Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Cookies

The time of year for lots of cookies is here. Hip Hip Hooray!

I just wanted to post about my favorite Christmas goodie recipes.
(The first pictures are my cookies, the second ones are from Bon Appetit. Just to show they are doable.)

1. Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies

Two moist chocolate cookies sandwiching deliciously rich peppermint buttercream icing and rolled in crushed candy canes. Wonderful to look at and eat. I completely assemble ahead and freeze until ready to use. I changed the filling a bit. For a quadruple recipe, I use 6 c. powdered sugar, 3 cubes butter, 3-5 Tablespoons milk and 2 teaspoons peppermint extract.

2. Pecan Lace Sandwich Cookies

I am not a huge nut fan, but these are divine. The richest, crunchiest toffee like cookie with a delicious orange buttercream sandwiched between. I use orange juice concentrate in place of the OJ and peel. I also make them much smaller than the recipe says to, they are very rich and don't need to be huge. A half-teaspoon is plenty big. Don't assemble until ready to serve(same day), they will get a bit soft. But I make the cookies ahead and freeze them and then add frosting when ready to devour them all or give them away.

3. Triple Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

I like to think these are a tiny bit healthy: they have oatmeal and cranberries. Never mind the three types of chocolate chips and tons of butter. They re nice and soft and the cranberry adds just the right amount of tartness. I sometimes omit the white chocolate if I don't have it. This year I used cinnamon chips. You can also decrease the amount of chips a bit.

4. English Toffee
I don't remember where I got this recipe so I will just give it to you.
3 1/3 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. corn syrup
3/4 c. water
1/2 tsp. salt
1 TBS vanilla
1 1/2 c. crushed almonds , optional
12 oz. chocolate chips
Combine the sugar, butter, syrup, water and salt in a large heavy saucepan. Cook on medium heat until a candy thermometer registers 300 degrees. If you don't have a thermometer, you can cook until it is a deep amber. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Beware it bubbles up with this step. Stir in all but 1/2 c. almonds. Pour onto big cookie sheet with lip. I place a large sheet of parchment paper on first to facilitate easy removal. Let set for 10 minutes. sprinkle chips on top. Let them melt a bit, then spread with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle remaining almonds while chocolate is still soft. Let cool completely and break up in irregular pieces.

I make a batch with nuts and one without.

Happy Eating!

Patty Griffin

I just discovered a new artist I am in love with: Patty Griffin. Now I am not all savvy when it comes to music, I just know what I like. She is a singer-songwriter who sings contemporary folk in a flawless voice. Emmylou Harris (another of my favorite folk artists) sings harmony on many of her albums. She has been producing music since 1996. the few songs I downloaded from emusic were from her 2002 album Impossible Dream and her newest album Children Running Through.If anyone else has heard her let me know your favorite songs so I can download them. I really like Heavenly Day, Mother of God and Florida.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Turkey Day

I forgot to post about our wonderful Thanksgiving. We spent the weekend with Tom's family in Sun Valley, Idaho.

It was all so much fun, but this really sums it all up.

A delicious buffet at the Sun Valley Inn was enjoyed by all, as well as a girls' shopping trip to surrounding boutiques and thrift stores, yummy meals, giant outdoor heated swimming pool, and great trail runs on 6 degree mornings. Thanks Elbert and Shanna for a great weekend that included good surroundings, better food and the best company.

Dessert, dessert and more dessert

Today is my birthday!! And what better birthday present could a sugar-aholic girl like me ask for than lots and lots of dessert.

Tom threw me two wonderful, sugar-filled parties. All the desserts were hand selected and made from scratch by none other than Thomas himself. And boy were they delicious!

The first party included 5 mini desserts: Mini Monster Cookies, FBPs, Kentucky Butter Cake, Great Harvest Brownies, and Two-Layer Key Lime Pie.

The second, more intimate party was topped off with this divine Quadruple-Berry Trifle.

Thanks T for a wonderful, sugary birthday.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Cinnamon Rolls

I discovered a great recipe for divine cinnamon rolls at pioneer woman cooks. I followed the recipe exactly, except I omitted the coffee in the frosting and added vanilla and a little more butter in its place. And I halved the recipe. It still made two cake pans worth of rolls. I wonder if you could make the whole batch and freeze some of the dough?

Anyway, give them a try and let me know what you think.