Friday, December 18, 2015

5th Annual Best of Wine Ladies Christmas Bake Day 2015

 "Best of Wine Christmas Baking Ladies" - this is a name I came up with for a few reasons.  We only bake once a year at Christmas and if we do it together we can drink wine.  A couple of the ladies now have grandchildren and I am sure on their baking days they don't drink wine out of little tea cups, but then again you never know.  Sounds like a good idea to put on the back burner for future grandchildren.  :).

Nothing better than a glass of prosecco to start the baking.

 The men join us for dinner and also to help eat the baked goods.  

The ladies arrive a drink is poured, the aprons are on and so is the oven.  The kitchen is heating up and some wonderful aromas are wafting out of the oven door.  Thankfully the new element that was put in on Thursday held up for a day of cooking.  My stove has 2 ovens, a small one racker and a larger 2 racker.  Last year the week before the Baking Day the element in the small oven broke.  This year the element in the large oven broke.  I have to make sure to do the bake day earlier next year so if it breaks again my warranty will still be in force.  

 Dale the smart little cookie that she is did her baking ahead of time.  Katelyn, her daughter-in-law, helped her make the plates.  She knows us well, Good Food, Good Wine, Good Friends, Good Times and lots of chocolate :)

Maryjo made her almond cookies which were to die for and Sharon made her famous whipped shortbread, can't have a Christmas without some shortbread.

Lindsey tried a new recipe this year, Flourless Chocolate Snow Mountains.  Thankfully she did bring us all some of her millionaire bars.  They are hidden, had our first one last night.  Not letting the kids know where they are :)
 Cathy also tried a new recipe, the ladies were being very brave this year.  Cranberry and Nut Square.

 Dale brought an old favourite appetizer from our hockey mom days in the 90's.  Yes we were barely out of diapers ourselves in the 90's.
Curry Cheese Spread

8 ounce cream cheese

4 ounces old white cheddar shredded

1/2 tsp of curry or to taste

Mix together and form into a round disc 5"x1" refrigerate for an hour.
Top with mango chutney, chopped green onions, shredded coconut, chopped pecans and raisins. Serve with crackers, Bosc pear slices, Granny Smith apple or celery!
 Whew the aprons are coming off, the men are arriving and the wine is flowing.  

 Finally time to eat, drink and be merry, with a little bit of singing, thankfully this year there wasn't any politics discussed, we must have been a wee bit tired :)

My friends are like sugar, milk chocolate, pasta, pizza and wine.  They laugh and cry with me and lend me their shoulders whenever I need them.  

Merry Christmas to you and your families from the "Best of Wine Christmas Baking Ladies".  May 2016 be a wonderful year (and yes after all these goodies I will have to hit the gym again).


Some of our Recipes:

Flourless Chocolate Snow Mountains
Prep time 30 min - total one hour
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
112g dark chocolate, about 4 squares, chopped, melted and cooled *****
1/4 granulated sugar
1/4 cup icing sugar

Makes 26

Whisk almonds with cocoa, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter with brown sugar in a large bowl, using electric mixer, until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in cooled chocolate. Fold in almond mixture until combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until dough is firm enough to roll, about 10 minutes.

Position racks in top and bottom thirds of oven. Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 baking  sheets with parchment paper. Place granulated and icing sugars in 2 separate small bowls. Scoop dough and roll into tbsp sized balls. Coat with granulated sugar, then icing sugar. Place on baking sheet 1" apart. Bake in top and bottom thirds of oven, switching and rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies crack, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove sheets to rack and leave for two minutes. Cookies will look undercooked but will continue to bake as they sit. Remove to a rack to cool completely. Store in airtight container at room temperature up to a week or freeze up to a month.

Millionaire Shortbread
2 cups flour
4 tbsp brown sugar
1 cup butter(melted)

Mix together and press into bottom of 9 x 13 pan. Bake @ 350 for 20 min.

In a pot put:
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
4 tbsp corn syrup
1 can Eagle Brand condensed milk

Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes stirring constantly. Pour over crust immediately.

When cooled, melt a large Jersey milk chocolate bar over low heat and spread over bar. Chill and cut into small squares...serve cold

Keep frozen until serving.

White Chocolate Gingersnap Bark
Makes: 8-10 servings
16 oz. good quality white chocolate
6 gingersnap cookies, crumbled
Pour 12 oz. of the white chocolate into a heat proof bowl and heat in the microwave for 2 minutes, stopping to stir after each 30 seconds goes by.
Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, stir in the remaining  4 oz. of the chocolate until all of the chips are melted.
Add the crumbled cookies into the white chocolate and pour the bark onto a piece of parchment paper. Spread the bark into an even layer and let it sit for an hour or two, until the chocolate is set.
Break into pieces.

Candy Cane Bark  
1 pkg (300 g) CHIPITS  Pure Semi-Sweet Mint Chocolate Chips
1 pkg (225 g) CHIPITS Pure Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 cup (250 mL)  CHIPITS White Chocolate Chips
1/4 cup (60 mL) crushed candy canes or peppermints

Set aside 1/4 cup of the mint chocolate chips. In heatproof bowl set over saucepan of hot (not boiling) water, melt semisweet chocolate chips and remaining mint chocolate chips, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. 

In separate bowl over saucepan of hot (not boiling) water, melt white chocolate chips, stirring until smooth. Stir 2 tbsp of the candy canes into the white chocolate.

Scrape semisweet chocolate mixture onto foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. With rubber spatula, spread to 1/2-inch (1 cm) thickness. Dollop with white chocolate mixture; using tip of knife, swirl together to make marbled pattern. Sprinkle with remaining candy canes and reserved mint chocolate chips, pressing lightly to adhere. Refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes. Cut into shards. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 1 week.)

Mint Chocolate Fudge
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp mint extract
green food coloring
Line an 8x8 pan with foil so that it is sticking out over the edges.
In two separate sauce pans, both over medium low heat, melt the white chips and the chocolate chips.Add half of the sweetened condensed milk to one and half to the other.Stir both pans until they are fully melted.Add the mint extract and the green food coloring to the white chips and stir until fully combined.Remove both pans from the heat and add a few spoonfuls at a time of each one to the pan. Continue adding randomly until both sauce pans are empty. Shake the 8x8 pan a little to make it even. Very gently run a butter knife a few times through to give it a swirled effect.Refrigerate overnight. Pull the foil (with the fudge) out of the pan and away from the fudge. Cut into square pieces. Serve or store in an airtight container.

Almond Cookies

1 cup Butter
1/2 cup White Sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
2/3 cups Almonds ( chopped very fine)
1 2/3 Cup Flour

Whip butter until smooth and add sugar and salt....beat until creamy
Combine chopped almonds and flour and gradually add to butter mixture until blended.

Make as small or as large a log as you want ( mine were a wee bit small!!). You separate the dough and roll into logs....say about 8-10 inches long.....thickness to your desire. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate. Cut with sharp knife and place on coolie sheet. Bake in slow over (325) for 10-15 min...check after 10.

Cool and when still slightly warm, roll in a mixture of icing sugar and cinnamon.

Magic Squares
3/4 c melted butter or margarine 
2 c graham cracker crumbs
1 can condensed sweetened milk
1/2 c chopped pecans
3/4 c chocolate chips
1c dried cranberries
1c flaked coconut

Combine crumbs and butter. Put into a greased 9x13" pan. Mix together the remaining ingredients and pour over crumb mixture. Bake 350 for 25-30 min.

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