And so, as the clock dings, I guarantee it: we will all be invited to at least five and attend at least one great big Christmas Cookie Exchange this year.
I’ve already got one pencilled in on my calendar, and I’m going through all of my recipes to think of a proper sweet treat to bring. Clearly, “low in fat” or “gluten free” is not necessarily in my vocabulary, but there are a few things I want to tick off my must-have list:
low in allergens
not too obscure in flavor
requires no refrigeration
If the 1960s housewife in me knows anything (her name is Viv, and she drinks a lot, and wears a lot of leopard print), it’s that bar cookies are the way to go. Enter: the Snickerdoodle Blondie.
I picked up the recipe from the Brown Eyed Baker. I didn’t plan on altering the recipe that much, but it turns out I forgot the vanilla when making the batter. That being said, they were delish without the vanilla!
2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350*. Grease (or use parchment) in a 9×13″ pan. I used an 8×8″ to make thicker blondies, which I wouldn’t really recommend, actually. The sides puffed up and cooked faster than the middle, which led to a bit of a center crater. Whoops. (Don’t worry, they weren’t burnt– the center just fell in. Perfectly tasty.)
Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In the bowl of your stand mixer (or in a bowl with your hand mixer) blend your butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Then, add the eggs. On a low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients. Once blended, scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure that everything is blended in.
Spread into your greased pan, then sprinkle a mixture of cinnamon and sugar on top. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted 2″ from the sides comes out mostly clean.
What I’m planning on doing is putting pieces of the blondie themed muffin liners, and then wrapping them in cellophane. Or do you have a better idea for wrapping treats for a Christmas Cookie exchange?
When I was a kid, I never ate breakfast. Pretty much ever, unless I was famished, and then I would snag a packet of Pop Tarts on the fly and eat them in the car on the way to school. (For anyone wondering: I did really well in school. And never starved to death, obvs.)
In college and after, breakfast was always coffee. When it was purchased from Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks, I often got a pastry to eat alongside– of course.
It wasn’t until recently– until David and I were both working from home– that I started eating savory, egg breakfasts. Filling and healthy, I’ll be honest: I miss my baked good breakfasts and sweet treats in the morning.
So, I pulled up a recipe for a muffin base, and began tinkering, ending up with these delish Pomegranate + White Chocolate muffins!
2 cups AP flour
1 tablespoon baking powder (I can’t tell you how much I love Clabber Girl!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup milk
1/4 cup veggie oil
6 ounces white chocolate chips
1 cup pomegranate seeds
Preheat oven to 400*
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar until well combined.
In a smaller bowl (or, hell, even the measuring cup itself) mix together the milk, oil and egg.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir gently until just combined.
Add the mix ins (coat with a tablespoon of flour if your paranoid about them sinking to the bottom of your batter) and stir the batter once again until well combined. Let sit for a few minutes, to let the baking powder react with the acids in the milk & seeds so your muffins will get nice and puffy.
Scoop into muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden on the top. Check with a toothpick to make sure they’re done!
The muffins come out light and fluffy, and absolutely the right amount of sweet. The pomegranate seeds don’t burst when cooking, so you’ll still have little crunchy bits to bite into when eating. SO yummy!
I keep a mental repertoire of desserts that are both super easy to make and totally appropriate to bring to other people’s dinner parties and social functions. To be honest, as much as I love a cupcake, this is what I want to bring to holiday parties this year!
If you want to make your own chocolate mousse, it’s really easy! I nicked a recipe from Bon Appetit.
Sigh.This is the worst time of year to live in Los Angeles.
September and October are usually some of the hottest months out of the year, and it’s just when the rest of you guys start celebrating cooler temperatures and baking. I guess we get to revel in 70* temps in June while everyone else is dying of heat exposure, but … boo. I want it to be cold!
Because I can’t turn on the oven to make pie, I decided to make a Pumpkin Spice Pudding.
1 can pumpkin puree
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup coconot oil
2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp honey or liquid sweetener
Powdered sugar + more spice for garnish
Clearly, you can buy all of your ingredients at Trader Joe’s. Ahem.
Dump your ingredients into a bowl. (Can also be done in a stand mixer, blender, or food processor.)
Whisk, whip or churn until smooth and combined. I whisked mine by hand and it took me about 5-10 minutes.
Dish into individual dishes OR leave in your bowl and refrigerate until set.
Garnish with powdered sugar and more pumpkin pie spice. Makes about 4 servings.
Despite the fact that I’ve been funemployed for about two months now, you can tell that I haven’t been baking or cooking as much as I’d hoped. Boyfriend and I spend an awful lot of time working (he on his music, me on various social media projects and a new book I’m plowing through) and– quite frankly– most of the time it’s just easier to have food delivered than to make it ourselves.
See these? These are my lazy pants.
But I have found approximately 15 minutes to make a dessert. One that’s a classic but new-to-me. The No-Bake Icebox Cake.
Here’s what you need:
1 box wafer cookies (I used chocolate, but the bakery down the road from us also uses gingersnaps!)
1 pt heavy whipping cream
Powdered sugar to taste
Vanilla to taste
Because I was feeling BALLER, I decided to whip my cream by hand. I emptied my heavy whipping cream into a metal bowl (that I’d chilled for 15 minutes or so in the freezer) and added about 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar and a tablespoon of vanilla. It took about 10 minutes of whipping to get the proper consistency.
That’s… about all of the heavy lifting for this dessert. It takes even less time if you want to break out the KitchenAid. Next, layer your wafers in a casserole with the whipping cream. Like so:
Keep layering, obviously, until you run out of filling and/or room. Let this sit in your fridge four at least four hours and then you have this glorious masterpiece of yum:
In large bowl, cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Gradually beat into butter mixture. Stir in oats and raisins. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown. Cool slightly, remove from sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.
If you’re a fan of Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies, you must make these cookies. David used to eat the Little Debbie cakes as a kid– his Grandma would give them to him, and to watch him eat one is to watch a kid on Christmas morning. These cookies taste exactly like the Little Debbie cakes, but without the preservatives and scary, unpronounceable chemicals. To be honest, I might make some home made whipped cream, and make some oatmeal pies tomorrow!