It’s almost Christmas and I can’t even believe it! Where has December even gone?! Most years I feel like I end up having the opportunity to meet up with a lot of friends in December at parties and such so I have plentiful excuses to make holiday-themed treats to share, but this year I feel like I’ve done nothing but work, and the only treats I made and distributed were the gingerbread rum “Sandy Claus” cake pops I uploaded last week. That just didn’t seem like enough to me and I was searching for an excuse to make at least one more simple thing, so when one of my coworkers was lamenting that she had never seen marzipan for sale in Japan and she missed it at Christmastime, that gave me the idea to try to make it myself. Marzipan is a popular European confection made from ground almonds and sugar with a texture a bit like Japanese “an” (sweet bean paste). It is typically colored and formed into the shape of fruit, flowers, plants, and the like to be used as decorations like on bûche de Noël (yule log) cakes, used inside of other sweets like chocolates or stollen (German fruit cake), or rolled out and used in place of icing to cover cakes. While it is by no means strictly a Christmas treat (especially in Europe), it’s used in so many Christmas treats that it has a Christmas image at least in the US and can even be purchased premade. However, it is really very easy to make even here in Japan, and is cute and tasty enough to be eaten on its own when shaped into these little mushrooms and dipped in chocolate, so if you’re looking for a simple yet cute last minute holiday treat that doesn’t even require an oven, give these a try★[Continue Reading/続きを読む]
I don’t know about you, but I am the kind of person that loves all of the creepy baking, DIY, and costuming fun of the Halloween season so much that I never want it to end and always spend a good part of November in a disappointed, uninspired funk. In fact, I couldn’t even get myself in the mood to bake or post any recipes for the entirety of November 2015. However, December is finally upon. Meaning it’s almost Christmas. Meaning it is once again seasonally appropriate to make The Nightmare Before Christmas-themed baked goods! These spooky little cake pops are filled with Christmas-y gingerbread cake festively spiked with spiced rum frosting and dressed up as Jack Skellington’s rendition of “Sandy Claus,” so if you too like a little Halloween in your Christmas, whip up a batch of these and get to “making Christmas” Halloween Town style★
Quite belated, but happy new year! The holiday season may be over, but it’s still “cold season” both in terms of cold germs and cold temperatures so as far as I’m concerned, it’s still the right season for enjoying warm drinks. Specifically, mulled wine. This time I adapted my mulled red wine recipe to use a bottle of that Schwarz Katz riesling wine that comes in a cat-shaped bottle to make a mulled white wine. The result has enough citrus, ginger, and honey to likely cure the common cold, and enough white wine, rum, and spices to banish the winter blues, so definitely give it a try★[Continue Reading/続きを読む]
Christmas is finally this week so naturally it’s time for the last Christmas-y recipe of the year. Eggnog cupcakes would be the obvious seasonally-appropriate “cocktail cupcake” so I was originally all set to make a batch of those as my last Christmas baking endeavor of the year and even had the ingredients stockpiled away. However, last week one of my Japanese coworkers brought some cupcakes she made to work and while they didn’t taste like anything terribly special, the attention to detail she put into to decorating them adorably was impressive. I’m usually the sort to put taste above looks when I bake (mostly because I am too impatient to start eating!), but upon seeing those cute little cupcakes I realized I needed to start putting a little more effort into how my baked goods looked lest I lose to people like my coworker (yes, this is cupcake war). As such, I decided that instead of making normal eggnog cupcakes, I would challenge myself to make these snowman-shaped eggnog cake pops and then call them “drunken snowmen” due to the rum content in the eggnog recipe I use (if that doesn’t kill any germs in the raw egg then I don’t know what will!).
Sugar cookies and gingerbread cookies are traditional staples for the holiday season, and when I was a child we had the tradition of making frosted sugar cookies every year for Christmas. Every year I looked forward to cutting out cookies with our stash of festive cookie cutters and decorating them with different icing colors to my little heart’s content, but looking back, making and decorating them was always much more fun than eating them. Frosted sugar cookies are definitely super cute, but they’re also super sweet so it’s easy to get tired of them after a few bites. However, it wouldn’t feel like Christmas without cookies, so for the last couple of years I’ve been making these gingerbread cookies instead, which are a bit less sweet and packed with spicy ginger, cinnamon, and cloves flavor. Plus, I started adding limocello to the icing, so they really are the perfect adult Christmas cookie. If you’re bored of traditional Christmas cookies definitely give these a shot★[Continue Reading/続きを読む]