Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Cookies!

Some quality baking time with the cousins...

I had a great plan to do lots of baking during my week off before Christmas.  I got off to a good start with cookie baking with my three cousins who live away at school.  Laura, Rachel, and Hilary came on Wednesday and helped me bake up some delicious Christmas cookies.  My plan was to continue baking more treats the next day, but inevitably, a cold decided to sneak attack me right before Christmas.  Not wanting to contaminate my family with my germs, I decided to put some of that baking on hold until I'm feeling better.  Matt's family is coming in this week to celebrate a late Christmas, so I'm hoping my symptoms subside enough for me to whip up some more holiday treats this week. 

Thank goodness for my cousins on Wednesday, though!  We made some great cookies that my family all enjoyed on Christmas Eve! 

Chocolate Mint Cookies

The girls insisted that this batter was delicious.  Due to the raw eggs, I was unable to try it out! 

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

This is a Hilary specialty.  She makes these every year for her family's Christmas party, and they are a huge hit.  They never last very long! 

Chocolate Chunk Macaroons

These were a new one this year.  I had coconut, so I thought I'd try out a Martha Stewart recipe.   I added the chocolate chunks instead of the traditional cherry.  They didn't turn out very pretty, but they were very chewy and yummy....


Surprisingly, these are my favorite this year!  Very chewy and the perfect amount of cinnamon....

We also made chocolate chip cookies, which I didn't get a picture of.  Hilary jinxed the cookies by saying that hers have been turning out flat lately.  Well, of course ours turned out pretty flat!  But they were still chewy and delicious...just didn't get a picture.

We also made the dough for some sugar cookies, which is still sitting in my fridge.  Hopefully they will get made this week.  So much for my plans of lots of baking!

After the girls left, I whipped up some Gluten Free brownies for a co-worker of Matt's.  He has celiac disease, and I try to make him a baked good each year.  I made brownies from a Red Mill mix, but some day I'll work up the nerve to try a Gluten free recipe from scratch. (If anyone has a great recipe  I should try, please feel free to share!)   I made them in my mini muffin tins so that he'll have the perfect bite size snack.  I wrapped them up to go with the rest of his gift, and I think it turned out pretty cute....

Thanks for all of your help, Rachel, Laura and Hilary!  I had a great time with you that day.  Hope we can make it a new yearly tradition!

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree!

Last year vs. This year

The ornaments I recieved last year certainly had a theme to them...

(Thanks, Mom!)
(Thanks, Aunt Arlene!)

(Thanks, Mom!)

And one from this year still held on to last year's theme...

(Thanks, Mom!)

This year's ornaments had a new theme....

(Bought this one in Bryant Park while shopping with my girls...)

(Thanks, Laurie & Dave!)

(Thanks, Mom & Dad!)

 (Thanks, Dad!)

This little boy isn't even here yet, and he's already being spoiled!  Hope everyone had a very merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Snickerdoodle Mini Cupcakes

Merry Christmas!

My aunt and uncle host a Christmas party every year, which centers around Santa, who comes around the neighborhood on a firetruck.  Its always a great time, and I get to see a bunch of cousins that I don't get to see nearly enough.  I wanted to make something festive, bite-size and delicious.  I decided to flip through Marth Stewart's Cupcake Cookbook and see what would inspire me.  I saw the Snickerdoodle Cupcakes that I've been wanting to make for awhile.  I changed up the recipe a little to make them mini cupcakes.  It also forced me to make Martha's Seven Minute Frosting, which has always intimidated me.  It requires egg whites, corn syrup and a candy thermometer...all things that usually intimidate me.  I don't have a candy thermometer, but I seemed to be successful without it.  I think on a cake, this frosting would be way too much but on a mini cupcake, it was perfect.  These cupcakes were light and cinnamony (I know, that's not a word), and I think perfect for the occasion.

I should have cut this recipe in half as it yielded almost 100 mini cupcakes!  I took some over to a neighbor, and will also be taking some today to a Christmas Tree Trimming Party. 

Merry Christmas!  I hope you all have peaceful and happy holidays....

Congratulations, Lauren and Shawn!

A work wedding shower...

My coworker and friend, Lauren, is getting married on New Years Eve.  We decided to throw her a small shower at work to celebrate the big day!  Lauren is using a shade of purple for her wedding colors, so I thought the Lavendar Brownie Cupcakes from the Martha Stewart Cupcake Cookbook would be perfect.  First of all, the brownie recipe is to die for.  So. Flipping. Delicious.  Then, the lavendar icing added such a subtle spice punch.  Fantastically indulgent.  Martha added sugared edible flowers to the top, but I just couldn't bring myself to do that.  So instead, I simply piped the Bride and Groom's initials onto them.  Not as pretty. 

The recipe says that it should yield 24 cupcakes.  After making one batch, it seems to only yield 12.  So, I had to make another.  Turns out I just put too much batter into each cupcake liner.  I used the same scoop I use for regular cupcakes, and I think I should have used about half that batter.  However, still delicious...

Congratulations, Lauren and Shawn.  Can't wait to rock out with you on New Year's Eve!

Happy Birthday, Erika!

To be 25 again...

Our friend, Erika, celebrated her 25th birthday last weekend.  Although she isn't a big dessert person, she still needed a cake to blow out her candles!  I made some vanilla cupcakes with Hershey's Cocoa frosting....simple and delicious.  For the cake, I made a devil's food cake with chocolate ganache icing.  It didn't turn out quite as pretty as I had hoped, but Oh Boy was it delicious!  Perfect dessert for a late night party!

I topped off the cupcake with a chocolate covered sunflower seed.  Looks purple in the picture, but it was actually of Erika's favorite colors.

I found these decorative cake wires at Michael's and thought they might be fun.  I topped them off with some sparkly baubles.    The only problem was that my battery to my camera died while I was taking pictures, so this is the only one I got of the cake...

Monday, December 6, 2010

He'll be handsome, like his daddy!

Its a BOY!!!!!

We found out the day after Thanksgiving, and I immediately started crying of happiness.  I suspected all along that it was a boy, and I was right!  I spent the following week in Raleigh, NC with my parents buying the little guy lots of argyle sweater vests and other adorable clothes.  He's going to be one well-dressed little boy! 

I promise this little boy will learn to brothers and dad aren't too shabby at it, and I'm determined that he will know how to bake, too!

p.s.  I promise to post more this month...lots of Christmas baking to do!

Pink and Purple Peace Cupcakes

Happy Birthday, Amanda!

You remember my girl, Kate, right?  Well, one of her besties is Amanda, and Amanda celebrated her birthday in November.  Her mom asked me to make cupcake favors for her birthday party.  The only directives she gave me was pink, purple, hearts and peace signs.  I had fun making these and think they turned out cute.  I hope Amanda liked them, too!

The birthday party was at Build-A-Bear, which doesn't allow cake in their store, so Amanda's mom wanted to give them as favors.  I found these awesome boxes at  Very cute!