Fun with Harper

To keep my niece entertained during the Super Bowl we baked some cookies. She picked the shapes and the colors. I think she did a great job of decorating them too. I let her bring home a cookie sheet full and of course she picked all the ones mommy and auntie decorated, but I don’t mind. I missed out on these younger years with my girls as we adopted them at 8, so any chance I get to have kid creations around my house, I count myself blessed.

As for the game…it’s a bummer that the Rams didn’t win.

Yesterday I did a Thing

I finally did it! I bought myself a Kitchenaid mixer! Of course, I had to use it. I had so much fun icing those Christmas cookies a few weeks back that I decided to try my hand at some more.

It worked great, it was everything that I imagined it would be. Now, I need to do a lot more baking. I have decided that I am going to make Birthday Cookies for all my family members. It just so happens that today is my youngest sister’s birthday!

Happy 27th Birthday Kirsten! I hope you love your cookies and I hope that they make it to Michigan in one piece. Sorry they will be a few days late, but I hope they are a great surprise.

Glorified Grahams

Otherwise known as Christmas Crack by my family….

This is the easiest cookie that we make in our Family Christmas Cookie Marathon Baking day.  It’s always been one of my favorites, and because it’s so easy, it might become one of your favorites too.  It is buttery, sweet and the nuts top it off with saltiness.  It hits all my taste buttons!

Glorified Grahams

Graham Crackers

1 C butter

1 C brown sugar

1 C chopped pecans

Line your cookie sheet (must have sides) with graham crackers.

In a small sauce pan heat butter and brown sugar and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Pour mixture over crackers, then sprinkle nuts evenly over crackers. 

Bake in a preheated oven (350 degrees) for 10 minutes. Cool slightly and cut into oblong bars. Store in an air-tight container.

The Best Tasting Holiday Tradition: Cookies!

On Sunday I spent 9 hours creating hundreds of cookies to be gobbled up by family and friends.  Every year my sister and I get together for a whole day of baking.  On various years we have different helpers.  This year we were joined by my Auntie Barb and my niece Harper.  Of course Harper is only really interested in eating the sweet treats and decorating with sprinkles.

This is the first year that we have had Aunt Barb with us and she is so much fun.  She only has boys, and now that my mom lives in Michigan, it’s great to spend time with her.  It’s fun to gossip about my parents as teenagers and my grandparents too.  She’s always full of good advice and I love to hear all her fun stories.

We start out by putting all the things that we will need on my sister’s card table.  On a side note, do people use these for playing cards anymore?  It helps to have all our ingredients in one spot, we just have to make sure that we put it back so that we can find it for the next recipe.  This is apparently a difficult task for us at times, but at least we try to get ourselves organized.

My sister and I work really well as a team.  Her kitchen is small but we make it work  with these stack-able cooling racks.  Peanut Butter Blossoms take a long time to cool and you don’t want to smoosh the kisses.  There’s got to be a joke in there somewhere.  New to the cookie line up we added Sandbakkels this year in honor of my grandmother LaVonne, Auntie Barb’s mom, who passed away this year.  They are buttery goodness, but take up lots of space when cooling.  Thank goodness for stack-able racks!

(Cookie Lineup : Almond Bark covered Pretzels with sprinkles, Peanut Butter Blossoms, Spritz, Sandbakkels, Haystacks, Melting Moments, Glorified Grahams, and Pumpkin Cake-balls at the top.)

The marathon day of baking is the fun part for me, and the copious amounts of delicious treats aren’t bad either.  I can’t wait for next year!

Christmas Tradition: Gingerbread Houses

This year we added to the Christmas Gingerbread tradition by baking our own Gingerbread.  This was half out of necessity and half out of adventure.  There were no Gingerbread house kits to be found in the small Northern Minnesota town that I was visiting over the weekend.

I think we will be adding the baking process to this tradition.  It was fun to create our little village, and the gingerbread smells it created were so warm and cozy.  It set the perfect mood, along with the snow covered ground and apple cider simmering on the stove.

Here is the The Gingerbread Recipe that we used.  I would recommend it for building, but not for cookies as there wasn’t enough Ginger flavor for my taste, but you may like it.


Dough

2 Sticks Softened Butter

1 cup Brown Sugar

2 cups Molasses

4 Eggs

8 cups of all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

5 tbsp ground cloves

5 tbsp ground cinnamon

5 tbsp ground ginger

Directions

In a bowl combine brown sugar and butter and mix until smooth, add molasses and eggs; set aside.

In a large bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger.

Into the large bowl add the wet ingredients, folding in by hand.  Once combined place on a floured surface and roll out to 1/4″ thick, and cut out pieces.  There are many templates online or you could create your own.

Preheat oven to 350.  Place Gingerbread pieces on parchment paper covered cookie sheet and bake for 12 minutes.  Cool completely before assembling house.

Icing

2 lbs powdered sugar

1 tsp cream of tarter

3 egg whites

1/4 cup water

Combine powered sugar and cream of tarter in a bowl.  Add eggs and whip adding water until you get the consistency you like.  I like mine to make stiff peaks.