And Happy 2010

January 3, 2010

Goodness, I stink at blogging! I don’t know how angry chicken or crazy mom quilts put so much on their blogs, much LESS do all that they do AND be moms, wives, daughters, etc……….

So on with the new year! We are home after church, wearing jammies on this cold COLD day, enjoying the last hours of vacation before the school routine starts again.  I enjoyed Christmas but I’ll be glad to NOT go anywhere any time soon.  We traveled to the D.C. area right after the big snowfall, visited the Smithsonian for the day (first time for my kids), and picked up the kids later in the break in Gastonia, NC (at Mary Jo’s of course!!).

But back to Christmas- I’ll start with my cooking/baking.

This is what I made for teacher gifts- in fact I was good and made them in September and froze them! I packaged them in a cute bag with some fancy cocktail napkins (bought after Xmas last year, of course!).

Cream Cheese Pound Cake   (Martha recipe- Everyday Food Dec ‘03)

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp.
8 ounces (1 bar) cream cheese, at room temp.  
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract  
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons rum (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°. Generously coat two 8.5-by-4.5-by-2.5-inch loaf pans with cooking spray. (Or, alternately, use a 4-quart bundt pan.)
In a large electric mixer, cream butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time to creamed mixture, beating until well combined. Mix in vanilla.
Combine the flour and salt in a separate bowl. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture in two additions, mixing until just combined. Immediately spoon the batter into the prepared pans. Smooth the top of the batter so that that is evenly fills the pans.
Bake at 350° until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean with just a few moist crumbs attached. This will take about 60 to 75 minutes for the loaf pans, maybe 5 minutes more for the single bundt pan. Be careful that the cake tops do not brown too quickly. If this starts to happen, tent with aluminum foil.
Let the cakes cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes, and then turn out the cakes to cool completely. With the loaf pans, the cakes should cool on a wire rack with the top sides up. (If using a bundt pan, just invert the cake onto a serving platter to cool there.) Sprinkle rum evenly over the tops of the two loaves (or the bundt cake). Let cool completely before serving.  (Best let sit at least a day before serving)

Store wrapped in plastic 3 days at room temp., or freeze for up to 3 months

Other yummies I made were gingerbread cookies, eggnog cookies (following the suggestions in the reviews), espresso chocolate icebox cookies (using espresso powder instead of coffee granules and extract), and Christmas sandies (tip- dip only the tops in sprinkles, not the bottoms).

I made  regular thumbprint cookies with the kids, but look at this recipe I didn’t get to- pepper jelly cornmeal cups– WOW!

Next year (yes, I’m already planning for Christmas 2010!) I’m going to make hot fudge for one of my gifts.  I tried this at a friend’s house- delish!  Here is the recipe if you want to start before me:

Hot Fudge

12 oz. choc. chips (bittersweet)
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
14 oz. corn syrup
½ lb. butter (2 sticks)
optional  ½ c. flavored liquor

Melt chips and corn syrup.  Add and melt butter.  Add canned milk.  Mixture simmered- do not boil- to thicken (about 5 minutes).  Cool. Keep refrigerated.

Makes approximately 3 pints.

There’s my cooking wrap-up, albeit just a partial listing.

Next, I’ll post about the gifts I made for Christmas!

Bye till next time!