Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Cookies!!!!

I was invited to my first ever holiday cookie swap. Now remember, I'm just now starting to get into this whole baking thing, so this was no easy task for me. I borrowed a friend's Kitchen Aide mixer (man I love that thing) and decided I wanted to go for the win and make swirly christmas cookies. I found the recipe on Pinterest (of course) and got my ingredients together, and went at it. Now it wasn't exactly easy, or pretty. I had a small meltdown halfway, so I asked Charlie to make his yummy PB cookies just in case I royally screwed up.

First off, the swirly cookies. Courtesy of Our Italian Kitchen.

If you see the original source here, you'll see that she did a much better job than me.

2 cups flour, plus possibly a few more tbsp (the original recipe called for cake flour, but I just used regular old all-purpose flour since I was all out of a softasilk)
1/2 tsp baking powder
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 extra 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 portion back in to the mixer and add the food coloring and any extra extracts. I used Betty Crocker gel food coloring in green and vanilla extract for this batch. You could coordinate your colors and flavors, for example green food coloring matched with a mint extract or yellow with a lemon extract, etc. Also, 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 a wax paper until is reaches about 11 x 9 inches and is 1/4 inch thick. Slide both unto a cookie sheet and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. *This is where my mini meltdown ensued, because the dough was falling apart. I would leave it in the fridge for longer than 2 hrs.*

5. When firm, remove the top sheets of wax paper from both. Brush the uncolored vanilla dough lightly with water using a pastry 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 pairing knife, trim the edges of the dough to make straight, even lines, if you want. I simply pressed the ends together and had 2 yummy end pieces covered in sprinkles :)

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 dough into a swirl, jelly-roll style. Now, don't get nervous (like I did) 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 log in plastic wrap twice. Depending on when you want to bake the cookies, either place the wrapped dough into refrigerator for about 3-4 hours or you can put it 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. Now the easy part. Slice your dough into 1/4-1/8 inch slices and bake on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 15-17 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!

Not the prettiest thing in the world, but not bad for baking from scratch cookies for the first time :)

*Stay tuned next week for Charlie's famous PB cookies*

Christmas Traditions

With this being my little man's first Christmas, I've been thinking a lot about what Christmas traditions I wanna start with our little family. We didn't celebrate Christmas much at our house, so I don't have much to go by. I started asking some friends, and this is what I've come up with so far.

  • Elf on a Shelf: I wanted to start this tradition this year, but funds wouldn't have it. So next year I plan to incorporate this little guy in our festivities. I actually had a friend make a blog just about her Elf. You can check it out here. I plan on doing the same next year.
  • Christmas Eve PJs: I love this idea! You let them open one gift on Christmas Eve and it's PJs for them to wear that night. I can't wait to let him open it :)
  • Noche Buena: This is a cuban tradition that I definitely plan on continuing. We'll have the traditional spanish dinner on Christmas Eve. Roasted pork, black beans and rice, yucca, tostones, and of course... FLAN. Mmmm!
  • Of course, we'll do all the other fun stuff like cookies, decking the halls, etc.
What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions? I'd love to expand my list.

Wordless Wednesday - Christmas Pictures Part Dos

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Jonathan's First Christmas Parade

So yesterday was little man's first Christmas Parade in our little town. He was so good and actually slept through half of it lol. Here's a photo recap...

Before we left the house to see daddy at the Firehouse before the parade started.

Started getting a tad cold so I bundled him up.


Lining up!

Despite the lights and sirens, he's out like a light lol.

Excuse my horrible photography skills here, but that was my only shot of Santa :(

 Back at the firehouse... somebody's up!

Ugh, mooooom, more pictures?

Wish this picture wasn't so blurry, I love it.

Tee hee!

Tasty Tuesday - Earthquake Cake

So I'm gonna try and dedicate Tuesdays to delicious recipes I've made. I'll start today's with a favorite among my friends and family... Earthquake Cake! I originally got the recipe from Charlie's mom back in 2008. It's my go to recipe for pot lucks, and I make it so often I'm now asked to make it for every party and just out of the blue. It's ridiculously easy. First, let's gather up some ingredients.

I noticed when I just uploaded this that I'm missing the cream cheese and margarine in this picture lol. So please go by the list and not the picture.

1 box German Chocolate cake mix (and whatever ingredients it calls for)
Flaked coconut
Chopped nuts of choice (I always use walnut)
1/4 margarine
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 16oz. box of powered sugar

Now, lets make the batter according to the directions on the box.

Make sure you preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray some Pam on a 13x9 glass pan. Cover the bottom of the pan with nuts and coconut. I always eyeball this part, you can also skip this step if there's allergies involved. I've done it and it's still delicious.

Pour the cake batter over the coconut and and nuts. Melt your margarine in a bowl. Add the cream cheese and powdered sugar. I usually just use the beater to make sure it blends good, but the recipe says you can just stir it with a spoon. 

Now the fun part, spoon the icing over the unbaked batter and bake for 40-42 min.

This is a pretty sticky cake, so there's no sense in checking for doneness. The icing gonna sink to the bottom  while baking and makes a gooey ribbon of deliciousness throughout the cake.

I'm really looking forward to the little man getting big enough to help make this cake since there's no pressure on the presentation part lol. Until then, I'll just give him an extra beater to check out.
<3! It's gonna be so fun when he actually has yummy stuff to lick off.

The next step is to simply enjoy!

And one more thing, I would hide it from your significant other. If not, this is what you might wake up to the next morning...
Lol, he could've at least washed it!

Likey likey the new look

Hey everyone!!!
Hope your all liking my new look on the blog. I gotta give a big shout out to my lovely friend Cari for making me all these blogging goodies. She's the blogger for NighLon. You can check her out by clicking on her button there on the right, or just click here. Thanks again Cari, because God knows my blogging skills aren't up to this par lol. Hopefully gonna knock out a few Christmas crafts today to show you all. Already have a recipe lined up for next week. Have a great day everybody!

P.S. Make sure to grab my button there on the right for your blog :)