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Holiday Baking Update & Recipes

20-Dec-2004

As I reported on December 8th I’ve been focused on baking cookies, breads and making candy for gift baskets.

Here’s the list of what I’ve accomplished to date:

  • Cranberry-Orange Bread – 4 loaves
  • Tennessee Sugar Cookies – 7 dozen
  • Star Cookies – 8 dozen
  • Cinnamon Stars – 14 dozen (I use a small snowflake cutter for these)
  • Almond Spritz – 7 dozen
  • Orange Spritz – 7 1/2 dozen
  • Chocolate Amaretti – 8 1/2 dozen
  • Fruitcake – 3 large
  • Almond Clusters – 10 1/2 dozen
  • Fudge – double batch (apx. 8#)
  • Sugar cookies – 12 dozen (still need to decorate them all)
  • Chocolate Crinkles – 6 dozen
  • Peanut Butter & Chocolate Jewels – 3 1/2 dozen
  • Striped Cookies – 12 dozen
  • Springerle – 1 trial batch

I will make more Springerle, Carmel Corn and a few other odds and ends later in the week.  Right now I’m working on dishes for my holiday party, which is tomorrow night.

The Almond Clusters were originally Peanut Clusters – a recipe from my mom.  They are super easy but look great – here’s both versions of the recipe:

Peanut Clusters

  • 2 – 12oz bag of Milk Chocolate Chips
  • 2 cups (or more) Salted Spanish Peanuts

Microwave chips on High for 2 minutes, stirring after each minute.  (Don’t overcook chocolate.)  When smooth dump in the Peanuts and mix well.

Drop by teaspoonful onto wax paper.  Let set until cool.  Then store in airtight container at room temperature.

I think that melting chocolate on the stove is pretty easy and I prefer it to the microwave so here’s my version.

Almond Clusters

  • 2 – 12 oz bags Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Chips (this is a dark chocolate)
  • 3 1/2 cups almonds

Melt chocolate in top half of double-boiler over simmering (not boiling) water.  Do not let water touch bottom of top pan.  Stir until chocolate is nearly melted then remove pan from heat and continue stirring until all chocolate melts from residual heat.  Dump in almonds and stir until all are well coated.

Drop by teaspoonful* onto wax paper.  Let set until cool.  Then store in airtight container at room temperature.

To make either version look a little more “professional” place each piece in a small paper or foil baking cup before serving or boxing for gifts.

* I find it’s a little hard to do an actual “teaspoonful” with almonds so I just try to get about 4 almonds per candy.  If you get too many they are a little challenging to bite into. :-)

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