Sunday, 28 April 2013

2012 - I'm on a Roll!

I started to roll out the Sugar Cookies this morning at 11 and just finished baking them (it's nearly 4 p.m. on Nov. 27). I made stars, trees, snowmen, canes, ornaments and JOYs (these are new and I love them!). I had four cookie sheets, so I was able to keep way ahead — I had two in the freezer, one in the oven and one on standby. I wound up with nearly 14 dozen (there were a few delicious casualties).

I also made 22 trees with sprinkles on them (not to be frosted) for Charlie to take in his lunchbox this week. I made four look like bloody arrowheads to mimic the ones that Marge Simpson made for Bart by putting red sprinkles on the tops of the trees. He loved them! The rest will be frosted and decorated tomorrow.

While I was baking, I also made pizza dough and got out the Christmas linens (potholders, tea towels, tablecloth, aprons, etc.) and a few decorations to greet Charlie when he comes home from school.

Mom's care package came about 15 minutes ago! YIPPEE! She's soooo cute, the way she puts little surprises in there. Whether it's a sauce mix, a pickle in a bag or a Christmas ornament — she always tickles me with something special. Now I'm off to make a glorious batch of Chex Party Mix with the cereals she sent — whoohoo!

I made three batches of Chex Mix! Fortunately, I had pecans and cashews on hand because I knew the package was coming. I made one batch for Charlie with no pretzels or nuts (otherwise he picks over them and leaves the mix grossly unbalanced!). But I caught him picking over the rice squares in his own batch! Ridiculous! Mom's sending more. Good thing — you only get three batches from three boxes. I could eat it every single day. Yummm! I also used celery salt this time (1/4 teaspoon) after researching Chex Mix for Our Cookie Journal. The old recipe called for it but the current one asks for seasoned salt, garlic powder and onion powder. I like celery salt, so I used it.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

2012 - Let's Get This Party Started

After two days of thinking about making Sugar Cookies, it's happening today (Nov. 26)! I thought about using a different recipe this year (for no specific reason except to mix it up a bit) but I wound up going with Martha Stewart's trusty recipe again. It's so easy and reliable. A double batch nearly doesn't fit in the KitchenAid mixer bowl, though. And whenever I add flour now, it reminds me of Charlie's song: "Let it Dough!"

I now have two rectangles of dough ready to roll. While it chills in the fridge, though, I've been busy on the Internet with Our Cookie Journal; selling CDs on eBay (I've gone completely digital); and waiting eagerly for a care package from Mom.

I had to go to the dentist today too (no cavities!) and I stopped off at The Creative Cook Shop in the town square for some decorating supplies. I bought red and green glitter, which I haven't used yet. I have had colored sugars and sprinkles but I can't wait to try this edible glitter. While I was there, I picked up some snowman cellophane bags to put cookies in for gifts. There were some cute Santa cupcake cases and a set of snowflake cookie cutters that I couldn't resist too! Then I popped by Waitrose and bought more flour, sugar eggs (£3 a dozen!!), brown sugar and cinnamon.

Friday, 19 April 2013

2012 - Loafing Around? Make Some Pumpkin Bread!

I'm going to make more Pumpkin Bread as soon as Neil gets back with more eggs and pecans. I made only one batch so far, yielding four generous loaves. There was a gorgeous aroma filling the house. It was so irresistible that I had three slices as soon as I could! I enrobed the rest in aluminum foil and popped them in the freezer. They will be enjoyed over the next few weeks.

Mom said all the cereals (for the Chex Party Mix) won't fit in one box with everything else that I requested, so she's sending one care package today (Nov. 20) and the rest next Thursday. I'm not at all disappointed — this will stretch out the happiness! Only two days till Turkey time!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

2012 - In the Christmas Spirit Already

It's only Nov. 15 but I sent some money to Mom via PayPal so she can send me a care package before Thanksgiving — I neeeed Chex Party Mix before Thanksgiving.

Meanwhile, Charlie wants to have a cake stall at school to help raise money for the Children in Need charity day they're having. I made cupcakes and brownies for him to sell. Since I'm brimming with holiday spirit already, I'm using Christmas sprinkles and listening to Danielle's Xmas Mix playlist that I made for her last year. The school children will appreciate the festive look too, I'm sure.

I'll be making Pumpkin Bread soon, since I like that for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Of course, I'll have pies to make too. Then I can focus on COOKIES!

Monday, 15 April 2013

2012 - Putting Virtual Pen to Paper

This year, I finally decided to put Our Cookie Journal on the Internet as a blog. I don't know why I wasn't doing it before — just caught up in life, I guess. Anyway, I'm not working at the charity shop  and I've been talking about "publishing" the diary for years, so I started a blog today, Nov. 13. Some of my relatives have asked to read the diary over the years, and they seemed to enjoy it when they did. (That could be due to our being relatives, though.)

I don't pretend it's all about cookies either. I'm not just writing about recipes my sister and I have used over the years or how fabulous our cookies look or taste. It's the connection we felt through this annual ritual, whether we were together or apart, and how other family members are all part of our recipe for a happy holiday time. 

So Our Cookie Journal has been a reminder and recorder through these 25 years (and beyond!) of our abiding love and how we've shared it through baking and giving cookies. I've tried to be faithful and make good notes each Christmas; but life gets in the way, as I said. I've lost my dad; lost my sister; moved to another continent. I got married; had a son. And yet, there's always been some continuity there, with the cookies and the diary and my sister — and each member of my family, in some way.

All this reading and writing about Our Cookie Journal has made me hungry for cookies too! So Charlie and I whipped up a batch of Hedgehog Cookies, of course. The Choc-Oat-Chip Cookies are his favorite so we made a double batch. I'm out of parchment paper, so I had to do without, making the whole process take a bit longer (having to wipe the hot pans down after each use). I'll have to invest in some greaseproof paper and new cookie sheets this year, I think. 

Monday, 8 April 2013

2011 - A Noteworthy Year for Cookies

I wasn't very prolific this year, unfortunately. I kept a few notes on the side and failed to transfer them to Our Cookie Journal. It was a bit difficult trying to work, look after Charlie, bake, get ready for Christmas AND write! Still, I have some record of what I baked and here it is:

 On Sunday, Nov. 13, I made my usual first cookie of the season: Hedgehog Cookies! Charlie's already plowing through them! I put 11 dozen in the cookie jar and 12 dozen in the freezer. As it's November, I'm sure I'll be returning to this recipe before Christmas.

I also made another batch of Pumpkin Bread (I had made a batch already and had only a half dozen muffins left!). I also made two loaves with sultanas and without nuts for a friend at work. The remaining five loaves were "normal'.

A week later, I made a double batch of Checkerboard Cookies dough. I also made the dough for a double batch of Lime-Glazed Cookies from the Martha Stewart Cookies app for iPad. I love having the app because it's so easy to search and access recipes.

On Nov. 20, I baked the Checkerboards and Limes, yielding about 5 dozen each. Unfortunately, I added too much butter to the Checkerboards. This made them incredibly easier to roll out but they were just too rich and almost greasy once baked. I really have to be more careful when I convert! The Lime Cookies are very tart, sweet, zesty and fragrant — I LOVE them!

I also made pie crust dough for Pumpkin Pies for Thanksgiving. And I made two batches of Sugar Cookies dough. Whew!

I made a Shepherd's Pie on Nov. 21, and then started rolling out, cutting out, and baking Sugar Cookies. I made canes, stars, trees, holly, snowmen, bells, trees and mini trees. I ran out of parchment paper, though, and they started sticking to the new anodized pans that I bought. Neil brought some home and I was able to finish with an aching back and enjoy my Shepherd's Pie.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

2010 - Too Cranky for Crinkles?

I thought I'd get a lot done today; that's what I get for thinking!

Once I got Charlie off to school, I got the Coconut Cream-Filled Macaroons in the oven. While they baked, I made the filling (which is so good, you'll be tempted to eat it on its own!). I must have been very generous, though, because I nearly ran out of filling. I wound up with 4 dozen (doesn't seem like much for a double batch!). There was one left over too  — YUM! I packed these up in the freezer (leaving absolutely no more room now).

I made the dough for Snickerdoodles and Chewy Molasses Spice Crinkles, thinking I'd get both of those done today. However, life snuck up on me — laundry, shopping, dinner and looking after Charlie and his many demands — and I managed to bake only the Snickerdoodles. I'm using Lisa's recipe but I don't think I will use it again because of my perennial complaint: not enough cinnamon! With this recipe, you roll the dough into balls, which are then coated in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. So, I beefed it up with more cinnamon and I hope that will help. These take quite a long time to finish (especially if you make a double batch!) so I'll have to save the Molasses Crinkles for tomorrow. I got 8 1/2 dozen Snicks.

I baked the Molasses Spice Crinkles while watching the snow fall. These are really good to eat but they are such a pain to deal with sometimes. Maybe it was just me because it was the last batch of cookies for the year and I was ready to be finished, but I found them too fiddly and messy. The dough was so sticky and, again, it has to be rolled into balls, which are then coated in sugar. Best to just get them all rolled and plopped into a spare bowl, then roll them all at once in the sugar. Otherwise, it's just too messy and your hands will look like prunes when you finish because you'll have to wash the sticky dough off after loading each tray-full. Yield: only 5 1/2 dozen because I got fed up!

Monday, 1 April 2013

2010 - Wake & Bake

Right after I woke up and had a cup of tea, I made my second double batch of Hedgehog Cookies for the season because Charlie has eaten them all! Admittedly, the last batch was nearer to Thanksgiving, but we have most certainly run out. Charlie and his friend Christopher easily ate a 1/2 dozen after dinner, leaving 5 dozen for the snowman cookie jar.

And because I prefer traditional Chocolate Chip Cookies, I made a double double batch of Nestle's Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies. I also use these to give as presents more than any other variety of cookie. I came away with 11 dozen, so that should definitely do me. My little freezer in the garage is getting full!

I also made the dough for the Coconut Cream-Filled Macaroons. After getting those in the fridge until I can bake them tomorrow, I finally frosted the Sugar Cookies and got those all packed away in the freezer too. Whew! I'm exhausted again!