Saturday, December 31, 2011

new years eve

2011 is closing fast and with the dawn of a New Year quickly approaching, it seems a most appropriate time to reflect on pictures. 

a year in photos...

a year of food...

Happy New Year to you all!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

merry christmas

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.    Isaiah 9:6

Merry Christmas to you all.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

winter solstice

Happy Winter Solstice!

You certainly wouldn't think today was the first day of  winter with the mild weather we have had all month and continue to enjoy. Or  should I say I have enjoyed.  I'm not one for anything winter.  I really was born into the wrong climate.  No skiing, skating or snowman building.  I'll take the beach and a green Christmas any day!  (the photo above was taken last winter) 

Speaking of Christmas, can you believe it's only 3 days away!  I am still not finished my shopping or baking. Today's my last day at work, so all this will get done and 24 hours from now I'll be ready. 
In case you need a quick recipe to add to your Christmas festivities, here's a one for eggnog fudge. 
It's creamy and rich and oh so sweet.  You'll love it. 

Eggnog Fudge
source: browneyedbaker

Yield: 64 pieces
2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup unsalted butter
¾ cup eggnog
Pinch of salt
10½ ounces white chocolate, chopped
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus a little more for dusting the top of the fudge
One 7-ounce jar marshmallow creme
1 teaspoon rum extract

1. Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper and let it hang over the side; set aside.

2. In a heavy 3-quart saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, eggnog and salt over medium heat. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Continue boiling 8 to 10 minutes, until a candy thermometer reaches 234 degrees F, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat.

3. Using a wooden spoon, work quickly to stir in chopped white chocolate and nutmeg until chocolate is melted and smooth. Stir in marshmallow creme and rum extract. Beat until well blended and then pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle a little freshly ground nutmeg on top. Let stand at room temperature until cooled, then refrigerate overnight until firm.

4. When completely cool, cut into squares. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Monday, December 12, 2011

this weekend...

this weekend...I baked to my hearts content.  Christmas cookies, truffles and fudge. 

I listened to Christmas music

I decorated the tree.

I did not start my Christmas shopping as I had intended.  Why is it that I start this later and later every year?  I know there's only two weeks left, but for now, I'll just sit by my tree and enjoy one of these little gems. 

Here's the recipe...

adapted from in the little red house
3/4 cup butter, room temp
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp water
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
Powdered sugar, for dusting

  1. Cream butter, vanilla, water, sugar and salt.  Add flour and mix well. 
  2. Stir in chocolate and nuts.
  3. Form into 1" balls.
  4. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
  5. Cool for a few minutes.
  6. Roll in powdered sugar or sprinkle on top while still warm.

Monday, December 5, 2011

shortbread cookies

It's official.  December is here and the Christmas baking has begun.  And what better way to start than with traditional shortbread cookies. 

Just look at all that whipped buttery goodness. 

This is a very simple recipe.  Just four ingredients.  Butter, flour, icing sugar and cornstarch.  There is however, nothing simple about the taste.  Melt in your mouth sums it up for me.

I'll be making a few more batches of these little gems before Christmas is over.  That's for sure. 

Shortbread Cookies
adapted from All Recipes

1 cup (two 8 oz sticks) unsalted butter, room temp.
1/2 cup icing (confectioner's) sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 375°
Line baking sheets with parchment or silpat.
Whip butter on high speed for 10 minutes, until white and very fluffy. 
While the butter's whipping, sift together the sugar, cornstarch and flour.
Beat them in on low speed for one minute. 

Then beat on high for 3-4 minutes until well combined.

You can either roll them into balls and flatten with your hand or transfer dough to a piping bag fit with a large star tip.  I rolled and flattened them and dotted each with a dried cranberry. 
Bake 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden around the edges.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.