Thursday, November 28, 2013

Mini Butter Tarts

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday.  In my family it consists of spending the whole day (and a few before it) cooking/baking in the kitchen with bickering family, followed by the traditional giant meal with friends and family, and then eating left overs for the rest of the week.  Pretty traditional.

But growing up, it was also the one day of the year that it was justified for me to make that 8 layer cake, with 4 kinds of chocolate, that takes 3 days to make, plus 4 other desserts, and I was guaranteed an audience to eat it!  Since I always wanted to try new recipes, and there were always a few traditional desserts that had to be made each year (parents requested a fruit aspic, sister wanted pecan pie etc), each year my desserts grew in quantity.  And each year they got more complicated... I would hand my mom a shopping list asking for a gallon of whipping cream, 4 pounds of chocolate, and a few boxes of butter among other things, and no one would bash an eyelash at me.  I don't see how a holiday can get better than that...

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Ginger-not-so-snap cookies

In the UK, since they don't celebrate thanksgiving, we are now well into the holiday cookie season, which I love!  I am always looking for an excuse to bake something (its much more fun than studying for upcoming exams....).  This past week I brought out my gingersnap recipe from my archives, and discovered they are way better than I remembered them.  The spices in them make them taste like the holidays!  One of the other great things about this recipe is that they age well.  Fresh out of the oven they are good (what cookie isn't?) but 24 hours later, they soften up, and the flavors seem to meld together, and then they are really good...

Here is some of the feedback I received:
               "Best cookies slash biscuits I’ve ever had,"
               "Even though they don't have chocolate in them, these are great," 
               "Can you please please please make some more," (I did, I made another batch a few days later).

Notes: *This recipe teaches that molasses in the US = black treacle in the UK!
This is a recipe for a soft, buttery gingersnap - so if you prefer the crunchy variety, steer clear! They can be a bit sensitive with their baking times - so it may take a tray or two to find the exact time to bake them for in your oven, but its worth it!  You want to take them out of the oven while they are still puffed up, then watch them collapse into a thin cookie while they cool on your wire rack.  If they collapse in the oven, cook them less.

The Fudgy (chai/mocha optional) brownie

In my house chocolate is basically always an appropriate choice. Whether you are celebrating, mourning, or having a stressful or happy d...