Wednesday, December 30, 2009

holiday sweets

Every year I have great intentions of baking and cooking holiday sweets as gifts, but until this year it has never happened. This year I did get a little carried away, but the sweets were well-received and resulted in family members hiding their stashes so they wouldn't have to share with everyone else! That, of course, (despite not exactly promoting the Christmas spirit) made me very happy.

I've mentioned before that I have never gone wrong with Orangette's recipes. I made my favorite granola, and these cookies, which I learned about here. I ate an entire batch of those cookies in about a week, and then had to make another batch for gifts. They have to be one of my favorite cookies ever.

Then I went a little crazy with candied citrus peel. This was on my list of things to make last year, but Levi's birth was on time and therefore citrus peel making never happened. I used this recipe, and did 2 grapefruits, 3 oranges, and 4 lemons. I boiled them all together and they still maintained their individual flavors. Also, I cut the grapefruit peels a little thicker before I started freaking out that I was leaving too much pith (and therefore cut the lemon and orange much thinner), and I actually ended up liking the texture of the grapefruit the best.

Making candied citrus peel is not a quick undertaking. Although it wasn't especially labor intensive, it was time intensive, but the results are incredible. I dipped half in bittersweet chocolate and left half plain. I did not have any suitable packaging and couldn't bear to package my citrus peel in zip-loc bags (!), so I sewed little pouches out of parchment paper. They ended up looking great, but one caveat is that the citrus peel will dessicate if it is not in an air-tight container, so I stored these little gift bags in zip-locs and instructed their recipients to do the same!

After almost 8 hours of citrus peel making, and with Levi down for a nap, I looked at Adam and said "do you think I would be crazy if I made homemade marshmallows right now?" Homemade marshmallows have been on my list of things to make since the December 2003 Martha Stewart Living came out, and then this post really inspired me. I used the instructions from the link on the Angry Chicken post and they turned out perfectly.

I dipped some in dark chocolate and sprinkled them with crushed walnuts for giving. Next year I want to make snowflake-shaped marshmallows and give them as gifts with homemade hot cocoa mix.


emily said...

Delicious & beautiful! My marshmallows and my cocoa nibs shortbread are well-hidden from even my husband!

emily said...

I'm craving more shortbread....