Happy holidays, everyone! I apologize for the longish blog silence, but between the holidays and some other madness that’s gone on, there hasn’t been much time for writing. Additionally, there is a big post in the works that I hope to publish in the next week or so. In the meantime, how have you all been, my fellow food-adventurers? If you celebrate your holidays in a gift-giving way, did you give and receive great gifts? I certainly did! Friends and family were very generous with the kitchen-wares this year, and I’m excited to spend some time working with my new tools and sharing them with you all!
Before I get into that, however, I thought I’d update you with my annual Christmas baking. Long-time readers will remember that Mr. Menace and I host an annual cookie decorating party, and this year was no exception! In fact, we hosted more people than any year yet, which meant quite a bit of baking. Luckily, I had two stalwart companions to help with this process. The first was my sister, Kelly, who generously donated her time and talents to helping me roll out and cut over 160 sugar cookies! (She also assisted with decor and platter-making – thanks, Kel!) In her honor I created a new cocktail at the party:
1.5 oz Barbancourt Rum
1 oz Laird’s Applejack
.5 oz St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram
.5 oz lime juice
Barspoon Trader Tiki’s Cinnamon Syrup
Dash Fee’s Whiskey Barrel Bitters
Shake ingredients with ice. Strain and serve! (Full disclosure: The lime juice was an afterthought in the original, but it makes a HUGE difference from something a bit too heavy and sweet into something much brighter and tastier.)
My second helper was the sugar cookie recipe from the Flour Bakery cookbook. I’ve mentioned this cookbook before, but it bears repeating: these recipes are fantastic! Well-thought out and easy to execute. I suspect you may be subject to another post or two as I work my way through this. In any case, people really enjoyed the cookies, and the dough was very easy to work with – I know because while Kelly did a lot of the heavy lifting on the party cookies, we made them again for family cookie decorating, and my 5 year-old niece and I rolled and cut those. Thank you to Joanne Chang for a super recipe!
This year I did not take pictures of the individual winners of every category as the party went a bit late, but I did get pictures of the voting plates – we had so many cookies that I asked folks to submit their cookies into the contest. We also changed the categories up a bit this year to include a “Rookie of the Year” – the Rookie Cookie, if you will – to acknowledge the many folks who’d not had the chance to hone their skills over 5 years of frosting manipulation. So here we have:
The Classics – mostly folks using the shapes as they were intended:
That said, the winner here was the Mr. Hanky cookie, which I would NOT consider traditional use of the shape. What can I do, though, the people spoke! Kudos to The Goog.
The Rookie Cookies:
This vote ended up being a battle between two pop-culture titans – as well as between the couple who decorated them! It came down to one vote – for Raphael the Ninja Turtle, just beating out The Thing. Congratulations, Jill – I hope Matty has forgiven you.
The last category was also a subject of some shenanigans. This was the “What the Hell?!” category, a popular one in the voting. Technically, Mr. Menace won this category as well. However, he did not submit his own cookie for voting, and had already won, so I stepped in and judged in favor of the next cookie, the “Out of Body Experience” cookie by Emily. I am not going to post the picture directly because Mr. Menace’s cookie is…well, NSFW. I will link the photo page and you may click if you feel up to it. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Congratulations on your win, Emily! Sorry your cookie shared a plate with…that.
Thank you so much to everyone who came and decorated cookies with us! I feel so privileged to know so many amazing, creative people and I love sharing the holiday with you. I hope you have a very happy New Year, and that we will see you at Cookie Decorating 2011 – the Reckoning!