Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Chocolate Gingerbread Bars

You're all super sick of sweets, right? Personally, after baking for a week straight, I am done. But, with the craziness of the holidays, I wasn't able to get all my posts up as quickly as I would have liked. So, this one will be here, for those who may want to indulge again before New Years...and, if not, there's always next year. I actually have more sweets coming, as today is my DH's birthday & I made some unbelievable cupcakes...more on that soon!
But, as of New Years, it's a new leaf. It's savory. It's heathy...and some unhealthy. But, it definitely a break from the sweets!
Like the Mexican Wedding Cakes, I saw this recipe in the recent Martha Stewart "Holiday Cookies" issue. When it comes to holiday baking, Martha's got it down. Every year, I turn to her recipes when I decide what cookies to choose. I actually had at least a half a dozen types dog-eared for this year, but never got to them all.
I made her Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies last year & I liked them so much, I thought I would give these bars a try. They have a very similar taste. The gingerbread flavor is intense...which I love. Plus, they're studded with oozy bits of chocolate. Gotta love that!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas & a wonderful 2011!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Mexican Wedding Cakes

Growing up my Grandmother made these cookies every Christmas. They were always one of my most favorite. A few years back, I made a Hawaiian version of Mexican Wedding Cakes. This year, I decided to make them the traditional way. I used a recipe found in the recent issue of Martha Stewart's "Holiday Cookies". There are thousands of different recipes out there, many different names too. Some call them butterballs, or polvorones, or Russian tea cakes, or pecan snowball cookies, and many more...
I like this version, because it uses cinnamon, which is not typical in most recipes I've seen. Making them couldn't be easier. Everything gets mixed up in the food bowls, no mixer. The dough is very forgiving & easy to work with. It can also be made ahead of time & baked off as you need it...or, you can bake the cookies & store them in an airtight container for up to a week. Perfect during the craze of the holidays.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Some Things I Just Love...

It seems every year the holiday season flies by quicker & quicker. Here's an array of special items, or ideas I've found around the interweb recently. Maybe some gift ideas for you last minute shoppers out there? I'm just about done!

a. Chef's pencil set found on Etsy {via Cup of Jo}...a cute gift for the cook in your life.

b. I love these stocking stuffers from Garnet Hill. They would be great for an advent calendar too! {maybe next year?}

c. I love this retro toy collection from Restoration Hardware! Everything from a slinky, to sip & swirl straws, to a 3D drawing pad {which my sister got the Bozos a few years ago & they loved} & more!

d. I saw some cute mason jar snowglobes earlier in the season & waited too long to get one...they sold out like hotcakes. Then I saw this DYI project & love it!! Gift cards can be a bit impersonal I think {yet highly coveted by many}...something like this is a great way to give them.

e. Anthropologie makes these great monogrammed mugs...or, you can visit Design Mom to find out how to make your own! I think they would be perfect teacher gifts.

f. I have mentioned Divine Twine here before...{love the stuff}. But, you can find even more to love over at their main site, Whisker Graphics. They have adorable cards, labels & stickers too! Perfect for gifting that holiday baking you've been slaving over.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Roasted Tomatoes with Pesto

Trying to squeeze in the time to cook is a challenge at the moment. Something quick & easy is about all I can handle. One of my favorite weeknight dinners is a hamburger {no bun} on a plate, with a thick slice of tomato & some pesto. So simple, yet easy & delicious.
When I saw this recipe in Ina's new cookbook, I thought, Yum!...that would make an awesome hamburger topper! So, this week, that is exactly what I did.
I was able to find a nice, ripe tomato, because "UglyRipes" are available in my area. But, if you can't find one, it's not that big of a deal, as the tomatoes get roasted anyway. Just find the best looking one you can.
For this recipe you can use store bought pesto {as I did}, or homemade.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Holiday Baking Round-Up...

For those of you out there who bake for the holidays...most of you seem to be in full swing! I have yet to start. If you're like me & need to get going on it, here's some inspiration for you. A collection of everything "Holiday Baking" from The Parsley Thief over the years. Enjoy!
a. Saltine Toffee, b. Almond Shortbread Stars, c. Coconut Cream-Filled Macaroons, d. Rum Balls, e. Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, f. Spiced Cardamom Snowflakes, g. Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies, h. Lime Meltaways, i. Tate's Chocolate Chip Cookies, j. Butterscotch Pudding, k. Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies, l. Date Nut Spice Bread, m. Hawaiian Wedding Cookies, n. Guinness Stout Ginger Cake, o. Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars, p. Crinkle Cookies, q. Pecan Linzer Cookies with Cherry Filling, r. Spice Sugar Cookies, s. Sugar Cookies {not pictured}
More to come over the month of December...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Chicken Cashew Curry

I keep my enormous Le Creuset pot in the basement, because I don't have room for it in my kitchen. It had collected quite a bit of dust, just sitting there all spring & summer. This is my first cold weather recipe this winter & it couldn't have been more perfect. With this delicious curry, there is no need to order Indian takeout. In fact, it's probably the best chicken curry I've ever tasted...amazing!
I found it in the top-rated section of Epicurious. If you are ever struggling to come up with something to make for dinner, or a party, that's the place to look! How could you go wrong with something rated by 550 people? This four star recipe is just another confirmation of that fact. You won't be sorry you made it & if you love it as much as I did, it will go into your regular recipe rotation.
The Bozos even loved it! It took some convincing to get my 8 year old to give it a taste. But, afterwards, he called his little brother into the kitchen, saying, "You have to try this!! It looks really gross, but it's really good!" He's right. It does look a bit less than appealing, given the muddy color the curry powder gives the dish. But, don't let that deter you.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pecan Linzer Cookies with Cherry Filling

Stephanie J. of the gorgeous online magazine N.E.E.T. contacted me looking for a contribution to their December issue...which is also their 5th anniversary issue! Of course, I was thrilled to make something for them! I wanted to do some sort of cookie, because cookies are my thing this time of year. In fact, in the coming weeks I won't be doing much else, but baking!
The article is about cooking with fruit, so I thought a jam filled cookie would be perfect. I love how pretty these Linzer cookies came out. They are made using ground pecans, which compliment the buttery, shortbread texture very well...and, the cherry jam is perfect here. But, you can use any flavor jam you wish.
If you want to make them ahead of time, you can cut the shapes out, bake them, then freeze once cooled. Let them thaw at room temperature for about 15 minutes, before filling with jam & dusting with powdered sugar.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Lake Placid

I'm signing off until next week, as we are in Lake Placid, NY for a hockey tournament. The home of the 1932 & 1980 Olympic Winter Games. It's so beautiful here & we are having a blast! More when we return...