Brown Sugar and Spice Shortbread

My interest in experimenting with stamped cookies began about two years ago when I saw a recipe in a Christmas magazine for a particular kind of German cookie called Springerle. The design came from intricately hand-carved wood molds that are only sold on select websites & sparse authorized retail dealers. As such, and because they are hand carved, they’re not cheap. I found this out pretty quick and this is the reason why my Springerle mold collection is currently at a grand total of…two. It’ll probably stay that way for a while.

For a while I accepted this.

Then after a little while longer, I…didn’t want accept it anymore. I’m just that stubborn (and cheap) So, I started looking up alternatives to wood molds and found that there are a number of options. They may not be as intricate or elaborate as some of the springerle wood molds, but they still can create a pretty nice product. You just have to know where to look and what to look for.

I had success in just looking up rubber cookie stamp sets, like the one I bought (very cheaply at that) and then used for these Vanilla Sugar Cookies.I also started looking outside of cookie cutters and stamps and into other baking gadgets & gizmos. Turns out that quite a few of the plunger fondant and pie crust cutters you can both online and in stores can double as cookie cutters & stamps. What’s more, since fondant is a decorative element to cakes, the designs that you can find the cutters in are virtually limitless.

Perhaps most importantly, as the majority of them are plastic, they are very inexpensive.

I found a set of four small plunger fondant crust cutters on Amazon. They were in the shape of leaves. They set me back $3.93. I decided to see if they could and work the same way as my springerle molds did. I was pretty sure they would, but if they didn’t, well…it was only a $4 risk.

Here’s a pro-tip I’ve come to notice/learn when wanting to make cookies that won’t spread or lose the intricacy of their design: cookies with very few, (if any) leavening in their dough turn out the best. The more leavening agents that are in them (like baking powder, baking soda, eggs) the more likely they are to puff up & rise which is bad news for cookies that you want to have a noticeable design.

Shortbread is a great choice for just about any printed cookie you’d want to make. It has no baking powder, baking soda or eggs in it and has a very tight crumb which will help to preserve the design as it bakes. Shortbread was the way I knew I wanted to go to test out my new leaf cutters and should you guys get some for yourselves, it’s where I suggest you start.

I think the warm, rich spices of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves work nicely for a cookie to eat in autumn. They’re certainly good for dunking in coffee, I can attest to that personally. Plus, how about the results of the fondant cutters; turned out pretty nice didn’t it? I think I may have started something here. Stay tuned for more.

Sharing at the Fiesta Friday #192, co-hosted this week by Zeba @ Food For The Soul and Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.

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Brown Sugar & Spice Shortbread

Recipe Adapted from Sweet Paul Magazine

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter
  • 1/2 packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Directions

In a small bowl combine the flour and the dry spices together and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla.

Slowly add the flour to the butter mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Scrape the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and shape into a disc. Wrap tightly and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°. Sprinkle a clean work surface (like a cutting board, wax paper you tape down to the counter, or a pastry mat) with flour. Separate the disc into quarters. Flour a rolling pin and roll/pat each quarter out to about 1/2  inch thick. Use whatever desired shape cookie cutter you wish (I used leaf fondant cutters) to cut out shapes. Immediately place the shapes on a half sheet pan you line with parchment paper, and place the half sheet in the freezer as you cut out the remaining dough. If the dough becomes too soft to work/cut out, just place it in the freezer and let firm up until easily rolled again, about 10 minutes.

Let the finished, cut shape dough firm up in the freezer, about 10 minutes. (This will keep them from spreading.) Take out the tray.

Bake in the oven on the middle rack for about 10-12 minutes, until they are just turning golden brown at the edges. Allow to cool for about 3 minutes on the pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

(Note: You don’t HAVE to use cookie stamps for this recipe. I think it would work just as well without it. Use whatever cookie cutters you have, or shape the dough into a log, freeze for about 30 minutes, then cut into slices and bake as directed. Also,  no one oven is the same, & different baking sheets bake cookies differently. Keeping this in mind, I will ALWAYS test bake one cookie before baking entire sheets of the whole batch, just to get a good idea of how long they should be in the oven and if I need to adjust the way I’ve cut, rolled them out, etc. I highly recommend that you do the same.)

Cinnamon Roll Cookies

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Its funny; I’ve made hundreds of holiday cookies, but I don’t think I’ve ever participated in an actual cookie swap. Not a single one.

You guys know what those are, right? Cookie swaps are sugar overload get-togethers where each of the attendants bakes up a large batch of cookies and brings them to share & ‘swap’ everyone else who’s brought their own recipe of cookies to the party. Everyone is supposed to bring a different type so that there’s as much variety as possible. Sometimes there will be recipe exchanges along with the cookies. Sometimes people will vote on which cookie at the swap is the best tasting.

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It’s probably just in my competitive nature but if I did actually go to a cookie swap, I would want MY cookies to be the favorite. If all of the cookies were laid out together on a platter, I’d want MINE to look the prettiest. I’d definitely have to win, which means that the cookies I took with me would A) Not only have to be delicious, but B) also be just as great to look at.

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Having said all of that, I can guarantee that of all the cookies I’ve baked–and there have been many–if I had to choose one recipe to bake and bring to a cookie swap, this one right here would be it. No question.

It more than delivers in the taste department, the details of which we’ll get to in a second. But first, can we talk about the presentation?

I mean, come on. They just LOOK like the perfect Christmas cookie, right?

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What we have here is a cream cheese buttery cookie dough that gets rolled out flat, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar then rolled up in a tight cylinder, cinnamon-roll style. Individual cookies are cut from the cylinders then baked until golden brown. The cookie’s texture is tender and slightly crisp; think somewhere in between a sandie and one of those butter cookies that come out of the blue tins. The orange zest in the dough gives a slight but pleasant citrusy after-taste to them that complements the cinnamon inside beautifully.

They’re really very delicious guys. They remind me of something that the Keebler company would mass produce and sell at Christmas.

Except Keebler didn’t make them. I did. And now you can too.

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Before I even made this recipe, I knew that I was going to have a trial-error experience with it. They were just too pretty NOT to run into some technical difficulties. Fortunately for you guys, you get to find out how to make them without having to make the same mistakes I did. Following my clear and pretty straight forward instructions should make it so that there’s no reason why your cinnamon roll cookies won’t turn out exactly like the ones you see in the pictures.

I’d say that the most important step to nailing this recipe is making sure that your dough is the right temperature, especially before rolling it up into the cylinders that you cut into the individual cookies. When I first made these, my dough was still too soft; I didn’t give it enough time to chill in the freezer so it tore and broke apart AFTER I had already sprinkled with the cinnamon sugar and was attempting to roll it.

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Not pretty. Not fun.

Don’t do that.

Let your dough chill out in the freezer long enough so that it can be rolled up just as easily as cinnamon roll dough can. If you use the freezer rather than the refrigerator, it shouldn’t take too long. Roll the cylinders up as tightly as you can; loose rolls make the swirls in the cookies spread wide and cause some of the filling to spill out. Let the rolled up cylinders chill out in the freezer long enough so that when you cut them into individual cookies, the rolls don’t deflate.

If you keep this dough as chilled and firm as possible, it’ll be good to you. Promise. And, you’ll be the star of any cookie swap party, that’s for sure.

(Still more to come in our 12 Days of Christmas baking series. Stay tuned.)

12 Days of Christmas Banner

Day 1: Stuffing Bread

Day 2: Pumpkin Crunch Tart

Day 3: Cinnamon Roll Cookies

 

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Cinnamon Roll Cookies

Recipe Adapted from Taste of Home

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1-1/4 cups butter, softened
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange peel
  • 4-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

 

Directions

In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon and set aside.

In a  medium bowl or container, mix the flour together with the baking powder, yeast and salt.

In a large bowl of a standing mixer, use the whisk attachment to cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, then add the vanilla extract and grated orange peel.

Gently add the flour mixture, about 1 cup at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula periodically to ensure it’s mixed thoroughly.

Divide the dough into four portions. Freeze them for about 2o-minutes, until they are relatively firm.

Sprinkle a sheet of wax or parchment paper with flour. Using a rolling pin (or your hands) roll or pat each dough portion into an 8 x 6 rectangle. Sprinkle with two heaping tablespoons of the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll up as tightly as you can, jelly-roll style (it was easier for me to roll it up by the short side rather than the long one). Wrap each roll in plastic wrap and place back in the freezer for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the dough crosswise in about 3/8 inch slices. Place them about 1 inch apart on greased baking sheets (or lined with parchment paper). Bake 8-10 minutes or until light brown on the bottoms. Allow to set on the baking sheet for about 60 seconds before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

(Note: No one oven is the same, & different baking sheets bake cookies differently. Keeping this in mind, I will ALWAYS test bake one cookie before baking entire sheets of the whole batch, just to get a good idea of how long they should be in the oven and if I need to adjust the way I’ve cut, rolled them out, etc. I highly recommend that you do the same.)

English Tea Farthing Biscuits

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About a few months ago I got hooked on a show that popped up in the Recently Added queue of my Netflix account called The Great British Bake Off. I’d vaguely heard of it before then but didn’t really know the specifics. The amount of competitive cooking shows I like to watch is typically limited to just three: Top Chef, Chopped and The Taste. Other than that I tend to think that they too greatly resemble game shows with too many reality-show style theatrics. However, because I was bored and because it had a 4.5 star rating I figured it was worth viewing an episode or two.

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The show is a HUGE hit in the UK, having already gone through multiple seasons already and after only watching one episode, I totally understand why. There are no frills, flares or bells & whistles on the GBB. Filming takes place in a tent in the English countryside where the amateur bakers perform a combination of signature challenges where they can make a dish of their own, technical challenges of recipes that are considered ‘standard’ in baking, then showpiece recipes where they can give their own fancy interpretations to a loose guideline of a particular baking dish. It’s an incredibly simplistic show, yet for a baking enthusiast it’s completely enthralling.

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So you can imagine my disappointment when after finishing the season that was posted on Netflix, I saw that there were no additional ones put there. It’s been several months since Netflix put the one season up and no additional ones have been added since then. This pisses me off.

I’m not ready for it  to be over. If other people in the world could get more of GBB, then why shouldn’t I just because I live in America? How’s that even fair? Where’s the justice in that?

I demand equality.

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All I’ve had to console myself with the fact that I’m not getting more seasons and episodes of the GBB is that I can always rewatch what I do have on Netflix–which, I of course have been doing. I’ve also discovered since then that PBS has posted a number of the recipes from the season I watched on their website for the public to try out for themselves.

Needless to say, I was pretty excited when I found that out. My Pinterest board was very active that day.

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The word ‘biscuits’ actually have somewhat of a different meaning for Americans than it does for the British, or even elsewhere in general. When I first hear ‘biscuits’ I think of the thick, flaky, bready, fluffy things my grandma makes that I get to slather in butter, jam and sometimes syrup for breakfast. However, elsewhere ‘biscuits’ are actually another word for a kind of crisp and/or tender cookie or cracker that gets eaten alongside some tea or hot chocolate.

One of my favorite episodes from the season on Netflix (which was actually Season 5 in Britain) was the second one where the focus for the week was Biscuits. For the signature challenge, each one of the contestants had to make their own rendition of a Biscuit. There were lots of creative renditions shown that round but interestingly enough, the ones that caught my particular attention were the simplest of the bunch. They’re made with little more than flour, butter and a little bit of sugar but they still looked just delicious to me.

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I pinned it to my Pinterest recipe board and this past week I decided to try it out for myself. There is I think both good news and bad news about how my biscuits turned out.

First the bad: even though I rolled them out as thin as the recipe instructs, for some reason when these hit the oven they started to puff up and thicken, which ultimately affected how long I could bake them without letting them get too brown while trying to get them ‘crisp’. I do think they could’ve taken a bit more time in the hot box, but I wasn’t in the mood for burned biscuits. Next time maybe I could think about rolling them ‘paper thin’ and seeing if that makes them bake at the right thickness, or just leaving them in the oven longer.

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The next point isn’t necessarily a negative, but it is something of note. These bake up VERY tender and buttery but upon tasting them all on their own, the overall flavor is very…subtle. If you’re eating them alongside some tea or coffee then I think this is fine. They’d even be GREAT with some jam or preserves smeared on top. However, at the last second I decided to take half of this particular batch and ‘jazz it up’ so to speak with a quick chocolate dip that I then sprinkled with nuts. It was just what they needed, I thought, but if you tend to like your biscuits less sweet you’ll probably like these exactly the way that they are. I also made some recommendations in my rendition of the recipe for some additional flavor profiles I think would be tasty.

Happy Fiesta Friday #114, where I’ll be taking my biscuits for anyone who’s in the mood for a spot of tea 😉 Thanks to Angie and her co-host for this week: the lovely Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.

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English Tea Farthing Biscuits

Recipe Adapted from The Great British Baking Show

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Ingredients

For Biscuits

  • 225g (8 oz) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 225g (8 oz) self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 1 tsp sugar (plus extra for sprinkling)
  • 85g (3 oz) lightly salted butter, plus extra to serve
  • 85g (3 oz) lard
  • 1 tsp of vanilla, lemon, orange or almond extract (optional)
  • 1 tsp orange or lemon zest (optional)

Chocolate Dip

  • 1 cup diced pecans or walnuts, crushed
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil

Directions

For the biscuits:

 Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. Rub in butter and lard so that mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add just enough cold water (and the extracts and zest if using) to bring the mixture together to form a stiff dough (about 5-6 tablespoons). Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a thickness just less than a £1 coin.

Using a 9cm (3½ in) round cutter cut out biscuits from the dough. Prick the top of the biscuits all over to decorate, leaving a plain 5mm/¼in border around the edge.

Transfer to wire racks or baking mesh. Place the racks/mesh on baking trays. Sprinkle with the extra sugar, then bake for 14-16 minutes, or until the biscuits are dry but not browned. Set aside to cool completely.  If eating plain, then serve the biscuits with chilled butter or jam.

If using Chocolate Dip:

Heat chocolate chips and vegetable oil in a glass measuring cup, then stir with a spoon until smooth.

Spread the chocolate dip over the biscuits, then sprinkle with nuts.

Set on a wire rack and allow for the dip to set.

Black and White Cookies

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Scandalous Day 5

Finally. FINALLY. Today is THE day, Gladiators. The wait for Scandal will officially be over at 10:00 p.m. tonight. I can hardly wait to see what Shonda’s got for us. I know it’s gonna be awesome, but I just hope my blood pressure can handle it. Scandal has a tendency to return with a real ‘bang’ that leaves me reeling.

Hopefully you’ve been following along with me in our countdown to today’s season return, but if you haven’t that’s okay. I’ll post links to all the other recipes in the Scandal series at the end of this post in case you want to check them out (which I highly recommend that you do).

I’ve wanted to make Black and White cookies for a long, LONG time. I’ve mentioned in the past that my favorite dessert is a thick, bakery-style sugar cookie. Anytime I find a recipe that’s even remotely similar to it, I’m gonna want to try it just out of curiosity to see if it will satisfy my craving and meet my ‘Sugar Cookie’ standards- that are actually pretty steep to be honest.

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Black and White Cookies are thought to have originated in New York delis. They’re much larger and thicker than the typical cookie, which the texture being a cross between a very soft, tender cookie, and a shortbread like cake. They get their name from the coating of icing that they’re decorated with; one side being white,  and the other being black or brown. When I was picking out which recipes I wanted to do for the Scandal series, these came to my mind for a few reasons, which I’ll get into in a second. First let me give you my general impression of they turned out:

I’m an absolute sucker for these kinds of treats, guys. After that first bite, literally the first thing that came out of my mouth was “Wow!” It was everything I want and love in a cookie: the dough had a pleasant lemony flavor all on it’s own, the texture wasn’t too dry and crumbly, and the icing (on both sides) provided just the right amount of extra sweetness that sent the taste of these cookies over the top with deliciousness. I didn’t expect to like them as much as I did, and I didn’t expect them to puff up so thick and lovely in the oven the way they did either. Typically I have to chill my cookie dough overnight to get these types of results, but these went straight from the mixing bowl to the sheet pan to the oven- it probably had something to do with that 1 tbsp of baking powder that’s in the recipe, huh?

Decorating tip: Use the vanilla icing FIRST, then let it fully set up before spreading on the chocolate. I also held a pastry scraper down the middle of the cookie while spreading the chocolate to make sure it didn’t smear with the white icing, but I could see the flat end of a butcher knife or something like that working in a pinch too.

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The Scandal inspiration for these cookies isn’t as obvious as you may think. Yes, obviously we have a Black-White relationship on the show, but my reasoning was a little more complicated than that. If there’s anything that 2 1/2 seasons of this show has made clear, it’s that in Shonda Rhimes’ crazy, but brilliant world, nothing- absolutely NOTHING- is ever strictly black or white. Just when you have one impression of a character or situation, the plot spins around to make you switch sides. One week, it seems like it’s Black. Another week, it seems like it’s White. Then other times, it’ll seem like it’s a little bit of both. You just never know in Shondaland. But regardless, we love it all the same..just like with a Black and White Cookie.

Well, we did it Gladiators. We made it to Scandal Day. I’ve had a blast with this series, and I hope you take the time out to try one of these ‘Scandal-ous’ Recipes below. You won’t regret that you did.

See you at 10:00!

ScandalousRecipes

Day 1: Cookies and Cream Popcorn

Day 2: S’mores Popcorn

Day 3: Texas Bowl of Red

Day 4: Blackberry Jam

Day 5: Black and White Cookies

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Black and White Cookies

Recipe Courtesy of King Arthur Flour

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

Cookies:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon lemon oil, or 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup milk (regular or low-fat; not nonfat)

Vanilla Icing:

  • 3 1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons hot water
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder, optional

Chocolate Icing:

  • 2 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
  • 3/4 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (chips, or chunks), melted

Directions

1) Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

2) To make the cookies: Beat together the butter, sugar, salt, baking powder, lemon, and vanilla till well combined.

3) Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

4) Stir in the flour alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour.

5) Using a muffin scoop or a 1/4-cup measure, drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Flatten/spread the dough to a 3″-diameter circle. Leave 2″ to 2 1/2″ between each cookie.

6) Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, until they’re set, a very light golden brown around the edges. Cookies baked for 10 minutes will be quite moist. Cookies baked for 12 minutes will be drier. Bake for 11 minutes for an in-between cookie.

7) Remove the cookies from the oven, and cool them right on the pan. As they cool, prepare the icing.

8) To make the vanilla icing: Whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup, and hot water. Spread the icing over half of each cookie. Place them on a rack to set while you make the chocolate icing.

10) To make the chocolate icing: Combine the confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, hot water, and espresso powder. stirring till smooth. In the microwave, or in a pan set over very low heat, melt the chocolate. Add the melted chocolate into the sugar mixture, stirring till well combined. Spread the icing on the uncovered half of each cookie.

14) Set the cookies back on the rack, and allow them to rest for about 30 minutes, till the icing is set.  For best storage, wrap each cookie individually, in plastic wrap, and store at room temperature.

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Danish Butter Cookies

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12 Days of Christmas {Treats}

About that Christmas thing:

  1. According to an old wives’ tale if you bake bread on Christmas Eve then it will be fresh forever. (I know that it’s just a superstitious folk tale, but I just may try this. Even if it does go stale, I can always use the bread for a French toast recipe.)
  2. The customary Christmas dinner in England included a pig head with mustard sauce. However, this is not followed anymore In England. (My grandma tells me that her family used to use pig head to make hogs head cheese. I’ve seen pig cheeks prepared like bacon in fine dining. I’ve seen pig’s ears in the mystery basket on ‘Chopped’….yet I will never eat any meat from a pig’s head. Especially not with mustard sauce. Not gonna happen.)
  3. Oliver Cromwell stopped the celebration of Christmas in England during 1647- 1660. According to him it was immoral to celebrate the holiest day of the year. It was a criminal offence. He or she could find him or her behind the bars if he/she was found guilty of celebrating Christmas. (What.. a …tool.)

(Source: http://www.theholidayspot.com)

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Christmastime was so much fun for me growing up.

Seriously, I wish every kid could have had the chance to grow up in my house if for nothing else, for the Christmases. First of all, we were the type of family that decked the whole house out in yuletide gear. We had outdoor lights and wreaths hanging on the doors outside. Inside there were Christmas ornaments, decorations and cards displayed on empty tabletops and on the walls. Assorted nut trays and bowls with red and green Hershey’s kisses were out for guests. Our tree may have been fake, but it was pimped out to the maximum; every available branch held ornaments, candy canes, and the ugly little art projects me and my sisters made in school and at Sunday School that the adults put on the tree anyway. We wound lights, tinsel and streamers from the top and tucked them in between the branches. One of the clearest memories I have as a little girl is sitting in the living room at night with all the lights out just watching the Christmas tree.

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Church was really busy and bustling at that time of year because we were always in the Christmas pageant/show that the kids put on for the rest of the church. I can still remember the year where we all were given bells to shake during the song “Come on Ring Those Bells”. I dropped my bell on the ground. So I just started shaking my hand up and down, hoping that no one would notice. Good times.

I’m huge fan of those butter cookies you buy in the shiny blue tins at the store. They’re simple, but filled with so much flavor They tend to make more of a visible appearance at this time of year, and while I could have bought one, I (of course) decided to take the ‘scenic route’ and try to make my own. I found a recipe on Food.com that is actually very similar to the original. After they were done, I topped them with a simple icing (powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract) and sprinkles. Aren’t they purdy?

There are so many reasons why this movie is a ‘must’ at Christmas, I couldn’t even start to name them without boring you all. Hopefully I’ll just be ‘preaching to the choir’ rather than just actually trying to convince anybody out there that Elf is something you must make apart of your yearly traditions and rituals. It really doesn’t seem like it’s been that long since it first came out, but in reality it was released in 2003.

That’s ten years ago guys. Long enough for anything to feel like a classic. Also long enough for me to feel like I’m getting old.

Anyway, back to Elf. Will Ferrell plays Buddy, a human elf from the North Pole that comes to NYC to try to find his long lost  birth father who is on Santa’s “Naughty List” (dundunDUN). Safe for all ages, it’s a really sweet, feel-good story meant to get you in the Christmas spirit (literally). It’s also friggin hilarious….one of the few truly hilarious movies that Ferrell has been in. (Oops, did I just say that?) 

Friends don’t let friends be a cotton-headed ninny-muggins. They tell them to watch Elf for Christmas. That’s what I’m doing for all of you: watch it. It’s for your own good.

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Danish Butter Cookies

Recipe Courtesy of Food.com

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

Directions

1. Beat the butter, sugar, salt and vanilla together until smooth and creamy.

2. Mix in the egg yolk until well incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl at least once.

3. Add the flour and mix just until incorporated.

4. Scrape onto a lightly floured board and knead a few times, just until the dough smoothes out.

5. Turn onto a sheet of plastic wrap and roll into a log, wrap up and refrigerate for several hours or freeze.

6. Before baking, preheat the oven to 325°F.

7. Line your baking sheets with parchment.

8. Slice the dough into slices about 1/8″ thick and place them on the sheets about an inch apart (they won’t be spreading very much, but they need air room around each cookie).

9. Bake until JUST beginning to turn golden around the edges, about 10-12 minutes.

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