Post Christmas goodies and this and that

I’m finally done with my holiday goodies. It was like an uphill climb for me as I fight some issues with my oven in the beginning which sucked up the inspiration to bake; lack of time and just my tired body at the end of my working day so there…

But I’m glad I made it before the year ends although I missed sending some to friends from far away yet thankful that I was able to send someone who I haven’t seen for a long time. I don’t know if it’s just me but Christmas just went by and I didn’t take pictures of what I prepared at home and from our brunch at work. On both occasions I was just so engrossed in the whole kitchen activity that I totally forgot I’m supposed to document what was happening then.

Brunch at work was a success. It was a combined effort of me and my friends as usual. It has become a tradition actually and M fondly calls the exercise our “family gatherings” because we are like family. There’s joy in preparing our little feasts together and I guess I was so immersed in the moment that pictures were forgotten. I made the batter for red velvet and corn bread waffles; biscuits and gravy and the rest of the girls made eggs, cooked the bacon and sausages. We even have Italian soda courtesy of K, fresh fruit concoction from Jen and Teresa made her now famous espresso in her own machine.

Christmas dinner at home is more like homey dinner comprising of beef and chicken noodles. Hey, it's not just simple noodles. I had to make two pots of broth- one beef and another one for chicken. Family prefers that and I made shumai and some delicacies to complete the menu. I almost forgot I also made fruit salad just because I grew up having that for Christmas and New Year.

What's in my cookies?

I must say dark chocolate and nuts were at the center stage as I used the two for all my goodies. I made hazelnut-toffee crunch cookies, cocoa wedding cookies and banana crunch cake. The almond toffee crunch cookies I made last year should have been hazelnut toffee crunch cookies but I couldn’t find hazelnuts. This year with some stroke of luck, I found some on sale at Vons and they’re already chopped. My only regret is not buying more but it was enough for my huuge cookies. But don't get me wrong- almonds more than made up for hazelnuts. The cookies were a hit as well back then.

From hazelnuts, I switched to walnuts when I made my banana crunch cake

Banana Crunch Cake

For the cake batter:
1 cup oat flour or ground old fashioned oats
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, room temp
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 extra large eggs, room temp
1 cup mashed banana (3 large ones and the riper the better)
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup rough chopped walnuts
1 cup chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate)

Crunch topping:
3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350F
Grease and flour a rectangular baking pan.
Whisk the flours, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
Cream together the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Beat in the eggs one at a time, stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl between additions.
Mix in half the dry ingredients until moistened, then add the bananas, buttermilk and vanilla. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then add the rest of the flour mixture, the nuts and chocolate chips.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula

To make the topping:
Combine the oats and brown sugar in a small mixing bowl until well blended. Stir in the melted butter until the moisture forms large crumbs; stir in the chopped nuts. Sprinkle over the batter and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and cool before serving.

The final item is the cocoa wedding cookies which I call adult cookies because I used dark chocolates and I noticed that kids don't really like dark chocolate. I was like that when I was one but now dark chocolate has become my lover- or the other way around.

There goes my post Christmas goodies. No decorative bags and boxes but I'm glad I was able to share them with my friends and hopefully I could do more next Christmas.


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