The highlight of last week was finding Libby’s canned pumpkin at Superama. After my stressful, time consuming, and unfruitful search for canned pumpkin during Thanksgiving, I found dozens of cans at the supermarket. I don’t think I made anything from canned pumpkin last year, except for pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, but since it’s been such an elusive good, pumpkin has taken on a new meaning for me.
If you’re anything like me and obsessed with Buzzfeed, you’ve seen the multiple articles with ideas for food gifts for the holidays. Although sweaters and gift cards are nice, I find food to be a fantastic way to show someone you care about them,something like, “I love you a dozen cookies-worth.” I’ve made empanadas as gifts with my mom, and I always make sour cream cookies with my Dad around the holidays, so Christmas time means baking time for me.
Since I have family in Guadalajara, I decided to make baked goods as gifts for the holidays. Because my aunts are watching their sweets intake, I experimented with fake sugar in baking for the first time (I used BC sugar, which I was not familiar with but it was the cheapest and isn’t completely calorie free). I made four different goods for the gift plates: pumpkin bars (recipe – I subbed real flour for almond flour because even if I could find it, it would probably be really expensive), thumbprint cookies with blueberry pomegranate jam and homemade strawberry jam (recipe), craisin sugar cookies (recipe – just added 1 cup of craisins), and Mexican chocolate rolls (recipe – left out the cayenne because I couldn’t find it and they still had a kick).
The assembled plates
Pumpkin bar leftovers for me
The Mexican chocolate rolls were my favorites, and the prettiest to make, so I have included pictures from the recipe below.
Mexican chocolate rolls (original recipe, Hummingbird High)
1. Mix dry ingredients.
2. Mix water, milk, and butter in a saucepan and heat. The recipe says to 120 or 130 F, which doesn’t mean anything to me without a thermometer, so I just brought it to a light simmer.
3. Add we ingredients to dry, mix and add 1 cup of flour at a time until you have a manageable ball (you will need a lot of flour for this dough)
4. After dough is kneaded together, let it rest for 10 minutes under plastic wrap and mix the sugar, cocoa, and spices.
5. Using a serrated knife, cut the rested dough into two balls and roll them out one at a time (the recipe says 12×7 rectangle, I just rolled it out to where it would go without tearing.)
6. Add the sugar and spice mixture and then roll it up tightly like a jelly roll. Seal the ends so everything delicious stays inside.
7. Cut each roll into 12 pieces and bake in a greased muffin tin. Cover the top of each piece with the gently whisked egg before baking.