Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Let the holiday baking begin...

I'm starting to weed through the recipes we've made before and what new recipes we are going to try for the upcoming holiday baking that we do. There are some that I want to test out ahead of time and since we needed to bake something for Jeff to bring in for Wednesday Treat Day tomorrow, I figured it would be a good day to start!

I've mentioned before that one or two bite treats are a favorite of mine to make and I was definitely attracted to this recipe for Cocoa Tassies with Peppermint Creme Filling. Buttery chocolate cups are simply made from a dough consisting of flour, sugar, cocoa (I used Penzey's Dutch-Process for a deeper flavor) and of course some cold butter. There is a tedious portion that happens when you start pressing small balls of dough into miniature muffin cups - but since the dough is not too sticky, it would be a good job for a little helper! Once these are baked, a sweet filling is concocted from softened butter, marshmallow creme, powdered sugar and a few drops of peppermint extract. I used a star tip to pipe the creamy thick mixture into the cups and jazzed up the tops with some crushed candy canes. While they were a little time consuming, they turned out to be a fun project and made for a very festive presentation!

For tonight's dinner, I went for a recipe called Indian-Spiced Chicken with Tomato Chutney. The chutney begins with a mixture of shallots and a spicy serrano chile. Fresh ginger and garlic are added, followed by chopped tomatoes, red wine vinegar, a dash of sugar to balance the flavors and a few mustard seeds. This bubbles away until the tomatoes soften and the mixture starts to become thick. While this cooks, I started on toasting a spice mixture made from coriander, curry powder, cumin and black pepper in a bit of olive oil to bring their flavors to life. To easily season the chicken, use a pastry brush to evenly coat both sides with the spice mixture. I used The Griddler as the grill to cook the chicken and it was done it just a few minutes. While I can't really comment on how authentic the flavors were, the toasted spices that coated the chicken seemed to work well together. Jeff and I both thought that the chunky and spicy chutney served over the chicken brought this dish over the edge - but in a good way!


  1. I can't wait to read about all the goodies you'll be baking this holiday season! Last year's list was inspirational to me!

  2. Joe,
    Those tassies look gorgeous! You mentioned they are tedious.
    I thought I'd mention that there's a handy thing for pressing stuff into mini muffin cups. It makes it go a lot faster. I'm not a Pampered Chef rep or anything, but I happened to get mine from Pampered Chef. Here's the link:
    I would imagine other companies make them.

  3. Pampered Chef has a thing to press dough into those little muffin cups. I saw it in the catalog at a party I went to. These look really good and easy! Thanks!

  4. Oh my! I LUST after choclate/peppermint combinations. I've been craving the peppermint buttercream cookies I made last year, but I think I have another recipe to add to the mix.
    I can't wait to read about all of your good stuff you'll be makng for the holidays. You do have my address, right? :) :) :)

  5. holiday baking already? no, no, no!! i refuse to let christmas into my kitchen before i hear "last christmas" from wham on the radio for the first time!

    on the other hand though ... your tassies look incredible ... ahh, what the hell!! i want an early christmas this year! where are my cookie cutters?!??

    thanks for sharing the recipe!

  6. Stella - I can't wait to get started!

    Tracy and Brenda - Thanks! I'll have to go and look for it!

    Jennifer - I love the combo too, especially the chocolate/peppermint ice cream cake we made last year!

    Tschoerda - Hee hee!