Saturday, November 29, 2014

Christmas Cookie Series #3: Thumbprint cookies

I am back in the kitchen baking up my favorite Christmas time cookies. 
I took the week...okay, 2 weeks off but I am getting my act together and whipping a few batches to get us caught up. 
Has anyone ever had the Ghiradelli chocolate filled thumbprint cookies? They are delicious and I cannot find the boxed mix ANYWHERE! It is super depressing.
I figured, if I can't find the mix anywhere, I'll just have to try to whip up my own batch.
So, today I am sharing these little chocolate filled thumbprint cookies. They are so easy to make and will make a great addition to your Christmas cookie platters.

makes approx. 2 dozen
original recipe here

2 sticks salted butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
teeny tiny, pinch of salt
2 1/2 cups flour

chocolate filling
1/2 bag of good quality, milk chocolate chips
4 tbs unsalted butter
*1 tsp light corn syrup

Preheat oven to 350
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together softened butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt. Mix for 2 minutes on medium/high speed. Slowly add in flour and mix on medium speed until well combined.

Take a tablespoon size of dough and roll into a ball. Place dough balls 1 inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and press *thumb* into the center of the dough to make an indentation. Place the cookies back in the oven for another 6-8 minutes, until the edges are light brown. Remove from the oven and place cookies on cooling rack.
 Once your cookies have cooled, make your chocolate filling. Place chocolate chips, butter, and corn syrup in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring each time, until your chocolate is melted and smooth. Carefully fill your cookies with the melted chocolate.
 *I use the back of a teaspoon to make my "thumb" print. I don't know about you, but sticking my finger into a hot cookie and burning the crap out of it just doesn't sound enjoyable. But if you're into that kind of thing, then by all means, go ahead and stick your finger into the lava cookie
* I made my chocolate filling sans corn syrup because I didn't want to buy a giant bottle to only use a tsp of it. So I opted out of it just added extra butter to my chocolate to help smooth it out and keep it runny. I probably used an extra tbs of butter. I think next time I will actually buy the corn syrup. The butter just made the chocolate a tad too...buttery and rich.

I hope you guys enjoy these
 and if you've missed my past posts you can check them out here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Surprise Visit

Ready for this legit excuse for last weeks blog neglect? 
My mom AND sister surprised me last Tuesday!
 It was the greatest surprise ever!
 Here's how it went down: My husband said he had to go pick up a merch order for work from some supplier. I was a little hesitant about him going to this area by himself because it's known to not be super safe. He insisted he'd be fine and had me stay home and get Evan ready for bed. At about 8:00pm he walked through to door and acted normal. Then about 30 seconds later there was knock on our door. That is totally out of the norm because no one comes to our door. 
Evan ran to the door to open it and my mom slowly peeked her head in.
 I was so shocked. 
I don't know exactly what my face or reaction was because it is such a blur now, but I'm assuming it looked something like those little emoticon faces that has the shocked look with the hands on his face, and then it quickly turned into the face with the tears pouring down their face. 
Yep, that was me. 
When I finally calmed myself down another knock on the door happened. I opened it and it was my sister. 
I'm pretty sure I just said "stop it." And cried and hugged her. 
I haven't seen my sister in over a year so this was extra special. 
Their visit was so amazing and I wish it could have lasted longer. 
During their short trip we had amazing weather if you live here because it was rainy, windy, and chilly. It was bad weather if you're visiting and wanted to take advantage of the warm sun and beaches. 
Because of the weather we didn't spend much time at the beach. The first day here I took them down to Lincoln Road Mall and had the most delicious pizza and of course, had to stop at Laduree. I think my sister would have punched me if I didn't take her there. 
Day 2 was spent driving out to the Ft. Lauderdale temple and then spending a few hours at the he beach and pool at the hotel they were staying at. 
Day 3 was a short day. 
They had a flight out around 5pm so we only had a half day. We spent it at Target and at my apartment.  I can't complain about my favorite place with my favorite mom and sister. It was a good day.
 Saying good bye is always hard, but I know we will have a lot of fun adventures coming up in the next few months, so that helps heal the wounds. 
Just a few pictures from their short stay....

 Evan loved having his aunt Bree and NeeNees here

 He seriously HAS to climb and jump on everything
 I'd kill for a pistachio macaron.

 Stormy weather couldn't keep these 2 out of the water

 My favorite picture, ever.

The view from my mom's room. Not too shabby.

It was a wonderful 3 days. A big thank you to my mom, sister, and husband for making this all happen. Until next time...

Monday, November 17, 2014

Our Disney World Adventure

An adventure is definitely what this trip was. 
I have been dreaming of  and planning this day since the day we moved to Florida. 
We were only now able to make the trip up north and go. 
Last Friday, the night before we left, the husband started to feel a little off. I asked him if he just wanted to skip the trip and stay home. He insisted we still go and that he'd be fine. 
Morning came around and I could tell Conryd wasn't feeling good at all. I again, told him we should just stay home but he said that if he just slept in the car and got a good nights rest he'd be fine to go to the park the next day. 
So we hoped in the car, and headed out. All was going well until about 2hrs into our drive. Evan all of sudden started crying and we couldn't console him. We figured it was just out of boredom, so we decided to stop for lunch and let him get out and stretch. 
As soon as we got him out of the car, I could tell he was not right. He was burning up and his eyes were looking tired and sick. 
Great, out of all the weekends for my family to get sick, it had to be this one.
 We contemplated turning around and going home, and went back and forth with the idea. 
We eventually decided that we'd just go for it and hope and pray that everyone would feel better by morning time. 
That night was the worst nights sleep for everyone.
 Evan went to bed late, problems of everyone being in one room. 
Conryd felt awful, he was also snoring like a crazy person, which kept me up.
 Evan sweat the whole night and I kept worrying that he was either getting too hot or too cold, so I kept checking on him.
 Conryd woke up about every 20 min due to an awesome sore throat that started. 
Finally 7am rolled around and we just decided to wake up. 
Evan woke up feeling normal and acting normal. 
We thought, "Great, at least now he'll be excited to go to Disney World!"
 And he was, until we walked into the park and he just did not have the energy that he normally has. He was tired, he just wanted to be held, and he didn't show 1/2 as much excitement as we expected. 
We could just tell he still off. 
Long story short, we only stayed about 6 hours and were so dead by then. We all had zero amount of energy left.
 Don't get me wrong, I still had a good time and I'm grateful we were able to go but it wasn't as "magical" as I had wanted it to be.
 I guess this just means we'll have to go back :)

Now prepare for picture overload
Started off great! Happy healthy boy!
 We went to Downtown Disney on Saturday.
He was semi okay for this. Or at least he wanted to love it...
 Had some energy to walk around, and then it hit them both. The saddest boys I've ever seen.
 Everyone feeling good, minus the fact that we were FREEZING! No joke, we were shivering. 64 never felt so cold.

 Had to get the obligatory father/child shoulder sit pose. I think every person has a picture just like this with their dad.
 Seriously, they were not impressed.
 Out of all of the rides, Evan wanted to ride the carousel the most. These things make me sick.  
 Okay, this was stupidest one of them all! They need to make these drive-able! I was seriously all over the place. It was pretty embarrassing. Evan had to rub it in that he beat me and I lost. 
 This was pretty cool and I wish every ride had this option. As you wait for Dumbo, they have an indoor play ground that the kids can play in so they're not stuck waiting in line. They give you pager, like what you would get at a restaurant, and page you when its your turn. Two thumbs up for Dumbo. 
 Teaching Evan the importance of a Disney churro. It's a must. I don't think he understood just how epic and life changing this moment was.
  6 Hrs later, and he was so done. We all were. Pirates of the Caribbean was our last ride for the day. 
 We had to stop in here just to smell it's goodness. I guess one bonus of having a sick family is the lack of junk food we actually consumed. I had big plans to buy everything. Their illness put a damper on all of it. 
 Perked up just for a minute to throw in a few funny faces for the last pictures.
 "No, seriously, Evan. Stop. Say cheese and smile. A normal smile. Ev..stop. Okay. You win."
One cold, tired, sick boy. 

Thanks Disney World for all that you had to offer. We're sorry we couldn't have taken better advantage of it all. We'll come back another day.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Christmas Cookie Series #2: Rolo Cookies

Sorry, I am a day late in posting this recipe. Our trip from last weekend wiped me out. but that's another story and another blog post.
I have been making these cookies for the past 6 years, every Christmas, without fail.
 These are one of my husbands favorites. 
They do take a little extra time, just because you are having to unwrap a million little Rolos, and then you have to fold them inside of the cookie dough. 
But for the few extra minutes it takes you, it's well worth it. I promise these will be a hit for any cookie exchange, party, or self devouring.

makes approx. 4 dozen

2 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp  salt
1 cup salted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

Bag of Rolo candies, unwrapped
extra sugar, for rolling dough in (about 1/4 cup)

Preheat oven to 375. Prepare your baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Unwrap approx. 48 Rolos. Maybe a few extra because you will most likely eat a few along the way.

In a medium sized bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In large bowl with a mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until smooth. Next add in your eggs
and mix. Scrape down the sides and add in vanilla extract and mix until blended.

Now slowly add in the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and mix until well combined. 
With a small sized cookie scoop, or spoon, take enough dough to wrap around one Rolo. It should make about a 1 inch sized cookie dough ball. Make sure the Rolo is completely covered.

Next take a bowl with 1/4 cup sugar and roll the dough ball until its completely covered in sugar. Place the dough ball on your prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 7-10 minutes. *7 minutes is perfect for me.
Remove from the oven and let it cool on the sheet for just a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Christmas Cookie Series: Pinecone Sugar Cookies

Now that November has finally arrived, I am ready to launch my Christmas cookie series! 
I am so excited for this...and so is my husband.  
I have been planning this since the beginning of the year. 
No joke.
There is just something about this time of the year that makes me want to bake all day long. 
Except I don't, because of the whole having to clean all the dishes, thing.

This series will not only have cookie recipes but ideas for decorating them. 
I am not a professional nor do I really know what I am doing, but hopefully that will help the average baker in not feeling so intimidated at attempting any of these ideas.

So pull out those fat pants, because the next 7 weeks are going to be filled with sugary, sweet cookies! 
To start us off, here's a little peek at these pine cone, chocolate sugar cookies I slaved over today. 

I'm not quite ready to share the cookie recipe yet because the ones I made were so awful. 
But I couldn't resist not sharing the pictures these little beauts. 
And maybe it's just me, but I'm kind of in love with how these turned out.

Stay tuned for a few of my favorite Christmas tradition cookies! 
And I would love to know if you have any traditional cookies you have to make every holiday season?