Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Thumbprint (birdsnest) cookies

My mama rules. Like she's the best baker on the planet, hands down, no competition.  She's the best mom ever.  Growing up my mom called these birds nest cookies. Here in America they are called Thumbprints. Whichever name you prefer, is ok with me, because these cookies are so good. They have only a bit of sugar which i love because i don't really dig overly sweet cookies. These cookies are buttery and delicate and so, so good. Make them for your favorite people and go hug your mother :)
And, again, let me apologize for my lack of artistic talent in photos. That is what cybelle is for. Not everyone can be a photographer, and i assure you, i have no qualms admitting that I'm about as bad as they come. Lucky for me, i am a baking goddess (who has a bff who is a great photographer, but she's not here right now)....

Thumbprint Cookies from http://www.thejoyofbaking.com/

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
1 large egg, separated
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (130 grams) all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (100 grams) hazelnuts, almonds, pecans or walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
1/2 cup jam  (i used cherry and apricot)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the flour mixture to the batter and beat just until combined. If the batter is too soft to roll into balls, refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
4. In a small bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy. Place the chopped nuts on a plate. Roll the dough into 1 inch (2.5 cm) balls. Taking one ball of dough at a time, dip first into the egg white and then lightly roll in the nuts. Place on the prepared baking sheet spacing about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Using your thumb or end of a wooden spoon, make a indentation into the center of each cookie and fill with about 1/2 teaspoon of jam.
5. Bake for about 13-15 minutes, or until cookies are set and the nuts have nicely browned. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool

Monday, December 27, 2010

Spiced pumpkin butter

I mean, how is anything better than pumpkin butter? It's sweet, cinnamon-y, soft, delicious and perfect in every way. It is like your favorite winter white coat. It's like your favorite knee high boots. It's just the thing that makes you feel so perfect and so girly. I love this stuff. And i am sharing it with you because I want you to share it with the people you love. Merry Christmas everybody :)


2 cans of pumpkin
1 1/4 cups maple syrup
1/2 cup apple juice
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1. In a 5 quart Dutch oven, combine all of the ingredients. Bring to a boil then reduce heat.   Cook, uncovered over medium to low heat, stirring frequently, 25 minutes until thick.  You will need to literally stand over this pot for the entire 25 minutes as it needs constant stirring as it begins to spatter almost immediately.

2. Remove from heat and let it cool.  Ladle freezer containers or jars leaving 1/2 inch head space.

These are amazing gift basket stuffers and gifts. Just remember to keep it either frozen or refrigerated until its time to give them away :).  You will get about 2 medium mason jars full.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Granola!

I love getting compliments. I love it. It may make me kind of a d-bag, but i don't care. I made Christmas baskets for my future in-laws (!!!!!!!!!) this year and added this amazing granola ;) It is so good and super easy and i am POSITIVE that it is going to earn me mucho points on the "she's such a great girl" scale! I'm going to put in in really pretty festive bags and tie them with a bow to add to my baskets. It's literally awesomeness in a bag. As an added bonus, your house will smell like french toast. Oh my yum. Make it.


adapted from Sunny Anderson from Food Network

1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar Pinch kosher salt
2 egg whites
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut flakes
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup currants


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small pot over medium heat, whisk together the syrup, oil and cinnamon. Cook until it just bubbles. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
In a large bowl, add the oats, walnuts, sunflower seeds, brown sugar and a pinch of salt. Pour in the syrup mixture and toss well. In a small bowl, whisk the egg whites to combine. Pour over the granola and toss well. Evenly spread the mixture onto a sheet tray. Bake until golden, turning several times, about 35 to 40 minutes.
Remove from the oven to a serving bowl and cool. When cool add the remaining ingredients and serve.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Buttermilk biscuits

Clearly, I have an issue with bread lately. I cannot get enough. CANNOT. These biscuits too. They are amazing and delicious and easy (of course). They are flaky and melt in your mouth, I'm seriously drooling while typing their description.  I cannot say enough. Go make these. Please. Then bring one over to my house :)


2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the board
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder 
1 teaspoon kosher salt or 1 teaspoon salt 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold
 3/4 cup buttermilk ( approx)


Preheat your oven to 450°F.

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, or in the bowl of a food processor.

Cut the butter into chunks and cut into the flour until it resembles course meal.  If using a food processor, just pulse a few times until this consistency is achieved.

Add the buttermilk and mix JUST until combined.

If it appears on the dry side, add a bit more buttermilk.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board.

Gently, gently PAT (do NOT roll with a rolling pin) the dough out until it's about 1/2" thick.

Use a round cutter to cut into rounds.

You can gently knead the scraps together and make a few more, but they will not be anywhere near as good as the first ones.
I made mine into heart shapes and circles!!! Awww!
Enjoy these!
Smooches, gigi