Sunday, November 29, 2015

Xmas Baking Day in Guatemala

Yesterday was Xmas baking day! My friend, Nancy, invited me to her house to bake treats for Christmas since she heard that I no longer have an oven. Her kitchen is SWEET! She has marble countertops, a Kitchenaid stand mixer, a bazillion cookies pans, and parchment paper. Plus she is a smart lady and brought back ingredients from the States on her last trip up: REAL brown sugar, a giant bag of Costco Kirkland chocolate chips, and Wilton colours & flavours.
We baked and chatted for six hours! What a fun day. Recipes are at the bottom of the post for those who are interested.
This looks a lot like my little sister's baking cupboard back in Canada!
Crushing candy canes for truffles. A full-size candy cane costs Q2.75 or $0.48 at the import store.
Some of the ingredients arrayed out on the lovely marble countertops.
Most baking ingredients are available here in Panajachel, although sometimes only at the import store, called Sandra's. Nancy showed me some locally made molasses that she bought but it was really runny, so we went with a thicker molasses she got at a health food store in San Pedro. Baking powder is readily available, but I've only found baking soda at Sandra's (Arm & Hammer). Chalo's has a huge range of spices, and what you can't find there can be found at Sandra's. Butter is MEGA expensive, at least twice what it is back home. And I mentioned that Nancy had real brown sugar... they sell brown sugar here but it's really just white sugar that's brown! It's not thick and moist and flavourful like real brown sugar. :)
COOKIES! Ginger snaps in coloured sugars, gingerbread shapes, chocolate crinkles, and shortbread.
Nancy cooked us a delicious chicken chili in her slow cooker, which she got as a wedding gift 35 years ago. Vintage! Bert dropped by for lunch too and then helped me to decorate gingerbread men while Nancy made Mounds Bars (forgot to take a pic of those but they're awesome!)
Our decorated friends. :)
Bert had a lot of fun decorating.
I made Adam and Eve. Hee hee!
I call this "Blind Date." I made the lady and Bert  made the, um, man?
More of Bert's creativity shining through. He told me he has never decorated gingerbread men before.
My sloppy candy cane cookie dough truffles.
This is Choco-Mono. (Chocolate Monkey!) He got let into the kitchen to clean the floor. :D
Nancy was super generous and split all the cookies between the two of us, even though I hadn't bought nearly half of the ingredients! I was super happy to fill up my new Xmas cookie tin that I found in a second hand store right here Pana. :)
The funny thing? We didn't even get all the baking done that we wanted to, so we're going to have another round on Friday. MORE COOKIES!!

Now if only I can stop Bert from eating all the cookies before Xmas comes! :D

Gingerbread Men - bit spicy, might cut back on the cloves next time
Candy Cane Cookie Dough Truffles - divine but I'm bad at the chocolate coating part :)
Shortbread - my Nanny's recipe that we'll be doing on Friday, not the Scottish style shown above
Chocolate Crinkles - So easy and delicious
Mounds Bars - three ingredients, super simple and addictive

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