Christmas Cookie Challenge

I really didn't know how I was going to make it happen this year. There was just so little time for Christmas preparations this year. It all happened so fast after Thanksgiving. Usually I have one weekend dedicated to Christmas cookie baking, but this year I had to squeeze it into one day. Ahhh, so many cookies, so little time!!

Of course, crazy me picked two time intensive recipes to make this year - macarons and cake balls. Macarons because I have recently declared them my favorite cookie (why did I pick the most expensive cookie? I seem to always pick the most expensive things). And then cake balls since my co-workers had been begging for them. 

And although I had just one day, I conquered. Here's the baker in action:

Baker  Heather

Chocolate Peppermint Cake Balls

Look at these beauties:

These are not necessarily complicated, but they are time consuming. You might remember the class I took earlier this year. Well, we swore not to share the secrets. However, this recipe isn't too far off if you really want to try it out. The peppermint flavor came from peppermint extract, and then I added some Andres Peppermint pieces inside. Of course a chocolate cake base. Then some red sprinkles and candy cane crumbles. Voila! No joke, my co-worker said these were, "a Christmas miracle!"

Gingerbread Macarons

Now, look at these beauties:

These cookies...well, where to start. It has been a love hate relationship for me. I absolutely love macarons, but they are a pain in the patootie to bake.

Here's something about me: I'm a perfectionist. Surprise! (well, you might have known that already.) These cookies test my perfectionism. The first time I made them after the class I took, they turned out quite well. Then the next time, they all cracked. Although, they still tasted good. This time, yet again, they cracked. I tried a new recipes, a new method, and I was so careful!

It's so sad. I dedicated so much time to them. They were like my little babies, and I spoke to them (oh wait, that's creepy, scratch that). Anyway...moving on...I so desperately wanted them to look like a French bakery. I had it all pictured in my head, and after they were done, I'd wrap them up so cute with ribbons. Not to mention...I am a baker and have a reputation to uphold.

The first batch came out great - they were smooth and pretty. Then the rest where just cracked. I tried so many things. I wanted to throw up my hands and give up. Then I tasted knew they were worth it, even though they weren't perfect.

Oh my goodness, where they good. Here's the recipe inspiration (considering how time consuming they are in the first place, I was not about to make them gingerbread man shaped). Then I followed Annie's step-by-step instructions.

In the end, totally worth it. But it was an emotional roller coaster. At one point, I thought I would never make these cookies again. Then I thought to myself...challenge accepted. Should I try these for New Years?


Oh yea, one more:


I lied to you at the start of this post. I said I only had time for two types of cookies, but another Christmas miracle I was able to squeeze in peppakakor. I made it while I was at home with my parents on Christmas Eve. I am so glad I was able to include these cookies in this year's cookie array - they are a tradition! (2009, 2010, 2011). These are a Swedish cookie that taste similar to gingersnap - a thin, delicate ginger type cookie. The tradition is passed down from my Grandma Norma (my Swedish side!). The picture I show is a Swedish Dala horse.

Whew, so glad I got my cookie baking in this year! YUM!