Saturday, November 28, 2009

Moose in the Kitchen: Holiday Baking # 1

I just finished my first massive baking for the holidays and my feet are aching!! I started to work around 9pm - 4 hours and 16 eggs later, we've got 4 cheesecakes, a pan of blondies and a pan of brownies, meringue fingers and a burned and blistered index finger.

Haven't tried the cheesecakes yet, but they sure look prettier than last time. I had used one 9" spring form pan last time and the cake turned out too tall, so this time I split the batter between 2 9" round cake pan which also prevented the problem of soggy cake resulting from water leaking into the cake during baking. I have meant to decorate one for Mom's birthday, but I got distracted with the other stuff in the oven so it will have to wait until tomorrow. One of the mini ones I have reserved for Michelle, and the other for B. I hope they will enjoy it!!

The blondies came out perfect even though it's been a while since I've made them. Crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside with loads of pecans and wonderful butter flavour, this is one of my favorite treats. And it was SO easy to make - melt butter, stir in sugar and vanilla, beat in eggs then add flour and baking powder - viola! It took under 10 minutes to put it together not including the 3o minutes it spends in the oven. As soon as they are all cooled off I will wrap them up for my dear friends - these are always a hit.

Having had numerous complaints of my baking being too sweet, I cut the sugar when I made the brownie batter. However, I must have made a mistake in calculation because I found the brownies not quite sweet enough for my taste. The original recipe called for 4 oz. of unsweetened chocolate and the same amount of semi-sweet chocolate plus 2 cups of sugar, but I had substituted with 6 oz. of unsweetened chocolate + 2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate and also cut half a cup of sugar. I should have stuck with the whole 2 cups. Andy thought they were fine, but I am going to fix them up with a little bit of white chocolate drizzle. Plus, they look prettier that way!

Thanks to th
e handy KitchenAid stand mixer, I attempted to make meringue cookies because I have always wanted to try. It was a breeze to beat egge whites with the stand mixer - I love it!! I piped the meringue into finger length strips using the star tip and they turned out so pretty! It was so delicately light and crunchy that even Mom couldn't stop munching on them. The only trouble is they are so difficult to remove from the cookie sheet - I lined mine with foil as suggested by the recipe but many of them still broke while I was trying to remove them. Not that I minded too much because it gave me an excuse to pop yet another one in my mouth, but I also wanted to have enough to send to my friends. I wonder if I can triple or even quadruple this recipe.

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