Sunday, January 4, 2009

Holiday Baking

(clockwise from top) oatmeal raisin cookies, gingerbread men, double chocolate dream cookies

The holidays are done and over with. And as usual, my blog entry is late again. Ü It just seems strange to write this because the spirit of Christmas is no longer in the air. Too bad, I've always loved Christmas. I've always loved this season. It is, indeed, the most wonderful time of the year. I love the gift-giving, the chill in the air, the children's laughter, the excitement and anticipation, the unbelievable mall sales, the bargain-hunting for that perfect gift, the holiday baking... I love the sheer joy it brings to the heart.

double chocolate dream cookies

And for this year's holiday baking, as usual, I made cookies to give away to friends and family. What else is easier to bake and give away? Ü I wanted to give away a different set of cookies than what I made last year. But I wanted include my favorite oatmeal-raisin cookie recipe I make every time. It's something I got from the Mrs. Fields Cookie Book my Mom had before, that I "tweaked" to suit my taste-buds. Ü It's been my favorite oatmeal cookie recipe ever since, that I wouldn't dare try another. Ü In addition to that, I made a chocolate cookie from the Nestlè cookbook I got on sale last year, aptly named "Double Chocolate Dream Cookies". And yes, it was a dream. Ü I loved it's chocolate-y goodness, and the burst of sweetness on the first bite.

gingerbread men

But the most exciting about this year's holiday baking are the gingerbread cookies. Not only was it the first time that I baked one, it was also the very first time I had one! You see, gingerbread is not as common here in the Philippines as the good ole' chocolate chip cookie is. And if there are any, I assume it's only available in high-end bakeshops for kids who can actually recognize them. Ü As a kid, I only used to see it on my Mom's magazines and cartoon shows. So I was really dying to make one this year just to satisfy my curiosity and see what the fuss was all about. Ü I got the recipe from the book "Christmas Cookies with the Whimsical Bakehouse" (which I bought on sale again Ü). I must admit, as hard as it is to roll and re-roll the dough, it was fun making those little gingerbread men. Ü My sister gave me Christmas-themed cookie cutters as her gift about a month in advance, which I used for these. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to decorate it anymore because I think I've over beaten the royal icing, and it wouldn't come out of the piping bag! Ü It would've been more fun to decorate it. Although, I've noticed, on Christmas day, with my little nephews and nieces running around the house, that the gingerbread wasn't as popular with the kids as the other cookies are. Probably because they lack the grandiose of a colorfully decorated cookie... or maybe it was the overpowering taste of cloves that sets off the taste-buds a little. Whatever it is, I'm happy about those cookies. And making them this year makes this Christmas just a little bit sweeter. Ü



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