This Week’s Baking (mis)adventures + Holiday Gift Ideas

Dear followers,

Please disregard anything I ever have to say about baking again because apparently I’ve forgotten how to bake.

Homemade Holiday Gifts

This week has been our last week in Portland before heading off to Minnesota ( tomorrow ) for an extended holiday break. I was determined to meet up with some of the friends we have here in Portland to hang out after not having seen them again for awhile ( due to holiday madness ) before not seeing them for a little while again ( due to more holiday madness ). Plus, I wanted to give them some homemade holiday gifts.

Homemade Biscotti

My original idea was to make Homemade Bailey’s + homemade biscotti. Fun fact: I used to be really good at making biscotti. I even used to make them to sell at the small coffee shop I used to work at in Madison. But for some reason, when I tried to make them this time, they turned into a mess. I’m going to go ahead and blame my terrible oven on this one ( I know, I’m giving it a super bad rap lately ), but I also should have known better and kept a better eye on them. Bottom line: I burnt them, not terribly, but enough so that I wouldn’t give them away as gifts. Unfortunately Fortunately, I was able to somewhat save them by dipping them in chocolate to cover the burnt parts. It totally worked, but by the time I realized I could have somewhat saved them, I was already going strong on plan B ( plus, I still would have felt bad for gifting even somewhat saved burnt baked goods ).

Holiday Stout

The second (mis)adventure was to make an oatmeal stout gingerbread. Yes, it is as delicious as it sounds. My problem with this baking adventure was that my bundt loaf pan is smaller than average. I realized this after buying all the ingredients to make two larger loaves when I could have just split one recipe and made two smaller loaves. Instead, I filled the loaf pan almost all the way so that I could use up all the ingredients. But guess what guys? Bread rises! ( face-palm ) Before long, the rising batter was sliding down the sides of the loaf pan to burn aromatically at the bottom of the oven. Cool. Luckily I had enough ingredients to start over and make the two smaller loaves filled to the appropriate amount in the pan. Alex and I unfortunately get to eat the mess-up loaf that I somewhat saved.

Oatmeal Stout Gingerbread

The homemade Bailey’s recipe went perfectly ( probably because no ovens were involved ). We had found a couple salad dressing bottles this past weekend to store it in, which are simple but adorable. I think this + the stout gingerbread is the perfect wintertime comfort treat.

Homemade Christmas Gifts

Of course, the Bailey’s batch we made wasn’t enough for us to have some too, and since we were already benefiting from my baking mishaps, we thought we’d make ourselves a batch as well. However, as you know, I hate following recipes and love to make modifications to make them a little more healthy and nutritions ( especially important for alcoholic drinks *wink* ). We would have done this initially for our gift batch, but sometimes the healthier versions have a different taste, and we wanted to make sure our gift had the full richness of real Bailey’s. This “healthier” version is made with coconut milk and you can definitely tell. It’s not overpowering, but if you don’t like coconut, you probably won’t be a huge fan of this. Also, it tends to separate, so you’ll want to keep stirring if you won’t want a massive gulp of whiskey at the bottom:

“Healthier” Homemade Irish Cream

  • 1 can ( 14 ounces ) coconut milk ( full fat )
  • 14 ounces ( we just refilled the coconut milk can ) almond milk
  • 3/4 cup Irish whiskey ( we used Feckin’ Irish – ha! )
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Give it a whir in the blender and enjoy chilled or as an addition to hot coffee or hot cocoa.

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