Saturday, December 31, 2011

One Little Word Blog Hop

This year I participated in an online class called One Little Word. The idea behind this class is that you pick one word to focus on for the year. My word was - move.
I had a couple of things I hoped would come from focusing on this word - moving more physically, moving my physical location by building or buying a new house and also get moving on a small business of my own. The thing that I saw the most movement on was the small business. I picked a name and had a logo designed. I also sold honey and other items at a farmers market. It was so fun! I have a lot of plans for this in 2012. So excited!

The biggest move I made in 2011 was one that I really didn't see coming and one that was not part of my intentions when I started this in January. My family went on vacation to Hawaii in April and on the last day of my vacation I went to the beach near our house and read the book 127 Hours. After a couple of hours sitting in the sun without any sunscreen, which made for a fun sunburn on the flight home, I got to the last page where I read the following -
"When we find inspiration, we need to take action for ourselves and for our communities. Even if it means making a hard choice, or cutting out something and leaving it in your past."
When I read this I knew immediately that I was going to leave the part time job where I had worked for 13 years. At that moment on the beach in Hawaii I knew that it was time to move on, create space for something new to come into my life. I have to say I am so happy with this decision. I have been able to do so many things that I would never have had time for before - participated in a Farmers Market, planted a huge garden and really enjoyed Christmas for the first time in a really long time.
I really believe that just putting that word out there into the universe made it possible for me to move on from a job that was no longer inspiring me. I am so happy I participated in this class. I am so looking forward to taking it again in 2012 - still not 100% sure of my One Little Word for 2012. I am sure it will come to me soon.
You can read experiences from other One Little Word participants by following the blogs on the blog hop.
The next blog on the blog hop is

Here is a list of all the blogs in the blog hop in case you get lost.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Brunch

A couple of days before Christmas we went to the Little America for bunch. It was so much fun! After brunch we went over to the Grand America to see the new toy store Jou Jou and La Bonne Vie patisserie. We also went on the shop window stroll - they had a bunch of shop windows decorated and you had to find a star in each window once you found all of the stars you could pick up a star shaped cookie at La Bonne Vie and a sticker from the toy shop. Such a fun day. Hoping this becomes a new tradition.

The toy shop had this great candy organ. The organ pipes were filled with candy and when you stepped on the keys they would play music. Riley loved running and dancing on it.

Here they are lined up like little soldiers in my fridge. I am so excited to start the 3 day blueprint cleanse.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Candied Bacon Cashews

I tore this recipe out of the Southwest airlines inflight magazine this summer. The recipe is from Colin Lynch the executive chef at Drink in Boston.
I finally had time to try it out this week and I loved it.

Candied Bacon Cashews-
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 1/4 pound raw cashews
1/4 cup cooked diced bacon -this was 3 slices - I think when I make it again I would add more.
half the bacon fat from cooking - this was 1 ounce
1 tablespoon cold butter
smoked salt - I used hickory smoked sea salt from williams sonoma

1- Combine suagr and water in a saucepan and heat until boiling.
Add the cashews and stir continuously. Use a pastry bruch to occasionally wipe the inside of the pot. When I make this again I need to pay more attntion to thiis. My sugar did crystalize a bit but they were still delicious.
2- When the water evaporates and the sugar is caramelized, stir in the bacon. Turn off the heat and add the bacon fat and the butter and the smoked salt to taste. Transfer to a greased cookie sheet to cool, the break apart.

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Few More Cookie Exchange Recipes

Here are the final few cookie exchange recipes. I am sorry to say I don't know who brought these cookies. If you notice that you brought any of these cookies please let me know and I will attach your name to the recipe.
Again, thank you to everyone who came to my cookie exchange - I am so excited to see what you all come up with next year.
White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups craisins
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
3 cups all purpose four
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups oatmeal
2 cup white choc chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixer cream together butter, brown sugar and sugar until smooth. In a separate bowl sift together dry ingredients. Beat in eggs and vanilla into the butter mixture. Gradually add flour mixture to the butter mixture. Finally, mix in the oatmeal, white chocolate, and craisins. On a greased cookie sheet spoon on cookie dough, about 1 tbsp in size. Bake cookies 10 to 14 minutes.
Yields 4 dozen cookies.

Gina's Glazed Ginger Cookies
1 1/2 c butter
2 c sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c molasses
4 c flour
1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
Directions -
Preheat oven to 350
Cream together butter and sugar
Add eggs and molasses
Combine dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture
Chill one hour
Form into balls and roll in cinnamon and sugar (1 part cinnamon to 4 parts sugar)
Bake 8 to 10 minutes
Cool a few minutes and then brush with glaze while cookies are still warm.
Glaze: 2 tbsp water, 1/4 tsp vanilla, 1 c powdered sugar. Stir until smooth.

Double Tree Hotel Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 c rolled oats
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar packed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 eggs
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
1/2 cup crushed heath bars
Grind oats in a food processor or blender until fine. Combine the ground oats with the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
Cream together the butter, sugars, vanilla and lemon juice in another medium bowl with and electric mixer. Add the eggs and mix until smooth. Stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture and blend well. Add the chocolate chips and nuts to the dough and mix by hand.
For the best results chill the dough overnight in the refrigerator before baking the cookies.
Spoon 1/4 cup portions onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 oven for 15 to 17 minutes or until cookies are light brown and soft in the middle.

Kiffles (Hungarian Cream Cheese Cookies
16 oz cream cheese softened
1 cup butter softened
2 cups flour
1 jar of preserves of choice

Preheat oven to 350
1-In a food processor combine cream cheese, butter and flour until the dough come together. It will be soft.
2- Separate dough into four sections, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
3-Working quickly, roll out each section of dough on a well floured surface into and 8 x 8 inch square.
4-Using a knife or pastry wheel cut into 2 x 2 inch squares.
5-Top with a dollop of jam, then pinch 2 opposing corners together and fold over.
6- Bake on greased cookie sheets for 18 to 20 minutes.
7- Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Spritz Cookies
Heat oven to 400 degrees
Mix thoroughly:
1 cup butter at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 egg yolks at room temperature
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups flour
Fill cookie press with 1/4 of dough at a time; form desired shapes on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 6 to 9 minutes or until set, but not brown.
Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

Andes Mint Cookies
1 package devils food cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/2 to 1 cup milk chocolate chips
Andes mints - about 2 boxes
Mix cake mix, eggs, oil. Batter will be thick. Add chocolate chips.
Bake at 350 for 7 minutes. Put mint on right after taking out of oven. Wait 1 minute and swirl over cookie with a knife.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Additional Cookie Exchange Recipes

Here are a few more cookie exchange recipes
Peanut Butter Blossoms - Amy Dunkley
1 can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup peanut butter
2 cup Bisquick 1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter until smooth.
Add Bisquick and vanilla
Mix well
Roll into balls - roll into sugar
Bake at 375 for 8 - 10 minutes
Put Hersey kiss or Reeses mini cup on the top immediately.
Makes 3 dozen cookies

Santa's Boot Track Cookies - Angie
1/2 cup salted butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat a nonstick (not Belgian) waffle iron
Cream butter and sugar in medium bowl. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour, cocoa powder, oil and espresso powder (if using). Beat until combined.
Drop the batter by rounded teaspoons about 1 inch apart on a preheated ungreased waffle iron (to avoid burnt fingers, use two fingers, one to scoop and one to scrape dough onto the waffle iron)
Close and cook until the cookies are puffed and cookie through, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Waffle irons vary so watch closely and don't let the cookies get too dark. Transfer to wire rack and cool until just warm. Dust the cookies with powdered sugar while still slightly warm.

Dutch Cheese Wafers - Brooke B
3 oz Pkg Cream Cheese
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
Blend softened cheese, butter, sugar and flour. Shape into rolls. Wrap in saran wrap. Chill then slice thin. Fill with jam and bake at 350 degrees.
To double use 8 oz pkg cream cheese.

Orange Molasses Cookies with White Chocolate - Samantha D
Cream together-
2 eggs
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup crisco
zest of 2 oranges
4 1/2 cups flour
4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
Roll into ball, dip in sugar and bake at 365 degrees until the edges are barley light brown, about 11 - 12 minutes. Melt 1/2 bag white chocolate chips and drizzle on top of cookies once they are cool.

Cheesecake Cookie Cups - Joy B
1 pkg (16.5oz Nestle Toll House refrigerated Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar Dough
2pkgs (8 oz each) cream cheese, room temperature
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 can cherry pie filling
Preheat: oven to 325. Paper-line 24 muffin cups. Place one piece of cookie dough in each muffin cup.
Bake: for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookie has spread to edge of cup.
Beat: cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, eggs and vanilla extract in medium bowl until smooth. Pour about 3 tablespoons cream cheese mixture over each cookie in cup.
Bake:for additional 15 to 18 minutes or until set. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Top each with level tablespoon of pie filling. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Polish Jam Kolaches - Michelle H
Bake at 375 for 15 minutes
1/2 cup butter softened
3 oz cream cheese softened
1 1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup jam
1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
1-Beat butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add flour gradually beating well.
2-Roll dough to 1/8 inch thickness on lightly floured surface. Cut into 2 inch circles. Spoon 1/4 tsp jam in center of circle making a line. Fold opposite edges together slightly over lapping the edges. Place on greased sheet. When cool sprinkle with sifted powdered sugar. Makes 1 - 2 dozen.

Kahlua Gingerbread Cutouts - Heather C
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons kahlua
2-1/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 f. Cream shortening, butter and sugars together. Beat in eggs until fluffy. Stir in molasses and Kahlua. Sift together flour, soda, salt and spices. Mix well into creamed mixture. Divide dough into fourths. Cover and chill for 2 hours. On well floured board, roll out each portion of dough to 3/8" thickness, keeping the other dough refrigerated. Cut with cookie cutters and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake about 8 minutes. Let cool one minute then remove to wire rack to cool. Decorate with Kahlua frosting.
Kahlua Frosting
1 pound powdered sugar
1/4 cup kahlua
3 tablespoons shortening
3 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
food coloring
In a large bowl mix all ingredients until smooth. Decorate cookies using a pastry bag and decorators tip. If you want spreadable frosting, use an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons of Kahlua in this recipe.

Rum Balls - Nicky
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
6 ounces semisweet chocolate finely chopped
3 large eggs
1/2 cup light brown sugar packed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark rum
coarse sanding sugar, for rolling
vegetable oil cooking spray

1- Preheat oven to 350. Caot a 12 x 17 inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
2- Melt butter and chocolate in a small heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally.
3- Whisk together eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in chocolate mixture, then fold in flour. Pour batter into prepared baking sheet. Spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Bake until top is shiny and a cake tester inserted into center comes out with some crumbs attached, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
4-Break up brownie into small pieces; transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. With machine on low, pour in rum, and mix until crumbs start to come together to form a ball.
5- Shape into 1-inch balls and roll in sanding sugar to coat. Transfer to a baking sheet, refrigerate, uncovered, until cold, about 2 hours. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Rumm balls can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 week.
Indian Fennel Tea Cookies (Blck Licorice Flavored) -Anna P
1 tbsp fennel seed, crushed
2 tbsp boiling water
3/4 c butter softened
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
Powdered sugar
Candied fennel seeds - optional
In a small bowl, soak fennel seeds in boiling water; set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Drain the fennel seeds. Combine the flour, baking soda and fennel seed; gradually add the cramed mixture and mix well.
Roll dough into 1 inch balls; (I topped with candied fennel seeds) place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 10 to 12 min. or until lightly brown. Roll in powdered sugar while warm.
Yield 3 dz cookies
Fennel seed - McCormicks or Bollywood on University Ave
Candied fennel seed - Bollywood on University Ave or India.

Best Ever Brownies - Breeann
2 squares butter, softened
1/3 c cocoa
2 c sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 c flour
2 tsp vanilla
1 c walnuts, chopped (optional)
1/2 pkg mini marshmallows
Beat butter and cocoa together. Add sugar and eggs. Add flour then vanilla. Fold in nuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Frost when slightly cooled.
Mint Frosting -
1 1/2 squares butter
2 eggs
1/2 tsp mint extract
2 tsp vanilla
1 pkg powdered sugar
Mix everything together to the desired consistency. Enjoy

Colorful Swirl Cookies - Courtney W
2 cups flour, plus possibly a few more tbsp
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup unsifted powdered sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (cut in chunks)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp of food coloring of your choice (and/or 1/2 tsp of any desired extracts)
1 1/2 cup holiday sprinkles
1-In a stand mixer, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugars with paddle on medium until well blended.
2- Add butter in, gradually, and continue mixing. Add in vanilla extract. At this point, your dough will form a ball on your paddle.
3- Remove all your dough and divide into two equal parts. Return one potion back in the mixer and add the food coloring and any extra extracts. If you are using liquid food coloring, you will need to add a few tbsp of flour to keep the dough from becoming too wet. Mix until the color is spread out evenly.
4-Roll out each portions of your dough, between two sheets of wax paper until it reaches about 11 X 9 inches and is 1/4 inch thick. Slide both onto a cookie sheet and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
5-WHen firm, remove the top sheets of wax paper from both. Brush the uncolored vanilla dough lightly with water using a pasty brush. Then flip the colored dough onto the vanilla uncolored dough so they are stacked atop each other and even. Press the edges lightly with your fingertips to seal them together. Using a small paring knife, trim the edges of the dough to make straight, even lines.
6- Pour out sprinkles onto a large platter and set aside. Be sure your dough is still cold but flexible. Once it's ready, begin rolling the long side of the dough into a swirl, jelly-roll style. Now, don't get nervous if the outer layer of uncolored dough tears a bit. It's no problem, just pinch and pat those tears and voila, then just keep rolling.
7- Now gently lift your dough log onto the sprinkles and roll away. Cover the log completely with your sprinkles. Wrap the colorfully decorated old in plastic wrap twice. Depending on when you want to bake the cookies, either place the wrapped dough into the refrigerator for about 3 - 4 hours or you can put it in the freezer and keep it there for up to 2 months. If freezing, give yourself time for the dough to defrost in the fridge overnight before cutting.
8- Slice your dough into 1/4 to 1/8 inch slices and bake on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes until edges are slightly golden. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then move them to a cookie rack to finish cooling. Enjoy your whimsical Christmas cookies.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cookie Exchange 2011 And the winners are.....

Here are the winning cookies for this year- made by Tyra, Glenda and Ramona.

Best Overall made by 1st time attendee Tyra Orton - beginners luck right?

Holycraptheseareamazing Cookies
Makes about 3 dz cookies

1 cup Sugar
1 cup Corn Syrup
1 jar (8 ounces) peanut butter - creamy or smooth
6 cups Corn Flakes
3 oz good quality chocolate

Combine sugar and corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Place over medium-high heat and stir until the mixture comes to a full boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the whole jar of peanut butter. Mix well.
Add corn flakes to a large bowl. Pour peanut butter mixture over corn flakes and mix well, taking care to coat all of the corn flakes.
With a tablespoon or cookie scoop, scoop out and form into 12 inch balls, depending on your preference, and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or wax paper.
Put the chocolate in a small bowl and melt in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Stir until smooth. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the cookies.
When cooled eat these cookies with reckless abandon. Be careful though we would not want anyone to get hurt.

Most Beautiful -Glenda Bringhurst
Cream Puff
Recipe to come

Best International Cookie - Ramona Pearson
English Almond Crescents
1 cup of butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of almond extract
2 1/2 cups of flour
1 cup of almond flour
1/4 cup of powdered sugar for sprinkling

1-Cream the butter and the sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the extracts and mix.
2-Add the flour and almond flour. Mix thoroughly.
3-Take generous tablespoons of the dough (it will be slightly crumbly) and roll into a small ball, about an inch in diameter and then shape into a crescent. Place on parchment paper and bake at 350 for 15 - 20 minutes or until a light golden brown.
4-Dust with powdered sugar.
For added decadence let the cookie cool and dip one end of them into some melted chocolate.

Cookie Exchange Favor

My favorite part of the cookie exchange is making the favors. This year I put together a little box with a collection of goodies I gathered throughout the year. I included this little message inside the box
-----As I traveled around this year I wanted to bring a little taste of each place I visited back to you. Inside this box are treas traditional to each city or manufactured by some of my candy friends from these cities. Included are 1)San Francisco honey and cherry lovers from Gimbals Candy. 2) Hawaii- chocolate covered macadamia nuts, pineapple chews and drops from the Dole Plantation, white rabbit candy (Japan) gummy watermelon with li hinge mui powder 3) Boston Necco wafers from the new england candy company. 4) Maine dried wild blueberries and chocolate beach stones (the mold for these chocolates was made from actual stones from a beach in Maine) 5) Rum and Cherry Cordials from Koppers Candy (a large chocolate factory in the middle of New York City - Soho I think)6)Toronto chocolate bars 7) San Francisco (again) ghirardelli squares 8) minneapolis granola from bliss gourmet foods in st paul. 9) Atlanta gummy peaches. 10) New York (again) caramel apple.

I put everything in a clear little box and wrapped it with map paper and orange butchers twine.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Fwd: Cookie Exchange St Judes Donation

Cookie exchange 2011 is now over. This year we had a little charity raffle for St Judes Childrens Hospital. So excited we raised $217. Thanks to everyone who participated!

Sent from my iPhone