It’s Day 5 with Amanda from the sweet Amandeleine. Again, following beautiful pins on Pinterest, I found her sweet sweet site. She is such an experimenter which I like and her writing is enjoyable to read. I do lots of snickering. :) Beyond that, I would like someone to make me any and all of the following: Fruit Baked Oatmeal, Nutella Croissant Bread Pudding, Browned Butter Blueberry Muffins, Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Tart, Fresh Raspberry Tart with Lemon Filling and Gingerbread Crunch Ice Cream. Here is Homemade for the Holidays with Amanda.
Christmas time can be a joyous, yet difficult time for bakers. Sure, it may open up a venue of ingredients that are extra special this time of year. I’ll take gingerbread and peppermint not only in my coffee but all throughout my cookies please. However, in my experience, there’s also a level of stress that only seems to rear its ugly head around the holidays.
It’s all the nostalgia.
So you decide you want to make a pie. You ask those close to you that will partake in said pie, what type you should make for a lovely holiday dinner.
Friend #1: “PUMPKIN! It’s not the holidays if it’s not pumpkin.”
Friend #2: “Psh… pumpkin is for Thanksgiving ONLY, stop blurring the lines, go apple.”
Friend #3: “Whaaat, apple? There’s nothing Christmas about that, MY mom always makes pecan so you have to make pecan.”
Ah, the blessed “..my mom always ___ so you have to ____”. Meeting expectations of “my mom always…” can be particularly difficult. For some reason it will never actually just be that “My mom always makes pecan pie” but that “My mom always makes pecan pie with maple syrup. This one isn’t made with maple syrup, it’s wrong.”
I love Christmas, and I love how ingrained Christmas is in so many of our childhoods, but that tie to our past makes us crazy specific on how things should, nay, need to be done.
And so with all this pressure, I still felt the need to makes things even harder on myself and create a brand new recipe for a guest post on someone else’s blog and just hope it came out well enough to meet their expectations of my work.
You’re welcome Amy.
Perhaps I thought it would help skirt all those nostalgic expectations, to just make it something that couldn’t be compared to a similar iteration from once long ago.
The idea came to me in the shower (as the most ingenious of ideas always do) as I thought of one of my personal holiday favourites, Toblerone Shortbread. The recipe had a fabulous shortbread base, sandy without being dry, with a wonderful buttery flavour. Each shortbread was then topped with an entire piece of Toblerone.
So, I thought to myself amongst suds, what else could I stuff into a shortbread cookie that was inherently Christmassy?
Candy canes! Lots and lots of candy canes.
Which was an idea that flopped. But it’s all on how you approach the problem.
I had gotten… enthusiastic with the amount of candy cane I wanted to include in the shortbread. The dough just kept getting pinker and more candy cane-ish and I simply couldn’t help myself. What this meant was that when I baked the cookies, the low ratio of cookie dough to canes could not contain the candy that was slowly melting and turning the cookies into some sort of thin, crunchy, candy/cookie hybrid.
I was distraught. This was not what I had intended to make. But… the flavor was still good. And the texture wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t “cookie” texture. So I did what any sane baker would do. I covered it in chocolate.
It worked. The chocolate coating made it reminiscent of a candy bar, and gave a smooth richness to go along with crunchy sweetness in the middle, similar to a Heath or Skor bar. And it wasn’t like anything I had ever eaten as a kid.
When the holidays get crazy and you don’t which pie request to listen to or how to fix the enormous crack in your cheesecake, fret not. Listen to your baking heart and do what you know is right and delicious.
Cover it in chocolate.
Okay, so that doesn’t work for everything, but you get what I mean. Follow your gut. Your gut is the true expert in food, after all.
Merry Christmas and thanks to Amy for hosting me!
Thanks Amanda! These looks amazing!!!!!
Check out the rest of Amanda’s goodness at Amandeleine.
Find more Homemade for the Holidays here.