Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Baking

It seems like all around the blogosphere, many of you are getting together and baking with others.  What a great activity to share with others!  I didn't have an opportunity to bake with others this season, but I did do some baking on my own last weekend - which is a rare occurrence.  Gluten free baking is... well...  interesting.  You just never know how things are going to turn out.  In most cases, you can't just sub in gf flour for regular flour, as it just doesn't turn out.  And bottom line, I am actually not a big sweets person...  Most days, I'd much prefer some pickles or chips & salsa.

That said, I wanted to have some treats to enjoy this holiday season, so on Friday night, I made some banana bread - with chocolate chips.  'Tis the season to be indulgent.  Banana bread is not Christmasy, but it is a gluten free recipe that I can execute and I wanted to share some with my co-workers and my aunt & uncle. 

Sliced up and ready to share with my aunt & uncle

And then I made Mama Pea's gluten free dough balls!

Some of my friends made these last year and raved about them, so I had to give them a go.  They turned out great!  I brought them to my brother's to freeze as I was out of freezer space and I think this is a very good thing as I fear I would have consumed quite a few this week otherwise!

So since I didn't get a chance to have a baking get-together, I thought I'd ask you some questions that I would have asked had I hosted you in my home!

1.  What is your favorite holiday treat?
 * Mine is probably peanut butter blossoms, aka kiss cookies.  These are not gluten free so I usually go without, but my awesome aunt & uncle got me some from a gluten free bakery!  They are delish!

2.  Do you prefer to bake or cook or do you like them equally?
* I used to prefer baking because baking requires precision.  A recipe will never say, "salt to taste".  But, I don't love sweets, and I don't enjoy the inevitable disappointment of gluten free baking, so I now prefer cooking!

3.  How do you separate an egg (separate the yolk from the whites, or vice versa)?  Do you pass the yolk back and forth between the halves of the shell or do you crack it into your hand and let the egg whites fall between your fingers?
* I pass the yolk back and forth between the shell halves.  I see a lot of people on Food Network employ the other method and it sort of makes me twitch.  I do not like having 'messy' hands, so I so could not do that other method!

4.  Are you a clean as you go or wait until the end to clean up type?
* I am definitely a clean as I go.  I do not like chaos in the kitchen, so if possible, I try to rinse dishes/load the dishwater as I work on recipes.

I'd love it if you'd answer some/all of the questions in the comments!  Also - what have you baked this holiday season?


Becky said...

1. Mmm, peanut butter blossoms ARE good. I would say my favorite holiday treat is peppermint hot chocolate - so yummy!

2. Oh I'm def. a baker. Not having a recipe makes me a little (*ahem* a lot!) anxious! When Ben throws together stuff for dinner it's delicious but I can't be in the kitchen because he doesn't measure anything!

3. Um, I've never heard of the passing the yolk back and forth way! I crack an egg how my mom taught me - I tap it a little on the counter to start to break it, then crack it in half with both of my hands, letting the yolk fall below. I don't have messy hands that way, and I always crack it into something else (a bowl, small dish, etc), before putting it in with the main dish or mixing bowl.

4. I try to clean up as I go (that's what my mom taught me to do), but I usually just end up cleaning at the end. (Or rather, telling Ben he should since I just made this delicious.......)

abbi said...

I need to start my holiday baking...must start tonight! I definitely prefer baking to cooking. I separate eggs by passing the yolk back in forth in the cracked shell and I tend to wait until the end to clean up!

Ashley said...

1. MY favorite holiday treat is the sugar cookies my mom makes. I think it's also the sentimental factor that makes them so delicious.

2. I totally prefer baking over cooking!

3. I crack the egg in my hand and let the white fall through my fingers. It's messier, but I think I'd drop the yolk if I did it the other way.

4. I try to clean as I go, as much as possible. It makes it much less annoying than doing it all at the end.

Amber said...

I have managed to stay out of the dough balls in my freezer if you can believe it! I thought about having one last night and then quickly brushed my teeth. Haha!

1. gingerbread men and buttertarts!! I sadly haven't had any yet this year but will when I go home I'm sure :)

2. I really enjoy both! Moreso cooking because I don't *like* following a recipe to exact precision ;)

3. I definitely use the passing it from shell to shell method. I've tried the way Becky said and that has let the yolk slip through many times haha!

4. I definitely clean up as I go. Kind of drives me nuts when Eric cooks and DOESN'T do this ;) But each to their own!

Anonymous said...

Just had to comment on the egg separating thing. I just crack the egg onto a plate and then use a small cup to cover the yolk and let the white slip into another bowl. You have to repeat a number of times - ie move the cup around a bit so that all of the white comes off the yolk. OK more washing up but less messy hands and a pretty sure fire way to not go wrong!

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

This post confirms we are kindred spirits. As if I needed to tell you that. But, seriously! Other than the baking versus cooking (I love cooking better, because I usually am socializing while cooking and never want to pay more attention to the recipe than I do to Sweets/friends/etc.). But, I hate messy hands (constantly washing and drying them throughout the cooking/baking process) and most definitely clean as I go (it drives me crazy that Sweets waits until the end, or even worse, a couple days later, to clean up his messes!). Anyway, you can come bake in my kitchen anytime! =)

Marisa A. said...

1. I love my grandmas christmas cookies! They're like sour cream sugar cookies basically. So good!

2. I love baking. But I like you am not huge into sweets, so I cook more often than bake.

3. Def pass the yoke back and forth, I'd be too grossed out to let it run between my fingers!

4. Clean as I go. I can't stand a mess or clutter!

Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

1. My favorite holiday treat is probably any of those cake balls (like the one I posted today). They are so good, but so dangerous...

2. I prefer to cook. I rarely bake, but would really like to start soon to start bringing treats into the schools I work at.

3. Ewww, I don't let the whites slip through my fingers. That sounds really gross. I pass the yolk back and forth.

4. OH, I am definitely a clean as I go person! I can't stand a messy kitchen!

Cute post! :)

Jess said...

I actually just recently tried some gluten free banana chocolate chip bread and it was delicious! (And, I actually thought about you when I found out it was gluten.)

My favourite holiday treats are nanaimo bars (I think I mentioned that to you just recently.)

Stephany said...

1. Peanut butter blossoms are my FAVORITE. I usually bake homemade chocolate chip & M&M cookies but I might have to make these. I've been craving them for weeks now!

2. I like to bake. I haaaate to cook. Cooking gets me all stressed, trying to get the recipe & everything time right. Not a fan! Baking though? Lovvvve baking!

3. I have an egg white separator to separate my egg whites. It's super easy and soooo much less mess. That second option is making me want to vom. ;)

4. I'm in the middle? I usually put things away and in the kitchen sink as I bake, but I don't actually rinse things out and put in the dishwasher as I go. The biggest thing I hate about baking is the mess. Erg.

Nora said...

I am totally a clean as you go kind of person. I can't stand messiness in the kitchen, at all!

I'm making some new things tomomrrow: snow storms, whoopie pies and maybe chip chubbies (a name that seems rather... inappropriate but still funny).

I need to try dough balls too :)

Raquelita said...

I enjoy baking, but I prefer cooking as I'm more of a savory than a sweets person. I haven't done much holiday baking this year other than a batch of brownies to eat while grading finals. I might do some mint chocolate chip cookies tomorrow or Friday, though.

Lauren @ Sassy Molassy said...

I love baking and cooking pretty equally, but cooking tends to be a bit harder for me because I actually have to plan for (shop) it whereas baking I usually have everything to make most basic recipes. Banana bread is one of those recipes that is great year round!!

J said...

Gluten free baking is tough! I made an angle food cake once and it was just weird.

1. I love cutout cookies!
2. I prefer to bake!
3. I pass the yoke back and forth between the shell!
4. I try to clean up as I go, but sometimes its hard. I do clean up once I am done with one baking/cooking thing before moving on to the next project!

Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

So glad you found some gluten free dough balls you love!

1. Sadly, I love both salty foods like chips AND sweets- lucky me. I think I like sugar cookies the best this time of year, and mos things with chocolate.

2. I think I like baking better... but I see good things about both. I prefer a recipe though, an easy one!

3. I definitely pass the yolk back and forth like you. I wouldn't want egg all over my hand haha.

4. One of the major reasons I'm not a huge fan of baking or cooking is the mess it makes, as I hate cleaning up. So I TRY to clean as I go, or at least when it's in the oven haha.

crystal said...

Good questions! 2) I definitely prefer baking and am not a cook at all!! I have a super sweet tooth though, so I guess that makes sense. 1) There is no way I can pick a favorite holiday treat. 3) Im too impatient for egg separating and usually end up with a mess :) Oh and 4) I clean at the end, but I do need to do it right away or it drives me crazy and I can't enjoy whatever it is that I baked!

Mandy said...

Love this! Those dough balls look great. I need to try them.

1. I think peanut butter blossoms are my favorite too. Or these cookies that my mom makes -- ritz crackers with peanut butter and marhsmallow fluff and then the whole thing gets dipped in chocolate.

2. I love both. I'm also not a precision baker and usually dont measure things. A little of this and a little of that, a bit more of this...ha, it would drive Becky crazy.

3. I pass the yolk back and forth or I use my egg separator, if I can find it.

4. I usually clean as I go. It depends on what I'm making or how much of it I'm making.

Unknown said...

The banana bread and dough balls are EXCELLENT!!! Thanks for sharing.

I love peanut butter balls, the one's that taste like Reese's. I also LOVE your mom's peanut brittle. I miss having that at Christmas time.

I separate eggs by passing them from shell half to shell half. Not going to change, that is the way I will always do that job.

I am definitely a clean as I go baker and cook.

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

I dont make things that require separting the egg hehehe. i suck at baking.

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

Okay first of all, what is a dough ball? I mean, what do you do with it? Enlighten me.

1. I love clam dip. It's a family tradition. We also make blue cheese dip, which is great too. I could sit by the appetizer table for hours!

2. I love both. I like the precision of baking AND the fun of making up recipes when cooking. I prefer to eat savory foods, so for myself, I cook. For others, I bake.

3. I pass the yolk back and forth. I did not know there was another way. I don't mind getting my hands dirty; I must wash/wipe them about 100 times per recipe.

4. CLEAN AS YOU GO! Definitely! I don't like it when people (ahem, not to mention names, my brother and my boyfriend) make the kitchen look like a hurricane came through it.

This holiday season I have baked apple cakes, banana breads, turkey pies, 15 different types of cookies, apple crisp...and more!

I want to hear how you make your banana bread!

Abby said...

Fun! That banana bread looks delicious. I made a big batch for Ryan & his dad while hunting. I forget you can put choc chips in! Wish I'd have thought to do that! Those dough balls look yummy too!

I love this post, as I love baking. I told Ryan this week that if I had unlimited funds & unlimited "eaters) I would own every gadget and bake/cook everything! Makes me so happy.

I either flip the yolk between shells to separate the egg, or use my little tool that I have.

I always clean as I go. I do dishes minimum of 3 times while preparing a big meal or baking!

This year I made: almond bark pretzels, Cranberry-chocolate Biscotti, peanut butter blossoms, ginger snaps, & peppermint-chocolate fudge!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

I separate the yolk the same way as you do - it makes more sense to me than any other method.

Jeanie said...

I'm definitely a clean as you go woman -- my counter space is limited and if I don't, big mess! And a shell-to-shell separator, though I've seen these gadgets that are supposed to be decent. Haven't tried them. I love cooking period. But baking is a little more fun!

I was derailed in some of my baking, being sick, so might do a little more this week to pass about!