Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain.
And during last weekend’s retreat I danced a lot in the rain. Refreshing, cleansing, fun, and of course cold/pneumonia inducing. I felt impulsive, and my black and white polka dotted rain boots were meant for that very purpose. This also meant hours of discomfort – sitting in my rain soaked clothes, hair dripping, squeaky and muddy boots, oops. I never think about these consequences. But now that I am back and have recovered somewhat from sleep deprivation, I am ready to post all the cookie and pastry recipes that I owe you. I am also starting my reviews this week, as it has taken some time to gather pictures and what not for a lot of places. Things to look forward to this week? Well, since I have canceled my SoCal trip on account of heavy rains, I will have more time just to relax. I am planning a Tex-Mex dinner for Thursday night (or whenever) for a few friends. I want to do a farewell dinner Friday night for a friend who is leaving for Viet Nam. Saturday night I have a Viet Nam trip reunion, so I need to bring something to that. And maybe if I am lucky, I might be able to run up to Davis to a friend’s 21st birthday party then back. So, a nice relaxing week ahead.
Cream butter and confectioners sugar until smooth. Add extracts and beat until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and combine until forms in large clumps. Using hands, press dough into large ball and divide in half. Form each half into into a disk and wrap each in plastic and fridge for 40 mins. Preheat oven to 325F, and remove one disk from the fridge. Dust work surface with a little flour and roll the disk 1/4″ thick. Cut out into shapes as desired. Bake for 12-15 mins., and let cool for 5 mins. before transferring to wire rack.
To make these more festive, sprinkle the cut cookies with colored sugars or sprinkles before baking. The cookies Em gave me were lightly coated with large colored sprinkles, but you could always make your own using raw/organic/granulated sugars and food coloring.
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cups light brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 large egg
1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
2/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2/3 cups dried cranberries
2 cups large pecan pieces
Preheat oven to 350F. In mixer, cream butter, sugars, salt and vanilla until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of mixing bowl, and add the egg and beat. Scrape sides again. Add the oats. Mix together. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Stir into wet ingredients until dough formed. Add nuts and cranberries into dough and combine thoroughly. Shape into small walnut sized balls and drop them 3″ apart on baking sheet. Bake 12-14 mins. until edges are golden brown. The centers will appear slightly underdone, but will continue to bake on sheet even after removed from oven. Allow to sit for 5 mins. before transferring to cooling rack.
Mormon Molasses Spice Cookies
I have no idea where the name for these cookies came from, but Mrs. Roit found them in her Got Milk? Cookie book, and they are very good. Very chewy, moist yet dense at the same time. A perfect cookie for the winter time.
1 1/2 sticks butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cups dark molasses
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup + 1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg lightly beaten
In saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Remove and stir in molasses and vanilla and let cool. In a bowl, combine flour, 1 cup sugar, baking soda, salt and all the spices. To the butter mixture, add a beaten egg, then fold into the dry ingredients. Similarly, this can be done with a stand or hand held mixer. Cover the dough bowl and fridge until the dough is firm enough to form balls, at least 15 mins.
Preheat oven to 375F. Place the remaining 1/3 cup sugar in small bowl. Form walnut sized balls of dough and roll in sugar to completely coat. Place balls 2″ apart on sheet. I like to using a cup and flatten the balls, but this is completely optional. Bake 12-15 mins or until centers are no longer raw. For softer and chewier cookies, bake for 12 min., and 15 min. for crisper cookies. Allow to cool for 5 mins. on try before moving to cooling rack.
Tartelette Cinnabon Knockoffs
1 pkg. active dry yeast (1/4 oz. size or 2 1/4 tsp.)
1 cup warm milk (105º to 110º F.)
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/3 c. margarine, melted (used butter)
1 tsp. salt
4 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. packed brown sugar
2 1/2 TBS. cinnamon
1/3 c. margarine, softened (used butter)
1/4 c. (1/2 stick) margarine, softened (used butter)
1/4 c. (2 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 TBS. whole milk
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. lemon extract
I have the worst luck with yeast I think, as nothing ever happens when I react yeast and milk or even sugar water. So my buns did not come out as fluffy as I would have liked. They tasted amazing, but I might not have baked them long enough, so the coloring was off and the dough could have used some extra time.
On Monday after coming home, I was really craving coffee cake, like the kind you can usually get at Safeway’s bakery section. It is filled with cinnamon sugar goodness, and so I looked up a recipe on FoodNetwork, and to my dismay, the recipe turned into a messy apple cobbler instead. I am not complaining because this cobbler mess was divine – but it wasn’t quite what I was looking for – but I thought I would post it up anyway, just in case you wanted a cobbler instead. Then again, I might have messed up somewhere, so as I always encourage, please try it and let me know!
Emeril’s Apple Coffee Cake
1 stick plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups peeled, cored and chopped apples
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Brown Sugar Glaze:
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons water