December 21, 2009

Christmas Cookies!

Christmas Tree Cookies

I may have gone a bit cookie crazy. Besides my Peppermint Fudge Pinwheels, I have two more cookie recipes to share. Well, it’s more like one recipe and one technique, but I’ll get to that.

I’ve never been able to find a sugar cookie that I actually like. I’ve tried about a million and they all just taste blah to me. But I think that’s just the kind of person I am. Brandon told me the other day that I have tendency to put too much flavoring in the things I bake and that may be true, but I just want something that tastes like…something. I hate blah food. Even something that has too much flavor is better than something that doesn’t have any. But I think this is just that age old debate of people who like vanilla ice cream and people who like chocolate. Of course I choose chocolate! The only time I’ll eat vanilla ice cream is if it’s covered in fudge or caramel.

Anyway, I’m not sure I even have a point other than to say that this desire for flavor translates into everything I cook and share on this blog. I make a lot of stuff that I don’t share here because it’s boring or basic. I always try to find recipes that are fun (at least to me). Which leads me to these totally adorable Christmas Tree Cookies. They are fun and easy to make and did I mention how adorable they are? But that’s not even the best part of them. The original recipe was for plain ol’ sugar cookies, but of course I modified them! The best part is that they taste just like cinnamon graham crackers, which are my absolute favorite. And my boyfriend, Mr. You-put-too-much flavoring, actually said that these were perfect! And he hates cinnamon, so if he likes these cookies, anyone will.

Christmas Tree Cookies Christmas Tree Cookies

I bet these cookies would be fun to make if you have kids. You divide the dough into three rolls which you cover in green sugar, then after they’ve chilled for a while, you just sliced them up and bake. I think kids would definitely have fun assembling the little trees; I did and I’m almost 30 years old! These would be really festive and pretty for a party and they keep well in an air-tight container. As with all Betty Crocker cookies I’ve made (or maybe it’s just a personal preference?) I think these taste better the day after you bake them.

Christmas Cookies

The other kind of cookies I made are technically called Stained Glass cookies, but I’m not sure that’s really accurate, especially after I modified them. I have seen recipes for stained glass cookies that actually have a little transparent window of sugar in them and these are not like those at all. These are just your basic sugar cookie recipe, but you divide up the dough and color parts of it with food coloring.

You are supposed to cut out shapes with cookie cutters in the uncolored dough and then cut up the colored doughs into little squares and arrange them on top of the uncolored cut-outs so that it looks like a stained glass window. But OH MY GOD, that is tedious. Seriously, I did about 3 cookies like that and I was done. It took forever and the colored dough kept getting too soft so I had to keep freezing it every 5 minutes. I was about ready to shoot someone and that is not the attitude you should have when making Christmas cookies! It’s supposed to be fun, not mind-numbing. So I pretty much just gave up on the whole “stained glass” thing and just cut out circles and whatever else I wanted. Then I took the colored doughs and cut them with cookie cutters and added more little details. It was much more fun when I could just do what I wanted to.

Christmas Cookies Christmas Cookies

Despite all that work, the cookies that came out were pretty but they were blah. Just about the blandest sugar cookies I’ve ever tasted: they weren’t even that sweet! So I won’t be posting that recipe, but the technique is still interesting and fun (as long as you do what you want and don’t try to kill yourself being “perfect”), and it should work with your favorite sugar cookie recipe.

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April 5, 2011

Lemon Poppy Seed Waffles with Blueberry Syrup

Lemon Poppy Seed Waffles with Blueberry Syrup

I realized the other day that the majority of the food I eat is breakfast food. I eat a lot of eggs, muffins, fruit bars, smoothies and cereal, not just at breakfast time but throughout the day. It’s not at all uncommon for me to have a bowl of cereal for dessert. My absolute favorite thing is breakfast for dinner, but I have a boyfriend who is a weirdo who likes, you know, dinner-y things for dinner. So that’s why I started “whatever” nights, which are nights 1 or 2 times a week when we just fend for ourselves. I get my breakfast for dinner and Brandon can order Chinese food or pizza. Everyone is happy.

My recent breakfast related obsession is blueberries. I’ve generally been ambivalent toward blueberries, but after putting them in my fruit bars, I realized how delicious they can be and now want to use them in everything. I’ve been making tons of blueberry pancakes lately, but last night I really wanted waffles. I know it can be done, but blueberry waffles sound messy to me. …

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July 1, 2013

Malted Chocolate Chip Waffles with Maple-Cherry Sauce

Malted Chocolate Chip Waffles with Maple-Cherry Sauce

Life has been really busy lately. Well, no. I should say work has been very busy lately and it’s been bleeding into my life. I love my job but sometimes it can be tough to remember why when I’m still sitting at my computer trying to finish coding a website at 9pm. Despite the long hours, I almost always feel like I’m never getting enough done, which leads to mentally beating myself up about not working hard enough/being good enough, etcetera, etcetera.

A couple of weeks ago I finally realized that is not the way I should be doing things. In fact, I realized that the all negative mental energy I was carrying around was actually making me less productive. So I decided to start over. Instead of being anxious about starting on something (because maybe it’ll be too hard or it won’t be good enough) I’m making an effort to just get started already and just do the best I can. Also, in a effort to make everything not all about work, I’ve …

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July 2, 2009

BBA Challenge Catch-up: Brioche, Casatiello and Challah

Poor Man's Brioche

So I’m still going at a normal pace for the BBA Challenge, but I’m behind on actually posting about it. I keep going back and forth about whether I even want to post about every single bread and that leads to more procrastination. But I think ultimately, I do want written and photographic evidence that I did in fact bake every single bread in this book, in order. I may do these combo posts for bread I have less to say about, but for instance, I have LOTS to say about the Ciabatta I did this week, so that’s going to be it’s own post (hopefully next week).

August 4, 2011

Lemon-glazed Blueberry Donut Muffins

Lemon-glazed Blueberry Donut Muffins

I go back and forth a lot on what my favorite food is, but donuts are definitely in the top five and likely to be in the top spot most days. Despite that, I don’t buy them very much. I’m just not the kind of person who can eat one donut and be satisfied. And ultimately, I don’t mind staying away from donuts because then when I do eat them they taste pretty magical.

But sometimes you just get a craving that won’t go away. I’ve made homemade donuts before but was not in the mood for the hassle of cutting and frying dough and I don’t have one of those donut pans to make cake donuts in. Then I remembered this recipe for donut muffins that I printed out ages ago and decided it was finally time to give it a try. Cut to this week, now the second time I’ve made them in the past month and I think I have a problem. I can’t stop making them! No, they aren’t quite as good as real fried donuts, but they do have the exact same taste and texture …

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August 6, 2009

Asiago-Crusted Pork Chops with Sweet Pea and Pepper Toss

Asiago-Crusted Pork Chops with Sweet Pea and Pepper Toss

I started making a meal plan every week and now that I’ve been doing it for a little while, I have to wonder why I haven’t been doing this all along. It’s saving me so much trouble. Here’s an example of a typical nightly exchange between me and my boyfriend pre-meal plan:

Me: What do you want for dinner?
Him: I don’t know, what do you want for dinner?
Me: Whatever you want.
Him: I want whatever you want.
Me: I forgot to take any meat out of the freezer.
Him: So…pizza or chinese?

It was just unbelievably frustrating and there was no excuse for it other than laziness on our part. Now I’ve been making a meal plan for the upcoming week on Sunday and then I go to the grocery store and buy only the ingredients I need (so I’m saving some money as well since I’m not buying produce or anything that goes bad before we get a chance to eat it). I have it written out on a big white board in my kitchen, so the night before I’m reminded of what I’m making the …

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May 13, 2010

Chicken Pot Stickers (Chinese Dumplings)

Chicken Pot Stickers

So here’s something that’s completely different. At least for me, it is. I tend toward baking and comfort food type recipes, so Chinese food is quite a departure. But I would say that these dumplings are the Chinese version of comfort food and honestly, I was really surprised by how much I liked them. And I should tell you that I don’t normally even like Chinese food. So that made liking these even more pleasantly surprising.

My boyfriend loves Chinese food, though. It’s probably his favorite kind of cuisine. So when I was flipping though my cookbook one day and he saw this recipe, he said “You should make those!” and I reluctantly agreed because I’m an awesome girlfriend like that (…and I’m so humble about it 😉 ). But another reason I was weary about making this recipe, besides not liking Chinese food in general, and dumplings specifically, was that this is a recipe from my Weight Watchers cookbook. And while I love this cookbook and have been happy with almost all …

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July 20, 2010

Homemade Buttery Croissants

I’m always up for a baking challenge so when Julie over at Willow Bird Baking challenged her readers to make croissants, I didn’t hesitate to sign up. I love croissants, but like donuts, I rarely eat them because of how bad they are for you. But there’s just something about making something from scratch that makes it seem less bad for you. I guess because you have to put actual time and effort into making it instead of just going into a store and buying it. Plus, it’s Brandon’s birthday this week and that is one of the 4 times of the year (along with my birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas) that I let myself eat whatever I want without feeling guilty about it.

And these croissants? Are absolutely worthy of much guilt, but they’re just way too delicious and way too much work to feel guilty about. I mean, I made these croissants. From scratch. All by myself. That is an accomplishment, not something to feel bad about. These croissants taste better than any that I’ve had from a bakery or store. It could just be because …

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