Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve!

I did some baking yesterday.

M&M pretzels and sweet potato rolls.

That and a pan of fudge are the extent of my holiday baking this year. If I make it, I'll eat it, and I don't want to gain back the 10 pounds I've lost since last month.

I thought I'd share the goodness with you, though.

The pretzels are super easy. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper. That part is optional, but you'll thank me later. Lay out as many pretzels (I use Snyder's Snaps) as you can possibly get in there in a single layer. Place a candy melt (I used Wilton's white/vanilla, but you can use any color/flavor you like) on each pretzel. Bake at 250 degrees F for 8-10 minutes or until they are are shiny and soft the middle, but not completely melted goo. Take them out and put an M&M in the center. Let cool completely. Using the parchment helps make them faster, because you can slide one sheet off and immediately fill up the pan again. What you see in the picture is most of a 1-pound bag of pretzels, all of two 14-oz bags of candy melts and most of a bag of holiday milk chocolate M&Ms. I think the color contrast is very festive and they're very tasty. You could use dark chocolate or mint M&Ms, too.

The rolls are blatantly stolen from the 2001 Taste of Home's Quick Cooking Annual Recipes cookbook, page 172. The difference is that my bread machine bakes lousy bread, so I just use it for making dough. Here's the recipe:

Sweet Potato Bread
Recipe from Christi Ross, Mill Creek OK

1/2 c. plus 2 Tbsp warm milk (70-80 degrees)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1-1/2 tsp salt
4-1/2 Tbsp softened butter
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 c. chopped canned sweet potatoes, drained
1/3 c. mini marshamallows
3 c. bread flour
2-1/4 tsp active dry yeast [equiv to 1 pkg]

In bread machine pan, place all ingredients in order suggested by the manufacturer . Select basic bread setting. Choose crust color and loaf size, if available. Bake according to bread machine directions (check dough after 5 minutes of mixing; add 1-2 Tbsp of water or flour if needed). Yield: 1 loaf (about 1-1/2 pounds).

My notes/mods: I soak the uncracked egg in hot water for a few minutes to warm it up. I don't chop the sweet potatoes, I mash them into the measuring cup with a fork. Then I measure the milk into a glass measuring cup, add the butter and sweet potatoes and microwave for about a minute to warm everything up before adding it to the machine. My dough always comes out a bit sticky so I skip the extra 2 Tbsp of milk and sometimes still need to add a bit more flour; your mileage may vary.

I make the dough in the machine, then knead small handfuls of dough into roll shapes and place them on a greased cookie sheet. Cover them with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray, and let rise in a warm place for 40-45 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or browned as you like them. I have small hands, so I get 18-24 rolls. It's not an exact measurement.

I don't have to go back to work till January but I decorated my monitor at work, anyway.

USB LED lights, from Big Lots -$4

I've been busy this week running errands, shopping, wrapping, baking, cleaning, sewing, and etc. It hasn't felt like much of a vaction yet.

I haven't done much decorating but...

"Mama loves me - she put up a tree in the living room for me to climb!"

More about my activities since mid-November later. I have to get back to my sewing room. Have a safe and Merry Christmas, everyone!

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