Ancestral Notes

My Family History blog

Geneabloggers Winter Cookbook- Chocolate Reindeer Cookies

These cookies are really easy to make and are very festive-looking.

Chocolate Reindeer Cookies

1 cup butter or margarine. softened

1 1/2 cups flour

1/3 cup cocoa

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

72 small unsalted pretzels

72 candy-coated milk chocolate pieces

36 small red gumdrops

In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer or medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, cocoa, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.

Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.

Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined.

Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour.

Divide into 6 equal portions. Wrap and chill for 3 hours or until dough is easy to handle.

On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a circle 6″ in diameter. Using a knife, cut each circle into 6 wedges and place 2″ apart on cookie sheet.

To make antlers, on each triangle lightly press a pretzel into upper corners. Cut off about 1″ of bottom point, and cut into two small triangles. Place small triangles, tip side up, over antlers and press the bottom part into dough to make ears.

Press red gumball into bottom edge for nose, and chocolate pieces for eyes.

Bake in 375F oven for 7 -9 minutes or until edges are firm. do not over-bake. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute. transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Makes 36 cookies.

The original recipe didn’t have the one step of cutting the bottom tip and making two ears and the pretzels fell off. With this modification, the pretzel antlers stay put and the reindeer looks more like a reindeer. I used melted white chocolate and mini-chips to make the eyes after the cookies were cooled when I made them.

Filed under: Geneablogger's Winter Cookbook 2009, Special Events, , , ,

Geneablogger’s Winter 2009 Cookbook – Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll

When we go to my sister’s house for our family get-together, there are some foods that are brought every year, one of the favourite desserts that my sister-in-law brings is a Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll. She doesn’t make it, her mother makes it, and decorates it for her with Christmas picks. She bakes two because we have such a large family. We split up the leftovers at the end of the night for everyone to take home, but there hasn’t ever been any leftovers of this dessert. I have bugged my sister-in-law to get the recipe from her mother for years and finally I found one that tastes almost the same, my husband, says it tastes the same, but, everything always tastes better when someone else makes it.

My husband going for a piece of Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll

Ingredients:

3 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar, divided
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
FILLING:
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Additional confectioners’ sugar, optional

Directions:

Line a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan with waxed paper; grease the paper and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat egg yolks on high speed until thick and lemon-coloured. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar and pumpkin, beating on high until sugar is almost dissolved.
In a small mixing bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold into egg yolk mixture. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; gently fold into pumpkin mixture. Spread into prepared pan.
Bake at 375° for 12-15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool for 5 minutes. Turn cake onto a kitchen towel dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Gently peel off waxed paper. Roll up cake in the towel jelly-roll style, starting with a short side. Cool completely on a wire rack.
In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth. Unroll cake; spread filling evenly to within 1/2 in. of edges. Roll up again. Cover and freeze until firm. May be frozen for up to 3 months. Remove from the freezer 15 minutes before cutting. Dust with confectioners’ sugar if desired. Yield: 10 servings.

Filed under: Geneablogger's Winter Cookbook 2009, Special Events, ,

Geneablogger’s Winter 2009 Cookbook – Call for Recipes


Time is running out for getting those favourite recipes submitted in time for the Geneablogger’s Winter Cookbook 2009 edition. The deadline for inclusion in this year’s cookbook is December 1st, and it is coming up in a few days.

Filed under: Geneablogger's Winter Cookbook 2009, Special Events, ,

Geneabloggers Winter Cookbook- Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Cookie Cut-Outs
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup molasses
6 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp cinnamon

In a large bowl, beat butter with sugar until light, beat in eggs and molasses.
Stir together dry ingredients and gradually stir into molasses mixture with wooden spoon. Mix well, working with hands if necessary.
Divide dough in quarters, shape into disks and wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until firm, can be refrigerated for up to one week.
Roll out chilled dough to 1/8 inch thickness and cut into desired shapes. Bake at 375 F for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool a few minutes before removing from baking sheet.

Gingerbread House Glue

I have made Gingerbread houses for years and I got discouraged by the time it took to assemble using icing to glue the pieces together. I have started making them again because I’ve learned abut a quicker and stronger glue. I was watching the “Christmas at the White-house” a couple of years ago and the chef was making the traditional “Gingerbread White-house” and he was using melted chocolate to glue it together. How simple is that! It firms up and holds after a minute of being chilled. I just assemble the houses in front of a slightly open window. I put melted chocolate into a ziploc bag and cut the tip. When it starts to cool in the bag I put the bag in some hot water, keeping the tip out of the water or in the microwave for a few seconds.

Rolling out Gingerbread pieces

I use the bottom of the baking sheet and roll out the dough right on the sheet and cut it. I remove the scraps and just bake it in the oven. This way, the pieces don’t get stretched by being transferred to the cookie sheet and the pieces fit together better when glued. You have to score the cut lines with a sharp knife when still warm. Make sure that your cookie sheet doesn’t warp when heated, I have a couple of these, they’re still okay for baking cookies but not gingerbread houses.

Cutting out Gingerbread Houses

I use quilting template graph sheets for cutting out gingerbread pieces. They are plastic and see-through and the measurements are easy to read. It is easier and more accurate than cutting out templates from cardboard and trying to get them to fit.

I found the recipe on a Wilton’s forum. I made fondant the old way before for my son’s birthday cake and it was so time-consuming and the fondant was hard to work with (his birthday is the end of July so it was humid). This is easy to make and quick, you can have a batch of fondant in 15 minutes! I am going to use it to make decorations for the gingerbread houses, it’s a lot cheaper than going out and buying candy.

Marshmallow Fondant

1 cup mini marshmallows
1 tbsp water
1 1/2- 1 3/4 cup powder sugar

Place marshmallows in a standard 1 cup measuring cup and push down and pack them in. Place in a microwave safe bowl and add the water. Put in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Just long enough for them to soften and puff up. Take out and stir with a spoon until it is combined well. At this point it looks kind of soupy. Then add the sugar and mix and fold until all is incorporated and it is no longer sticky. I take it out of the bowl when it gets to the point where most of the sugar is incorporated and I knead it in my hands. This takes roughly about 5-7 minutes. Take a fondant roller or a regular rolling pin and roll out just as you would Wilton’s fondant. You can get this fondant almost paper thin and it also repairs well. It’s cheap, easy to work with, and tastes great too.

You can make a large batch of this fondant as well by doing this:

Large batch of Marshmallow fondant:

1- 16 oz bag of mini marshmallows
2 tbsp water
2 lbs powdered sugar (8 cups)

Do the same procedure as above.

Fondant is used for cakes and candies. It is rolled out and draped over cakes and gives a professional finish. It can be coloured, flavoured, painted, lustre dusted, transfer pictures, etc. You can make bonbons by dipping fondant balls in chocolate. I made candies and trim that looks like eyelet, trees, snowmen, bricks, etc. It is like edible playdough. It dries out and becomes firm and I just glue it on with icing.

It can be rolled out and used to cover the base of the Gingerbread House too, just take a piece of tinfoil large enough to cover the cardboard base, crumple it up and then smooth it out, not all of the way, leave some bumps in it,just no sharp edges, you can make drifts in it with tinfoil too, just crumple up a piece and shape it, but make sure there is room for the house to sit level. Then you roll out white fondant to about 1/8 ” large enough to cover the base, place the fondant over the tinfoil and the bumps in the tinfoil makes it look like snow. Put the Gingerbread house in place and decorate.

Here is a thread with more tips : Marshmallow Fondant

Filed under: Geneablogger's Winter Cookbook 2009, Special Events, ,

Starting a New Christmas Family Tradition

For years I have been making gingerbread cookies, they are my niece’s favourites and she requests them every year. Well, she’s in her early twenties now, and she still runs to check and make sure her gingerbread cookies are in the box of cookies I take to her parents’ house for our family get-together before Christmas. She takes some out, eats one and saves a few for for later so she doesn’t spoil her appetite. Baking Christmas cookies (tons of them) is one Christmas family tradition that I have with my siblings and their children.

I wanted a family tradition that I could share with my children and grandchildren, so, at the request of my youngest grandson, Cameron, who is four, I am going to be baking and constructing Gingerbread houses for my family to decorate. They had a lot of fun decorating their houses last year and he asked a few weeks ago if we can do it again this year. But this year is going to be a little different. The adults had fun helping the kids last year, so I’m going to be making houses for them to decorate too. I make all of the buildings different, so they can take them home and set up their own little Christmas Village. Last year I built a church, a toy store, a house, and a schoolhouse, which the kids had a blast decorating.


I am going to be sharing my recipe for Gingerbread Cut-Outs which I use to make the houses in the Geneablogger’s Winter Cookbook. I will be adding tips and tricks for baking and constructing as well as several decorating tips I’ve learned through the years.

If you have any recipes you’d like to share, they must be submitted before 11:00 pm on Friday, December 2, 2009 to be included in the cookbook. The Geneablogger’s Winter Cookbook will be available at Geneabloggers the week of Dec.7th in PDF format.

Filed under: Geneablogger's Winter Cookbook 2009, Genealogy, Special Events, ,

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