Thursday, December 7, 2017

2017 Holiday Dessert Party #1

Holiday Dessert Party round up - hosted on December 2, 2017

I typically decorate big for Christmas every other year. Anyone who's known me for any length of time knows I'm a Christmas nut. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday but decorating for Christmas is where my freak flag lives. And flies high.

Triple Layer Chocolate Cake with Fudge Frosting
It's usually a 2-3 month-long process, starting with the first month where I clean my house from top to bottom. You can't put decorations on dusty surfaces. Plus bookshelves must be cleared, every conceivable surface swept, vacuumed, mopped or dusted, furniture cleared away, the year-round pictures on the walls tucked away to be replaced by Christmas wall hangings, extraneous "stuff" donated to charity and so on.
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Kisses

Then month 2 is the structural framework. Artificial trees have to be put up, sometimes a new tree (or two *cough*) ordered, display planning needs to be done. The last month (this would be November since my goal is always to be done by Thanksgiving weekend) is about hanging the ornaments on the trees, putting up the wreaths on nearly every internal door in the house, hanging whatever needs to be hung on the walls, decorating the mantle, filling up the bookshelves with little vignettes of Christmas display pieces, lining the stairs with plush snowmen, and the list goes on.

Soft and Thick Snickerdoodles
This year, it took me a little longer since I could only work on it during weekends. I came home too late at night during the week to do it then. But I crammed a lot of decorating into those weekends so I met my goal of being done by Thanksgiving. Although, to be honest, I didn't actually finish all of my decorating plans. But I'd done enough that by Thanksgiving weekend, when it started to feel like a chore to keep putting more decorations up, I declared myself done. When I'm not enjoying it anymore, I stop. I don't believe in stressing for the holidays.
Almond Butter and Nutella Swirl Cookies

This year, I was motivated to declare myself done because I was out of time and needed to switch my energy from decorating to baking. Because I was going to hold my not-always-annual holiday dessert party this year. Several weekends before the party, I started making cookie dough to store in my freezer. What I made partially depended on who was coming as I know some of my friends' personal favorites and partially on any new recipes since the last party that I thought had turned out well and I wanted to make for them.

Ginger Krinkles
But ultimately it also depended on the practical realities of what could be made ahead of time and baked off at the last minute. Because you know I'm all about freshness and only serve baked goods that I could bake on the same day or the day before. Brownies are the only exception since they freeze well, can be made ahead of time, frozen (well wrapped) then thawed and cut right before serving.

Brownie-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
For what I was serving, I made only the toffee butter crunch shortbread and the triple layer chocolate cake the night before since both would be fine the next day. I knew the caneles would take the longest not only to bake but because I had to build in some buffer time for the canele copper molds to cool before I used them again.
Buttery Tea Balls
On the day of the party, I woke up at 5 am, brushed my teeth, washed my face, and turned on my oven by 5:05 am. I baked all the frozen cookie dough and canele batter steadily throughout the day. I didn't turn my oven off until 1:58 pm; the party was slated to start at 2. Made it just in the nick of time.
Cream Cheese Chocolate Brownies without the frosting

Essence of Chocolate Squares
So here's the holiday round up with links of the stuff I've made in the past. The new entrants to the holiday baking lineup will be posted later this month. Hopefully.

Toasted Hazelnut Slice n Bake Cookies sandwiched with Nutella

Diamond-Edged, Melt-in-Your-Mouth Butter Cookies

Butter Toffee Crunch Shortbread

1 comment: