly might be good with them too.  The third item is one I haven't made in a while.  It consists of old shredded cheddar, chopped black olives, finely chopped green onions and finely chopped jalapenos.  This is bound together with mayo and spread on English muffins, biscuits, crackers whatever and broiled.  Tasty little things.

20181205_173231.jpg

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Today it was just about pure trailer park trash cookery. I did chex mix, stovetop oatmeal chocolate cookies, "Christmas crack," and FINALLY got a  batch of Pickapeppa Pecans done without burning them!

1103004084_chexmix.jpg.5e1204a567f932b2a2d985db6a92fd00.jpg1247328166_MMbars.jpg.79c061f9087d7a1453ea8b32c62624f6.jpg

417517846_crimmiscrack.jpg.a11dc8a87e2461ceeb060a8cc414dab0.jpg1289106563_pickapeppapecans.jpg.aac6a6ce078919a0174fc16bda7285c5.jpg

 

Oh, and the M&M Bars. Forgot those.

 

Treatmaking is suspended until next week. Life intervenes. Y'all carry on.

 

 

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I found this little gem in my eGullet recipe archives.  From December 2007, Dungeness Crab Bisque with fresh Crab on a Rye Crouton.  The start of the crab fishery in the Pacific Northwest is a signal of our annual tradition of serving fresh crab throughout the holiday season.

Dungeness Crab Crouton and Crab Bisque.jpg

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Christmas treatmaking continues.

247255516_chocolateoatmealstovetopcookies.jpg.3c6e4b65f25cf82cb701003c2f8e846f.jpg

Chocolate oatmeal stovetop cookies.

 

1277566794_crimmiscrack.jpg.3a03b0ee4fc6028a1c14b8e3c26ad7a9.jpg

"Christmas Crack," a confection that involves a butter toffee atop saltines, then topped with chocolate chips which are allowed to melt and then are spread. I inadvertently grabbed white chocolate chips, which didn't melt so very well. Added pecans as well.

 

56542140_chexmix.jpg.84a0d3b53df1cde7890c5418955cf7cb.jpg

Two gallons of Chex mix. I'll have to make more before Christmas. My family inhales this stuff.

1874640763_MMbars.jpg.d0b804a7d8dbaba05b95f747c9c245e4.jpg

M&M Dream Bars. These are a bit crumbly, so I'm waiting to cut them up until I'm ready to package them in their final containers.

 

Not pictured, coconut macaroons.

 

Treat-making is suspended for a few days, as I am going to get my (Merry Christmas to ME) new car tomorrow, and then will be driving it to Nashville over the weekend. On the road for work a couple of days next week as well.

 

 

 

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I said I was gonna start tomorrow with my reduced foray but since my sleep pattern is so unusually messed up I am wide awake as if morning at 4:30 pm. so first up pumpkin bread. Looking forward to the scent. Yes that is miso on the counter as well as Hungarian hot paprika p-thought just a touch might be nice against the sweetness. Will post pic. 

pbread.JPG

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It is good! The bit of savory fits my flavor palate. So 1 of 3 doen.  Now off to grind nuts for the other 2.  

pumpk bread.JPG

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Well something beyond challenging.I heutated on the baklava all morning. So cold my hands did not cut pretty diaomonds. Finally did with minor syrup spill (not good on maple florr).I could have left the bake a little longer but  2 test pieces lateo I think giftees will be happy. The lemon I had really made the difference.Thank you Farmers Markets :)  We shall not go into how I accidentally made this my backgound - resolved...

baklava.JPG


Edited by heidih (log)
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1 hour ago, Kim Shook said:

Mini Quiche Lorraine for Xmas morning (CI recipe):

DSCN8916.JPG.464635a5424638df5dfcbc9ac3fda73a.JPG

Those are beautiful.

 

Also, how dare you. You already have wrapped presents under the tree.  I am woefully behind.

 

 

 

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I am starting the packing up for giving process and realize I may have to do more. People SO appreciate the baked goods. I tapped my UPS guy (store) on shouder to had him a baggie saying it was a preview. He exclaimed my name and thank you, remembering past cookie plates.

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2 hours ago, Shelby said:

Those are beautiful.

 

Also, how dare you. You already have wrapped presents under the tree.  I am woefully behind.

 

 

 

Thank you, ma'am.  And I am so far behind with my food, it is crazy.  Also, I used more fancy boxes and bags for gifts this year than I have EVER done before.  Keep in mind that that is a VERY tight crop on that photo - you can't see the absolute chaos in the rest of the entire house.  

 

One more thing out of the oven - lemon chess tarts:

DSCN8918.JPG.0172740ac9b517e2150745a5646292d9.JPG

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1st loaf of Holiday Bread made.  Planning to make 9 of these to give as gifts.  As I chose the wrong crust darkness and it got a little too dark, this will be a loaf for us.  Sliced into:

DSCN8919.JPG.d37a7398ea88d86e87a3f0db69d13968.JPG

I also think I can safely double the candied fruit amount.  This stuff makes great toast and French toast. 

 

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Well, after a weekend out of town (granddaughter was a sugarplum fairy, grandson was Baby Jesus, and KayKay had to go watch!) and a work trip all day yesterday, I need to fit some treatmaking in with a significant amount of work that must be done this week before another all-day trip Thusrday.

 

@Shelby -- I have no presents wrapped, either, if that helps. And not nearly all of them purchased.

 

 

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I make focaccia especially for one friend at Christmas.  She gets anchovy studded focaccia that reminds her of a bread her Sicilian grandmother made her a long time ago.  The recipe make enough for two batches, one for anchovies and one for olives.  These were castelvetrano olives sprinkled with dehydrated kalamata bits.  Turned out pretty good.   I cut into it a bit too early but hey, I'm keeping this one anyway.

Screen Shot 2018-12-11 at 8.13.00 AM.png

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2 hours ago, lemniscate said:

I make focaccia especially for one friend at Christmas.  She gets anchovy studded focaccia that reminds her of a bread her Sicilian grandmother made her a long time ago.  The recipe make enough for two batches, one for anchovies and one for olives.  These were castelvetrano olives sprinkled with dehydrated kalamata bits.  Turned out pretty good.   I cut into it a bit too early but hey, I'm keeping this one anyway.

 

 

I think focaccia gets a free pass on the "cool before cutting" guidelines!  Looks great.

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Pretzel Pecan Turtles:

DSCN8922.JPG.5383dc876ea0b768ae4dc6e6f894d368.JPG

Pretzels, Rolo candies and toasted pecans.  One of those cheater "candies" that evaporate.

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