On the baking docket
Between JG’s upcoming birthday party, hosting Christmas at our house, gifts for various groups of people, and other events, I have a lot of baking ahead of me. Not that I’m complaining! ‘Tis the season to load up your loved ones with butter and sugar, I say. Here’s the plan:
For JG’s birthday:
- Cookies and cream cupcakes: I made these last year for his birthday, and I loved the reactions when people bit into them only to find a whole Oreo inside! Awesome. This time, I plan on frosting them with the Oreo whipped cream from this recipe.
- Dulce de leche brownies: My usual brownie recipe swirled with dulce de leche, which you should make immediately.
- Double chip cookies: Just my normal chocolate chip cookie recipe but with semisweet and white chocolate chips. I will probably make a big batch of these cookies with red and green M&Ms for a Christmas party, too.
- Chocolate pretzel bites: I plan on making a huge batch of these to send to my cousins, and I might bring these to other events throughout the month. We’ll see.
- Peppermint patty sugar cookies: I cut up peppermint patties into 12-16 tiny wedges each and press them into balls of sugar cookie dough from this recipe. The result is an awesome, universally appealing cookie. The minty insides get all gooey and melty in the oven, and the cookies are soft and puffy. If you are pressed for time, that pre-made sugar cookie dough works, too. No judging here.
- Decorated sugar cookies: But of course.
- Mint swirl brownies: I use this cheesecake brownie recipe, except that I halve the brownie part, maintain the cheesecake proportion but add a ¼ teaspoon of mint extract, then bake it in a 9-inch square pan. These are my sister’s favorites.
- Cranberry crumb bars: Yep, again! I think these will be nice and colorful, plus a tart break from all of the sugar. Not that there isn’t sugar in these, but you know what I mean.
New to me:
- Gingerbread cookies: I think I might use these as gifts for our Bible study group and my co-workers, but it makes me a little nervous to use a new recipe at this time of year. If I wimp out, I’ll just use sugar cookies.
- Brownie cut-out cookies: I’m making these in the shape of pint glasses, decorated with Guinness royal icing, as favors for JG’s birthday party. Over the weekend, I mixed, cut, and flash-froze 1 batch of cookies, and I have 1 batch to go. They look good so far, but I still need to bake and decorate them. And eat them, of course.
- Almond date granola bars (from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook): I plan on wrapping these healthy-looking snacks individually and sending them to my grandmother for her Christmas gift, along with a gift card to Trader Joe’s and a hilarious picture of my sister, her husband, JG, and me from the photo booth at JG’s sister’s wedding.
- Monkey bread: For past Christmases, I’ve made this with pre-made bread dough and other shortcuts, but I have decided to get my act together and just make it from scratch, for the love. I think I’m going with this recipe, but if anyone has a recommendation, I’d love to hear it.