This time of year, I love to do a lot of baking and I particularly enjoy making gingerbread, the spicier the better, In fact, I made a dozen gingerbread cupcakes 3 days ago and already I’m down to the final 4. I also baked brownies from scratch for my fiance – he gobbled down 1/3 of them before dinner! I was thinking of baking my mother a coconut rum bundt cake for her birthday but she’s diabetic and probably won’t even have but one slice, leaving the rest for her husband and my greedy sisters.

For those of you who also love to bake, here are a few excellent recipes – I can vouch for them as I have tried them – that will be sure to make your family & friends sing with sugary, junk food joy!

Old Fashioned Gingerbread

Ingredients

2 1/3
cups all-purpose flour 
1/2
cup shortening 
1/3
cup sugar
1
cup molasses 
3/4
cup hot water 
1
teaspoon baking soda
1
teaspoon ground ginger
1
teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4
teaspoon salt
1
egg
 
Directions

  • 1 Heat oven to 325ºF. Grease and flour bottom and sides of square pan, 9x9x2 inches.
  • 2 Beat all ingredients with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on medium speed 3 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour into pan.
  • 3 Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm or cool.

Recipe courtesy of Betty Crocker

 
Soft Pumpkin Spice Cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease baking sheets.

COMBINE flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl. Beat sugar and butter in large mixer bowl until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets.

BAKE for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Drizzle glaze over cookies.

FOR GLAZE:


COMBINE 2 cups sifted powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in small bowl until smooth.
 
Recipe courtesy of Nestle

Peppermint Bark
 
Ingredients

Crushed candy canes, to yield 1 cup
2 pounds white chocolate
Peppermint flavorings, optional

Directions


Place candy 
canes in a plastic bag and hammer into 1/4-inch chunks or smaller. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Combine candy cane chunks with chocolate (add peppermint flavoring at this point if desired.) Pour mixture onto a cookie sheet layered with parchment or waxed paper and place in the refrigerator for 45 minutes or until firm. Remove from cookie sheet and break into pieces (like peanut brittle.)
 
Recipe courtesy of Paula Deen
 
 
Eggnog
 
 
Ingredients

4 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
1 pint whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 ounces bourbon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 egg whites*
 
Directions

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Add the milk, cream, bourbon and nutmeg and stir to combine.

Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat to soft peaks. With the mixer still running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
Whisk the egg whites into the mixture. Chill and serve.

Cook’s Note: For cooked eggnog, follow procedure below.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Set aside.
 
In a medium saucepan, over high heat, combine the milk, heavy cream and nutmeg and bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and gradually temper the hot mixture into the egg and sugar mixture. Then return everything to the pot and cook until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F. Remove from the heat, stir in the bourbon, pour into a medium mixing bowl, and set in the refrigerator to chill.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. With the mixer running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Whisk the egg whites into the chilled mixture.

CONTAINS RAW EGGS: The Food Network Kitchen suggest caution in consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs due to the slight risk of salmonella or other food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, we recommend you use only fresh, properly refrigerated, clean grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell. For recipes that call for eggs that are raw or undercooked when the dish is served, use shell eggs that have been treated to destroy salmonella, by pasteurization or another approved method.

Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown

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