Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Christmas Line Up

To be honest when I started this post I got the 12 days of Christmas song stuck in my head. And on a completely not food related rant....I see so many people use the 12 days song as a count down of sorts. A cutsie to do list Christmas count down.... I'm not religious AT ALL but the 12 days of Christmas are the days AFTER Christmas. Everyone GOT it.

Moving on. I am going in reverse order here starting from today and working my way back. Today was cookie baking day. I always bake cookies with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law for Christmas. Sister-in-law, Jenny, has a 1 year old who would be taking a nap during the time I wanted to bake. So mother-in-law, Judy, decided to do split shifts.

I got the morning shift and she let us bake all Vegan cookies! We knew for sure that we would do Mexican Wedding Cakes because they are my favorite. I used the recipe from The Joy Of Vegan Baking. This recipe calls for a lot more nuts then other recipes I've used. We didn't mind one bit. They turned out wonderful. A buttery, crumbly cookie with the crunchy nuts and sweet powdered sugar. Yum!

The second batch of cookies we made were Chocolate Chunk Spice Cookies from edbv. I made these for the first time earlier in the week to bring to our Christmas lights sight seeing. After having a sample, Judy requested that we make these on baking day. I'm not usually a big fan of chocolate cookies but these will be a favorite. They taste like a chocolate version of ginger bread. I love the spice of them. They are chewy with a nice edge.

We had planned to make three different batches of cookies. For our third batch we were trying to decide between the Chocolate Peanut butter Shells from Damn Tasty or the Pfeffernusse from My Sweet Vegan. I didn't really care and Judy's vote was the chocolate peanut butter. First we ran out of cocoa powder and forced Joe to the store. Then we were out of molasses and made him go again. Only when he was back did we realise that we didn't need molasses if we weren't making the pfeffernusse. We decided to just make both.

I was afraid the Chocolate Peanutbutter Shells would be very labor intensive and delicate. They were neither. Isaac helped me form these cookies with no problems. He flattened out the chocolate dough and put in the peanut butter. Then he curled the chocolate all around and rolled them into balls. He did an excellent job. The cookies baked up really well and tasted pretty good. Not my favorite. I would like the peanut butter in the middle less goopy and more doughish. I'm not sure if that makes sense. There is a very similar recipe in another of my books that I will try next time.

The Pfeffernusse look and feel really delicate but handle very easily. With the amount spice included and the smells while baking, we thought these cookies would be very spicy. Instead they have lightness to them. The spice isn't strong and the cookie crumb is slightly fluffy.

These cookies will be the ones gracing the table during tomorrow nights party.
Isaac's birthday is fast approaching, Jan.8, and I plan on making him a volcano cake that erupts. (There will be tons of pictures, don't worry) I needed a bundt pan for this and Judy came to the rescue. Vegan cakes can be touchy at times so I thought it might be a good idea to test out the recipe I was hoping to use. I chose the Chocolate Cake recipe from Joy of Vegan Baking.

I should have lowered my rack down one. With the cracks on the cakes surface I could tell that the top had cooked solid to soon and cracked when the middle tried to rise more. Obviously from the pictures it was still edible. This is a delicious cake recipe. There is a strong chocolate flavor and great texture.

Also from JVB was the Chocolate Frosting. I added a tablespoon of instant coffee granules for a mocha flavor. This frosting is creamy and rich. I think I like it even better then the chocolate buttercream in VCTOTW. There was enough to frost the entire cake but if it were a layer cake I'm not sure if it could have filled the middle.
Doesn't this picture look dirty? This is Fuyeah's Baked Seitan "Toi-key" SEITAN. At our Christmas eve party we usually have a sandwich bar. I've seen good reviews for using this seitan on a vegan reuben and thought I'd take some along. So, we haven't had our sandwiches yet, but I'll keep post about the results.

I also plan on making the Bean & Corn Tortilla Lasagna with Avocado from edbv to take. I think it'll be omni friendly. I'm also not a giant mock meat fan and won't be so worried if the seitan is a flop with this along.
Mac and Cheeze is one of Ramsey's favorites. I've yet to hit on one that everyone likes though. This version is from Cozy Inside. The texture was wonderful and it smelled divine. But for some reason it was pretty sweet. I'm thinking that maybe if I used a different miso, but I'm not sure. Ramsey liked it well enough. Joe and I finished our servings with help. Joe with Mexican spice and me with salt. This is worth adjusting though, the creaminess is great.
Ramsey had an awful cold this week. She's not a giant soup fan, hates it, but it sounded like a good thing to make. Just in time Julee posted about Cindy O's "Chicken" & Rice Soup for the Soul from La Dolce Vegan. Well Ramsey still didn't like this but the rest of us did! I used powdered bouillon and it was still wonderful. Most of my soups usually have barley and the rice was a nice change. There are plenty of herbs and pepper. Umm, I want some more right now. This would be great with or without the seitan.
And we are back to the beginning of the week. On Monday I broke out the twinkie pan to create the cakes. They had to sit for a day before they were filled with strawberry jam, dipped in chocolate, and rolled in coconut. This completed their transformation into a vegan Lamington .

I brought vegan twinkies to the candyless Easter hunt this last spring. They were gone in minutes. Mary Jo commented that they tasted like junk food and she meant that in the best of ways. I then told her about this version and promised to make some.

Curse my big mouth, she remembered. I'm kidding. But Mary Jo did remind me of what I had said and I thought they'd make a nice Christmas treat at our weekly park day. Well, with Ramsey so sick we couldn't go but Mary Jo kindly came buy to pick up the lamingtons.

What started out as a light fluffy twinkie must have tripled in weight once they were finished. Joe and I each had one and thought they were excellent. Mary Jo said it best, they taste like junk food in the best way.

Happy holidays to everyone. I'll be making a lasagna with garlic bread. You'll be seeing pictures next week. I'm also working on a screen print of Zorac from The Brak Show for Isaac. He's obsessed. Hopefully I'll have pictures of that also.

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