Friday, December 26, 2008

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

Ah, Christmas...the joy, the time spent with family and friends, and THE BAKING. Holiday baking has got to be one of my all-time favorite past times (big surprise), and this year is no exception. Typically the Christmas season inspires me to make a multitude of cookie varieties, for the holidays are the perfect excuse to try out new recipes I've been eyeing. Still revved up from my sugar cookie-making high, I decided that decorated sugar cookies must be on my list this year. That and my favorite "top secret" gingerbread cookie recipe. I honestly thought I would save time by not doing my traditional cookie glaze/piped decorations, opting to go the buttercream and colored sugar sprinkles route. Wrong. The time commitment ended up being pretty much the same, with the added benefit (some might say downfall) of the cookies being a tad on the sweet side. Frosting AND sugar? Can we say overkill?

In keeping with the sugar-sprinkled theme, I topped my gingey boys with coarse sparkling sugar. This of course had nothing to do with the fact that I inadvertently omitted the brown sugar from the recipe, as evidenced by the discovery of my unopened carton of sugar while cleaning up :( They still turned out pretty good though, but not exactly like everyone remembered.
And last but certainly not least...FRUITCAKE. There seems to be two distinct camps regarding this much-maligned holiday treat: adore or detest, and no one on either side can comprehend how anyone can possibly stand on the other side of the fence. As for our family, we fall into the "adore it" category. This is my second crack at fruitcake, the first was using Alton Brown's recipe which calls for dried fruits in lieu of candied. Good? Yes. But not what we were looking for, so this year I happened upon a recipe in our local newspaper, and it was a hit at our family gathering. So there you have it, in all its rum-soaked, glowing neon fruity glory.