Sunday, December 18, 2011

Santa Bites

The third annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (or other baked delights) Contest just wrapped up at work. I have said before and have readily accepted the fact that I am just not much of a baker, but I do always try to participate. Last year, I sought therapy after my Tale of the Cake Balls chain of events. I realized I never came back around to give the recipe or at the least a picture of those little balls of hate, so here. You get a picture.

I was approached by another coworker to go splitsies on the last day of the competition, knowing that I always nab that sign-up spot. She decided that since the last day had two sign-up spots, we go in on it together as one ballot entry and blow the competition away. She is an incredible little baker, pies and jams her specialty, so I thought this could be a good fit. I bring the theme and presentation, if my baked contribution sucks, at least hers will rock it. Perfect combination!!

She encouraged me to do the cake balls again but I just couldn't bring myself to sacrifice the time, even though I'm sure the second go-round would have been smoother. If I ever do make them for Christmas again, I will use candy canes as the stick part, so much easier than that blasted bamboo skewer business that I brought upon myself.

Let's get back to the point. I ramble-write for my therapeutic purposes, but it's not what you care about. 

I wanted something easy this year, so I found some pinspiration for this little treat. The recipe was perfect for my inability to be very successful with baked goods and they were a hit at the office! Original recipe suggests melting white chocolate chips and transfering into a icing bag, but reading that was like Charlie Brown adults talking: wahh wah wahh wahp. No comprendo, dude. I was not going to mess with melting chocolate again this year. Therefore, I replaced that piece of the puzzle with a ready to go vanilla icing bag from Betty Crocker. Oh the simplicity.

Recipe yields 20 Santa Bites
Grocery List:
  • 1 box Brownie mix (I used a Duncan Hines, reduced fat mix)
    • this will call for you to use 1 egg, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup canola oil. You're welcome.
  • 1 tube vanilla icing 
  • 1 carton strawberries
And that's ALL! Shortest grocery list I've ever provided you. Additionally, you may want to pick up some materials such as baking tins if you don't already have some and miniature baking cups. I couldn't find the aluminum tins to make the minis, but I emprovised using the small cups in regular muffin tins, making the brownie cups a little more spread out and thinner, since they weren't held in form by the smaller diameter to reign in the sides. I really liked that about them though, it provided more surface space for the strawberry hat topping.

You are going to start by making the brownie mix as usual. Set the cups in the muffin tins and fill each with a large spoonful. Bake in the oven on 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Set the timer for 12 minutes first, test with a toothpick and play the "2 more minutes" game until the toothpick test results in no residue. Because these are much more condensed than one massive sheet of brownie batter, they will not take as long as the box says. I'm glad I had that common sense. I don't always.

While the brownie bites are baking, utilize this time to prepare your strawberries, aka, the hats. Chop the stems of creating a perfect little triangle.

When you brownies are cooked and cooled, get your icing bag and squeeze the frosting about 5 millimeters inside the perimeter of the brownie bite, a big thick ring. That's 1/2 a centimeter folks, 1/8 of an inch - I know this because I'm staring at a ruler on my desk.

Add your strawberry to settle right down in the icing ring, then top the peak with a little bop of icing.

Doesn't that resemble a little Santa hat?? Therefore, I nixed the longer title from the recipe I used and just referred to them as Santa Bites. 

I saved two at home for Mr. Max and got to the office to set up the display with my coworker. We had her chocolate, apple and cherry pies, my Santa Bites, nutcracker decor, hot chocolate, spiced tea, holiday serving pieces, an old school boombox hidden under a tapestry that played Christmas music all day long, and recipe cards.

Then, in true over-acheiving fashion, we elfed ourselves and sent this email out to the office, announcing the arrival of the treats:
In honor of our last day of holiday treats,
Here’s a fun video clip with killer beats.

Help yourself and take a bite,
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Bon app├ętit,

Katie and Cassie 

Enjoy friends, Happy Holidays!!

Tastefully yours,

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