Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays!

I would like to wish you all a happy holiday and hope you get to spend it with the people you love!
P.S.  Here is my last Christmas treat recipe.  It was so simple and so delicious!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Treats - Day 3

Let me just start this post out by saying I have never been a fan of fruitcake.  I actually find it kind of gross. And then I found this recipe.  I read through it sceptically and almost didn't try it.  But then I thought, "Something with that much booze in it couldn't possibly be that bad...."  So I made it. And it was delicious.
The recipe is from an Everyday Food magazine (thank you, Martha!).  A very simple recipe to make.  You don't like fruitcake?  Give it a go, you might change your mind. 

Fruitcake Bars
Recipe from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food magazine
Soundtrack - Hank Williams

1 c. brandy
5 c. dried fruit, coarsely chopped (I used apricots, cranberries, dates, golden raisins and pineapple)

2 c. all purpose flour

1 c. butter, room temperature
2 c. brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 13x9 pan.  Line with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides.  Grease the parchment and set aside. 

*One year I neglected to do this.  I was sorry I didn't.  Even though I had greased the pan very well, I still couldn't get the bars out of the pan.  Don't skip this step. 

In a medium saucepan, heat the brandy until simmering.  Remove from heat and stir in fruit; cool to room temp.  Stir 1 c. of flour into the brandied fruit mixture; set aside.  
Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Mix in vanilla.  Add remaining flour and mix until just combined.  Fold in fruit mixture; transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth top.  

Bake for 45-50min.  or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 1 hour.  Using paper overhang, lift out of pan; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely (still on paper).  Invert fruitcake, peel off paper and with a serrated knife cut into 24 pieces. Dust with icing sugar if desired.  

   Hope you enjoy these! xo

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Holiday Baking - Day 2

Today I am sharing a recipe that I found via a fabulous food blog, Smitten Kitchen.  These cookies are absolute heaven!  I normally do not bake sugar type cookies because I find them so bland.  These are anything but bland with their maple-y buttery lusciousness. The dough rolls out beautifully and is so very tender.  This recipe makes a lot of cookies.  I didn't count but let's just leave it at dozens. 

Nutmeg Maple Butter Cookies
Adapted, just a smidge, from the late great Gourmet Magazine
Soundtrack - Bonobo

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup  maple syrup (Grade B is ideal here, but the original recipe suggested that Grade A with a few drops of maple extract would also work)
1 large egg yolk
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (because it packs more tightly)
1 1/4 teaspoon flaky salt or 1 teaspoon table salt

Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. With mixer running, add yolk and slowly drizzle in maple syrup. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, nutmeg and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix until just combined. The dough will be in loose clumps. Gather them together into a tight packet with a large piece of plastic wrap and chill dough for at least two hours (and up to four days) until firm.
Preheat oven to 350 F degrees and line a few baking sheets with parchment paper. I like to roll out a quarter to half the dough at a time, leaving the rest in the fridge. On a floured counter, roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness and cut into desired shapes.
Arrange cookies on baking sheets and bake for 8 to 11 minutes each, or until lightly golden at the edges. Transfer to racks to cool.


* I used No.1 maple syrup (Grade A) because that's what I had and did not add any maple flavouring.  I can definitely tell there is maple syrup in these. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cookie Extravaganza!

The Wee Beast and I have finally started our holiday baking.  In my family we don't exchange gifts with each other (pressies are just for the kids) but I do bake a crap load of cookies and squares to give out.  I also send some over to the neighbours and take some into work for my co-workers.
I thought I would share the recipes with you for all the things I am making this year.
Today we made Snickerdoodles.  The name alone is a very good reason to make these and you really should say it as many times as possible.  If you've never had these cookies, you should make a batch.  They are little vanilla cookies with a crispy exterior and a soft, almost fluffy inside.  They are coated in cinnamon sugar before baking. I recommend making a double batch!

Recipe courtesy of my childhood, soundtrack - Billie Holiday

1/2 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt

3 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy; beat in egg and vanilla.   In separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt; stir into butter mixture.

In small, shallow bowl mix sugar and cinnamon.

Roll dough into 1-inch balls and roll in sugar mixture.

Place about 2-inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake at 350F for 13-15min. or until golden brown around the edges.  Cool.

Makes 30 cookies.
Hope you get a chance to make some!  They are fantastic! xo

Friday, December 9, 2011


We have had a bout of illness raging through our house for the past month and a bit.  I had The Flu That Would Not End and Lil'G ended up in the hospital with pneumonia.  That was very scary but she was extra brave and amazing.  The Mister got a cold for his birthday.  Poor guy.  Needless to say not much has been getting done except for the necessities (and sometime not even that!). This past week everyone has been feeling better and having more energy. 

I have been in the sewing room creating a sewing storm.  I have finished up a bunch of new bags and a custom order. 

They have reached their destinations and that feels really awesome. 
I am now beginning to think about my Etsy shop again and all the holiday sewing I want to do for my little lovelies.  On the list are some pjs for Lil'G, some softies for my nephew and sweet little Jasmin.  I am also knitting some holiday socks for some special feet.  And of course, I am knitting for myself too. 
Are you crafting for the holidays?  What are you most excited about?

Hope you are all staying warm and enjoying the winter season! xo