I knew today was going to be a busy day, but I didn’t think I’d get close to everything accomplished.
I had to assemble (on the Q.T.) the toy kitchen set Santa pre-delivered (for assembly) for my little girl… (he’s getting up there in age, the worlds population is exploding and sometimes he just has to outsource the assembly) but while I was working on her kitchen, I always had something going on in mine.
I lost out in the yankee swap at work yesterday, but I scored the leftover Honey Baked Ham & bone so stock will be enjoyed by all. Got it started just after 7am! Good thing I made stock from the turkey last month, so I new exactly what to do – and thanks to Alton Brown, so I knew exactly how to cool it down quickly, without ruining everything in the fridge! (Sink full of ice water, and a frozen water bottle in the middle of the pot chilling in the sink.) Already had fat congealing on the surface when i got back from (yet another) trip out to the grocery store…. Current estimates has me going through 25-28 sticks of butter in one week! (can you hear the arteries hardening).
With the stock simmering, I moved onto making two batches of shortbread. Tried Cooks Illustrated’s recipe, which I’ve had, but never made before (was much easier than what I’ve done in the past). I’ve normally made individual cookies (with a slightly different ingredient proportions than I used today and a very different prep method). Today they spread out like lava… so I cut them into smaller shapes and no harm done. They’re still delicious. Next year, back to the tried and true.
While the Shortbread was baking, I broke open the box that the kitchen came in, sorted through everything, and started assembly. By the time I stopped for lunch, I’d finally put the finishing touches on what is essentially a piece of pre-fab furniture (that I generally abhor as a woodworker,.. but since this is a toy,.. that’s different), I’d also made a sweet and spicy nut mix – two double batches (one with the spicy, one without) and a batch of chocolate peanut butter biscotti.
After lunch – which was a trip out to Lowes, The Home Depot, Lowes again (oops), A Bookstore and the Grocery store – I pulled together the dough for sugar cookie pinwheels that were slated for the evenings baking agenda. I took Alton Brown’s recipe for Chocolate Peppermint sugar cookies, and skipped the peppermint in favor of Bailey’s. Yum!
Then… the recipe I’d been waiting for. The Gingerbread with the Stout I made a few weeks back.
Yes, a busy day for sure…
The verdict, after all the baking, tasting and so on…
First, I still LOVE my new mixer. I wouldn’t have bothered doing half as much today without it.
Second… The Chocolate Peanut Butter Biscotti is my new favorite (after 5 batches of chocolate chip in a week (no I didn’t eat them all. Yet.) I like the peanut butterey and saltiness of these… they are suppoed to go well with coffee. (I don’t buy that, but I know my Dad will also love these. (Scientists found peanut butter in his bloodstream)
The sugar cookies – also awesome, look really good too – not an off the shelf slice and bake, but nearly as easy, without all the preservatives.
I’ve been hankering something sweet and spicy since I saw Emeril do a spicy nut chocolate bark a week or two back… I thought this recipe would fit the bill, but it’s just not for me. Got raves online… so maybe it’s just me. Tried adding chocolate to it – a good improvement, but haven’t decided if I’ll be “gifting” that… no prob though, between the Spritz, Shortbread, 3 types of Chocolate Chip, Biscotti, and sugar cookies, I’ve got giving covered.
Oh, and the beer – The stout tastes just like a “chocolate/vanilla porter” a local microbrewery used to make – the first beer (and possibly only) that my wife could actually drink without making a face. Too bad they’re out of business. The gingerbread just came out of the oven and it looks really good too… but I can’t call it gingerbread. I accidentally left out the molasses. (after everything I’ve done today it’s a miracle I didn’t mess up anything else!) So I’ll call it a ginger stout cake. Sounds good to me.
All this butter and sugar, it’s no wonder so many people start eating salad in January… if not for the diet excuse, then to give the body a rest from all the sweets and carbs. (mmmm carbs)