Thursday, October 28, 2010

Knitting more Falling Leaves

More beautiful fall weather continues here and in keeping with the fall leaves, here is another knitted project with fall leaves.  I found this pattern over at Purl Bee and decided that it would make a nice matching scarf for the foliage hat I talked about in the previous post.  The scarf took three balls (just over 600m) of  worsted weight yarn and took quite a few hours of knitting.  The pattern is quite wide, so I might have been able to save some yarn and some time by decreasing the width a little.  This scarf is on it's way to it's new home now in the US.  I would like to try this again with some more interesting yarn.  I. had not yet blocked the scarf before taking the picture and quite honestly I've never blocked a knitted item before.  I certainly have no recollection of my grandmother ever doing that.....but it think it really helps with the appearance .....so I guess I should figure that procedure out:)  How hard could it be??

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Back with a bit of Knitting

I'm back after a dropping off the grid for a breather.  The combination of a nasty cold, a sick kid, a new job, and too many commitments took a bit of a bite out of me.  I am now starting to dig out (if only a bit) from the mountain of things to do.  Aside from the obvious tasks for this time of year like getting Ike's Halloween costume ready, I've also been finishing up some knitting projects for some swaps I had signed up for before everything got too crazy here.  I decided to try a knitted hat swap, and after some searching, I ended up choosing to make a cute lace leaf pattern from Knitty.  I had my neighbour model it for the photo below.  There was one stitch I think might have done wrong.....so I'd like to try this one one more time.  I did really like the pattern and found it pretty easy to follow, and a pretty quick knit.  Much quicker than the next project I chose to make.....more about that later.  This leaf hat project took exactly 1/2 ball of Patons classic wool and was a very quick project that is perfect for a gift.  My neighbour has already hinted that she might like one for Christmas.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Month of Cookies-Toasted Almond Cookies-13

Here is another slice cookie to try if you like almonds. They have a very strong almond flavour due to the toasting of the nuts.  I really liked these and will have to make them again.  For me this recipe was another winner!  The cookie itself a bit chewy....not at all like a shortbread type cookie.
Toasted Almond Cookies
2 1/2 cups slivered almonds, toasted
1 1/4 cup flour
1 cup cake flour
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 2/3 cup icing sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 large egg, at room temperature

Toast almonds and set aside to cool.  Mix almonds with the two flours in a small bowl and set aside. Cream the butter and icing sugar and salt together until light and fluffy.  Add egg and stir to combine.  Add flour mixture gently with spoon...do not over mix.  Line a loaf pan with a long length of plastic wrap and press dough firmly into the pan.  Press top level and flat and bring sides of plastic wrap over to cover dough into a firm block.  Refrigerate dough for 3 hour.  Remove dough from pan and cut down the middle into two long lengths so you end up with 2 square lengths.  Cut each length into 1/4 inch thick 'square' cookies and set on a parchment lined sheet to bake.  bake at 400F for about 7 minutes or just until edges begin to turn golden.  Leave on baking sheet until cool enough to handle, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Month of Cookies- Potato Chip Cookies-12

Here is a recipe that I have not made in many years....since before I met my DH as he had never heard of them.  They are pictured above on the left along side the last roll of Mexican Chocolate slice cookies.  I actually had to call my mom to get the recipe.....it's from an old Church cookbook and I knew that mom would be able to find her copy quicker than I could find mine.  Moms are dependable that way.  It was right where I remembered it to be in the cookie section and was pretty straight forward.  I have omitted the nuts so there won't be any problems sending them into school tomorrow.  This is a good recipe to have on hand that uses up egg yolks.  These cookies are a little different with some salt and some sweet notes and are generally well liked by kids and adults.....very few of either have been able to guess the secret ingredient.

Potato Chip Cookies
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup crushed potato chips (I have always used plain ripple)
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add in egg yolk and vanilla and mix.  Stir in flour and crushed chips and nuts.  Shape into 1 1/2 inch balls and press with fork to flatten slightly.  Bake at 350F for 10 minutes.  After a few minutes remove to cooling racks.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Month of Cookies- Mexican Chocolate Icebox Cookies-11

It has been quite a while since I last made these cookies.  I did leave myself a note that these cookies were pretty good and I decided that today, I would try to confirm this assessment. (and I did)  I really do like the convenience of icebox cookies and also their sharply defined features. Their more controlled shape brings a bit more formality to their presentation.  They make a great addition to the holiday baking assortment both from their appearance and their bold colour and flavour. They are richly chocolate with an added punch from the pepper in the recipe.  If  that sounds like something you might like to try here is the recipe...

Mexican Chocolate Icebox Cookies
(adapted from the Maida Heatter Recipe)
1 3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 /4 tsp salt
pinch of black pepper
pinch of cayene pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
Cream the sugar with the butter until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, and vanilla. Sift the cocoa, flour, salt, cinnamon and peppers together and add to the creamed mixture.  Divide dough into two halves.  Shape each half into a long cylinder about 2 inches in diameter and wrap in waxed paper.  Set rolls in the fridge to firm up for an hour.  Dough can also be frozen at this time if wrapped very well with plastic wrap.  When ready to bake remove frozen rolls and allow to thaw enough to easily slice. Slice into 1/4 thick slices and place on a baking sheet.  Bake about 9-10 minutes at 350F.  Let cool a few moments on sheet before moving to a wire rack to continue cooling.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Month of Cookies-Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies-10

OK I'm taking a cookie baking break today as I have already posted the recipe for this one before.....but I did want to include this one as it is a 'definite October bake' in my house!  So go on over here and check out the recipe as I can guarantee you will love it.  Today will be busy enough as I will be making a turkey dinner because it's Thanksgiving Day here in Canada.  Life here has been so extremely busy here with school and a new job starting up at the same time......I am enjoying the long weekend and the chance to slow down.  Thanksgiving is the perfect time to take pause and reflect on the important and positive things that we tend to overlook in the hasty scramble of everyday life.  So let's reflect and see if I can find 10 things to be thankful for...................
I am very thankful for,
  • a healthy and adorable family
  • friends who I consider family
  • really wonderful memories of those who are no longer here
  • people to turn to if I was really in trouble
  • a safe place to live with unlimited opportunities if choose to take them
  • a job that  fits around my life and takes me to interesting places and people
  • while I am probably not perfect....I really LIKE me
  • that I have all the things I need and probably too much of what I want as well
  • for all the multicultural exposure and interest in the world that comes from being Canadian
  • all that I've been able to experience to date....so much to see and do....so little time
Happy Thanksgiving Canada!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Month of Cookies-Chocolate Ginger Sparkles-9

Here's a cookie that has been on my to do list for quite some time.  In the cooler months I suddenly remember to make certain cookies that I don't make during the summer or spring.   I guess it must be the signs of fall, like leaves tumbling across the grass that make me think of pumpkins and spice and all things fall.  I believe this recipe was in a cookie collection magazine....either Fine Cooking or Martha....I cannot remember which now.....it has been written out with a note to try it and for the life of me I cannot find the magazine......it's around here somewhere.  Maybe I should clean up:)  In any event, it takes a good reliable recipe for Ginger sparkles and adds chocolate to the mix.  In my books...that's all good!  It's moist, chewy and has a bit of ginger bite and the sweetness of chocolate.

Chocolate Ginger Sparkles
1/2 cup butter softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup white sugar, extra

Cream butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy.  Beat in fresh ginger, & molasses.  Add dry spices and baking soda and cocoa powder and mix in.  Stir in flour and finally chocolate chips.  Chill dough in fridge at least 30 minutes.  Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and roll in extra sugar.  Place on nonstick cookie sheet 2 inches apart.  Bake at 325 F for 10 minutes until surface of the cookies appear cracked.  Cool slightly on sheet before removing to cooling racks.

Friday, October 8, 2010

A Month of Cookies-Chewy Maple Cookies-8

With another PAC meeting at the school coming up, I had my eye open to find another recipe to try that would promise nut free deliciousness.  Even better that this recipe proved to be quite simple.....and even better that it combined two flavours I love....coconut and maple.  With no idea about how this one would turn out I gave it a go.  The end result was as you might expect....a moist and chewy cookie due to the coconut with a hint of maple....I really think the maple extract helps to boost the maple flavour.  Another one to make again sometime.
Chewy Maple Cookies
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp maple extract
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tsp baking powder
1 3/4 cup flour
1 cup shredded coconut
Cream together the sugar and butter until fluffy.  Add in egg, vanilla, syrup, and baking powder and mix in.  Stir in flour and finally the coconut.  Chill dough in the fridge for 1 hour before dropping by rounded tsp onto a non stick baking sheet.  Bake at 375F for 8 minutes.  Cool on sheet a few minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Month of Cookies-Lemon Dimples- 7

With a name like Lemon Dimples....how could you not try these.  I really love lemon curd and it just so happened that I had a jar sitting in my pantry just waiting to be used up.  So when I chanced upon this recipe over at the Woman's Day site, I decided that I had to try it.  The cookie dough, as promised, was extremely quick to mix up, with the only time consuming part being the 1 hour chilling time.  No worries there.  I did not have any lemons laying around though so I did make a little substitution from the original recipe which called for lemon zest.  For how quickly these baked up....I will have to make them again........because I loved them.  I loved their lemony deliciousness, and I love that their flavour is a little unusual as far as normal cookie recipes go.  If you'd like to try them, this is what I did....and don't skimp on the filling.....make the dent for the filling nice and large and fill it up.  I found that the cookies did not spread too much for me during baking, and no filling spilled out.  If you love lemon.....you might just love these too!
Lemon Dimples 
(Adapted from Woman's Day Recipe)
3/4 cup softened butter
1/2 cup icing sugar (confectioners sugar)
1/4 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon extract
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp orange juice
2 cups flour
1 cup lemon curd for filling
Cream the butter and both sugars together until light and fluffy.  Add egg, juices, lemon extract, and stir in.  Mix in baking powder and flour and set aside to chill in the fridge for 1 hour.  Roll 1 tbsp of dough into a ball and press center to make a dent to hold the filling.  Place balls on parchment lines sheets, 2 inches apart.  Pipe in about 1 tsp of lemon curd to fill each dent.  (Use a sandwich bag with the corner cut off for piping) Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until the edges begin to colour.  Cool on the baking sheet before removing.  Sprinkle with extra icing sugar to decorate.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Month of Cookies- Mincemeat Cookies-6

Another great soft cookie that really surprised me.  With the large amount of mincemeat that I canned up this year......I began thinking about ways in which to use it up other that tarts.  This recipe came to mind and I am happy to say I gave it a try.  Soft cakey cookies have never been my favourites.....but as my list of soft cookies that I like increases........I may have to change my way of thinking:) This cookie is moist and cakey and has a nice depth of spice flavouring.  These cookies get two thumbs up from Ike too, who has eaten more than enough to form an opinion.  Give this one a try if you  have some mincemeat to use up.

Mincemeat Cookies

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup butter
1 egg
2 cups mincemeat
3 1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Cream butter and sugar.  Add egg and mincemeat and stir to combine.  Sift dry together and stir in to dough.  Drop by teaspoonful on cookie sheet and bake about 10 minutes, until the cookies begin to show golden around the edges.  Fresh from the oven they have a bit of a crisp exterior, but this will soften as they sit together in the cookie jar.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Month of Cookies- Zucchini Cookies 5

I'm still at it here, keeping my fingers crossed that I can sustain the pace.  Here we are with cookie number 5 which is a zucchini spice cookie.  Now this recipe comes from a very nice friend who had an over abundance of zucchini.  Zucchini seems to be one of those things that people are always looking for recipes to use them up.  Well, it turns out that this recipe makes a very nice soft  and mildly spiced cookie with optional nuts which can be left out if nut allergies are an issue for you.
Zucchini cookies
1 cup margarine or butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
4 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts ( optional )
Cream, butter and sugar.  Mix in eggs.  Mix flour, soda, cinnamon and salt together and stir in to batter.  Stir in chocolate chips and nuts if desired.  Drop onto greased cookie sheet by teaspoonful, and bake 350 degrees for 15 min or until cookies are firmed up in the center and beginning to brown on the edges.

makes 5 dozen cookies

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Month of Cookies-Cherry Chip Ribbon Cookies-4

Another slice and bake......I just cannot say enough about the ease and convenience of icebox cookies.  This one has the extra step of layering the dough to give the cookie some pretty stripes.  A tiny bit more effort for a little more cookie bling.  This is a nice tasty cookie, and I love the way it looks too.  It's nice to have a log of these in the freezer in preparation for unexpected company!  Let them thaw until you can slice them.....and you are ready to go.  For Christmas you could even throw in some green cherries for a more festive look.

Cherry Chip Ribbon Cookies
1 cup softened butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
100g bitter sweet chocolate or semi sweet (1/2 cup chips) or 3 oz, to be melted
1/2 cup maraschino cherries, drained, blotted to remove excess juice and chopped
1/4 cup chocolate chips extra

Cream the butter and sugar, add egg, milk, vanilla and a pinch of salt.  Mix until incorporated.  Beat in baking powder, then mix in flour until dough is well blended.  Divide dough in half and place in two separate bowls.  Add the melted chocolate to one bowl and mix in evenly.  Add the cherries and chocolate chips to the other bowl and mix until well distributed.  You may want to add another tablespoon of flour to the cherry dough if it becomes too wet from any cherry juice.
Line a 3X8 loaf pan with plastic wrap.  Take 1/2 of the chocolate dough and pat it down into an even layer in the bottom of the pan. Take 1/2 of the cherry dough and pat it down on top of the chocolate layer making it as even as possible.  Repeat with the remaining chocolate dough and then with the last of the cherry dough. Place loaf pan in fridge to firm up the dough, for a few hours or over night.
Preheat oven to 375F.  Once the dough is cool enough to slice, remove it from the pan and remove the wrapping.  Slice a 1/4 inch slice of the end of the load and cut that slice into 3 equal pieces.  Repeat with remaining dough. Place on nonstick cookie sheet or parchment lined baking sheet  with 1 1/2 inches between each cookie and bake 8-10 minutes or until the edges of the cookies begin to colour.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Month of Cookies - Buckwheat Cocoa Nib Butter Cookies-3

Here's another slice and bake or Icebox cookie recipe that I was tempted to try.  I read quite a few bloggers that had given it great reviews, so I decided to give it a try as well.  The recipe if from Alice Medrich's Pure Dessert cook book and is for Buckwheat butter cookies with cocoa nibs.  Now I could only find cocoa nibs here in the health food store and I could only find raw ones....so I roasted them myself at home in a 250F oven for 20 minutes.  It seems that raw cocoa nibs have a longer shelf life anyway.......so maybe this will work out better for me anyway.  If you'd like to try it as well.....here is the recipe. With  a little more effort you can roll and cut these cookies into pretty shapes.  I am very much enjoying the look of them though......and the convenience factor of the whole refrigerator cookie thing is very high......so I've elected to roll mine into logs to cool and slice......to each his own!
Buckwheat Cocoa Nib Butter Cookies
adapted from Alice Medrich's Pure Dessert
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup roasted cocoa nibs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
In a bowl mix the flours.  In a stand mixer or mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar and salt until creamy. Now add the nibs and vanilla and beat to incorporate.  Add the flours mixing until incorparated.  You will know it is done when the dough pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl, is moistened and slightly darkened.  Form into a 2 1/2 inch diameter log, wrap in waxed paper and let set in the fridge to firm up for several hours or overnight.  Preheat oven to 350F. Slice dough into 1/4 inch thick slices and place on parchment lined cookie sheets with  1 1/2 inches between cookies.  Bake until the edges just begin to colour, about 12-14 minutes, rotating cookie sheets halfway through if necessary.  Transfer to wire racks to cool.  Cool before storing in tightlt sealed container.  Cookies are best the second day. On the day of baking some say that the buckwheat flavour is too pronounced.  These are a nice butter cookie that are a bit different, and have a distinct nutty cocoa flavour.  These are very nice with tea or coffee.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Month of Cookies - Raspberry & White Chocolate Cookies-2

Here is a cookie that my neighbour shared with me for Christmas baking over the last two years.  I quite liked this one and it kept well too.  It is sweet and chewy.... kind of like a sugar cookie except that it is a drop cookie and the addition of raspberry jam could only be a good thing right?  You should totally try this one!

Raspberry & White Chocolate Cookies

8 oz white chocolate, chopped or chips ( melted and set aside)
1/2 cup soft butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 3/4 cup flour

Raspberry Topping
1/2 cup raspberry jam
3 oz white chocolate, to melt
1/2 tsp shortening (to thin the chocolate)

Preheat oven to 375F.  Melt the 8 oz of the white chocolate over a bowl of hot water or in the microwave and set aside to cool.  In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar.  Then add the baking soda, and salt and mix until incorporated.  Beat in the eggs and melted chocolate.  Beat in flour with mixer or by hand...dough will be stiff.  Drop by rounded teaspoonful onto nonstick cookie sheets and flatten slightly.  I used my cookie scoop to make them uniform in size.  Bake 7-10 minutes until edges just begin to brown. Remove from oven and cool 2 minutes on cookie sheets, then move to wire racks to finish cooling.  Melt jam , and spoon a small amount (1/2tsp) on top of each cookie.  Melt the 3 oz of remaining white chocolate and 1/2 tsp shortening and stir until smooth.  Transfer welted chocolate to a sandwich bag and cut a corner off to use like a piping bag.  Drizzle melted chocolate in a lacy pattern over the tops of the cookies. Serve once the chocolate is set.

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Month of Cookies - Dutch Icebox Cookies-1


This will be an abmitious effort me.......One cookie recipe each day for a month.  I'm pretty sure I don't have 30 cookie recipes that I routinely make so this will be an opportunity to try some new ones and maybe find a few new favourites.  Let's just see how far I get.  To start out with, I decided to try something new.  This recipe has been sitting in my binder for several years now and was at one time taken from the internet, but at this point I'm not sure where from.  Doesn't the name 'Icebox' cookie sound old fashioned....in a gramma's kitchen, vintagey cool way???  I promised Ike some new cookies the other day and these are them!  The recipe was very easy, quick, and I like the fact that you can be all Martha and have this dough waiting in the fridge or freezer waiting and ready to go.  Don't I feel all prepared now!  I also like how uniform each cookie looks.  Perfectly presentable and perfect for gifting.......I have it on good authority that consumables and food items make a suitable teachers gift.  After this batch, I am eager to try another 'Icebox' cookie recipe.  These are mildly spicy and you can bake them a little longer to have them crisp all the way through or bake them just until browning at the edges to have a soft center.

Dutch Spice Icebox Cookies
1 cup butter
2 cups white sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 cups flour
1/4 chopped nuts, optional

Method
Cream the butter and sugar until creamy, then add sour cream and mix until incorporated.  Mix in spices and finally mix in all flour.  Add nuts if desired. Divided dough in half and form each half into a log about 3 inches  in diameter and about a foot long.  Place on waxed paper and roll up in the waxed paper sealing the ends and place in refrigerator long enough for the dough to firm up....or overnight.  When ready to bake...preheat oven to 375F....slice dough into 1/4 inch thick rounds and bake 7-10 minutes watching and removing the cookies when they begin to brown at the edges.  For a more crisp cookie.....slice a bit thinner and bake until browned a bit more.  Remove cookies to a wire rack to cool.  Rolls of dough can be frozen until needed.....and then you'll look just like Martha, won't you?