Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Cookie Factory: Christmas Baking 2010

I've been trying to get back to the blog for weeks, but damn, this busy December just didn't let up! Between a fabulous and food-filled NYC long weekend (more on that in an upcoming post) and the regular pre-Christmas mayhem, blogging just wasn't going to happen.

One thing I was determined to do this year was bake Christmas cookies, since the past few years I've been really lagging in that department. I think I maybe did one or two batches last year, and don't recall doing any the year before. This year I made up for it with five different kinds of cookies and bars, all of which turned out quite well!

I started with Alice Medrich's Ginger Cookies, from Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cookies (one of my favourite cookbooks of 2010). These cookies are phenomenal, especially if you love ginger -- they contain the powdered variety as well as candied and fresh. It makes for a crisp-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside spice cookie, with a nice sharp bite at the end (courtesy the fresh ginger). Alice includes a tamer version in the book but I really recommend trying the original recipe first.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Guinness Gingerbread with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

I've made this Guinness Gingerbread, from Nigella Lawson's latest cookbook Kitchen, twice in the past week and with good reason. It's fantastic! Sweet, but not too sweet, with lots of spice and a wonderfully moist texture. It's a perfect dessert for the holidays, but I've been having it with my morning coffee at work. Decadent, I suppose, but that's what the Christmas season is for, right?

It's also gloriously easy to make -- simply melt and mix the butter, sugar, Guinness, and spices on the stove, mix in the dry ingredients, then add some sour cream and eggs, pour into a 9-inch pan, and bake!

With my parents over for dinner this weekend, I knew I wanted to make the gingerbread, and I thought some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream would be a welcome addition. I pondered going out and buying a pint of Haagen-Dazs, but given that my sister bought me the ice cream maker attachment for my new stand mixer, why wait to make a batch of homemade?