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Archive for the ‘cookies’ Category

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Day Two of the 12 Days of Cookies and we’re getting a little sassy. This time we’re taking that basic butter dough, adding some cocoa and turning it into the most delicious chocolate cookie. But not just any chocolate cookie; this one has a twist. This one is a Mexican Chocolate Crinkle cookie.

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All right my friends. Here we go. Day 1 of the 12 Days of Cookies. Happy December! If you recall from the previous post, we’re going to spend the next month taking one really good basic butter dough and turning it into twelve wonderful, completely different cookies. Today I’m kicking off this cookie extravaganza with a classic: Jam Thumbprints. Couldn’t be easier.

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We’re right in that sweet spot, still a little drowsy and cozy from the post-Thanksgiving blow outs and almost but not quite into the chaos of Christmas. Don’t get too comfortable; it will only last another day or so. December 1st hits and we’re off to the races. It’s non-stop chaos from that point on; an endless stream of shopping, wrapping, baking, Christmas concerts and holiday parties for the next 24 days. Somehow we work it all in, squeezing in those late night baking sessions between all the other commitments. It’s a mad, mad dash. I am no different. This is the busiest time for me, and every year I wedge my cookie baking in the odd hours between everything else. My cookies are a lot of damn work but over the years I’ve come up with some tricks to make it just a bit easier. Several years back, I posted a Holiday Cookie Primer with some tips that I’m going to revisit here to make the season a little more peaceful.

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It’s that happy time of the year where, if you’re lucky, leftover Halloween candy rains down upon your head. I don’t get many trick-or-treaters to my city apartment; in fact I get zero; so I don’t really have to deal with the conundrum of figuring out exactly how much candy to buy every year. So many unknown factors build up to one big question: how many kids? Weather factors in, certainly, and that can be very unpredictable in some parts. Neighborhoods also age – what might have been an endless stream of kids one year, can turn into a trickle as those kids grow up and become too cool to knock on doors for candy. The struggle is real, my friends because god forbid you run out of candy.

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This one, oh lordy, this one took me some time to figure out. Growing up, our neighbor across the street would bring a platter of treats over every Christmas. Lemon tarts, apricots date bars and pecan turtles. It was the same every year, simple and in vast contrast to our reciprocal platter that was decorated to the hilt with sprinkles, jimmies, colored sugars, icings and an ungodly amount of little silver balls that probably gave us all mercury poisoning. As kids, our decorating styles leaned heavily into gaudy. Festive but certainly gaudy.

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It popped up in my news feed one day not long ago, courtesy of Saveur magazine. Titled “Turtleback Cookies: Alabama’s Almost Lost Recipe”, I was immediately intrigued. I’d never heard of a turtleback cookie and the addition of “almost lost recipe” set the stage. There it was. I was drawn in, like a moth to a flame. I needed to learn more. That my friends, is what they call a successful lede.

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1tower.lrg.IMG_6535Last Friday was World Nutella Day and according to the internet, nearly every day of the year has something delicious attached to it, sometimes more than one per day, week and month. I’ve always been intrigued by these “food holidays” and wondered how they come to be. How does February become “National Cherry Month” when cherries really aren’t in season until June or July? Or who decides that February 7 is National Fettuccine Alfredo Day? And why? A little research revealed that one can petition various government institutions – local, state and federal – for special days. Individuals, trade associations or PR firms can file a petition to honor all sorts of things – industries, professions, even hobbies. There may even be duplicates, which is why there are two National Guacamole Days during the year, authorized at different levels of government. Which is good because as we all know, one Guacamole Day certainly isn’t enough. I really hope these petitions stay at the local level, as I hate to think of the POTUS taking time out from his/her day running the country to commemorate special events for guacamole, alfredo or cherries. I shudder at the thought.

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