Christmas Baking

This Christmas I’m getting* crafty. Hand knitted scarves, linoleum block stamps, jars of cookie dough and similar gifts. A few of my relatives are getting a miscellany of baked goods in festive tins. These are the recipes that I’ll be using to make this yuletide gay:

*”Dark and Damp Molasses Cake” (TheKitchn.com): Yeah, I know it’s a really bad idea to use untested recipes for gifts but I lost the molasses cake recipe that I used to have and it was an emergency and I have relatives who are kind of fond of molasses and I love baking with molasses and this sentence needs to be done. The warning that this cake is for serious molasses fans only is not to be taken lightly. I’d also like to remind people that this cake should be taken out of the oven when the timer goes off. There was a lot going on when I was doing my baking and I might’ve left it in the for a few extra minutes. The extra minutes only make the edges a bit harder than I would’ve like but the taste wasn’t damaged.

*”Gateau A L’Orange” (Orange Spongecake) (Mastering the Art of French Cooking, link to WeekendCooking.wordpress.com): This cake was my second recipe from Mastering and it’s a really simple recipe. Without the whole beating-the-egg-whites-into-peaks bit this is actually one of the easiest recipes I can think of. The result is delicious although I can’t vouch for the recommended orange frosting as I’ve never actually attempted it, I keep meaning to but…

*”Golden Eggs” (Confections of  a Closet Master Baker, link to epicurious.com): I first came across this recipe in Gesine Bullock-Prado’s wonderful (and delicious) memoir/cookbook. The batter produces a rich nutmeg-y product that I bake into cakes rather than the muffins/eggs that Ms. Bullock-Prado recommends. I’ve found that this batter fits into an 11×7-in baking dish with enough leftover to make a little cake with my heart-shaped baking dish (45 minutes or so should be good). The cinnamon, sugar and butter mixture that’s intended for making the eggs extra lovely can be made into a nice streusel topping for the cakes. Also, I get that epicurious.com is a cool website and all but if it’s possible y’all need to get your hands on a copy of Confections (local bookstores anyone?).

*”Easy No-Chill Cookies” (Food.com): I used this recipe for the first time last weekend when it suddenly hit me that I was going to leave for my friend’s in a few hours and I didn’t have time to let sugar cookie dough I needed for her present** to rest in a refrigerator. Google came to my rescue and now here I am. The recipe is pretty straightforward but learn from my mistakes and make sure that the dough is even when rolled out; I had some cookies come out much thinner than others and they became a very nice shade of crispy black while their thicker siblings were lovely.

*Look at me not using the past tense. Good on you for noticing that! Here’s a cookie. I’m writing this paragraph on the Sunday before Christmas but I’m posting this on the Wednesday after Christmas to prevent sensitive gift related information leaking to the wrong sources (Yes, by wrong sources I totally mean FIS agents. Getting my gift related information is a main priority for the KGB’s successor.)

**I made a variety of sex-positivity sugar cookies for her. These cookies included ones shaped liked penises, vaginae (This is the only plural form that Google Chrome’s spell-check will accept. Does anyone know anything about this?) and breasts, as well as a few labelled “Patriarchy” and “Slut Shaming” (Why fuck the patriarchy when you can eat it instead?). I was very proud of my work. This is me making the “Patriarchy” cookie:

Photo credit to Madeleine Madigan. Check out her Facebook page.

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