Merry Christmas!!

 

Sweet Christmasimage source

Hope your Christmas is Blessed!

Jessica the Baker

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Gingerbread

Wow! Christmas is just 5 days away! Does anyone else feel like it’s coming way too fast? I’m not even done Christmas shopping!Β  But I’m loving all this Christmas baking.Yum, yum! I’m definitely making my Cinnamon Rolls for Christmas morning breakfast. It’s a tradition we’ve started a few years ago, and we always look forward to it.

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So to stick with the European Christmas desserts I’ve been posting here lately, I’m sharing yet another Romanian recipe with you. I tried these gingerbread for the first time from scratch (I always ate them store-bought) and they were amazing.

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They’re not exactly a cookie, more like a cross between a cookie and a cake, if that makes sense. And compared to the traditional American gingerbread cookies, these don’t have molasses in them, but they’re really good!

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My dad doesn’t like gingerbread cookies but he actually loves this gingerbread. These are a little more dense, and sometimes they are best after a few days even if they harden a little bit. And they are glazed with a gingerbread glaze…the best part!

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These gingerbreads would work perfectly with coffee, hot chocolate, or tea. Traditionally they are called “Turta Dulce” which literally means sweet cake.

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These would be perfect to give as gifts. I know for most people Christmas is a lot about cookies. Well, how about giving someone a little something different? A new style of gingerbread cookies? I can guarantee you people will love these!

Comment if you want the recipe!

Jessica the Baker

Sweet Walnut Bread + Sweet Crescent Rolls

We’ve been doing some Christmas baking and sharing, as well as Christmas caroling lately! I love spreading the Christmas cheer to everyone around me! πŸ™‚

It’s not Christmas in our house if we don’t make this delicious sweet walnut bread. My sister is usually in charge to make it every year, and this year is going to be no different. It always disappears way too fast! This year she decided to make a video showing you how to make it! I’m excited to share it with you!

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This sweet walnut bread is a traditional Romanian holiday dessert. It has a chocolate walnut filling with rum essence. The rum essence is what gives this bread it’s special, unique, and delicious taste!

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And because everything is much cuter in miniature form, I also made mini sweet walnut breads!

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They turned out absolutely darling, and I’m so glad I had the perfect cupcake liners to put them in!

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When you break into one of these soft breads it’s like eating a soft sweet pillow.

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Seriously, these are a chocolate walnut version of cinnamon rolls (these don’t have cinnamon though).

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I had leftover filling so I made these crescent rolls that are also a Romanian dessert. We love European desserts! πŸ™‚

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Traditionally these are filled with jam, but this time I just used the chocolate filling and they turned out amazing!

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Now it was time to share! We packed some mini walnut muffins together with some crescent rolls and headed to our neighbors to carol and share some of our Christmas baking.

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I wanted to make some Pinterest-inspired packaging, but I’m not too artistic (I had a Pintrosity moment) and since we were in hurry, I just used a regular paper plate wrapped in plastic foil, and tied it with baker’s twine. My sister had the idea of adding the gingerbread tag. It turned out pretty cute after all (I think).

Β What have you been baking this Christmas season? What is your favorite Christmas dessert?

Jessica the Baker

Caramel Brownies

I have the most decadent recipe for you today! Has anyone been on Pinterest lately? It’s a dangerous place I tell you, especially around the holidays. You see things like sticky buns, scones, caramel this and caramel that…ooey gooey delicious recipes, and you just want to try them all! At least I do. πŸ™‚ snowflakes,and raindropes 243

Β I haven’t done much Christmas baking actually…which isn’t really fun. But I hope to share more recipes with you soon!

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For now let’s talk about these caramel brownies. They are thebomb.com! Really, these are otherwise known as killer brownies because they are just that good!

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You can even add walnuts, pecans, chocolate chips, maybe even butterscotch chips or something like that if you really want to bring these to the top! I want to do that next time I make these.

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These would make a p-e-r-f-e-c-t Christmas gift! I know a lot people like to give food gifts around this time of year as well. Who wouldn’t want to receive such a treat? I know I would! πŸ™‚

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And to make these even more festive, you can even sprinkle crushed candy canes on top!

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I mean, just look at that caramel! I’ve seen these kind of brownies on Pinterest too many times, I just had to try them for myself and I’m so glad I did. We brought them over to our friend’s house and they said they’re delectable. So you gotta believe they’re delicious!

Caramel Brownies

caramel recipe taken from here

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter (melted)
1/2 oil
1 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
4 eggs
2 cups sugar

Caramel Filling:

14 oz. caramel candies (unwrapped)
1/3 cup heavy cream

Any nuts and chocolate chips of your choice

Powdered sugar for dusting the top

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a saucepan mix together melted butter, oil, and whisk in cocoa powder until smooth. In a large bowl mix together the eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix the cocoa mixture with the egg mixture until smooth. Fold in the flour mixture (without the mixture) until fully incorporated. Pour half the batter in a greased 13×9 in. baking pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 10 min. or until the brownie firms up a bit.

To make the caramel, combine the caramel and heavy cream in a small saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Stir frequently until the caramels are fully melted. At this point you can add any nuts of your choice to the melted caramel. Pour the melted caramel over the bottom part of the brownies. Pour the remaining brownie batter over the caramel layer, taking care to pour and spread it evenly otherwise it will be difficult to spread evenly over the caramel layer. You can also add more nuts on top and even chocolate chip if you wish. Bake for another 10-15 min. or until the brownies are completely cooked through. Let them cool completely before dusting with powdered sugar (or even crushed candy canes if you want to look festive).

Enjoy!

Jessica the Baker

Thanksgiving Recap

I don’t know about you, but before I could start thinking about Christmas, for a while I was still savoring the wonderful Thanksgiving we had. So today I wanted to share with you a peak into our day.

Note: Be prepared for a blog post overloaded with pictures because I have so many to choose from, I simply have too many favorites!

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My sister Becky was in charge of the decorations and she did a marvelous job! Check out her side of the story on her blogΒ here. She got a lot of ideas from Pinterest (of course) but she really put them together in a beautiful way

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There were a lot of little special touches that made everything look special, and a lot of them were just things we had lying around our house

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Our Thanksgiving table has never looked more beautiful!

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A little personal reminder to everyone who ate, what Thanksgiving is really all about.

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We had a combination of family and friends and were a total of 33 people! But I love big celebrations, the more the merrier! πŸ™‚

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The food table piled with all kinds of goodies!Β  Everyone pulled together and made a different dish. The menu was: Laura Vitale’s Turkey (made by my uncle and cousin which turned out very delicious!), scalloped potatoes, gravy, corn casserole, green beans, cranberry sauce, salad, homemade sausages, potato salad, ham biscuits, cornbread, and quiche DSC_1421

Some gluten free dishes for those that are gluten free in our family…no one should miss a good Thanksgiving dinner even if they can’t eat gluten πŸ™‚

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Okay,Β  so I didn’t get to make the pumpkin shaped pretzel rolls I mentioned earlier, there wasn’t time…and with the cornbread I used…m-i-x (*sheepish grin*). I know it’s unheard of from me because I’m totally into baking everything from scratch, but when you have so many things on your mind, sometimes you just have to find easier ways. Plus it was organic so I guess it wasn’t that bad. πŸ™‚

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Loved theΒ  idea my cousin had of putting the cranberry sauce in a grapefruit shell! It looked really pretty.

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Dessert, my favorite! It was kept on the side so that no one could sneak any pieces before dinner πŸ™‚

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My cousin’s apple pie

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My very rustic-looking mini pumpkin pies. πŸ™‚ I tried Laura Vitale’s recipe and they turned out really delicious!

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My other cousin’s gluten free apple crumb pie

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So for dessert we had: 1 berry pie, mini pumpkin pies, 2 apple pies (1 gluten free), 2 pecan pies (1 chocolate), 1 raspberry chocolate cake, and persimmon cookies

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Both pecan pies were absolutely delicious! I have to ask my cousin for the recipe to make it myself. And yes, I was glad when we ended up with some leftovers. πŸ˜‰

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I made my berry pie with a crumb topping instead of lattice topping per my sisters request

We had lots of food, and lots of sweet fellowship with one another. Plus a crazy attempt to take a big group picture, while even attempting a big group selfie. πŸ™‚ We managed though!

And now I want to hear from all of you! What did you have for your Thanksgiving dinner? What was your favorite dish? I hope your Thanksgiving was blessed!

You can go here and get Laura Vitale’s mini pumpkin pies recipes. It’s really delicious!

Now we can start thinking about Christmas. πŸ™‚ I already have something yummy to share with you!

Jessica the Baker