“Nothing clings to you like laughter…” – Full list of 2013 holiday baking

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I started off today in the office exchanging messages on Facebook with a colleague who was on a bus – it was unintentionally stalker-like to see her progress as her public transport made its way to different parts of the city, and I could track her, thinking, “Oh, she must have stopped responding because she is walking up the path to the office now…”. In any case, our conversation started the day off on the right foot because it sparked laughter. And, as Robyn Hitchcock sings, “Nothing clings to you like laughter…“. Too true.

I also noted that the 24 kinds of baked goods that I brought to the office yesterday – the logistical nightmare that that was – has been reduced and fits nicely on two long tables instead of three. Progress!

Christmas 2013 spread - three full tables

Christmas 2013 spread – three full tables

The final list of stuff baked and brought along with links to recipes (where they exist – some I was making for the first time so will post in new posts in the coming days)…

COCONUT-MACADAMIA COOKIES

CHRISTMAS M&M COOKIES (I know this links to a white chocolate macadamia cookie recipe, but I have been using it for M&M cookies for a while – prefer it to the one I used to use. Just eliminate the macadamia and white chocolate and put M&Ms in instead!)

VANILLA ORANGE ALMOND BISCOTTI   

CRANBERRY PISTACHIO BISCOTTI

TART CHERRY & PINE NUT BISCOTTI      

GINGERBREAD

THUMBPRINTS (WALNUTS & CHERRY)  

RUSSIAN TEA CAKES (ALMOND)

SHORTBREAD                            

CHOCOLATE MINT COOKIES

SNICKERDOODLES                    

RASPBERRY OAT BARS

PEANUT BUTTER CUPS                  

CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES

OREO TRUFFLES           

MAPLE PECAN COOKIES

PUMPKIN PIE                             

RAFFAELLO CANDY CUPCAKES (ALMOND, COCONUT)

BROWN SUGAR CUPCAKES W/ MAPLE FROSTING AND CANDIED BACON

GUINNESS CUPCAKES W/ BAILEYS FROSTING

OREO CHOCOLATE COOKIES-AND-CREAM CUPCAKES

EGGNOG COOKIES                    

PUMPKIN DOUGHNUTS

HONEY ALMOND SHORTBREAD

Tipsy cake – Guinness cupcake and Baileys Swiss meringue buttercream

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At last, a successful attempt at Guinness cupcakes and Baileys frosting. I doubled the recipe, so I had an exceptional number of these, which I spread liberally throughout the office – ensuring of course that my Irish friend and colleague had easiest access to them!

Guinness cupcakes (or you could use any stout beer you want to use)
1 cup butter
1 cup Guinness (or other stout)
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
1 cup white sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream

Heat butter, Guinness, cocoa and brown sugar on the stovetop until the butter is melted and the mixture comes together cohesively. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.

Mix flour, white sugar and soda. Add the Guinness mixture. Mix well.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the sour cream.

Divide into lined cupcake pans and bake at 350F/175C for about 20 to 25 minutes (until toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean). Let cool 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Place on a cooling rack to allow to cool completely before frosting.

Baileys Swiss meringue buttercream frosting
3 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 tablespoons Baileys

Mix the egg white and the sugar over a double boiler. The sugar should be completely dissolved when you remove it from heat. Pour the mixture into a large bowl (preferably the mixing bowl of a stand mixer — Swiss meringue is mixing intensive, so a stand mixer works best). Whisk on high speed until stiff but still wet peaks form. Continue to beat for about five or six minutes after these peaks form.

Switch to the paddle attachment and turn the speed to medium low. Add the butter in one or two tablespoons/pieces at a time. The mixture might start to look lumpy and curdled. Don’t worry. Keep mixing. When things start to come together, beat in the flavoring (in this case, the Baileys) and keep beating for another two minutes. It might take some time to get to the right texture. You will know when it comes together in a solid, fluffy, frosting-like consistency.