Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Cookies and Kitties

So it's the Sunday before Christmas and Favorite and I are preparing to head over to my parents' house tomorrow so we are wrapping up what Christmassing we can. I had previously found some really cute snowman jars and decided I would fill them with cookie mix and give them as gifts. I also decided to crochet an animal friend as a gift. Here are the results --------------------------->

I got the cookie recipe from It's called Chunky Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix in a Jar. I didn't quite follow the layering instructions because I decided I wanted the snowmen to be mostly white so I separated the cocoa out and stuffed it in their hats and hid the nuts and chocolate chips inside the flour (the base is brown sugar).

Now I couldn't just give these as gifts not knowing how the recipe would turn out, so I HAD to bake a batch for myself and Favorite to make sure they were worthy cookies. I made sure to follow the directions of mixing the mix first and then adding the butter, egg and vanilla because I wanted to see how it would come out without creaming the sugar and butter first. I ended up having to mix it with my hands a little to make it come together ( it's tricky cutting in butter when chips and nuts are getting in your way!) but the cookies turned out scrumptious! They were nutty and chewy with just a little crispness to the outside. The chocolate of the cookie was tasty without being overwhelming (I could even eat them WITHOUT milk) while the melty chocolate chips satisfies any chocolate craving. By the way I used GOOD chocolate chips. Big dark chocolate ones.

So I was satisfied with the cookies making good gifts. I made sure to print a cute little instruction tag for the instructions and crocheted up some tiny little snowman scarves to attach the instructions to the jars.

While I was taking pictures to post here I got a little sad. I've crocheted a little kitty like this one before and I was wondering if my old kitty would miss my new kitty when he was gone. As such I did a little photo shoot with my two sleepy little guys.

Man, those little kitties are just too cute.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Bad Blogger

I thought I was doing so well with all of my October posts, and then November came and once again I was lost to the blogosphere.

It turns out I am terrible at keeping up with stuff. Since my last post I have made chocolate spice cookies, pumpkin bread pudding, pecan meringue with coffee buttercream. I did not get a picture of ONE of them. I realize the list is really not all that impressive considering I haven't posted for a month and a half. I will try to do better.

Even though I have no pictures I am going to expound on the desserts I made for my own posterity. The chocolate spice cookies were very fast and easy to make. No special equipment required, no eggs, very little fuss. They were made with applesauce and were moist and spicy-delicious. The recipe was from a new book I got called Perfect Light Desserts. The meringue was from this book too. I made the meringue to serve to my sister and her fiance when we had them over for dinner. Once constructed it consisted of a very thick and creamy Swiss style coffee flavored buttercream sandwiched between two 10 inch diameter thin crunchy pecan meringue layers. It was rich and sweet enough to make a satisfying dessert without being heavy and overwhelming. I would make both the cookies and meringue again although the meringue is not nearly as quick and simple as the cookies. Despite having few ingredients, the meringue dessert took a significant amount of time to assemble between creating and baking the two 10 inch meringue layers, letting them cool, and whipping up the buttercream. The buttercream took so long to come together, even with my trusty Kitchenaid, that I was about a minute away from giving it up for lost when it finally broke and I knew it was almost ready. I'm sure it is exaggerated in my head, but it seemed like a half an hour went by easily. This time being added to the time it took to bring the sugar syrup up to temperature and then entirely down to room temp before beating. Whew! I was lucky I finished it before they arrived!

The pumpkin bread pudding was brought to Thanksgiving. With only about a spoonful left at the end of the night I figure it fared pretty well considering the sheer volume of desserts that were there. There are a few things I would change in the future however. I didn't have day old bread for one thing, and I feel like the custard was not properly soaked in. I also could have had a slightly higher custard to bread ratio. The last qualm I had was it needed more pumpkin spices!!! I am a pumpkin fanatic and the best part of pumpkin desserts is getting to spice them.

Anyhow, I will post the recipes soon. Next up though I am using my sweet amigurumi skills to make a floppy stuffed cat. The pattern, although crocheted, is reminiscent of a sock monkey. The final product will surely be fun.