Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas baking 2010

The great Christmas bake off is done and dusted for 2010 and I have not come out of it entirely unscathed. You see, I tried to get somewhat fancy on myself this year and try my hand at something I'd never attempted before.

Looking for inspiration, I delved into the online temple of home economics, the Martha Stewart website. That site is a true nightmare for a person with a candy thermometer and a desire to experiment - if sugar was my crack then Martha is my pusher. With her I experienced amazing highs and a terrible low.

Let me take you through my creations in descending order of success, starting with the Chocolate-Espresso Snowcaps. They're sugar-coated, gooey cookies rich in chocolate with a coffee undertone that breaks up the sweetness very nicely indeed. I used granulated coffee instead of powder and as you chew the cookies, you come across pockets of strong coffee flavour, which I really enjoy.

Next came the obligatory Gingerbread, using a recipe by Donna Hay. I made three batches and it comes out perfect every time. At the weekend I contemplated making a gingerbread house with the same recipe but wisely decided to quit while I was ahead. Maybe next year.

And now for the disaster. The sight of Martha Stewart's Candy Cane Marshmallows was too good to ignore and so I bestowed upon it the distinction of being my Christmas Cooking Challenge of 2010. Such a disaster. There's really no way to explain it but somewhere between baking it and cutting it two days later the mix turned salty and it was a hideous-tasting concoction I will never try again - no seriously, never again. The real salt in the wound (pun intended) is that it looks so pretty and yummy. Beware of the pretty confectionery.

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