I did a WHOLE lot of cooking on and around Christmas, and oh, do I ever have some recipes to share with you! I planned a lot of this out, time-wise, and it paid off. I had everything ready in just the right time, and never felt rushed or stressed. Even a small oven fire did not tarnish these delightful dishes! Here are my favorites from the Christmas season, all homemade(click on the title for a link to the recipe):
Beatty's chocolate cake: I don't know who Beatty is, so don't ask. I made this especially for my father-in-law, who is a chocolate fiend. I wanted something rich but not ganache-y, if that makes sense. Leave it to Ina Garten to come up with the perfect chocolate cake. The cake was perfect and I couldn't taste the coffee (thank goodness), and it had a depth to it that the boxed stuff just doesn't have. I wasn't a huge fan of the frosting, but I don't like frosting anyway unless it's cream cheese... wait a minute... I have an idea...
Pumpkin cheesecake: this was my favorite. I used crushed Biscoff cookies for the crust, which actually made a big difference. I may have forgotten to put a pan under the springform, resulting in spillage that may or may not have caused the aforementioned small oven fire. This came out perfectly, and didn't even split on top until I put it in the fridge. :( I should have let it get to room temp. first, though I kept it in the cooled oven for two hours!! It was smooth, creamy, dense but not too dense, and flavorful! My mom loved it, and even my husband, who's not a huge cheesecake fan, told me mine was better than The Lucky Dill's!
Breakfast boats: these were remarkably easy, and extremely tasty. Plus, they make a good appeance. I bought small demi-baguettes at Target, and that worked well, but you could probably make your own long loaf of artisan bread and it would be even cheaper. I made the filling in advance and just stirred it up before putting it into the bread and baking.
Cinnabon cinnamon rolls: I had never made cinnamon rolls from scratch before. Ever. I was scared. And skeptical (because Pillsbury claims to taste like Cinnabon, but let's be real. THEY DON'T). Skeptical and scared, was I. But I attempted them, and while messy, they were quite honestly, the real deal. Maybe it was the cream cheese icing, maybe it was the buns-- I don't know and I don't care, because now I can make Cinnabon cinnamon rolls at home! I made them the day before I baked them, and the insides kind of leaked out a little. It was still good though. I did make the mistake of placing them too closely in the pan, however, and the middle ones didn't cook (I had to finish them in the microwave... still good!). Next time I'll leave an inch or so around each one.
Buttermilk Blackberry cake: OK, I cheated-- this wasn't during Christmastime. I made this last night. But it's so good, I had to share. I had leftover buttermilk from my Christmas baking, and I happened to buy blackberries (my favorite berry) on sale at Aldi. So I did a Pinterest search and found a recipe for this cake. I had no idea how it would turn out, but it was fantastic! It was buttery, and the edges were glorious. I baked mine 10 minutes longer than the recipe called for, and also used some corn starch with my flour to make it more like pastry flour, but it turned out spectacular.