‘Tis the Season to Bake, December Mint Baking!

Well hello everyone! It has been a mighty long time since I’ve posted. I’ve just become so lazy. I’m so sorry! The worst part is I’ve made some great meals that you all should know about. I’ll have to make them again in the New Year and share them with you then!

So it is December, the month of baking! You know what? I dove right into that! I started off with gingerbread men (and other shapes) but they just didn’t taste all too good. I’ll give you the link where I got the recipe, though I won’t re-write the recipe for the gingerbread cookies. Neither my mom nor I found them all too tasty, though my biggest fan liked them, thanks Daddy!

"Tastes like kruidnoten!"

Today though I’ve made chocolate cookies in the lovely Christmas shapes as well!

The best part of the month is definitely that the boyfriend decided to be nice and took me peppermint extract shopping so the month of December is definitely decked out in peppermint treats. I am in the mood to make peppermint patties, BUT for now I’m sticking to peppermint icing for cookies.

So what you don’t know is that to my family I am a pretty bah-humbug type person when it comes to Christmas but since having been in Canada with a group of lovely Dutch girls some two years ago, I have become filled with Christmas spirit. I mean it was my idea we have a wreath on our door and I chose the location of our Christmas tree! Both of which I’ll show you. I also keep telling mom to bring down some gifts so I can wrap them and place them beneath the tree.

Welcome to our humble abode!
Welcome to our humble abode!

Christmas Tree

Although I mostly want them there so that when my sister and her boyfriend come they can see some gifts below and begin their ritual of feeling and shaking of the wrapped presents. Yeah, my sister is a nineteen year old present shaker! I don’t mind keeping her guessing though!

Anyway, back to these cookies.

What do y’all think of brownies? And chocolate cookies? And combined?

Well I know most people adore brownies, so do you also enjoy cookies which taste like brownies?

It is really odd that these taste like brownies, and probably really bad as now I’ll gain an incredible amount of weight. I’m going to have to hop right into 2015 by sticking to a gym. It’ll be Taiji, Pilates, Gym, Pilates, Gym as my weekday! Yikes!

So back to these cookies, I got the recipe from here and followed the instructions perfectly. Well except for keeping the dough in the fridge to keep firm.

ROCK HARD flattened dough
ROCK HARD flattened dough

The recipe states to return dough to fridge between uses to keep hard, but I found it was far too hard in the fridge and preferred keeping it out between rolling and cutting the shapes out. Anyway, here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (500g) unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 2 cups (400g) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 4 cups (500g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (177g) cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions:

  1. Cream the butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer on low to medium speed (Use a paddle attachment). Mix until thoroughly incorporated – for about one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a plastic spatula and mix again for a few seconds more. Over mixing the butter and sugar in this step will cause too much air to be incorporated into the dough. If you’d like a light and fluffy cookie, that’s ideal, however the dough will spread more during baking; not ideal if you’d like the cookie to hold its shape.
  2. Add eggs slowly and mix. Scrape down the bowl with your spatula at least once and mix again.
  3. Add liquid vanilla extract. Stir briefly.
  4. Sift your dry ingredients together. 
  5. Add all of the flour mixture to the bowl. *Place a large tea towel or two small tea towels between the edge of the bowl and the electric mixer so that the flour won’t escape. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Remove the tea towels and observe the dough mixing; when it clumps around the paddle attachment it’s ready. It’s also important at this stage not to over mix the dough.
  6. Roll the dough out between 2 large pieces of parchment paper. Place on a baking sheet and into the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.
  7. Remove from refrigerator and allow dough to soften until dough doesn’t break when rolled. Cut out cookie shapes. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Re-roll scraps and repeat.
  8. Preheat your oven to 350°F or 176°C.
  9. Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes or until the center of the cookie no longer looks wet. The baking time will depend on the size of your cookie.
  10. Let cookies cool to room temperature and decorate!

IMG_8696

My cookies ended up looking like that, though I lost many while trying to get to this stage. These are some brittle cookies! The recipe I provided for you can be halved. If you halve it you will get the contents of the container above plus a few more. So possibly thirty small cookies. I still have the rock solid dough in cling film to make which would be the whole recipe. It is a lot of cookies!

Anyway, that’s what has been going on in our house. A lot of baking and Christmas decorating.

I hope your households are equally as festive if you celebrate Christmas. If not, enjoy your December!

P.S. Here is a photo of the Johannesburg nighttime skyline:

Skyline

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