Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Back from hiatus

Sorry to those who dropped by my blog. I have been wanting to update my blog but was deterred by a series of activities. It's nothing too exciting. I was only busy baking and cooking during the festive season. There wasn't a day gone by without some form of baking.

This year, I decided to bake cookies as Christmas presents for our friends in St Louis. So I took some time to test the recipes before putting them in the final tray. Most of them were ok, but for those that couldn't make it, OCT had brought them to the lab for his colleagues :P

Other than the Yule log I made for the dessert competition, I also made a Latte Cheesecake Brownie for OCT's potluck lunch. It was my favorite coffee cheesecake so far, although it was not a light one. It was too delicious that I had devoured the leftover without taking a photo of it. It was a good cake and I am sure I will find another occasion to bake it again!

Plenty of cookies! Which include Bittersweet Chocolate Meringue, Black Forest Cookies, Peppermint Chocolate Chips Cookies, Spiral Cookies, Biscottis and Pistachio and Cranberries Cookies. The Chocolate Crinkles didn't make it to the final though, because of its disappointing appearance. (of course it's the baker fault).
We were baking the cookies till the very last day before we handed them to our friends, so that the cookies will be at their freshest by the time they reached the recipients. It's my favorite way to convey my love and appreciation through food, as always. Another selfish reason, was simply because I wanted to start a new family tradition with OCT. We had fun decorating some of the cookies which we were giving away. But I did most of the stuff, OCT only helped to decorate some and washed the countless trays and bowls I used. At one time he was too occupied with some stupid show on the computer that he burned my arm with the hot cookies tray! What a way to commemorate a new tradition....

The very messy scene of sugar cookies, some of which were burnt! While some were nicer.The cookies assembly line:

And a close look on the content: OCT posing with one of his creations. Inspired by the reason for the season- To remind me that Christmas is about the birth of the son of God, who die on the cross for me and others, so that we can live.
On a Christmas Eve party, I brought the One Bowl Mocha Cream Cake, which was interesting. It was a cake made without butter and eggs, but used mayonaise and marshmallow creme! A low fat recipe, but doesn't taste so at all!

my picasso decoration to camouflage the otherwise pretty dull looking dessert

Besides all the festive baking, I also managed to squeeze in an apple crostata for our after dinner dessert. Although I took the shortcut of using a ready made pie crust. It was a good vehicle to use up some of the Edy's Pineapple Coconut ice cream that we really didn't care to eat on its own. For some inexplicable reason, apple crostata (or any other form of apple desserts) tastes nice with vanilla (or other white colour) ice cream!


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Second wave of holiday baking

Two days ago, OCT alerted me of his department's annual dessert competition. And I wanted to join. Firstly because it gave me an opportunity to make something unusual than stuff I usually bake. And quite frankly, for the prize. Although at that point, I didn't know what the prize yet.

So, I spent the better half of yesterday in the baking project. After some careful consideration, I decided to make a Chocolate Christmas Log. It'sa recipe with no flour and no butter but with lots of bittersweet chocolate. I tried some of the scrape, and they were tasty! I considered that as an auspicious start!

After the cake base was cooled, I went on to decorate my Christmas log with my limited decorative skill. Luckily it's only a log cake, so I could simply pour lots of chocolate ganache over the cake, and sprinkle some crushed peppermint candies and chocolate shaving on top of it. It definitely has plenty of room for improvement, but I guess this should do for now.

Two hours after I happily put the cake into the fridge, I found that the crushed peppermint candies melted! There wasn't much I could do about it since it was already quite late. Without the candy, the Christmas log seems like a boring and dull log. Well, even if it has become an ugly log, I still had to submit my item.

And guess what! There was only 2 participants! So, the judges announced that there's no winner this year and both the participants got prizes! Turned out the prize was a 25 dollar gift certificate....

Well, at least there's something. And I definitely see this as a good beginning.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The baking season has officially begins!!

The holiday baking session has started around here yesterday! Though it wasn't a smooth start, it has nevertheless set me in the holiday baking mood. With a tonnes of cookie recipes to choose from, my biggest dilemma is whether to bake something tried and tested or something new and exciting...

In the end, I opted for something that I have tried before with fairly good results. They were baked to be sent to a special friend. Because she sometime reads this blog, I guess I better keep the details out, and show you just a peep of what I have made. According to the recipes, these cookies travel and keep well. Certainly suitable to be made and mailed to a coutry far far away!


Saturday, December 02, 2006

When the temperature drops below the freezing point

This is what happened:Practically everything is frozen. It's stunning to see bald, frozen trees for the first time in my life. The same trees that bloom in Spring, and turn golden when Fall beckons.

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