December 7, 2012

LiveBlogging Cookie Weekend: Day 1

Three women.

Three days.

Twenty varieties.

Welcome to the epic-ness that is Cookie Weekend.

You can’t have a Cookie Weekend without Mariah Carey. And you can’t listen to “All I Want for Christmas is You” without singing into your whisk. You just can’t.

Our Cookie Weekend tradition has been going on for at least 15 years, and consists of me, my mom, and my mom’s younger sister taking at least three days to create multiple varieties of cookies and candies. And since most people don’t understand its epic-ness, I thought it was the perfect time to document it on this here corner of the Interwebs. So – off we go!

This year’s “weekend” actually started on Thursday, when Mom made the first batch of peanut brittle and candied pecans, and Aunt Ginny started on the coconut macaroons and almond bars. We used to try to cram everything into the three days of the weekend, but apparently we’re getting older and not what we used to be. 🙂

Millions and millions of macaroons at Ginny’s

Then Ginny packed up everything and arrived here this morning, when the fun really began.

Mom and Ginny, beginning the festivities.

Meanwhile, I spent a good portion of my morning (and my youth) making another batch of peanut brittle. Peanut brittle is fairly simple, but involves much stirring… and waiting… and stirring… and waiting.

This is what it looked like once I added the butter to the sugar/water/corn syrup mixture:

And approximately 17 hours later, the mixture was finally hot enough to add the actual peanuts:

A mere 30 minutes after that, it was finally ready to spread into the pans:

I whine a lot (I mean, A LOT) about the time it takes to make peanut brittle every year, but it’s worth it. It’s amazing – buttery, rich, crispy, fantastic.

Then it was on to the chocolate star cookies, which I spent another good portion of my youth rolling and cutting while Mom and Ginny mixed up other batches. The chocolate stars are also worth the effort, especially since you dip the baked cookies in chocolate and then brush them with edible gold luster dust:

They look really pretty, and have a unique kind of cookie/cracker/cocoa taste. Almost worth the two hours standing in my Dansko shoes. 🙂

Other varieties we finished up – chocolate mint sticks and crisp peppermint patties. Here they are in various phases of drizzling and cooling:

And yes, that’s our Christmas tree in the background – we throw a dropcloth on the floor of the living room and set up a big table for cooling and packaging. And there’s Christmas music playing all day and night as we bake.

Today was a pretty quiet day – tomorrow consists of more baking, more decorating, and Sunday’s agenda includes packaging all the boxes and trays we give to friends, neighbors and coworkers. Check back tomorrow for more photos!

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