Thursday, December 31, 2015

Baked Occasions: A Review of the ENTIRE Cookbook

Starting in January of 2015, I had the idea to make all of the recipes in the Baked Occasions cookbook.  And to make them all in one year! So here I am sitting on December 31st, 2015 and can say that as of today, I have made all 75 recipes!  That comes out to 1.44 recipes each week.  I can say that my family, friends and co-workers have enjoyed many treats this year.

So, now that I have made all the recipes, I thought an overall post was in order.  I enjoyed the concept of this book.  Having go-to recipes for each holiday is exciting - even the little holidays like World Nutella Day.  One thing I really wished the book had for each recipes is a "Time to Make".  A lot of the recipes would require prep work and would need to set overnight.  I would not realize this until I read through all of the steps. Knowing if each recipe was a quick one or a 2 day one would be helpful.  As for the recipes: some of these were AMAZING...and others were not good... I expected them to all be fantastic, so when some were less than enjoyable, I was a bit saddened.

Now, let's break these recipes down!

All The Recipes:

Color Coding: Green (AWESOME), Yellow (Nothing Special), Red (Never Again), (*** favorite)

Looking for a 2016 challenge?  Pick up the Baked Occasions book today!  :)

Happy New Year!

p.s. my 2016 goal is to give up sugar ;)

Baked: Individual Baked Alaskas with Vanilla and Coffee Ice Cream

Well folks, we finally made it!  The last recipe in the Baked Occasions cookbook!  This one is from back in October but it intimidated me since it has ice cream AND it has baked meringue on the outside.  Meaning they have to be eaten immediately - all 12 of them.  Turns out I should not have been so intimidated.  They needed a lot of prep work and need to be in the freezer with the meringue for a couple hours before baking at 500 degrees.  Could easily make them, then take them out and have ready in 3 minutes for dinner guests  :)    We did just that!  My mother in law had my parents and grandparents over to see her new place and I popped these in the oven quick.  A good way to celebrate the last recipe!!


Baked: Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcake Shakes

This is the final recipe in the book!  Celebrating boxing day;  the day after Christmas.  I made this one along with the baked Alaskans which I am making today.  They both required cupcakes.  If you have cupcakes,  then this is the easiest recipe in the book.  Blend and eat!

74 done!   Only ONE recipe left!  Can you belive it?!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Baked: Orange Pineapple Walnut Fruitcake

Do you like rum for breakfast? Then you will enjoy this fruit cake! There are over three quarters of of a cup of rum and this baby. Half of it's been cooked down though so I guess it doesn't count.  Another easy recipe that doesn't require a stand mixer or blender. The hardest part is waiting 24 hours before eating the thing.

73 complete.  2 left!!!!!!!!!  And 3 days left in the year. 

Let's do this! 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Baked: Pink Peppermint Stick Ice Cream With Homemade Hot Fudge

Any normal winter in Michigan and there is no way we would be eating ice cream during Christmas.  This winter however, it is about 20 degrees F warmer than normal, so ice cream tasted pretty good!  The peppermint ice cream is perfect.  The hot fudge is awesome.  Great recipe if you have an ice cream maker  :)  I have been borrowing one for the 2 recipes in this cookbook that required it.

Merry Christmas!  If it is above freezing where you are, you should enjoy some peppermint ice cream too :)

72 complete.  3 left!  I can see the finish line!!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Baked: Twelve Days of Cookies

I condensed this 12 days of cookie making into two days.  Two glorious days of baking!  I ended up with a LOT of cookies.  I brought in a large platter today to work and I still have enough to last through Christmas!

S Cookie
Biscotti-ish type of cookie.  I like the plain-ness and the shape.  Needs to be dunked in some coffee!  These were the least liked cookies at work.  Of all the cookies that were eaten, I still had 3 of these to bring home.

Peanut Butter Blossoms
These are a kind of "been there done that" type of cookie.  I wasn't too interested in making these..but I did, and they went like hot cakes at work.

Gingersnaps with Lemon Sugar
This one is my favorite.  Ginger and lemon...mmm.  They were the perfect amount of crunch and taste!  Peeps at work also liked these.

Exceedingly Chocolaty Crinkles
White sugar on the outside, chocolate goo on the inside - a chocolate lovers dream.  Another favorite at work.

Whipped Shortbread
One of my favorites.  So soft and brittle, so buttery.  The husband says no nuts should be in desserts, but these pecans on top worked perfectly with the cookies.

Peppermint Chocolate Chip Meringues
The husband loves meringues.  He says these taste just like his grandma's...but they weren't cooked right.  SOO close!  They seemed to collapse in the center instead of baking evenly and crunchy throughout.  Still good!

Peanut Butter Butterscotch Cookies
I didn't really care for these but I am not much of a butterscotch fan.  A few peeps at work really enjoyed these - they must have been butterscotch fans.

Absolutely dislike these cookies.  They are not crunchy, they taste strange, and the chocolate on top does nothing for the cookie.  I will not be eating a second one...  Those at work familiar with German cookies assured me that this is what they are supposed to taste like and that I didn't do anything wrong.  Someone else mentioned using an orange extract instead of the orange peel.  I think that might help.

Mae's Crescent Cookies
Yum!  These remind me of these little walnut balls that my grandma makes for Christmas, only these are crescent shaped.  A lot of people at work knew what these were, so they must be popular.

Campfire Cookies
These went over well at work.  I don't feel like they are anything that amazing.  I may need to eat another one ;)

Traditional Linzer Cookies
These taste pretty decent, and they look awesome!  The little star cutouts got good reviews at work.  No one mentioned anything about this cookie in particular, so I feel it is good, but not a standout.

Date Squares
My absolute favorite - although I think it is a stretch to include these in the cookie section, baked people ;)  They deserve a day of their own!  I grew up making date bars from the box.  Slowly stores stopped carrying them, to the point when we found a random place that still had it, we would clean out the shelf!  It never occurred to us to make them from scratch. Now that I am all grown up, I have made them from scratch, and I prefer the recipes with little to no added sugar.  Voted #1 "cookie" by one of the guys at work who claimed to have eaten all 12  :)

71 done.  4 M.O.R.E

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Baked: Brown Sugar Oatmeal Whoopie Pies with Maple Marshmallow Filling

The husband is on his second (at least) holiday party of the year.  So, he got the wintermint cake and these whoopie pies.  Ok, I will admit, that even though the recipe says in bold print 2 different times NOT to use imitation maple extract...I used it....  it was all that I could find and I had 2 containers left over from a cinnamon roll bake off 3 years, alas, I did not follow the recipe 100%.

That being said, these were not bad.  I have an aversion to maple syrup in general, especially the fake kinds.  So, after eating one of these to see what they tasted like, I had enough.  The cookie part was quite good - who can go wrong with 2 cups of brown sugar?! - but the filling was quite fake maple-y tasting.

He took them to work, and like a good husband, came back with only one left for himself for dessert after dinner  :)  They went over really well, he said.  And I am happy to have them out of the house as I have 16 more recipes to make in 16 days!

Oh and there was leftover filling, so I popped them in the oven at 250F for an hour and wala! Meringues!  :)  Husband likes meringues. This recipe was a win win for him.

59 DONE.  16 remain.   sooooo close!  This weekend is going to be a cookie baking frenzy!