Tag Archive: christmas


I was not too keen on making this cake, but I found it in one of my FoodNetwork magazines, and I happened to mention it outloud to my mother and she was like, “Oooo, that sounds good.” And I was like, really? Doesn’t sound like my cup of tea, but I forgot, my mother likes peppermint. So for a second opinion, also forgetting what a candycane freak my sister is, I asked her if she wanted me to make it and she’s like, “YEAH!” Geez. Okay. I’ll make the freaking cake – but I’m not eating it.

IMAG2362

Peppermint Layer Cake with Candy Cane Frosting

Wooooooooo, did this cake have a peppermint punch when you SNIFFED it, let alone tasted it. For the record, I never ate a full slice, just a bite or two. My sister and mom ate full slices though, and I don’t know how they managed. I mean if you love peppermint, it was proably a very yummy cake. But I’m adding chocolate next time. And fixing the frosting.

I don’t know exactly what, but I have an idea, it had been a long time since I made a frosting like this one, so it turned out… strange, I guess. My sister wasn’t a big fan of it. And if I had a better kitchen (and if you follow my blog, you konw my complaints about my kitchen) I would probably have made this frosting again on a smaller scale and worked on it. However, I don’t, so I don’t know what I’ll do next or this Christmas. They like the cake cake part, but the frosting needs work, apparently. I didn’t really try it so I don’t know. Like I said, not a big fan of peppermint.

Okay. Here’s the recipe out of Food Network Magazine, December 2013 issue.

Peppermint Layer Cake with Candy Cane Frosting

Ingredients:IMAG2389
For the cake:
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pans
2 cups sifted cake flour (sift first, then measure), plus more for dusting
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large egg whites, at room temperature

For the frosting:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
6 large egg whites
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/4 cup crushed candy canes, plus more for topping

Peppermint Layer Cake with CandyCane Frosting

Peppermint Layer Cake with CandyCane Frosting

Directions
1 – Make the cake: Position racks in the middle and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter three 8-inch-round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper; butter the parchment and dust with flour, tapping out the excess. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. Combine the milk and the vanilla and peppermint extracts in a small bowl; set aside.
IMAG23902 – Beat the butter in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually beat in 1 cup sugar, then increase the mixer speed to high and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
3 – Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, until just combined. Scrape down the side of the bowl, then increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until smooth, about 5 more minutes.
4 – In a separate large bowl (using clean beaters), beat the egg whites with a mixer on high speed until foamy. Gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and continue beating until stiff, shiny peaks form, about 6 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the whites into the batter in 3 additions until combined.
5 – Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans. Bake, switching the position of the pans about halfway through, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let the cakes cool 10 minutes in the pans, then run a knife around the edges and invert onto racks to cool completely. Peel off the parchment. (The cakes can be made up to 1 day ahead; wrap in plastic and store at room temperature.)
6 – Make the frosting: Fill a medium saucepan with 1 to 2 inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Combine the sugar, corn syrup, egg whites, 2 tablespoons water and the salt in a heatproof bowl and set over the saucepan (do not let the bowl touch the water). Whisk until the sugar dissolves and the mixture registers 165 degrees F on a candy thermometer, about 8 minutes. Remove the bowl from the pan and beat with a mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes. Increase the mixer speed to high and beat until fluffy and cool, about 4 more minutes. Add the vanilla and peppermint extracts and beat until combined, 1 more minute.
Assembly: Place 1 cake layer on a platter and spread 1 cup frosting on top; sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons crushed candy canes. Top with another cake layer, spread with 1 cup frosting and sprinkle with another 2 tablespoons crushed candy canes. Top with the final cake layer, then frost the top and side of the cake with the remaining frosting. Sprinkle more crushed candy canes on top.
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I really need to post these things right after I make them, because then I can tell you what went wrong and how to improve it. But now, five months after I made the thing… or has it been four? Five, four, whatever, point is I can’t remember much. I do remember the cake and the frosting together was very minty and too much for me. But by themselves, either was good. I think I might try doing a peppermint cake with a chocolate additive to the frosting, or a drizzle of chocolate, something to just lesson the peppermint just enough.

DON’T put your candy cane sprinkles on the top until right before serving or the sugar content melts together. Other then the frosting being too… marshmellowy it turned out well I think.

That’s all for this post, sorry I don’t have enough, what I would have done different, but it’s just too hard. When I make it again, I’ll post a new one and tell you more.

Until next time,

Jessi

 

Don’t get me wrong – I love to bake – but I did not anticipate having to bake Christmas Cookies twice this year. I made the first ones – and they were delicious – but I forgot that I live with Cookie Fiends. Yes, I am talking about my sister, but also

Jessi's Christmas Cookie's

Jessi’s Christmas Cookie’s

my mother. Christmas is the only time my mom really eats alot of sweets. Probably because it’s the same recipe that she used when she was a kid, way back in the fifties (don’t tell her I told you that…). Anyway, it only took like four days for all my cookies I made to dissapear.

And then on Wednesday (December 19) my sister tells me that they are having a cookie exchange at work and could I please make more… I agreed. Only this time, I made a double batch so that there would be some for us at home on Christmas Day. So I made ANOTHER batch of cookies yesterday. =) But I’m not complaining – I got to bake.

Our Christmas Tree this year.

Our Christmas Tree this year.

So today is Little Christmas Eve – and for those of you who may not know what that is – it’s what we call December 23rd. My mother is part Norwegian, and in Norway, Little Christmas Eve is the day they would go out, find the Christmas Tree and bring it home and decorate it. Now, we don’t do that at my house, we actually decorate the tree on Thanksgiving, which I did this year in addition to cooking the entire meal.

But we aren’t talking about Thanksgiving, we’re talking about my Christmas Cookies. I made both the cookies and the frosting from scratch, which is truely the only proper way to do

My cookie

My cookie

any cookie. Store-bought? No thank you, that’s not right. I hate those commercials that tell you “Make the holiday’s right this year,” and are talking about this mix that you just add water to and roll it out and cut the cookies. And the ready-made frosting… Whatever. I found a really easy recipe to make for my frosting that is also really cheap, you probably have all the ingrediants (except maybe one) in your house as it is – plus there’s no shortning… in the frosting.

So, the recipe I used is from my grandmother’s old Better Homes and Garden’s cookbook that is so old, that my mother had to take it apart and put it’s pages in sheet protecters and put it in a binder, because the orginal book wasn’t holding together anymore. Of course, grandma loved to bake, just as my mother did, and same as I do, so the book has gotten alot

of wear and tear – it as afterall, from 1939, she got it just after she and grandpa got married. I treasure it. I also have my dad’s mother’s cookbook as well, although I think this one is

Ready to be decorated cookies

Ready to be decorated cookies

from the 1960’s (it’s still in it’s original binding). I also have two other cookbooks, but they’re from the 90’s.

Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies – that’s the name – which means they are indeed, old fashioned since I’m still using the recipe in 2012. The recipe is at least 70 years old – and it’s still the best sugar cookie I have ever had. And anyone who eats them also tells me the same thing.

It’s not a family recipe, but you can hardly find any sugar cookie recipe’s like this anymore, which is a shame, because it taste’s far better than most cookies you find in the store today.

Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies

Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookies

Ingredients:
1/2 cup shortning
1 cup sugar
1 egg
3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream together shortning and sugar, make sure blended well. Add egg, beat in well. Add sifted dry ingredients alternately with milk and vanilla extract. Roll onto slightly floured surface, cut with floured cookie cutters, and place on GREASED cookie sheets in oven about15 minutes at 350 degrees.

My Big Christmas Tree

My Big Christmas Tree

– That’s what the recipe says, however I find that 15 minutes is a bit too long. Usually about 8 to 10 minutes is pretty good.  Just until they just start to brown on the edges, usually it’s perfect then. Although I had a batch in for like 20 minutes, and they were over baked, but still edible… tasted really good after it was dunked in milk.
– Also, if you double the batch, it throws off the ratio of the recipe, so you will probably have to add just a little extra flour, until it becomes less wet, don’t add a lot, too much flour is hard to fix. Be sure to take a look at the dough before you add any extra flour, conditions around you, such as weather, can influence these things.
– Make sure that you use baking POWDER and not baking soda, could be an easy mistake to make if you don’t usually bake. Gives the cookie it’s extra pop in the oven, by which I mean rise, kind of gives them a plump look.

For the frosting I looked around on line to find a really good recipe, but not one that was over complicated, it is afterall, sugar cookies, so I didn’t need any fancy flavors. And I found one, I don’t remember where I found it now, I had it written down in my baking notebook, but I tore out the page to take to the store and lost it. So, this recipe is not mine, I did not create it – but it works super well for my sugar cookies.

Sugar Cookie Frosting 

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

1/2 cup butter softened
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup whipping cream
Additonal Notes: 1/4 cup extra whipping cream may be needed.

1 – In mixing  bown combine butter, sugar, vanilla and cream. Add additional whipping cream as needed to reach spreadable consistancy. 2 – Add food coloring, if desired. 3 – Frost & decorate cookies

– Pretty simple. However, you WILL need the additional whipping cream, trust me. But do not add the extra cream until after you’ve

Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookies

mixed together the original ingrediants, otherwise you may add too much. You should be able to tell with ease when it’s the right consistancy. Also, the recipe doesnt’ say so, but for good measure, after it’s all combined and I’ve added the extra ingrediants, I turn the mixer on real high to kind of whip the frosting. I find it gives it a better quality.
– The butter NEEDS to be soft. When I forget to set my butter out to soften, I microwave it five seconds at a time, flipping the sides between each set so that no side is sitting down on the microwave bottom too long. Ten seconds is usually good, fifteen is pushing it and DO NOT do twenty seconds. I only do fifteen IF the butter is still to hard to work with. Also, you get better results if your butter is UNSALTED. I post the original recipe and then explain what I would do, or did.
– It takes extra time, but I find that coloring the frosting by mixer, gives you a much more even consistancy. I use wilton gel food coloring, because it gives you a much better richer color. If you want to get the colors I used, I used, “Kelly Green,” “(No Taste) Red,” and “Golden Yellow” mixed with “Lemon Yellow” to make the color brighter, but not so flourescent, which is what lemon yellow looks like by itself.

I did the first batch of cookies by myself (which can be identified in the pictures by the ones with the reindeer and the

The finished Christmas Cookies

The finished Christmas Cookies

rocking horse). I baked and decorated them all myself, no help. The second one, I made the dough and cut out most of the cookies myself, but my friend Jessica (yes, we have the same name, she will hereby be referred to as Jessa), did some of them. And Jessa, Amy and I all decorated them together. Although, any writing you see on any cookie was done by me (the ones done by all three can be idenified in teh pictures as the ones with the round poinsetta drawings and the santa).

Tomorrow, Christmas Eve, I will be making a Black Forest Cake and Chocolate Cream Pie – It’s going to be delicious. Also for dinner, I’m making pork chops, but I don’t know what the sides are. Afterwards, we’re having Con Queso Dip – which is just Velveeta cheese and rotel tomatoes (with green chiles) – like they show on the commercials, only it tastes alot better when you add evaporated milk, makes it not as thick, which is better consistancy to eat it with. And later we’ll have Whiskey Sours – something that my mom and dad have been having since I was a little kid, and that I’ve been allowed to have since I was 18. Unfortunately, my dad never got be around to see my face when I first had one… that was the year he died. I’ll have pictures of the dip, and the sours, the cake, the pie, and Christmas dinner up within the next week hopefully.

Me - Jessi

Me – Jessi

Hope everyone has a good holiday! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!

– Jessi