baking

Loving Lately 🎅🏻

There aren’t enough hours in the day to make all of the Christmas cookies on my list. Also, I don’t think I could possibly fit in the exercise to balance the caloric intake. But I really want to try (the first part). Thank you Aisha Yusaf for perfectly capturing the essence of my cookie desire in the featured image with your Jam Tarts.

How much more holiday does it get than Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies from Mom on Timeout? I think everyone in Michigan has a relative who lives in Florida who sends or brings them a bag of oranges this time of year. (Maybe I’m naive.) And why does a mom timeout sound like a vacation? I could use a vacation, with a box of shortbread cookies.

I’m kind of crazy about biscotti. I could do a whole post on biscotti alone (and probably will). This Gingerbread Biscotti from If You Give A Blonde a Kitchen, sounds like the perfect dose of Christmas medicine… along with a coffee creamed with egg nog. (Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, I just like to play one on my blog.)

Of course, there are the traditional sugar cookies (I’ll be posting a recipe soon). I have neither the patience nor the talent to make them as intricate as these. But wouldn’t they be awesome to serve? I’d be like “Oh, these little things… I just whipped them together…” I would really like to give someone the credit that is due… unfortunately, they got lost in the world of Pinterest.

Have you guys and gals checked out the blog, Once Upon A Chef? It’s really worth mentioning. My friends and I haven’t been disappointed by anything we’ve made from it. And I’m really looking forward to trying these Gingerbread Men, because I bet they are as delicious as they are adorable. Although, I know of one little boy who’s going to be very upset this year if one doesn’t run out of the oven when we sneak a peek.

My blogging friend, Marisa of Marisa’s Italian Kitchen, is wildly talented. Everything she does looks like it came out of a magazine… including these Chocolate Raspberry Cream Cheese Cookies. Aren’t they gorgeous? She makes biscotti too, just sayin’.

It just wouldn’t be the holiday season without Pecan Balls, such as these beauties from A Healthy Life For Me. You know, they have to be passed in a tissue lined tin… or displayed like a pyramid. And if by chance you happen to take a breath before you bite into one, you will probably choke on powdered sugar. Good times… The best of times!

Merry Christmas Cookies!

Loving Lately 🍰

Loving Lately: Fall Baking – Encore

I’ve been going a little crazy with the baking. We actually can’t eat as fast as I’ve been pulling baked goods out of the oven. We need a dog. Or a hungry neighbor… But look how cute these molds are!

img_9210

img_9213

I love them.

L.O.V.E.

I also bought the new 70th Anniversary Nordic Ware bundt pans.

img_9430

Because I needed them. It’s the season! I’m inspired! (Or I’m ridiculous and I can’t help myself.)

But I’m not just limiting myself to shaped cakes and breads. Au contraire.

img_8354

We’ve had cinnamon rolls! I’ve been practicing pie crusts!

img_9310

I love the smell of my kitchen.

img_8290

And the smiles on my kids’ faces.

We’ve actually been baking and not taking pictures… or writing down ingredients.

Just enjoying the fruit cookies of our labor.

img_8294

Except this apple crumble, I’m going to share this. Soon.

img_8910

Loving Lately 🍂

Loving Lately: Fall

Fall loving is in full effect. I love the chill in the air. I’m crazy about the fact that we can control the temperature in our house simply by opening or closing another window. I am over the moon about the scents of fall baking that are overtaking our home. And thank you with-grace-and-guts for capturing a bit of my autumn mood for my featured image.

It’s the sweaters and blankets… (Thank you Country Living.)

 e02a44fa9518f42498b69cba9f767510

And the bakeware. (Thank you Williams-Sonoma)

ec9b3cc7f14debb70d69e3c719621fe7

It’s the donuts… (Thank you Half Baked Harvest)

And the landscapes. (Thank you picturecorrect.com.)

00b9969c0284ea4bbb9822c5139e6292

It’s from the earth… (Thank you Whole Foods.)

1afb43b001130b56b557e2d6189e3827

And it’s in the air. (Thank you cinderdream.)

0b1bc0136daeec9b7791768beaea2fbe

Cheers to Fall! (Thank you Evermine!)

fb8ed59b831994b521a24b81befc0adf

Bakin’ Bacon

Have you tried baking your bacon yet? I’m sure by now you’ve seen a chef on Food Network do it, if you haven’t tried yourself. I remember watching the Barefoot Contessa layer it across a rack fitted into a baking sheet years ago. In one of my favorite cookbooks, Seriously Delish by Jessica Merchant, she has a whole paragraph in her introduction titled “Bake Yo’ Bacon”. Let me be the first to say, I am quick to stand by the old school method of frying it up in a pan. And now that I’ve said that let me also say, you are going to love baking it in the oven.

The first time I tasted “baked” bacon was at a brunch party. The hostess had cut the bacon pieces in half lengthwise and baked them into a chewy crispy combination of perfection. The first time I tried doing it myself, I was responsible for bring 5 pounds of cooked bacon to a breakfast bar themed menu for my son’s school party. I didn’t have time to stand in front of the stove and get dressed before having to make and serve my bacon obligation. And that was it, I gave it a try. And then it was: “why haven’t I done this sooner?”

So here is my first entertaining tip: If you need to make a surplus of bacon for a crowd, or your stove top is loaded with pots and pans and you still need to make that bacon, or your just not in the mood to stand in front of a burner because you’d rather be sitting down and drinking your coffee… Bake it!

Barefoot Contessa suggests placing it on a rack first, Jessica Merchant suggests lining your baking sheet with aluminum foil. I just jam it on there… a method for everyone. The rest of the instructions are about the same. Preheat the oven to 375° and bake for 20-25 minutes depending on the thickness of the bacon. And save your fat! Pour it into a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use. (Great for biscuits, cornbread…)

Thanksgiving Desserts

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is only two days away! Last year at this time I was almost to my due date with my fourth child. In fact, I went into labor on the night of Thanksgiving. (I really just wanted to sleep.) But this will be my little turkey’s first Thanksgiving dinner and I’m so excited. (Although that is the first time I’ve ever called him that. I’m just really getting into the holiday.) To top off my excitement we have been enjoying our first snow fall of the year. The chill in the air declares the season!

I thought it would be a good idea to share some suggestions for the holiday, and as I was compiling a list of ideas… it became very clear where my priorities lie. The following are some tried and true sweet treats I can suggest without hesitation that you could proudly serve your family. At least I will be serving most of them to mine.

A classic rustic dessert: Sweet Potato Pie

A tasty twist on a long time favorite: Maple Pecan Pie

It’s a sweet bread, actually being served with dinner: Cranberry-Pecan Pumpkin Bread

A decadent family tradition: Pumpkin Cheesecake

It’s just the best: Mom’s Apple Pie

Okay, this is not a dessert but I had to add it because I will be eating this goodness during the parade and food preparation so it clearly evokes the day: Smoky Cheeseball

Happy Baking & Making!

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are like the king of all cookies. I mean there are a lot of really good cookies out there, but I think they all are held to a standard: “is it better than a chocolate chip?” Ask a kid what there favorite cookie is; I bet nine times out of ten it’s a chocolate chip. Needless to say, you’ve got to have a chocolate chip recipe in your repertoire.

Makes 22-24 using a 2″ cookie scoop (ice cream scoops work too!)

As organic as possible:

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup (rounded) sugar

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs beaten

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

2 1/4 cups flour

1 10 oz bag large chocolate chips (I <3 Simple Truth organic) or 2 cups regular choc chips

Preheat oven to 375. Beat shortening and butter in a large bowl with electric mixer (or old-fashioned muscle power works too). Add brown sugar, sugar, baking soda and salt. Beat mixture until combined, scraping sides as needed. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Add flour scoops at a time. If too much for a machine, finish mixing by hand until all flour is incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips. Drop cookies onto a baking sheet leaving about 2″ of space in between globs for room to spread. We like large cookies! So to accommodate our cookie love we use a large scoop, but smaller scoops work too; just lessen your baking time. For large cookies, bake about 12-14 minutes, until edges are just starting to brown and the center is still soft.

IMG_7021

Baking cookies is easy! And it’s fun to do with your kids!  It’s pretty hard to mess up (unless you forget them in the oven).