December 19, 2019

2019 Holiday Cookie Box

I don't know about you, but I am utterly exhausted from all the holiday candy making and baking.  I blame this year's shortened time frame between Thanksgiving and Christmas.   For four weeks straight I was either making pounds and pounds of cashew toffee or various holiday cookies.  It was a frenzy of activity so you can't blame me for relishing some down time until 2020.

Here's what I gifted to my friends:

Chocolate Crinkle (America's Test Kitchen) - a classic that is always a crowd pleaser
Zimtsterne (The Daring Gourmet) - gluten free and dairy free
Ginger Molasses (Amanda Frederickson) - mine came out flatter than hers, but they still taste great!
Walnut Snowballs (America's Test Kitchen) - my all-time favorite Christmas cookie
Brownies (Bravetart) - the BEST recipe hands down and a guarantee of the shiny top crust
Pinwheel Icebox (America's Test Kitchen) - slice and bake are super easy and convenient
Clotted Cream Shortbread (Rodda's) - the best shortbread that holds it's shape beautifully

Paper Mart boxes.

Season's Treatings to All!!!

December 16, 2019

Zimtsterne (German Cinnamon Stars)

I've got several friends who are gluten and dairy intolerant so it can be challenging to find Christmas cookies that meet those criteria.  Fortunately for me these Zimtsterne (German Cinnamon Stars) fit the bill perfectly! 

After a google search I found this great recipe from Daring Gourmet.  The cookies are made with only a few ingredients but they pack a punch: almond flour, confectioners' sugar, egg whites, cinnamon, vanilla sugar and salt.  These German treats remind me a little of macarons, but are so much easier to make.   Plus, I love that you can easily tint the meringue topping any color you'd like.  

December 13, 2019

Pinwheel Icebox Cookies

Every holiday season I love to bake a variety of cookies to give as gifts to friends and family.  Baking is what you'd call my love language.  Certain cookies are on repeat every year, e.g., walnut snowballs and chocolate crinkles, because they are holiday classics and always delicious.  

This year the time frame between Thanksgiving and Christmas was so short, compared to years past, that I searched for recipes that could be made well in advance.  No point slaving away in the kitchen all at once when I could spread the work out, right?   

I was inspired to make these Pinwheel Icebox Cookies when I saw a picture of similar cookies on Baked By Rachel's Instagram account.  Cook's Illustrated has a great recipe for vanilla icebox cookies which I adapted slightly.  Trust me, it wasn't as complicated as it might sound.  I basically just took half the dough and colored it red, then I layered the two colors and rolled them up in to a long log.  A final roll in some red and green nonpareils was all that was needed.  A chill in the fridge and then just slice and bake.  As Ina Garten would say, "how easy is that?"


December 8, 2019

Iced Oatmeal Cookies

There are certain cookies that bring back fond memories of my childhood.   One of those Proustian madeleines would have to be Mother's Cookies Iced Oatmeal.  While chocolate chip  might top the cookie ranks for most, I was always team oatmeal.  There was something so attractive about these crunchy cookies with the pebbly white tops.  You can't imagine my joy when I saw a homemade version included in Shauna Sever's cookbook "Midwest Made."

Shauna's tribute to Midwestern baking has to be one of my favorite cookbooks of 2019.  As I was flipped through it there were so many delicious and nostalgic bakes that I had earmarked for future projects.  I previously made her Chocolate Bumpy Cake for this blog, with great success, so I knew her iced oatmeal cookies were going to be excellent.  Admittedly I was a bit skeptical about how authentic the cookies would turn out, but I stand corrected.  I couldn't believe how legit the finished cookies looked to the brand name.   

One of the best things about this recipe?  It's made entirely in the food processor!  How easy is that? These iced oatmeal cookies are definitely going to be added to my cookie arsenal.

December 3, 2019

Cranberry-Sour Cream Pound Cake

One fruit that I rarely ever use in baking is the cranberry.  I thought I'd remedy that by giving Cook's Country recipe for Cranberry-Sour Cream Pound Cake a try.  I love how dots of ruby fruit contrast so nicely against a creamy backdrop of cake.   Don't you think it would make a great homemade gift for the holidays?

After the cake was cooled I helped myself to a slice and was very happy with the end result.  The bursts of tart cranberries were so delicious combined with the moist, tender and rich butter cake.  All that was needed was a light dusting of powdered sugar and the cake was want for nothing.  Well, maybe a cup of tea!

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