When I’m not making all manner of cakes and retro cafeteria pizzas at home for fun, I’m making donuts at my day job. Do you realize the number of times someone has said to me, “Time to make the donuts”? It’s endless. I’m pretty much just like that guy, waking up at 3:30 AM so I can sleepily make my way to work and create donut goodness … Continue reading german chocolate tea cookies
How long do you generally leave your Christmas decorations up? Me, I usually take them down the first weekend of January. That means my house is now comparatively drab without the sparkly silver garland, the glow of Christmas lights around every window, my little decked-out artificial tree, and the pretty ceramic angel figurine my mom gave me that she’s had literally for decades. This is usually my least favorite … Continue reading salted milk chocolate chip cookies
Christmas is just a few days away! Are you ready?
There are some people who finish their holiday shopping by August. They’re the super planners, the people who make copious to-do lists, whose vocabulary doesn’t include the word “procrastinate”.
Then there’s another sort of person. One of those people who waits til Christmas Eve to finish their shopping. Someone who ends up rushing around at the eleventh hour in search of the perfect gift, only to be met with empty shelves at the store. Yep, I’m talking to you! What if you could quickly create the perfect gift that your friends and loved ones would absolutely adore? Good news! I’m here to save the day.
Going out trick-or-treating for Halloween candy was something I looked forward to every year as a kid. I always hoped to get lots of fun size Snickers bars, and always scoffed at the ever-present rolls of Smarties candies that would accumulate in my pumpkin shaped pail. Come on, those things were barely even candy!
These days, living the life of a gal who’s pushing 31, my trick-or-treating days are long behind me. That doesn’t stop me from still carving jack-o-lanterns to set out in my front yard, watching John Carpenter’s Halloween every year (and It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown — it’s a classic!), and occasionally buying a mixed bag of Halloween candy to
snack on hand out to potential trick-or-treaters.
The older I get, the more I embrace those nostalgic Halloween traditions. Living life as an adult, I get the added perk of making my own classier, grown up-friendly Halloween treats, like these adorable pumpkin spiced macarons! Yes, pumpkin spice is everywhere, but I promise you, these actually taste like real pumpkin and spices!
One thing I always associate with Christmas is almond extract. More specifically, almond extract flavoring some old fashioned spritz cookies that my mom would make with her awesomely vintage cookie press. Have you ever seen one of these things? They’re pretty rad. Of course you can buy newer, less sturdy options, but my mom’s was the real deal with all metal parts. It belonged to my grandma when my mom was just a little kid in St. Louis.
Every Christmas season, my mom would grab the cookie press from its ragged cardboard box and she and my sisters and I would make red and green spritz cookies flavored with almond extract. Even if we halved the batch, it’d still make what seemed like a mountain of cookies! We’d be snacking on green Christmas trees and red (well, pink) wreaths well into the new year.
While those spritz cookies hold a nostalgic place in my heart, I think it’s high time I graduated to a more sophisticated sort of Christmas cookie. Enter the pistachio snowball cookie!
What do you think of when you think of Christmas time? I think of my mom’s homemade cranberry bread, twinkly little lights around the windows, Mickey’s Christmas Carol on TV, and Nat King Cole singing “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…”.
I also think of all things peppermint. There’s no better time of the year to break out the peppermint extract! Any other time of year, and you’ll just look like a weirdo. Since it’s December, you’re safe for the time being.
Back a few months ago when I made these Strawberry-Lime Crumble Bars, all I could think about was how I couldn’t wait to make a fall-inspired version! The strawberry and lime ones were amazing, but when the weather turns cool, you just want something with cinnamon, vanilla and warm spices, preferably with some apples included, to ring in the season.
I have what you’d call a little obsession with the little French cookie known as the macaron. There’s just something so alluring about these cookies to perfectionist bakers because it’s so technical a cookie to produce. Anyone can make a macaron, but to make a good one, the technique has to be perfected and you have to be present in the moment with these guys. This is no time to go into the kitchen and do a half-assed job. Use your whole ass!
When I was growing up, my mom had several go-to recipes for meals and snacks. Her homemade spaghetti sauce with ground beef was a common sight at dinnertime, as was her braised pot roast with carrots, onions and potatoes for Sunday dinner. For weekend snacks, I fondly remember eating “pigs in a blanket”, halved hot dogs wrapped in pop-open biscuit dough, dipped into obscene amounts of yellow mustard from that little bottle that looked like a barrel.
My favorite treat that my mom would make, one I remember eating for as long as I have memories of eating, was her top-notch oatmeal raisin cookies. She has the Little Yellow Cookbook, our official name for her cookbook filled with sheets of hand written recipe cards, ideas clipped out of yellowed magazines and newspapers, and recipes given to her from her sisters. This cookbook seemed to be ever-present in the kitchen, though recalling it now, I don’t remember her cooking many recipes from it. It’s one item I hope to one day call my own, as I have lots of good memories of flipping through the book’s plastic pages and marveling at all the time-worn recipes.
Growing up, my mom had a Land O Lakes cookbook that was given to her as a Christmas gift by one of our neighbors. Of any cookbook my mom had (aside from her ragged and worn 1970s edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook), we seemed to make things from this book more than most. One such item was a raspberry crumble bar. It was the simplest thing in the world, instructing you to mix up a quick crumbly dough, press half in the pan, spread that half with raspberry jam and crumble the reserved dough on top. Once baked, the bars had a soft and buttery base, topped with tart-sweet jam and tasty little crumbly crunchy bits. My sister and I loved them, and they were basically irresistible cause I never remember any pan of them lasting very long.