Merry Christmas.  We will start with yesterday, December 24.  Cookies were shared with friends.  Our treat today was a birthday cake for our oldest son who turned 14.  We gave him lots of options of desserts to choose from and he chose a chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream frosting.  Full disclosure…we cheated and bought a store box cake mix.  I had wanted to make a cake from scratch and while it doesn’t take much longer than using a box mix, by 5:00 when I started baking, it just seemed easier in the midst of Christmas preparations.  Besides, this was our first “cheat” of the season.  We tried the Cake Doctor Devil Food Chocolate Cake mix.  The mix requires eggs, vegetable oil, and sour cream.  The cake was not as moist as we had hoped.  The chocolate was a more “intense” chocolate than a typical cake mix.  The vanilla buttercream frosting recipe came from The Cake Doctor Cookbook.  The frosting is creamy, thick and sweet.  The frosting was my favorite part of the cake.  I do not recommend baking and frosting a cake at the end of a long day.  Our attention to detail was sorely missing.  The cake was lopsided and cake crumbs ruined the smooth texture of the frosting.  Not the prettiest cake we’ve made but we weren’t going for appearance yesterday.  As you can see from Andrew’s expression after finishing his piece, no complaints from the birthday boy.Image

December 25:  Cinnamon Rolls

How many years define a “tradition”?  1? 2? 3?   This is probably the 4th year I have made this recipe for Christmas morning.  I start the recipe and usually let the 2nd rise take place overnight, then assemble into the rectangular shape to slice and rise again in the morning.  Hard to believe these are “light” as they don’t taste light.  They are quintessential cinnamon rolls – sweet, sugary, dense and yummy.  Everything you want after opening some presents and and when you neeed something to go with your 2nd cup of coffee.  Make this your “to go to cinnamon roll recipe” and we promise you won’t be disapointed.




25 days later what did we accomplish?  We went through over 10 pounds of flour, 5 pounds of sugar, many pounds of butter and countless number of eggs.  We tried 24 recipes and for the most part were pleasantly pleased with our results…it’s very difficult to mess up a cookie recipe (although we did somehow manage to do that with one in particular).  We researched, laughed, washed, stayed up late, baked and delivered.  It was so worth all the work and time.  It made this Christmas season one to remember and one we won’t forget.  I hope that we shared this joy with others – those we know and especially those we don’t.  Would we do this again?  Maybe?  We’ll have to think about that.  Until then, Merry Christmas and we wish you joy from the kitchen!