Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Overrun By Christmas Sweets!

Happy Christmas Eve!

I wouldn't exactly call myself a Scrooge, but I'm not normally one who's big on Christmas spirit.  While I definitely love wrapping and gifting presents, I don't have a lot of holiday ritual.  I don't like Christmas songs.  I don't expect a particular Christmas dinner, or want to watch that one movie I just have to watch every year.  But what I do love is treats.  I don't have one go-to Christmas treat in particular - so maybe this isn't a holiday thing at all, but just my general love of treats manifesting in the season's license to indulge?  Either way, I find myself making lots of sweets and goodies this time of year.  And this year was definitely no exception. 
My holiday season really kicked off at the beginning of last week with the culmination of my work's Holiday Sharing program.  I have organized the program for six years now, where my office adopts needy families in the area and provides them with gifts, canned and household goods, and raises money to buy them a grocery gift card.  While it's a wonderful program that everyone likes the idea of us participating in, it can be hard to woo actual volunteers to help out.  So my yearly solution is to make sweet treats for the people that come help me sort and deliver everything.  This year I made s'mores treats by using the Rice Krispies Treats recipe, but subbing out vegan marshmallows and Golden Grahams.  Then I stirred in chocolate chips for a messy but delicious final product. 

Fortunately for my waistline, the majority of the S'mores treats got eaten by coworkers and all I returned home with was an empty Tupperware.  But that doesn't mean I haven't been chowing down on plenty of treats myself too.  My favorite Christmas cookie of all is the cashew nougat cookie by Archway, but it's incredibly hard to find.  A few years back we found a Harris Teeter in Baltimore that stocks them, and since then I've made a yearly pilgrimage to stock up.  This year was no different, and I grabbed four boxes.  One went straight into the freezer to enjoy in April, and one has already been devoured.  Two boxes to get me through the New Year :) 

Another little goodie I've been enjoying lately is So Delicious Pumpkin Spice Coconut Milk.  I originally planned to pick up some more Coconut Nog since I liked that so much, but Whole Foods had other plans for me - namely, that they were out of the Nog.  Instead of leaving sad and with nothing, I decided to try out the Pumpkin milk instead.  While I think I still prefer the Nog, this has been a fair substitute.  In fact, I'm enjoying the last glass of it this morning. 

Just a couple days after Holiday Sharing wrapped up at work it came time to make another treat to share with coworkers for our annual holiday office party.  While management supplies the booze, we are encouraged to bring in treats to share.  And since I knew there wouldn't be a lot of vegan offerings on the table, I would have to supply my own. 

Years ago a friend of mine made molasses cookies for Mole Day (Oct. 23) that I loved.  While I've tried and tried to get the recipe out of her, I never have, so I decided to try my luck with the Internets.  I started working with this recipe from Betty Crocker, which I quickly realized was the same recipe that appears on the back of the molasses bottle except for oven temperature, cooking time, and the direction to sprinkle water on the cookies for the cracked effect. 

I decided to split the difference by using Betty's cooking temperature and time (plus I'd already preheated the oven) and sprinkling water on my cookies.  Straight from the oven the cookies were beautiful, chewy, and delicious.  By the next day they were still delicious, but too crisp for my taste.  Fortunately, most everyone else seemed to have no issue with the texture and complimented them.  This was especially fortunate because I ended up with so many cookies that I had plenty to bring to work, save a few for Josh and I to enjoy at home, plus extra batches to share with friends and Josh's family.  Molasses cookies all around!
I made what will be this year's final foray into the world of holiday treats last night, though it was the one treat I'd been planning the longest.  Every year Josh's favorite Christmas treat is White Fudge Oreos.  He gets a box mostly to himself, but I manage to sneak a couple for myself.  While Oreos are one of those surprise vegan items, the white fudge coating is decidedly not vegan.  So I decided to recreate my own version using vegan white chocolate chips I ordered from Amazon, plus Double Stuf Oreos - oh, the indulgence!
Making my own White Fudge Oreos was surprisingly easy.  Just melt white chocolate chips in a double boiler, coat Oreos, then decorate for extra Christmas festivity (plus to hide imperfections!).  One bag of white chocolate chips gave me enough coating for 16 finished Oreos (plus one taste test, of course) - not a bad haul compared to the 12 you would get from Nabisco's box.  And they tasted just the same to me.  But the most important verdict came from Josh.  He had two last night for dessert and said they were great.  Success!
Now to hit the gym ...

No comments:

Post a Comment