I don't think I bake as much during the whole year as I do during the Christmas holidays.
It's not to say that I bake a ton. I just tend to pay more attention to doling out homemade goodies during those times that I'll be visiting friends and family more often.
So, my sister and I decided to make some cookie-based treats after happening by the 100 Best COOKIES magazine by Better Homes and Gardens (Special Interest Publications), while picking up a few needs at Wal-Mart late last night.
For $7.99 CDN, you're definitely getting what you paid for. All of the recipes are easy to make (Bonus!). I really didn't have to worry much of having to call mom (or Google) to find out what certain baking terms or ingredients are.
I only had to Google once, for a desicription of “Almond Bark” today, 'cause there was no way it meant “chocolate-almond bars with a pseudo resemblance to tree bark” in the recipe I was reading! Turns out it can also mean a vanilla/chocolate flavoured candy coating, which made much for sense.
This mag does have a few quirks that made me pause more than once though.
I used probably 3/4s of a bar of butter in three different recipes (part of me can't help but, “Ew.” at this), and more than once the butter was separated to do two different jobs for the same cookie. I'm used to a recipe card stating something like “1 cup butter, separated into halves.”; whereas in the recipes listed in this mag, it'll read 1/2 cup butter listed as item #3, and then 1/4 cup butter listed as #7. More than once, I'd have to re-read a recipe from the beginning just to make sure I added the right amount of specific ingredients, such as the butter, or peanut butter, or semi-sweet chocolate (though there's really no such this as too much chocolate, right?) 🙂
So. The entire day was dedicated to making:Candy-Crunch Peanut Butter Bars, Peanut Butter Cups, and Peppermint Cream Bites
Do you see a running theme with the chocolate, peanute butter, and candy canes? *facepalm*
This magazine is definitely for the sometimes-baker, or the teenager that wants to impress a loved one without much fuss or use of the oven.
One other quirk that got me about the first and last recipes was that we wound up making cookies… out of recipes that called for cookies. The Peanut Butter Bars included the use of 20 Peanut Butter Cookies for the base, while the Peppermint Cream Bites required 15 Oreos. The Bites were essentially re-hashed Oreo cookies at the end of the day. I smashed 15 cookies into itty bitty pieces, used icing powder to create a creamy filling, added a bit of peppermint flavour to the stiff filling, and poured bittersweet chocolate on top as a cover.
The best part? The recipe suggested using 1 1/2″ circle cookie cutter to cut out this treat… to look like Oreo cookies.
I could have just bought a bag of Oreo cookies to enjoy with Netflix, instead of trying to re-invent the wheel.
But, just to break rules, I didn't bother cutting the Oreos out into circles like suggested. They've instead been squared off for easy packaging, ‘cause I’m a baking ninja like that. 😉
And if you read through the entire mag and came to the conclusion that it was just too much hard work, well… their back cover has the answer for you!
I can't tell whether it was a genius at work, or some incredible oversight to have a cookie advert on the back of a cookie recipe magazine for those who are possibly bent on making their own this year! *scratching head in confusion*
Where do you find your recipes from? Do you make the same treats every year, or do you need to explore?
In case you're still looking for a bit of inspiration this holiday season…Better Homes and Garden has a Free 10-Recipe booklet available for print!