It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

24 12 2009

Oh mah goodness, my holiday season has be cuh-ray-zee.  A while back, I had the brilliant plan to make all of my Chrismakkuh gifts this year – but then about two weeks ago I remember I was incredibly lazy and hadn’t even really started.  YIKES.  So, the stress of randomly having to buy a butt-ton of gifts (I am the oldest of 8 children, y’all), plus 3 holiday parties in 5 days, plus Snowpocalypse 2K9, PLUS a wicked cold has all equaled me being a slackass and letting Lo do all the posting.  BUT!  Now I’m just waiting around for the UPS man to deliver my big package (heh – that sounds dirty), so I figured I’d finally share the recipes for all the deliciousness I made at the cookie exchange.

Mmmmm - Christmas Sangria

I’ll start with the Wassail, or as Kona so aptly named it, Christmas Sangria.  I got the recipe here.  I went and bought all the ingredients at Target (except for the brandy, obvs – what up, ABC laws??), so I used sherry instead of Madeira.  I also accidentally bought caramel flavored cider.  DO NOT REPEAT THIS MISTAKE.  The punch was still super yummy, but also super sweet, I think I only used 3/4 c sugar.  And the spices were pretty masked.  It was good, but it should have been better.  Ah well.

So easy, so delicious!

For the cookie exchange, I ended up making snickerdoodle blossoms, recipe courtesy of Abby Sweets.  The only adjustment I made to the recipe was adding half a bag of toffee bits – because snickerdoodle + toffee = yum and snickerdoodle + chocolate = yum, therefore snickerdoodle + toffe + chocolate = OMGYES yum.  (I’m a mathmagician!)  Trust me, make these – they were fan-friggin-tastic.

I was sooo stoked to find Hanukkah sprinkles! Way to go, Hoboken Target!!

I saved the best for last – and that is THE BEST BUTTERCREAM FROSTING I’VE EVER PUT IN MY MOUTH.  Seriously, I don’t like buttercream – I generally refuse to make it.  But I found some Hanukkah sprinkles and decided to make funfetti cupcakes and when I went to make the frosting, I realized I didn’t have any cream.  So, I turned to my personal favorite baking book, Baking Illustrated.  After I made it and had frosted my cupcakes, I actually had to throw away the rest because it was so delicious and I couldn’t stop eating it and I was afraid I’d go into a diabetic coma.  You’re either going to need a stand mixer or some serious stamina to make these – it takes a lot of beating to get a frosting this light and silky – and it is soooo worth it.  So, without further ado, here is my holiday present to you.  You are welcome.
Rich Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, cut in quarters [The softened part is really important]
  1. Combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer [or large metal mixing bowl]; place bowl over a pan of simmering water.  (Do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water.)  Whisking gently but constantly, heat the mixture until it is thin and foamy and registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.
  2. Beat the egg mixture at medium-high speed until light, airy, and cooled to room temperature, about 5 minutes.  Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter, one piece at a time.  (After adding half the butter, the buttercream may look curdled; it will smooth out with the additional butter.)  Once all the butter is added, increase the speed to high and beat 1 minute until light, fluffy, and thoroughly combined.  (The buttercream can be covered and refrigerated up to 5 days.)

(All pictures taken by Kona – aren’t they good??)

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