Archive for December, 2012

Looking back on 2012 {video}

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Hi everyone! I hope you had a great Christmas! Mine was excellent, and included a LOT of cookies.

This is the time of year when we begin to think about resolutions and goals, but also reflect back on the year we’ve had. I thought I would film a quick vlog and talk about a few of my favorite things, and thoughts about the past year.

I wrote this list in the form of questions, because I would love to hear what other bloggers have to say as well. I’ve tagged a few of my local blogger friends below, and if you have any kind of blog I would love to hear from you too!

Thanks for watching!

Items mentioned in this vlog:

Baby Lips lip balm by Maybelline, in Grape Vine and Quenched
Infallible lip gloss by L’Oreal in Glistening Berry and Undeniable Mauve
Infallible eye shadow by L’Oreal in Amber Rush and Iced Latte
Amazonian clay 12-hour blush by Tarte in Dollface

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

Anchor, Mindy Gledhill

For this questionnaire, I tag:
Ally from allycatinthekitchen.wordpress.com
Angela from angelastrand.com
Chelsea from bootsintheburrow.com
Katrina from thedemuremuse.com
Sara/Gaby from tworeaderswriting.com

I also tag any of you who have a blog! Feel free to customize the list and add/skip questions. If you do the tag, leave a comment below to let me know. I would love to see it!

Questions
#1: Favorite Makeup?
#2: Favorite Book?
#3: Favorite Song/Album?
#4: Favorite Movie?
#5: One thing you’re grateful for?
#6: Greatest challenge?
#7: What are you looking forward to in 2013?

Thanks so much for watching!

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Dipped Molasses Cookies

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

Hi everyone! Happy almost-weekend-before-Christmas!

I’m feeling particularly cozy today. The rain is coming down in torrents, which I actually enjoy in spite of the Hermione-hair it gives me. As I write this I’m sitting in my local Barnes & Noble, bundled in an enormous scarf and sipping hot chocolate. The only thing missing is one of these dipped molasses cookies.

I’m not eating any because this recipe only makes 2 dozen, so they’re safely set aside until Christmas Eve. Consider this a warning, because if you don’t double this recipe you may regret it! These are my favorite out of the Christmas cookies I’ve baked so far this year.

The molasses cookie recipe is just slightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen. I saw an adaptation online where the cookies were dipped in white chocolate. However, the memory of the cinnamon/vanilla almond bark used with the Gingerbread Biscotti I made recently was still fresh in my mind, and I decided to use it again with these cookies.

I’m so glad I did. I like that you can see the cinnamon specks in the almond bark, and the gentle flavor doesn’t compete with the perfected Test Kitchen recipe.

Another option is to drizzle the coating on top if you like a lighter approach. These were so delicious dipped though – I highly recommend doing it this way.

Happy baking this weekend! Good luck!

Dipped Molasses Cookies

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

Adapted from In Katrina’s Kitchen

Ingredients
2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp allspice
¼ tsp pepper
¼ tsp salt
12 tbsp butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup molasses

For the cinnamon dip:
12 oz vanilla-flavored candy coating (almond bark), chopped
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, spices, pepper and salt.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes). Add the egg yolk and vanilla, and beat until combined. Add the molasses and beat again until combined. With the mixer on low, add in the flour mixture until incorporated (about 30 seconds). Give it one more stir with a spatula to make sure all ingredients are incorporated.

Take 2 tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball. Repeat, placing dough balls about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-13 minutes or until cookies begin to set around the edges but are still doughy in the middle.

Cool for 10 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. (Reserve some parchment paper for later.)

Place almond bark in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute, then stir. Continue microwaving, stirring every 15 seconds until smooth. Stir in cinnamon.

Dip each cookie in the melted almond bark, covering halfway. Let the excess drip off, then place on leftover parchment paper to harden. (You will probably have some dip left over.) Let the almond bark set completely (around 30 minutes), and enjoy!

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Pecan Pie Bars

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

These Pecan Pie Bars originally come from a newspaper clipping my mom cut out years ago. The recipe was invented by Pearl Hall, a local to the Seattle area. Bob Barker chose her as the winner of the 1971 Pillsbury Bake-Off finals, and she won $25,000!

An updated version of the recipe is still up on Pillsbury’s website. I followed the recipe exactly, so I’ll send you straight to the source. You can find it here: http://www.pillsbury.com/recipes/pecan-pie-surprise-bars/41725c25-fe7a-46bf-8b36-4d909b5ec97a.

I know sometimes boxed cake mixes have a distinct flavor. However, when they’re properly used in a recipe, they enhance the dessert and lend it a gooey scrumptiousness. (Take Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies for example.)

I was making two desserts at once and forgot to take pictures of the process. The extra photos aren’t really needed though – this recipe is so simple and easy to make! I absolutely recommend you add it to your holiday menu.

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High Five for Friday

Friday, December 14th, 2012

Friday is here again! We’ve survived another week. Here are just a few moments from my life recently:

1. Peanut butter cup molten chocolate cake from Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery in Ballard. Enough said.

2. One of my favorite aspects of nannying is reading, especially books I used to read when I was little. Recently we’ve been reading from books in the Christmas category and I love it…

3. The past couple weeks have included a lot of board games. Besides Sorry I played Catan for the first time. It was confusing but now I’ve played once, I really want to try again…I can see why people like it so much.

4. I’m figuring Photoshop out bit by very small bit. Learning programs is always more fun in a cozy coffeeshop…

5. I couldn’t think of a fifth thing so I just took a pic of Woody. Don’t let his soft looks fool you…he’s pretty cranky on the inside. I was finishing up Covert Affairs the other night and was shocked when he came and cuddled next to me, until I realized he actually loved the blanket. He made this VERY clear when I tried to take it away…but his cuteness still trumps all bad behavior.

That’s all for this week! I’m linking up with Lauren over at From My Grey Desk Blog for this series – be sure and head over to check out some of the other posts. Have a wonderful weekend!

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Jessie's Kitchen Chronicles