Christmas time is a wonderful time of year. I love everything about the sights (Christmas lights and decorations), the sounds (beautiful, warming Christmas music), the smells (Christmas trees, gingerbread) and of course, the tastes!! Among my favorite flavors of Christmas time are things like Alton Brown's fruitcake, anything with peppermint, and pumpkin and it's entourage of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and clove spices (although technically, that's a Thanksgiving taste too). This year, since finishing up my first set of law school finals, I've been Christmas baking like crazy! So crazy in fact, it has taken me this long to post a few of things I made. I say a few because I also made a couple other desserts that were eaten before I got a chance to take of picture of them!
This Peppermint bark recipe was so easy to make! It was my first year making it and I will definitely do it again. The only hard part is crushing all the little peppermint hard candies, that is, unless you have a food processor. Which, of course, they don't provide you with at the law school housing. The recipe is pretty basic: melt some dark chocolate (I used a 8 oz bag of semi-sweet chips) and stir in about 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract. Spread that onto a baking sheet lined with wax or parchment paper. Then melt some white chocolate (Again, one 8 oz bag of real white chips) and stir in the crushed peppermint candies, reserve some to press on top for decoration and spread this layer on top of the dark chocolate. One it cools and hardens, break it up and much away! (or be nice and give it away)
I also made some Easy Fudge and decorated each piece with a walnut half. It was my first attempt at making Fudge myself and since I didn't bring my candy thermometer with me to school, I figured I should go the safe route and do the easy fudge recipe. Still tasted great though!
Next up is something I made when I got home. This Apple Carmel Crisp was a BIG hit at school when I made it one night that I decided to try it at home for my family. My brother ate one serving, said it was good, and then about a half hour later, was eating another serving! And he never does that! Needless to say, it was crowd pleaser at home too.
Next is Libby's pumpkin roll cake! My mom loves pumpkin flavored things so this was a request from her. She enjoyed it thoroughly, as well as the rest of my family. I followed the recipe pretty closely except I used splenda in the cake instead of sugar. It same out a little thinner than usual but that just means that there is a high frosting to cake ratio! No complaints there!
Lastly is my pumpkin cheesecake. Basically, I took my favorite cheesecake recipe and method, found here by Alton Brown, and added 1 cup of pumpkin puree and it's spice groupies (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg...you know the drill). I made the crust from ginger spice cookies I found in the bakery section at the grocery store. This cheesecake was creamy, smooth and the flavor of the pumpkin was not overpowering at all. And the best part is my family loved it!