This weekend was a bit of a cluster. Things started out pretty well – Meg and I finished our Christmas shopping on Saturday morning feeling like we had just won the shopping awards and I replaced a broken strand of Christmas lights that was making our house look lopsided. Our Saturday night took a quick downturn when Corey got bitten by a dog that he was trying to love on (he really loves animals) and we spent the wee hours of the night in the emergency room. Luckily he wasn’t hurt very badly, but we wanted to check to see if he needed stitches since the bite was on his face. Then on Sunday after yoga, I bumped another car with my car. A parked one. Stupid.
Well if the world wanted to take my Christmas spirit away then they have another thing coming because I decided to remedy the situation with cookies. Take that world! And not just any cookies. Our mom used to make them every holiday season, reading from the worn-out pages of our Betty Crocker cookbook. It’s just not Christmas without them.
Recipe for Russian Tea Cakes (from the Betty Crocker Cookbook)
– 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
– 1/2 cup powdered sugar
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
– 3/4 cup finely chopped nuts
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– additional powdered sugar
1) Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, and the vanilla in a large bowl. Stir in flour, nuts, and salt until dough holds together.
2) Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place about 1-inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
3) Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set but not brown. Remove from cookie sheet and cool slightly on wire rack, just long enough for them to harden a little. Then roll them in powdered sugar. A lot of it.
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I have a little Halloween tradition that is not spooky at all. Every year, I take the time to bake a fall treat. This year I decided to make a recipe that I recently found on pinterest called Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookie Bars. There are several unfortunate things about these bars. One is that they don’t photograph very well so my pictures aren’t very good. Either that or I just wasn’t on my styling game which I think is more likely the case. Also, mine had been in the fridge and were kind of hard while I was photographing them. The frosting is very whippy and creamy if you don’t put it in the fridge. The other unfortunate thing is that they are totally and completely addictive and very difficult to stop eating. I honestly feel like a junkie. My mom who also had one on Halloween keeps calling and asking if I still have any left. So if you are on a pre hoilday balance out the inevitable weight gain sort of diet, don’t make these. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Here is the recipe from A Kitchen Addiction. I made absolutely no changes because it was perfect as is.
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Yesterday I had a kind of crappy day. Nothing serious but the kind of day that just puts you in a bad mood all the same. So I decided that I would bake last night and I also decided that when I went to Williams Sonoma to buy vanilla beans for baking, I would treat myself with the pumpkin patch loaf pan that I have wanted for a few years now. Take that bad day. I do what I want and you can’t stop me. Obviously one needs to make pumpkin things in a pumpkin patch pan and so I found a pretty great pumpkin chai bread recipe that seemed necessary. And then I made it and ate my weight in batter and watched Hocus Pocus.
I used this recipe for the bread and I made no changes to it other than adding a teaspoon of vanilla. Because I believe every sweet thing needs vanilla.
For the glaze I used this recipe but substituted 1/3 of a vanilla bean for the vanilla and added 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, but I wish I would have added a touch less so you guys can benefit from my mistake here. It is still completely delicious.
from Betty Crocker
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons warm water or more. I always end up adding a little more.
Mix until creamy and smooth.
I could not be happier with how it turned out. It is very moist and warm and spicy and delicious and if you guys ever have a bad day, I suggest that you make it as well. Or whenever really.
Truth time…I wish the pumpkins on the top of my loaf looked a little more like pumpkins and less like lumps. :/ Right? Maybe I am asking too much from my bakeware.
Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!
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