Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sugar, Spice and Sweets That Are So Nice!

Christmas is my most favorite time of the year!  
It is also my favorite time to bake all these yummy festive treats that are sure to please all the relatives :) 
Here are a few of my holiday favorites to bake! :)

Buche de Noel ( aka Yule Log)
The Buche de Noel  I have here is a yummy chocolate sponge cake rolled with chocolate buttercream and then slathered with bittersweet chocolate ganache to make it look like a tree trunk.   I used chocolate mushrooms cookies which you can buy from the Asian market if you dont have time to make meringue mushrooms :D

Pumpkin and Cream Cheese 
is one of my favorite sweet treats!

And this one is GLUTEN- FREE! :D

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cupcakes

1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups (310 mL) brown rice flour mix
1/4 tsp (1.5 mL) salt
1 1/2 tsp (7.5 mL) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) xanthan gum
1/4 cup (125 mL) canola oil
½ cup of pumpkin puree
1/3 cup (125 mL) milk
1 tsp (5 mL) pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F/180 C. Position rack in centre of oven. Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, xanthan gum in separate bowl and set aside.

Place cupcake baking liners in a 12-cupcake baking pan.

Beat sugar and eggs in large bowl of electric mixer at medium speed for one minute. Then add canola oil, pumpkin puree, milk and vanilla; beat at medium speed for one minute. Then gradually mix in the dry ingredients until incorporated, don’t overmix. Pour batter into prepared pan or cupcake pan.

Place in center of oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until centre springs back when touched and cupcakes are very lightly browned (bake about 35 minutes for nine-inch round, 40 minutes for eight-inch round). Cool on rack for five minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan onto rack and cool completely before icing. Top with tangy Cream Cheese buttercream!  I also made a pretty gold and copper dusted leaf topper for each cupcake!

look like little pieces of heaven!

  The Italian Tri-Colored Cookie is the yummiest, moistest almond cookie thats like a cake!
It is basically thin layers of almond cake layered with apricot preserve and topped with semisweet chocolate!   My friends and family look forward to this delectable treat at Thanksgiving and Christmas!! I would even make bricks of it and carry it on the chinatown bus to bring with me to their houses!  If it can survive a 4 hour trip from VA to NJ then its totally worth making :D


 I use the Joy of baking Chocolate Chip cookies recipe and then add an extra 1 tsp of kosher or coarse salt and when you eat this you get a slight kick of salty crunch which create a nice texture to the chocolate chip cookie!   It makes it almost savory but still sweet, it cuts the sweetness ever so slightly.  Not but a glass of cold milk is needed!  
I hope you find these treats just as tantalizing as they are delicious!  
Merry Christmas!!!!!!!

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