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We’ve experimented with a lot of recipes: this one from Martha Stewart is the best. You definitely do need to use the lemon extract, and it’s better with the bittersweet chocolate. We used a 1/4 cup measuring cup: if you do that the recipe yields 10 large cookies. The frosting recipe only just makes enough: we will double it next time.img_4054

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A Thanksgiving staple. I make this recipe with a gingersnap crust instead. I used the Trader Joey’s extra spicy gingersnap cookies with candied ginger pieces in them and that made it extra special.

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I made this for Thanksgiving this year: definitely would make it again. The recipe was from America’s Test Kitchen, here. 

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This wasn’t too complicated and was actually pretty fun to make. I made this for Christmas this year and will definitely make this recipe, from Fine Cooking, again. 

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Marzipan Stollen

For Christmas this year, I made my first stollen. I used this recipe, from the LA Timesbut I substituted rum for brandy. It was moist, light and cake-y, and just delicious.

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This year, our pecan tree yielded a lot of nuts. Apparently, trees only produce pecans every two years, which was just as well because last year I was pregnant and couldn’t really climb up on the car port to forage: this is where the majority of our nuts fall. But this year, I was back in action and for the past two months or so, every few days Walter and I went out to collect pecans. We ended up with 38 pounds of unshelled pecans, about 3 large brown paper grocery bags. After taking them to the mom and pop shelling operation I use (thanks Brooke’s Pecans), we had two brown paper bags of nuts that still had to be hand-processed a little and pried out of the cracked half shells. So for about 4 evenings, this is what David and I worked on: we both still have the repetitive stress injuries in our wrists and shoulders to prove it! Then it was on to roasting, the other fun part. Collecting is also fun, it’s the middle step that kind of makes you wonder why you are doing this). Two years ago, I tried out all kinds of recipes, but this year just made a ton of the real favorites:

* Cinnamon Chipotle Pecans

* Chocolate Pecans

Both recipes are from the Southern Living Christmas Cookbook (2011), pg. 97.

After roasting, it was on to the other fun part: packaging them as gifts and giving them away! We sent a bunch up north to family. Here are some pics of the whole adventure, ending with a trip to the post office with a lot of boxes and one very good and patient baby boy who made waiting in line much more fun. Happy holidays!

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When you live in Texas but live with someone from New York, you have to do things like this. This is a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen, so you know it’s good. And I know it’s probably sacrilege to say this, but these cookies were better than the ones I’ve had in NY. Fresher, moister, lemony and vanilla-y and totally great icing. Pure yum. And practically as big as your head. You can find the recipe I used here. 

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