BAKE-ALONG: HolidayCookies

       These are baking notes for the recipe cards in Tattle Crime's Holiday Baking mailing campaign. 

       Freddie has packaged them with wonderful stickers and cards from The Tuxedos and there are still some sets available here:   
or email me: 

        Or if you missed getting the sets but you still want to bake along, you can find all the recipes on this blog. See the column to the right and click on: RECIPES: Holiday Cookies under "Make Stuff from the Show"  

Hannibal's Holiday Cookie Recipe Cards

Recipe card sets are available from Tattle_Crime and Feeding Hannibal. See deets at bottom of page.
Now that you've got your hands on Hannibal's Holiday Cookies recipe cards*, why not bake up a few batches of goodness? They make great gifts on their own or paired with a box of special tea or coffee.

There's not a lot of room on those cards for information. And Hannibal's handwriting is so swoopy and swashy that there's hardly enough space to give instructions. Plus, I'm hoping Fannibals around the world are baking these -- so I'm thinking we might need to help each other out on ingredient substitution.

Here are some of my tips for baking up these babies:

Gingerbread Friends

For Gideon cookies, just use a regular gingerbread boy cutter and carve off a leg or two or arms before you transfer the cut-out to the baking sheet. Save the legs you cut off! Poke a hole in the corner for string or ribbon and with a little red and white Royal Icing, they can be made into tiny hanging Christmas stockings.

Decorate with Royal Icing - Legs can become Christmas Stockings

For Bedelia, Use a regular gingerbread girl cutter and cut off one of her feet. If your cutter just has a dress with no feet, you shorten the dress and, using a bit of water, stick one of Gideon's cut-off leg under the dress.
Baggie and Piping bag of icing and coloured sugar for decorating 

Gingerbread cookies are easy to decorate with Royal Icing which is a plain white icing that hardens when it dries. It's great for cementing cookies together - like when you're making a gingerbread house - or making durable tree ornaments out of gingerbread stars, candycanes and reindeer. 

Icing for Decorating The recipe is on the back of the Gingerbread card. main thing with Royal Icing is getting the consistency right. If it's too runny, it will be hard to control when you are piping decorations. Beat in more icing sugar. If it's too stiff, it's hard to press through the piping bag. Beat in some water - a few drops at a time. 

The best equipment to use for piped decorations is a piping bag fitted with a small metal or plastic tip called a piping tube. For outlines, use a tube with a small round tip. If you can't get this equipment, you can put the icing in a heavy baggie, push it all to one corner then snip off the tiniest bit of the very corner to use as the writing tip and squeeze the icing out. 
Keep the icing covered with a wet towel while you are using it to keep it from hardening. If you need to store it, keep it in the fridge covered tightly with a wet towel and plastic wrap.

Florentines are very delicate and it may take a test batch to get the oven temperature and timing right. If the batter spreads out too thinly, lower the temperature by 25℉/15℃ or add a teaspoon more flour to the batter. 

The chocolate won't always harden (candy-makers temper chocolate by heating and cooling to exact temperatures) so the best thing to do is sandwich the Florentines together in pairs, chocolate sides together. Store in the refrigerator.

Instead of molasses, you can use corn syrup or honey, but the cookie will be lighter. I use "Fancy" grade molasses but you could use Blackstrap Molasses (also called Black Treacle) which would give you a darker cookie which will not be as sweet. 

Bedelia's Acorn Bites
Bedelia only eats Acorn Bites  Vegan, dairy-free, no wheat, no sugar added -- these little bites are like little health snacks when you want a sweet treat. And they are cute as can be. The version in the recipe is not too sweet so you can add a tablespoon of sugar to the dough if you want.

The best dates to use are the large Madjool kind. Choose the ones that are soft and not too dried out. Honey dates are great too - leave them on the stem to ripen then use them when the flesh becomes soft and sticky.

Will's Puppy Biscuits
Cookies for Dogs A great gift for your favourite dog! You can buy a bone-shaped cookie cutter or make one from a tuna can. But it has to be the old-fashioned kind that has a lip on both ends, top and bottom so both lids can be easily removed using a can opener.

For small and medium-sized dogs, use a small half-sized tuna can. For big dogs, use a regular sized can.

Reba's Cherry Pie Cookies
Pie-shaped Cookies These are regular refrigerator cookies spread with a tiny bit of cherry jam and topped with a lattice. Before you spread the jam, use the tines of a fork to poke holes in the dough circles. This will cookie crisp. Press the tines of a fork all around the circumference to make the cookies look like little pies. 

Bowl and platter made from gingerbread boys with a couple macarons waiting to be filled
Chocolate Macarons Gluten free, these Macarons are best made in dry weather. The secret really is to beat the egg whites really well for a long time so they stand up in stiff shiny peaks. This means when you lift the beaters up out of the meringue and turn the beater upside down, the pointy bit of meringue hanging from the beater doesn't flop over. Once you get that down, the rest is easy-peasy. Fold the nuts and the cocoa in very gently so you don't burst too many of the tiny bubbles that give the meringue its structure. 

You can use ground almonds instead of grinding slivered almonds but then skip the toasting part because 9 times out of 10, you'll burn them (when the phone rings or twitter distracts you).
Fill cut-outs with crushed hard candy before baking

When they have cooked and cooled, the candy will be like coloured glass.

Here are some cute ornaments you can make out of dough from Gingerbread Friends and Reba's Pie Cookies. Just cut rounds, the a smaller shape out of the round and a small hole at the top for a ribbon. Place on baking parchment and fill cut-outs with crushed coloured hard candies like Lifesavers. Bake for about 7 minutes. Hard candy will melt and make a stained glass effect in the cut-out! 

For those who weren't able to get the cards, I've posted the recipes. See the column to the right and click on: RECIPES: Holiday Cookies under "Make Stuff from the Show"  


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