the four day baking project

Not trying to toot my own horn or anything BUT.

I made these.

And I made everything inside…except the fudge. Tim makes the fudge. The kind you eat…well, I guess…technically…we *all* “make fudge”…..I digress.

We’ll start with what is inside these tins from hell that took me four days to assemble gorgeous little beauties:

We had these left over print-your-own bookmarks from the wedding that I got all right-brained on and figured out how to make dividers to separate the fudge, puppy chow and cookies.

The original use for the bookmarks?

Directions to care for the trees we gave away to our wedding guests. The other side – the one you can see – is a poem by ee cummings (i carry your heart) that Tim sent to me waaaaay back in the early stages of our relationship. It was perfect for the occasion, so, we used it.

Thanks, ee!

(Also? The amount of left over “crafty stuff” we have from THE WEDDING is ridiculous. It’s like we run our own Michael’s Arts and Crafts from the basement)

I know I promised recipes…and it’s not like we have some secret, three hundred year old hand-written recipe for anything…we almost always turn to allrecipes whenever we are all, “I want to make X…how the hell do I make X?…

I say that we always use allrecipes…but technically, the puppy chow came from here.

My mom makes puppy chow every year during the holidays and hers is always so fantastic that I wanted to make sure I was using the right ingredients. Apparently, there are puppy chow versions using milk chocolate, semi sweet chocolate, no butter, lots of butter…

I went with the tried and true original recipe – the one my mom uses and the one with lots of butter, of course.

The fudge came from this recipe (Million Dollar Fudge), even though we had to adjust for high altitude. Tim also pulled out the Betty Crocker cookbook and had it open to the fudge section to compare what it said versus this recipe, because the recipe isn’t very clear in some places, especially if you’re not one to make fudge but once a year.

**PSA** Water boils at a lower temperature at high altitude and thus candy making is also slightly different and stages like “soft ball” happen before they’re supposed to. We learned from that mistake last year, as Tim went a few degrees farther than he should have and the fudge ended up really crumbly.

This year?

He made the creamiest, most delicious fudge ever. Like, EV-ER. As in better than I’ve had when we had to pay for it.

The sugar cookies were also courtesy of allrecipes, as well as the frosting – butter icing.

The sugar cookies were the most difficult and time consuming to make, even though Tim told me that they tasted great.

Personally, I think I made them too thin.

Someone really needs to invent something that lets you know when

A: the cookie dough you are rolling is uneven and

B: you’ve gotten to 1/4 inch thickness


A: I apparently put uneven pressure on a rolling pin and

B: have no idea how thick the dough is. Ever.

If that kind of thing exists somewhere in the universe, I’d love to know.

I want need one.

I’d also like to mention that I put a small piece of wax paper between EVERY. SINGLE. COOKIE. in EVERY. SINGLE. TIN. so they didn’t stick to each other. The frosting I made did harden but not enough to stack the cookies on top of each other.

I deserve points for the above and beyond wax paper effort.

Just sayin.


Tim has taken up “just sayin” into his common vernacular to the point last night I was all, “What is with this ‘just sayin’ all the time??”

Tim was all, “I got it from your blog…..just sayin.”


None of these recipes, by the way, are healthy or low fat or considerate to the waist line.

Back to the cookies…I decided to use eight different cookie cutters (OMG. I know. It’s like I can’t make anything easy) and then decided I’d frost every one a different color (again, OMG, Jessica. WHY?).

Tim’s direct reports ended up a hodgepodge of orange stockings, red candy canes, white snowmen, brown (Food coloring colors can make brown. Who knew?) gingerbread boys, purple ball ornaments, yellow bells and green trees.

Suffice it to say I sat at the kitchen table frosting cookies for the better part of two hours on Tuesday.

The cookie cutters we used were metal and came from Michael’s. We found them on clearance…and what’s funny is that a few years back, Tim and I searched EVERYWHERE for metal Christmas/winter cookie cutters.

We couldn’t find them and after a wild goose chase that went on entirely too long, we ended up buying them online at this speciality store for like, $4 a pop.

(This always happens to us. We see something we want and then we can’t find it anywhere. It’s like the running joke)

So, the container of 30 Christmas cookie cutters at Michael’s?



We also purchased the tins, ribbon and stockings from Michael’s. It’s like our go-to store for cutty-pastey-artsy-fartsy stuff.

The ornaments (Did you notice? Everyone got a different one!) came from Tar-jay.

Anyhow, the last bit of calorie-laden goodness were the chocolate dipped pretzel rods. I made both milk and semi-sweet varieties because, like the eight different cookies and my tendency to make life more difficult than it has to be, one is never enough.

I tend to read the reviews on a new recipe before I make it for the first time and sometimes I learn neato-burrito things from other people. For the pretzel rods, I learned that you should melt the chocolate in a tall jar, like a sauce jar. This way, you can get A LOT more chocolate onto the pretzel much easier than you can if you melt the chocolate in a pot.

So, FYI if you ever make these: SAUCE JAR = BETTER.

I also drizzled white chocolate onto the rods with a fork after the chocolate hardened.

Hint for drizzling: DO IT FAST or else you’ll end up with big globbys all over the place.


I’m totally available on a commission basis to make your friends/co-workers/family members awesome-sauce gifts like these.

Just…not today.

Today I seriously need to collapse from exhaustion.

I told Tim this project wouldn’t have been so difficult if I wasn’t preggo. This baby saps energy away from me something serious.


6 Responses to “the four day baking project”

  1. 1 JessSutera December 15, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Oh MAN! You are a machine!! Those cookie tins look SO awesome!! Can’t believe how much work you put into perfecting them. Seriously, you should open your own business, you are awesome at this stuff!! (and um, sugar cookies – my favorite holiday cookie ever omg)

  2. 2 Beth December 15, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Impressive. Related to dough thickness, you can buy rubber band type thingies that you put on both ends of the rolling pin. They hold the rolling pin the desired distance away from the dough. Disclaimer: I have not used these before. I’ve only seen at cooking store and thought what a neat idea.

  3. 3 jobo December 15, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    drooldrooldrooldroooooool. I want to dive into these treats like whoa!! I love chocolate covered pretzels. the best mix of savory and sweet! 🙂

  4. 5 thoughtsappear December 16, 2011 at 7:39 am

    Mmmmm…puppy chow. I love that stuff. Congrats on your holiday baking. I’m about to start mine this weekend. I have like 10 different cookie recipes I want to try. Hopefully, I’ll be able to narrow it down to 3.

  5. 6 reilly873 December 16, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Beautiful cookie gifts-I think a tin of cookies is such a great thing to give and receive.

    I just got this in my in box from (still sad that they are no longer in print) and it has some great baking tips. Also it has these doo dads that apparently help guide your rolling pin to optimal dough thickness. I guess some well placed rubber bands would do the same thing but who can pass up a great new kitchen gadget?

    Anyhow I have two doughs chilling in my fridge right now waiting to be baked-can’t put it off much longer. It’s the decorating that kills you, isn’t it?

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