Jason’s family’s Christmas was held the same day as the Wildcat 10k. Fortunately it wasn’t until 2pm which afforded me the ability to race, come home and shower and leave with enough time to explore Olio in Lititz. We hadn’t ventured south on Broad St during our tiny house trip in September and a coworker told Jason that we needed to check out Olio. I would’ve never imagined there were so many varieties of olive oils and balsamic vinegar. The fact that we could sample any of them was such a neat feature of the store. Jason picked out a spicy olive oil and a pear flavored vinegar that was said to pair well together.
The previous weekend Jason and I had made rum balls. This was our second year making them. The recipe doesn’t state how long to refrigerate them before rolling and last year we made the mistake of leaving them in the fridge too long. They were incredibly difficult to roll. This year we only left them in for 10 minutes and they were much easier to roll. We then rolled them in confectioner’s sugar. Last year we rolled some in sugar crystals but found the confectioner’s sugar to coat better and taste better. Although they are to remain in the fridge for a week upon finishing, I took some to a Citizen’s Climate Lobby meeting on Wed. where they were much appreciated. I took the remaining ones to Jason’s dad and stepmom’s house to share and nearly all of them were devoured.
Due to the race Saturday morning I made two other desserts Friday night. The first was brownies. For years brownies have been my go to dessert but it was only a few years ago that I started making them from scratch vs a box mix. I had always assumed it was harder to make them from scratch. However, the recipe I use is so simple that it takes roughly the same amount of time as making them from a box and results in much tastier brownies. Jason’s family always enjoys them so I like to make them each year to take for Christmas.
Besides making brownies I wanted the challenge of making a new dessert to take for Christmas. Jason likes lemon flavored treats, so when I found cheesecake lemon bars I thought they would be a good dessert to tackle. I experienced quite an arm workout cutting pieces of butter with two knives into the dough for the crust. I now know why people have pastry blenders. Mixing sugar and cream cheese with an electric mixer was also an effort, and I thought to myself “So this is why Kasey (my sister) has a Kitchen Aid mixer”. I finally finished all three layers and popped the baking dish in the oven for the listed 30 minutes. I had underestimated how long it would take me to make the dessert and it was after 8pm until it was finished. I should’ve checked the oven sooner than 30 minutes as a few spots along the edges browned a good bit. Also despite following the instruction to remove any bubbles prior to baking, there were spots that cracked. I’m sure this is common when making cheesecake but annoyed me nonetheless. I decided to rectify this by placing half a strawberry on each bar after I cut them. I only took half of the bars to the Christmas event as it made so many. If I were to ever make the bars again I would certainly halve the recipe. I’m not a huge fan of lemon flavored desserts but found the taste to be very good. Both of Jason’s sister in laws liked them as well. Unfortunately Jason found them to be too sweet for his liking, so I probably won’t make them again unless requested.
I was glad making rum balls was easier this year, that my brownies were their usual success, and the cheesecake lemon bars weren’t a total fail. I tackled two new recipes yesterday for my extended family’s Christmas party so look for a post about those coming later this week.
Please note I am not affiliated with AllRecipes or 100DaysofRealFood. The fact that the recipes listed come from their websites is personal preference.
Have you ever had “fancy” olive oils or vinegar? Do you prefer to make desserts from scratch or a box mix? Have you made any cheesecake desserts and if so, did yours crack?