Table Talk: December 2

December sweets

By
December 1, 2010

(Editor’s note: This chat is over, but the transcript is available to read here. And join Kim for another Table Talk chat, most Thursdays.)

When it’s cold outside, nothing seems cozier than heating up the oven and baking a batch of cookies — especially during the holidays.

Kim O’Donnel will be here on Thursday, December 2, at 10 a.m. PT, 1 p.m. ET, to answer your cookie questions, candy questions — even your croquembouche questions. She’ll conjure gingerbread men, caramels, and cinnamon rolls.

Anise Cookies, dunking cookies from Switzerland.

Bring your own recipes and suggestions — and join us right here. (Sign up below to receive an email reminder of the chat.)

Kim, a cookbook author, trained chef, and longtime food journalist, brings ideas, tips, and recipes to her live chats — right here at Table Talk, most Thursdays.


 Table Talk with Kim O'Donnel -Dec. 2, 2010(12/02/2010) 
10:00
Kim ODonnel: 
Hello & Happy December! Hope you all had a most delicious Thanksgiving. Today is all about sweetening up the holidays. Cookies, bars, candy, whatever you like. Swap a recipe, share links, trade tricks, cookie chemistry -- it's all good. To kick things off, what's your all-time favorite cookie for this time of year? You know the one that if you didn't make your family wouldn't speak to you? Dish.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:00 Kim ODonnel
10:00
[Comment From Lizka Lizka : ] 
Here today, but have to admit though I dream of them, I can't get myself up for baking. I enjoy hearing you all talk about all the great recipes though. ;)
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:00 Lizka
10:00
Kim ODonnel: 
Hey Lizka, is it because you can't bear the thought of measuring?
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:00 Kim ODonnel
10:00
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
I'm here!
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:00 Jeanne in Seattle
10:01
Kim ODonnel: 
Jeanne, I'm so glad you're here to share tips from the gluten-free world -- other than flour differentiations, what else is diff. when baking GF cookies?
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:01 Kim ODonnel
10:01
[Comment From Lizka Lizka : ] 
I'm not sure, that could be part of it - I just think of all the steps that are necessary and get annoyed and so I never do it.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:01 Lizka
10:02
Kim ODonnel: 
Hmmm. Are you looking for a gateway cookie to try? One that is low on fuss/ muss?
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:02 Kim ODonnel
10:02
[Comment From alisoncsmith alisoncsmith : ] 
though they're really an easter treat in our family (greek/armenian side), the my husband wouldn't speak to me if i didn't do russian tea cakes
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:02 alisoncsmith
10:03
Kim ODonnel: 
Hey Alisoncsmith, do u have a recipe to share?
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:03 Kim ODonnel
10:03
[Comment From alisoncsmith alisoncsmith : ] 
love the idea of a gateway cookie. life's so crazy, need to just plunge in
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:03 alisoncsmith
10:04
Kim ODonnel: 
Well, here's one to get started: This is a chocolate flourless cookie with nuts. It's like a meringue, kinda chewy, totally delicious and no heavy lifting/beating. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/mighty-appetite/2008/04/meeting_the_flourless_chocolat.html
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:04 Kim ODonnel
10:04
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
There aren't that many differences between gf and wheat cookies. Main thing is to not use too much xanthan gum.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:04 Jeanne in Seattle
10:05
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
A perfect gateway cookie is chocolate chip cookies--easy!
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:05 Jeanne in Seattle
10:05
[Comment From Shibaguyz Shibaguyz : ] 
If Jason doesn't make gingerbread cookies… I won't speak to him… well… unless I'm nagging him to make gingerbread cookies… 
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:05 Shibaguyz
10:05
Kim ODonnel: 
Hey Shibaguyz! Does Jason decorate them too? Do you do cut-outs?
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:05 Kim ODonnel
10:05
[Comment From Lizka Lizka : ] 
I'm definitely open to suggestions. I do look at baking recipes all the time - open to something that really pulls at me.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:05 Lizka
10:06
Kim ODonnel: 
Ok folks, we gotta get Lizka excited to make a batch of cookies. Nothing too fussy. Send in those suggestions!
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:06 Kim ODonnel
10:06
[Comment From Erin Erin : ] 
Shibaguyz - do you have a good gingerbread recipe to share? One that lends itself to men/women and to larger shapes for assembling a house? (And, hi Kim!)
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:06 Erin
10:08
Kim ODonnel: 
Erin, I've made this gingerbread recipe before, comes from Nick Malgieri: http://clatl.com/atlanta/the-cutest-crib-on-candy-cane-lane/Content?oid=1264611

and it makes a great house!
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:08 Kim ODonnel
10:08
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
The recipe on the Nestle package for Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies is easy and delicious.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:08 Jeanne in Seattle
10:08
Kim ODonnel: 
Totally agree, Jeanne. I used to make those cookies as a kid by myself.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:08 Kim ODonnel
10:08
[Comment From Shibaguyz Shibaguyz : ] 
no decorations… nothing too sweet. definitely not cut outs. Just a nice, crisp gingerbread cookie for dunking in coffee… mmmm…
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:08 Shibaguyz
10:09
Kim ODonnel: 
Gotcha. I love me a gingerbread cookie, too. So you're really a ginger snap man, then..
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:09 Kim ODonnel
10:09
[Comment From Lizka Lizka : ] 
I do like CC cookies, but have always been okay with buying them when I'm feeling like having them.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:09 Lizka
10:09
[Comment From Shibaguyz Shibaguyz : ] 
Erin - he uses a family recipe that he has tweaked a lot. He likes to play with bread-type recipes.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:09 Shibaguyz
10:09
[Comment From maukgirl maukgirl : ] 
how about snickerdoodles - they are pretty simple and so tasty
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:09 maukgirl
10:09
Kim ODonnel: 
Hey Maukgirl: what's your favorite cookie recipe at this time of year?
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:09 Kim ODonnel
10:10
[Comment From redweather redweather : ] 
i saw a beautiful article/recipe recently on gingerbread, made with those textured rolling pins? i really want to try it - have never made gingerbread.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:10 redweather
10:11
Kim ODonnel: 
Redweather, it's a fun project. I made a house 3,4 yrs ago with the kids of a friend in Chicago. We had a blast. You need several hours -- first to make cut-outs, then get a shape you like, all the glue-ing, etc. We let the kids decorate. They had a ball.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:11 Kim ODonnel
10:11
[Comment From Erin Erin : ] 
Lizka - almost no matter what recipe you make, use parchment paper to line your baking sheets. Cleans up in a snap, and no problem releasing the cookies from the paper, either.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:11 Erin
10:11
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Shortbread is easy and fun, too. And delicious. Minimal work and ingredients.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:11 Jeanne in Seattle
10:11
[Comment From Shibaguyz Shibaguyz : ] 
Kim - yeah… he does something different when he is making soft cookies vs the crisp ones I like
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:11 Shibaguyz
10:11
[Comment From Shibaguyz Shibaguyz : ] 
here's Jason's fruit cake recipe… yes… we like fruit cake… THIS fruit cake: http://shibaguyz.com/2008/11/19/the-cake-that-must-not-be-named/
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:11 Shibaguyz
10:12
Kim ODonnel: 
Awesome! Do we still have time to make it -- or does it require weeks of soaking?
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:12 Kim ODonnel
10:12
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Lizka: is it that you just don't like to bake? Or is it cookies in particular? If you just don't really like to bake, then nothing will get you excited, I think...:)
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:12 Jeanne in Seattle
10:12
[Comment From maukgirl maukgirl : ] 
Sugar cookies are definitely my favorite. This year I think I'm making snickerdoodles, sugar cookies, a chocolate mint cookie and ?? I'm looking for something a little different, but tasty.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:12 maukgirl
10:13
Kim ODonnel: 
Ooh, speaking of chocolate mint...hang on, i'm going to dig up this FAB peppermint patty recipe. they're to die for...
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:13 Kim ODonnel
10:13
Kim ODonnel: 
DIY Peppermint Patties: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/mighty-appetite/2007/12/the_peppermint_patty_project.html

do try these at home!
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:13 Kim ODonnel
10:14
[Comment From Kathy L. Kathy L. : ] 
Hi, Kim! I'm a fan of yours from your WaPo.Com days, and I visit Seattle often, and have been to the West Seattle Farmer's Market in the Junction. My question is, I want to make a roll, similar to a yule log, but out of gingerbread. How can I make the gingerbread softer so I can roll the cake up without breaking it once it's got the filling?
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:14 Kathy L.
10:14
Kim ODonnel: 
Hey KathyL! Thanks for checking in. Hmm, I've never done a gingerbread yule log, but I don't see why you couldn't. Thoughts from the gang?
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:14 Kim ODonnel
10:14
[Comment From alisoncsmith alisoncsmith : ] 
on the opposite end of "easy," my girfriends and i have an annual baking extravaganza, and we've come to have a booby prize - for the person with the most ridiculous cookie recipe. usually comes from not reading it ahead of time and not knowing that the lemon tea cake recipe requires 6 cups of powdered sugar, sifted. so lizka, just remember you could be doing something ridiculously stupid like i did years ago
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:14 alisoncsmith
10:15
Kim ODonnel: 
Haha! That's a great story, Alison. Since baking is all about chemistry, you definitely can learn pretty quickly what went wrong. Cookies to me are a great adventure. There is much to learn.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:15 Kim ODonnel
10:16
[Comment From Erin Erin : ] 
Oooh, thanks for the gingerbread recipe. I am seriously flirting with a gingerbread house-project.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:16 Erin
10:16
Kim ODonnel: 
Erin, you will have a ball. I recommend that you make the cut-outs when the kids are asleep. Then the next day, you guys can assemble.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:16 Kim ODonnel
10:16
[Comment From Lizka Lizka : ] 
Good tip, Erin - VERY important consideration. :) Thanks.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:16 Lizka
10:16
[Comment From Shibaguyz Shibaguyz : ] 
Kim - I don't like it overly doused in alcohol so he sprays it with a rum mixture while it sets there wrapped in cheese cloth. Only takes a couple of weeks that way.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:16 Shibaguyz
10:18
Kim ODonnel: 
Nice, Shibaguyz. I made a fruitcake 3 years ago -- and chronicled it here: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/mighty-appetite/2007/11/fruitcake_date.html
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:18 Kim ODonnel
10:18
[Comment From redweather redweather : ] 
chocolate madelines.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:18 redweather
10:18
Kim ODonnel: 
Redweather -- is this what is on your cookie menu this year?
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:18 Kim ODonnel
10:18
[Comment From Lizka Lizka : ] 
Jeanne - Yeah, I haven't gotten into baking. Pretty recent that cooking even did anything for me though, so I put myself in positions to be inspired, but so far, nada.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:18 Lizka
10:18
[Comment From Erin Erin : ] 
In this chat we've talked about holiday baking as a way to keep memories vivid: to that end, I make a chocolate chip almond cookie that was my mother's favorite. I cannot have this time of year without them, and I always send a large tin of them to my brother. It's tradition, now!
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:18 Erin
10:19
Kim ODonnel: 
Lovely, Erin. I bet you've got company in this department.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:19 Kim ODonnel
10:19
[Comment From maukgirl maukgirl : ] 
I saw a recipe for homemade almond joys recently...thinking about that too.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:19 maukgirl
10:19
Kim ODonnel: 
Ooh, fun. Please report back if you decide to embark on this adventure.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:19 Kim ODonnel
10:20
[Comment From Shibaguyz Shibaguyz : ] 
OMG… that sounds really yummy, Kathy L.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:20 Shibaguyz
10:20
[Comment From redweather redweather : ] 
there's a holiday art sale outside of the National Portrait Gallery evey year and most years, there's a booth selling south american yumminess - they have some white flat buttery sugary flaky cookies that i LOVE
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:20 redweather
10:20
Kim ODonnel: 
Do they share the recipe??
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:20 Kim ODonnel
10:20
[Comment From Shibaguyz Shibaguyz : ] 
How about a great biscotti recipe, Kim?
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:20 Shibaguyz
10:21
Kim ODonnel: 
Here you go, my friend: http://clatl.com/atlanta/biscotti-thats-amore/Content?oid=1258298

this is a terrific biscotti recipe, v. reliable.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:21 Kim ODonnel
10:21
[Comment From alisoncsmith alisoncsmith : ] 
i still take the proverbial heat for it. and now i read veeeeeeery carefully before selecting the recipes i'll bring to the table
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:21 alisoncsmith
10:21
[Comment From LeslieB LeslieB : ] 
Does anyone have a tried and true cinnamon roll recipe? The last one I tried to make must have been to heavy for my mixer...during the mixing process the mixer moved around and walked off the counter! Lost all the dough and messed up the balance in my machine!
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:21 LeslieB
10:22
Kim ODonnel: 
LeslieB: have a look at this link: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/mighty-appetite/2009/02/king_cake_fit_for_a_queen.html

it's for a New Orleans king cake, using homemade cinnamon rolls, which are totally delicious on their own. I remember it not being a super fussy recipe, either.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:22 Kim ODonnel
10:22
[Comment From redweather redweather : ] 
oh yes, chocolate madelines are my standby
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:22 redweather
10:22
Kim ODonnel: 
DISH!
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:22 Kim ODonnel
10:23
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
My German grandmother (Omi) always made us a gingerbread house for Christmas. I can't get one to hold together to save my life. It's always a demolition zone by the end. Tasty, but ugly.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:23 Jeanne in Seattle
10:23
Kim ODonnel: 
Jeanne, maybe that's a reason to do a community gingerbread house...we could make it a gingerbread community center!
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:23 Kim ODonnel
10:24
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Sorry I'm a bit scattered during this chat. I have been invited to bake cookies for Alice Medrich, who is in town to promote her new cookie cookbook. I'm baking chocolate wafers and lemon wafers--glutenfree!
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:24 Jeanne in Seattle
10:24
[Comment From Shibaguyz Shibaguyz : ] 
that's a great recipe, Kim… thanks!
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:24 Shibaguyz
10:24
Kim ODonnel: 
Shibaguyz, I have friends who make that biscotti recipe year after year. It's a goodie.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:24 Kim ODonnel
10:24
[Comment From Shibaguyz Shibaguyz : ] 
my mother used to make these little lace cookies with anise… from my G-G-Grandmother's recipe… everyone (but me) loved 'em.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:24 Shibaguyz
10:25
Kim ODonnel: 
Oh, pizzelles! That is one cookie I want to try out. I even have a pizzelle maker gifted to me by a dear friend. Maybe this year is the one...
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:25 Kim ODonnel
10:25
[Comment From maukgirl maukgirl : ] 
Kim - on the peppermint patties - how crucial is the marble slab? we have granite countertops...would that work?
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:25 maukgirl
10:26
Kim ODonnel: 
Great question, maukgirl. I bought the marble slab (from Home Depot) because at the time, I was living in a kitchen with formica-style countertops. I think granite could work. But it might be worth doing a little sleuthing first.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:26 Kim ODonnel
10:26
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Actually, the chocolate wafers from Alice Medrich's new cookie cookbook is a great gateway cookie. They are refrigerator cookies that you roll into a log and store in fridge until needed.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:26 Jeanne in Seattle
10:27
Kim ODonnel: 
I need to get my hands on that book. By the way, if you're looking for great cookie tips -- techniques, why you cream butter, etc., 400 Sensational Cookies by Linda J. Amendt is a terrific resource.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:27 Kim ODonnel
10:27
[Comment From Erin Erin : ] 
Also, this is a great time of year to break out the jams and jellies and preserves that were 'put up' over the summer. I have a half pint of a friend's raspberry preserves that will go into thumbprint butter cookies. Easy, and very pretty for the season!
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:27 Erin
10:28
Kim ODonnel: 
yes, great idea, Erin!
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:28 Kim ODonnel
10:29
Kim ODonnel: 
Jam can also go into madeleines, which Redweather is making this year. Do you put jam in your madeleines?
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:29 Kim ODonnel
10:29
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
There's one type of cookie that I've been making since I was a kid--Scandinavian Rosettes. Kind of like a fancy funnel cake. Easy and delish. And beautiful, too!
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:29 Jeanne in Seattle
10:29
[Comment From Shibaguyz Shibaguyz : ] 
Kim - she used to make a batch w/out anise for me. G-Grandmother brought it with her from Germany. People looooved those narsty anise cookies! lol
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:29 Shibaguyz
10:30
Kim ODonnel: 
Oh, I love'em too. Guess you're not a fan of Ouzo, then?
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:30 Kim ODonnel
10:30
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
My cookie baking goddess is Nancy Baggett. Her International Cookie Book and All American Cookie Boook are my go-to cookie books.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:30 Jeanne in Seattle
10:31
Kim ODonnel: 
Yes, there's Nancy Baggett, too. And Nick Malgieri. Maida Heatter, for old times' sake...who else?
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:31 Kim ODonnel
10:31
[Comment From alisoncsmith alisoncsmith : ] 
the holiday baking issue of america's test kitchen has loads of good stuff...all sorts of traditional options from all over the world, and updates to old favorites (grownup rice krispie treats, anyone?)
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:31 alisoncsmith
10:31
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Erin: thumbprint cookies are delish! And so easy! And I love them for the reason you stated--I can use my own canned jam!
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:31 Jeanne in Seattle
10:32
[Comment From redweather redweather : ] 
ok, having done a little googling, i am pretty sure the Portrait Gallery cookies are alfajores - http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/alfajores
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:32 redweather
10:32
Kim ODonnel: 
awesome, red weather! Thank you.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:32 Kim ODonnel
10:32
[Comment From LeslieB LeslieB : ] 
Our family tradition is holiday m&m cookies. The original recipe only (it's changed over the years). Original recipe is mostly brown sugar, sweet and soft! Delish!!
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:32 LeslieB
10:33
Kim ODonnel: 
Seriously, with all this talk about cookies, I am truly getting inspired to do some baking this month. Never thought I'd say that. But baking really is a meditation,no? It takes us away from all the stuff for a little while & allows to focus on the sweet side of life.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:33 Kim ODonnel
10:33
[Comment From redweather redweather : ] 
oooo - i bet a rasberry jam would be quite nice on the chocolate madelines..... usually i just eat them completely "plain," but the cookbook my mother originally made them from shows 2 madelines, frosted together like an oyster with a big dollop of chocolate fudge icing, and a candy pearl inside.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:33 redweather
10:34
Kim ODonnel: 
Redweather, even lemon curd would be fab inbetween those fudgy layers.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:34 Kim ODonnel
10:34
[Comment From LeslieB LeslieB : ] 
I had positive results last year subbing whole wheat flour in my thumbprint cookies and a little wheat germ. Helps me to feel better when eating the 4 or 5th cookie in a row!!
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:34 LeslieB
10:35
Kim ODonnel: 
LeslieB, did you sub 1 for 1 -- or add a portion of WW flour?
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:35 Kim ODonnel
10:35
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
I make classic madeleines and then dip half of each in semi-sweet chocolate. Delish!
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:35 Jeanne in Seattle
10:35
[Comment From alisoncsmith alisoncsmith : ] 
agree - baking absolutely a meditation. though not as good for the waistline as yoga
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:35 alisoncsmith
10:36
Kim ODonnel: 
Indeed, Alison! But cookies make such a great gift. Who doesn't like to receive a cookie?
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:36 Kim ODonnel
10:36
[Comment From maukgirl maukgirl : ] 
I love baking as a stress release. There is nothing quite like putting those ingredients and having something incredible come out of the oven
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:36 maukgirl
10:38
Kim ODonnel: 
I hear you, Maukgirl. Baking is very gratifying. It does require patience and diligence w/ a timer, but the results inevitably make you smile.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:38 Kim ODonnel
10:38
[Comment From Jon Jon : ] 
Kim, I can't believe I didn't know you left WaPo over a year and a 1/2 ago! I have been living under a rock (and not cooking)! I want to make caramels, and I have never made candy. I think I can do this though. I have seen recipes that call for sweetened condensed milk and some that call for cream. Is the only real different reduced cooking time? Will there be a different texture to the candy? Also some recipes call for two pots, but I don't trust myself with dealing with a pot of frothing napalm. Will a one pot recipe have as good a result? Thanks!
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:38 Jon
10:40
Kim ODonnel: 
Hi Jon! Yes, I left WaPo when I began working on my cookbook last year. And now I'm a columnist for USA Today, writing every other Wednesday.
Re: caramels: a one-pot recipe will have as good of a result. Don't stress yourself out. The only thing about sweetened condensed milk is that you have no control over the sweetness of the end result. Otherwise, it's pretty reliable.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:40 Kim ODonnel
10:40
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Yes, baking is my very favorite thing to do! It's a stress release, a meditation, a way to be creative, and it's just plain fun.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:40 Jeanne in Seattle
10:43
Kim ODonnel: 
Has anyone ever been part of a cookie blitz (besides Alison who had her blooper many yrs ago)? I've heard stories of baking like mad over a period of 3 days & making something like 10,000 cookies that will be used as gifts.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:43 Kim ODonnel
10:43
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Here's a one pot caramel recipe: http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/caramels/Detail.aspx
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:43 Jeanne in Seattle
10:43
[Comment From Erin Erin : ] 
Jon - fleur de sel caramels! Get a good candy thermometer, and be sure to have everything, including your pan (for pouring in the hot caramel), ready before you start. Thanks for the idea... I love caramels... these would be divine to give!
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:43 Erin
10:44
Kim ODonnel: 
Or have folks done a cookie swap -- i.e. bake 6 dozen, meet on a given day, then swap all but 1 dozen? Always wondered the ups/downs of such an adventure.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:44 Kim ODonnel
10:44
Kim ODonnel: 
Anyone shipping cookies this year?
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:44 Kim ODonnel
10:46
Kim ODonnel: 
So next Thursday, Dec 9, topic is up for grabs. Holiday gifts? This year in cookbooks? Send along your suggestions.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:46 Kim ODonnel
10:46
[Comment From redweather redweather : ] 
A bunch of people in my parents' neighborhood do a big cookie swap - they all bake, gather together, swap and also make plates of assorted for the more elderly folks around the neighborhood.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:46 redweather
10:46
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
I have a dear friend that I used to get together with at certain times of the year and spend a day just making cut-out cookies. It was so fun! We made dozens and dozens.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:46 Jeanne in Seattle
10:47
[Comment From Erin Erin : ] 
Kim, one of the civic groups around here does a mad baking weekend as a fund-raiser. They are known for their breads and sticky buns, and they turn out thousands of pans. I ship cookies from PA to CA: use a sturdy tin for the cookies, and partially inflate a ziploc bag to place between the top layer and tin lid. Give the tin a shake and adjust air until no real shifting is heard. Pack the tin in a larger box with plenty of packing material, and away you go. Helps if you make a sturdier cookie to ship.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:47 Erin
10:47
[Comment From maukgirl maukgirl : ] 
I'll be shipping cookies to a few people. This is the hardest part. They can only get the non-chocolate, less breakable cookies. I tend to wrap them in a gift box then surround with packing materials
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:47 maukgirl
10:47
[Comment From alisoncsmith alisoncsmith : ] 
our model, btw, is as follows: 1-2 recipes/person (4 college roommate friends, 15 years later) + coffee + muffins + champagne cocktails + papa john's for lunch = massive hilarity, tears, and companionship. oh yeah, and we get to take home some of each
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:47 alisoncsmith
10:48
Kim ODonnel: 
That's fun, Alison. Do you do this every year?
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:48 Kim ODonnel
10:48
[Comment From LeslieB LeslieB : ] 
I will have to double check and can report in next week. I think it was subbing 1/3 of AP flour for whole wheat.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:48 LeslieB
10:48
Kim ODonnel: 
Yeah, 1 for 1 one sub would make for a very tough cookie.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:48 Kim ODonnel
10:48
[Comment From Erin Erin : ] 
I'm moving to alisoncsmith's neck of the woods: that sounds grand!
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:48 Erin
10:49
Kim ODonnel: 
I love the idea of making lots of cookies and setting some aside for members of the community. Hmmm....
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:49 Kim ODonnel
10:49
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
I've baked 120 cookies as we've been chatting!
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:49 Jeanne in Seattle
10:50
Kim ODonnel: 
I think that qualifies you for the walk & chew gum at the same time award!
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:50 Kim ODonnel
10:50
[Comment From redweather redweather : ] 
papa john's = one of my guilty pleasures...
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:50 redweather
10:50
[Comment From alisoncsmith alisoncsmith : ] 
yup, every year.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:50 alisoncsmith
10:50
Kim ODonnel: 
Wow, Alison! That means it must be coming up?
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:50 Kim ODonnel
10:50
[Comment From alisoncsmith alisoncsmith : ] 
think we had our 15th anniversay last year
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:50 alisoncsmith
10:50
[Comment From alisoncsmith alisoncsmith : ] 
we also move "hosting" from house to house
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:50 alisoncsmith
10:51
[Comment From Lizka Lizka : ] 
I love allison's tradition. How wonderful!
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:51 Lizka
10:51
Kim ODonnel: 
Alison, I think you're inspiring us all. I know I'm thinking about how quickly I can get a small group together next weekend...
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:51 Kim ODonnel
10:52
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
There's also the idea of baking a bunch of cut-out cookies and then inviting folks over to decorate them. That's a fun party!
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:52 Jeanne in Seattle
10:52
[Comment From alisoncsmith alisoncsmith : ] 
we used to be really silly and overambitious and did 1-2 crafts/person, too - everything from glass christmas balls to felt ornaments. and yes, it's coming up - on the 12th. it's one of the few times a year we see each other. just us. in the spring we try and cook a big gourmet dinner and include spouses. but that's failed for the past few years
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:52 alisoncsmith
10:52
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Kids especially like the cookie decorating parties.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:52 Jeanne in Seattle
10:52
[Comment From LeslieB LeslieB : ] 
My friend and I attempted to make holiday cookies last weekend. 4+ hours of video games later...no cookies were made! LOL. We will have to put forth better effort soon :)
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:52 LeslieB
10:53
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
As a gluten-free person, these cookie exchanges are tough. I make terrific gf cookies, but then I can't participate in the receiving part of the exchanges...
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:53 Jeanne in Seattle
10:53
Kim ODonnel: 
Well, Jeanne, maybe it's time for that change...
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:53 Kim ODonnel
10:53
[Comment From alisoncsmith alisoncsmith : ] 
it's been with us through all sorts of life moments and changes. graduations, weddings, the year i drank only a little champagne and my roomie guessed why even though i didn't announce until weeks later. though there are now 3 offspring, we've deliberately kept it ladies-only
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:53 alisoncsmith
10:54
[Comment From alisoncsmith alisoncsmith : ] 
jeanne, couldn't you organize a group to do GF baking party, though? esp folks who are curious, like me!
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:54 alisoncsmith
10:54
Kim ODonnel: 
I've had Jeanne's GF stuff & it tastes remarkably like the wheat version...
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:54 Kim ODonnel
10:55
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Alison: That's a good idea!
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:55 Jeanne in Seattle
10:56
[Comment From alisoncsmith alisoncsmith : ] 
maybe i'll do a GF recipe this year just 'cause...that atk issue had a couple - mostly chocolate ;-)
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:56 alisoncsmith
10:56
[Comment From Erin Erin : ] 
I have a play-date/cookie-decorating morning coming up. It's so easy to get kids of all ages involved, AND to re-involve teenagers with the family, too (sometimes they need a gentle reminder that they still can act like - and are - kids, and don't need to be so cool all of the time) (esp. around their aunt: me).
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:56 Erin
10:56
Kim ODonnel: 
So true, Erin. Everyone loves to get in on the cookie action.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:56 Kim ODonnel
10:56
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Kim: how about holiday meal traditions for next week. Any winter holiday!
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:56 Jeanne in Seattle
10:57
[Comment From alisoncsmith alisoncsmith : ] 
erin, it's one of my fav things to do w/ my 3yo and my friends. have had a couple come over to bake with her
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:57 alisoncsmith
10:57
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Alison: I have a blog devoted to gluten-free baking with recipes:Art of gluten-Free Baking http://artofglutenfreebaking.com.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:57 Jeanne in Seattle
10:57
[Comment From redweather redweather : ] 
yeah, my frex (friend-who's-an-ex) is gf, and i've been finding lots of great stuff on gluten-free goddess - these brownies are AMAZING http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2006/01/dark-chocolate-brownies.html
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:57 redweather
10:57
Kim ODonnel: 
FREX. That's a new one to me. Love it.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:57 Kim ODonnel
10:58
[Comment From redweather redweather : ] 
it was getting very complicated to explain. :)
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:58 redweather
10:58
[Comment From Erin Erin : ] 
Sweet, Jeanne! My best friend's mother is gf, and I'd love to bake something for her. I will definitely be checking your blog out!
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:58 Erin
10:58
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Frex hilarious!
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:58 Jeanne in Seattle
10:59
Kim ODonnel: 
Okay, so we've got one vote for holiday traditions. Any other takers for next week's chat topic?
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:59 Kim ODonnel
10:59
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Erin: also feel free to email me with any questions or requests!
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:59 Jeanne in Seattle
10:59
[Comment From maukgirl maukgirl : ] 
I get so nervous making gf items. We had a friend over and only made grilled meat and potatoes with an olive oil potato salad. She still got sick. I think something in our kitchen must have accidentally contaminated. Now I'm super nervous about it.
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:59 maukgirl
10:59
[Comment From alisoncsmith alisoncsmith : ] 
agree on holiday traditions! i'm in
Thursday December 2, 2010 10:59 alisoncsmith
11:00
Kim ODonnel: 
Hanukah will be over by next week's chat, but we've got Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year's, Winter Solstice. Any others?
Thursday December 2, 2010 11:00 Kim ODonnel
11:00
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Maukgirl: yes, the cross-contamination thing is hard. Just make sure that your cutting boards and utensils are really clean. Also, your friend might have had a reactiont to something else.
Thursday December 2, 2010 11:00 Jeanne in Seattle
11:00
[Comment From Erin Erin : ] 
holiday traditions: me too!
Thursday December 2, 2010 11:00 Erin
11:01
[Comment From alisoncsmith alisoncsmith : ] 
kim, this is a site admin thing, but it would be great to have at least an optional feature where posters could include their location - i'd love to know where folks are (know people share a lot, but)
Thursday December 2, 2010 11:01 alisoncsmith
11:02
Kim ODonnel: 
I will find out for you, Alison. Great point.
Thursday December 2, 2010 11:02 Kim ODonnel
11:03
Kim ODonnel: 
It's already time to run. Thanks all for popping in & sharing your tasty bits. Hope you're feeling inspired & ready to crank up those ovens! Back to you next Thurs 12/9, same time. Meanwhile, be well & keep the spirit of cooking alive.
Thursday December 2, 2010 11:03 Kim ODonnel
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Table Talk

Kim O’Donnel is a trained chef, nationally recognized online food personality, and a longtime journalist. She is the author of a new cookbook, The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook.

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