Friday, January 1, 2010

Holiday Baking

This post is a little late but I've just gotten organized from the holidays. Every year at work, the Employee Committee holds a bake sale/silent auction the week before Christmas. This year the bake sale was a benefit for a coworker who is battling melanoma. Normally I would only bake a couple of things but this was for a good cause. I decided to go all out and bake a ton of goodies. I started baking at 8 AM on December 19th. This was a Saturday so I was home by myself in the morning. First up was a Mt. Dew cake which is very easy to make. This cake uses a lemon cake mix (I know) and pudding mixes as the base. I whisked both mixes together and in a seperate bowl mixed together the wet ingredients (eggs, oil, Mt. Dew). I combined all of them together and poured the batter into a bundt pan sprayed with Pam. Pop that into the oven for 55 minutes and I can relax. I was also racing to finish a scarf that I was making for my grandma for Christmas. I'd pop the cake/cookies into the oven and then go knit for a little while. The Mt. Dew cake smelled delicious and was done after 55 minutes. I pulled it out of the oven and placed it on the counter to cool. Back to knitting. After 10 minutes or so, I went to the kitchen to remove the Mt. Dew cake for the pan. I flipped the bundt pan over a cooling rack and nothing happened. The cake didn't come out. Ok, this is ok. I grabbed a butter knife and gently scraped along the sides of the pan. This is has happened before and isn't that big of a deal. I flipped the pan over and with a couple of shakes, the cake came out! Yay! Or maybe not, yay. The cake had chunk missing from it's side. Dang it! Changing the plan--I will be bringing a goodie tray to the bake sale with slices of Mt. Dew cake.

Next up, was some orange chocolate scones. I found this recipe in a Taste of Home magazine. It sounded great. The recipe uses pancake mix and heavy cream. Great, I can do this. Or maybe not. I didn't have heavy cream so I decided to substitute sweetened condensed milk for the heavy cream. It's not exactly the same but same concept, I thought. I had an orange so getting the grated orange peel was not a problem at all. But I didn't have the milk chocolate candy bars I needed. I did, however, have some German chocolate left over from making my husband's birthday cake. I decided to use that. I grabbed my food processor and pulsed the chocolate until it was coarse. The recipe said to knead the dough. Not happening... the dough looked more like pancake batter than bread dough. I can improvise, I thought as I poured the batter into an 8x8 greased pan. Pop that into the oven and we are good to go. I did learn from my earlier mistake with the Mt. Dew cake and let the scones cool in the pan completely before removing to a cooling rack. I personally didn't care for these but my husband said he liked the scones. They went onto the goodie tray as well.

I decided to make dinner rolls using my mom's recipe. I made the dough and left it to rise. I decided to take a nap. It was almost noon and keep in mind that I had been baking since 8 AM that morning. The dough was fully risen by the time I woke up. I was a little worried that it had rose too much. But I continued making the rolls. I kneaded the dough and shaped it into rolls in a glass 8x8 pan (greased, of course). I did save out one roll in a seperate pan for myself to try. Those went into the oven and I started on my next recipe.

I found a recipe for vanilla cherry chocolate cookies from the food network. I was going to make them for my dad for Christmas because he loves cherries and cookies. Perfect! I followed the recipe to a T and everything was going great. I put pan after pan of cookies in the oven. The cookies didn't spread out as much as I prefer but were still good. I did run into one tiny problem with them. A few of my cookie sheets are pretty old and black. The cookies on these sheets were a little burnt on the bottom. These cookies did not go into Dad's present or the goodie tray. I took them to work for our pot-luck in my department.

The rolls came out great. The goodie tray looked great. It contained Mt. Dew cake, orange chocolate scones, pecan bars (I made those the night before) and vanilla cherry chocolate cookies. It netted $15 at the bake sale. My coworker bought my dinner rolls for $8. I'm excited to find out how the dinner rolls tasted at her family's Christmas.