Wednesday, December 28, 2011

annual gingerbread house

We have made a gingerbread house each Christmas that we've been together, so this year was our third one. We used a boxed kit since we had more important baking going on in the house. We also used the box icing for the first time, and honestly it didn't turn out as badly as I suspected!

We manage to work in the year on the back of each house. Here are the houses in progression from 2009 to now. Can't wait until 2012!


Monday, December 26, 2011

stone Christmas sampler 2011

In a three-day annual tradition, our home was transformed into Santa's bakeshop, as we prepared our Christmas cookie packages. We made 24 total packages this year, including a tray for Mark's office. Instead of taking photos of the process of each, which would have added an extra day, I took final pictures of each item. Here they are, the items of the Stone Christmas Sampler, 2011.

Homemade Marshmallows

Grandma Stiffler's Molasses Cookies with Sugar Stencils

Chocolate Espresso Snowballs

Mark's Family Fruitcake
(these ones were decorated for my grandparents, hence the F and T)

Holiday Sugar Cookies

Eggnog Fudge

Chocolate Peppermint Biscotti with White Chocolate and Candy Canes

Sugar Plum Popcorn Balls 
(with our plum jam!)

Candied Orange Peels with Chocolate and Almonds


Peanut Butter Truffles

Sci-fi Gingerbread
(Star Trek and Star Wars)

Monday, December 12, 2011

pumpkin cheesecake brownies

I made these brownies as the dessert for our pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving dinner with Amber and Anthony. You can read about that on my other blog, Canning: The Next Generation. But here we have some delicious fall goodness, the last of the pumpkin desserts this season. I hand-mixed these, mostly with my trusty little whisk. As much as I love my KitchenAid, sometimes it's fun to remind myself that baking can be done without it!

The cream cheese topping I made separately, using a hand mixer to beat the cream cheese. (My little whisk couldn't cut it with that.)

We ate them with homemade pumpkin ice cream that Mark made (sans the nutmeg since he's an awesome husband and knows I hate it).

They were really rich and thick, though you can't tell from this bad tungsten light photo. Definitely a good combination!