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Monday, January 7, 2008

Lots of Christmas Baking

Finally getting to posting all the Christmas baking we did over the past few weeks. For Christmas Eve, we were at my Dad's house. One of his all time favorite desserts is Tiramisu, so I wanted to make that for him. But Daniel doesn't like traditional tiramisu with chocolate shavings/cocoa powder and espresso...and I didn't want to make two desserts for Christmas Eve. Luckily, I found a Giada De Laurentiis recipe that was the perfect solution. I just changed her raspberry version into a strawberry version and everyone was happy. I followed her recipe exactly, other than switching out strawberry jam and fresh strawberries for their raspberry counterparts.

Strawberry Tiramisu...

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By icecreamb4dinner
Ladyfingers & Jam/Grand Marnier layers

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By icecreamb4dinner
Creamy sugary mascarponey layer & fresh strawberries

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Finished product, before confectioners sugar dusting.

The last and only other time I have made a recipe of Giada's, it turned out quite good, but it was a royal pain in the butt to make. Me and Daniel decided to make her recipe for Turkey Sausage Pizza Pockets but working with the dough was so difficult, we nearly killed each other. I attributed this to the prepackaged pizza dough, though, and gave her another shot. This recipe for Tiramisu came out so good, I think I'll keep her in mind for other recipes in the future.

Next up, for Christmas Day, I wanted to make these Austrian Shortbread cookies to bring to my grandmother's house. The only difference between the epicurious recipe and mind is that I used Self Rising flour (and left out the salt and baking powder the original recipe called for) and used Cherry preserves instead of Raspberry. The tough dough nearly burnt out the wee motor of my dad's hand mixer, and the process of hand grating all that frozen dough gave me, my sister, and Daniel's biceps a serious workout. I began to have my doubts that all this work would pay off, but the finished product was amazing. After it sat over night, everyone agreed it was great. I think next time I would put only half the confectioner's sugar on right after coming out of the oven (as the recipe says) and save the rest for after it has cooled completely, because the confectioner's sugar turned yellow from the heat and looked more like grated cheese than sugar. And I might take their suggestion and substitute 1 cup cocoa for 1 cup of the flour for chocolate shortbread.

Austrian Shortbread with Cherry Filling...

(Don't mind the unflattering pictures)
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The Bake-A-Thon Continued as we prepared 2 bailey's cheesecakes: One for my dad to bring to work, and one to split between my Dad's family and my Mom's. I have no idea where I got this recipe from. I've had it for a while and I've gradually made changes to it since I started using it. But its a favorite recipe, and even people who don't like Baileys tend to like this cheesecake. This time, we used Caramel Bailey's instead of original, and I changed the crust a little bit.

Marble Bailey's Caramel Cheesecake with Hot Cocoa Nilla Wafer Crust...

Crust Ingredients:
Box of Nilla Wafers or graham crackers
1/2 stick of unsalted butter, melted
1/4 c sugar
1 packet hot cocoa.

Combine butter, sugar and hot cocoa mix. Stir in the nilla wafers or graham cracker crumbs. Press into the bottom of a greased & parchment-lined 9" springform pan. Bake 10 minutes at 350. Let cool and grease the sides of the pan.

Filling Ingredients:
3 8oz pkgs cream cheese, softened
3/4 C sugar
3 eggs
3/4 C bailey's caramel
2 Oz melted chocolate.

*Preheat to 450 and put in a shallow baking dish filled with water (prevent's cracking!)
*Beat cream cheese until smooth.
*Slowly beat in the sugar, then the eggs one at a time. Then Bailey's.
*Pour 1/3 of mixture into a bowl and stir in the melted chocolate.
*Pour most of the plain cream cheese mixture into the prepared pan.
*Drizzle with the chocolate cream cheese mixture.
*Pour the rest of the plain mixture on top.
*To make marble, take a knife and gently swirl.
*Bake 10 minutes at 450, then lower to 250 and bake for 55 min.
*Let cool all the way before putting in the frig.

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