Friday, January 4, 2013

Good Things in December 2012

Doesn't it seem as if the holidays come and go in the flash of an eye every year?  Everyone is busy with countless decorating projects, festive parties, cooking & baking, gift giving and what not, that we sometimes forget to take a moment and reflect on what we did and didn't do.  Although the month of December is a thing of the past and the new year is already at our doorstep, I still want to look back at the month here on the blog.  It was a busy time for me as I was baking and giving away my treats throughout the month to various friends and family.  There were several projects which I wasn't able to get to because of a lack of time, but nevertheless I did manage to create some wonderful goodies.

I try not to dwell on what I didn't get to do for a particular month, because I much prefer to look at what I actually managed to accomplish.  Those things I don't cover get put on the "to-do list" for the coming year with the hope of getting to them.  Eventually!

As I write this I'm still technically on vacation in Southern California enjoying my visit.  I really needed a small break and I'm glad I had it.  Getting to spend time with long time friends, family members, returning to old haunts of mine when I lived here and finding new favorite spots has been a lot of fun for me.  I went antiquing as I normally do on my trips and picked up a few things, which I will share with you in the near future here on the blog.  I plan on writing up a small homekeeping lesson on how to care for these items.

Let's return to December's Good Things so that we can move forward with the new year.    

So absolutely delicious and infinitely edible are what festive gingersnaps are all about.  I loved making these for friends and family throughout the month of December, because they had the added bonus of finely chopped crystallized ginger.  Subtle, but absolutely necessary, this particular ingredient made them special treats for the holidays.  Everyone loved them.

These tools that I've accumulated through the years have been edited and pared down according to my tastes.  I don't like to have gadgets and tools that are of poor quality because they never last.  I prefer to have kitchen implements that are going to serve me well through years of meal preparations.  As you can see, stainless steel is always a good choice for a kitchen, but so is tempered glass.  Another thing of note is that I don't necessarily have the most expensive gadgets and tools either.  Yes, I do enjoy shopping at high end kitchen wares stores for certain items, but I'm very practical when it comes to baking tools.       


This special cake mold is collectible, adorable and such a nice addition to one's batterie de cuisine.  I always love it when someone writes to thank me for a particular blog entry.  A reader told me that she owned the mold but had somehow misplaced her decorating card many years ago.  For the longest time she had to do without a snowman cake during the winter because of it; I'm told that she even contacted Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia to see if they could help her out.  Nothing.  Well, as soon as this went up I heard from her and believe me, she was ever so thankful.  Enjoy baking these cakes if you do own the mold!

Among my favorite set of Martha by Mail cookie cutters is this quintet of evergreens.  The shapes are simply spectacular and they make such lovely cookies.  I don't always work with royal icing, but when I do, I have to use these for the month of December.  The creator of these cutters is set to make a comeback at some point this year and I've told him that I will let all of you know when that happens.  Stay tuned!   

I initially wanted to call these Black Forest Cookies because of their similarity to the eponymous cake.  The only thing missing was the whipped cream!  Either way, the cookies are delicious and aren't necessarily meant for the holidays in December.  They can be enjoyed any time of the year by chocoholics everywhere.  Have you made these yet? 

My friend Janet's cookies were SO popular here on the blog and she was very pleased with the write up I did.  Again, thank you Janet for allowing me to share your creations with everyone.  If you haven't had the chance to review her cookies, click on the link above and read all about her.  Follow the links to her own blog and be dazzled by her creativity.  You'll be glad you did.

This was a cookie from Janet that was sent to me right before Christmas.  She used the evergreen tree cutter from the Tree & House Cookie Cutter Set, which she just acquired, to make this large sugar cookie.  I ate it on my trip west.  Not a crumb was left!

I also wrote about some quaffable wines that my younger brother & sister-in-law sent us for the holidays, which I paired with some tasty dinners the week before I left.  They were all French wines and every single one was delicious I can assure you.

For the month I thought it essential to make a list of some pretty awesome cookies for everyone to try.  They  are all cookies that have not only been popular on the blog, but with family & friends as well; I created most of them.  Bake at least one batch of your favorites soon because they are special and truly tasty.

You got a small glimpse of what a typical cookie set up is for me during December.  I always bake several dozen cookies in various flavors to give as gifts.  The cookies not only have to taste good, they also have to ship well.  Having family on both the east coast & the west coast, I have to make sure that they arrive safely. A few of my aunts were amazed by the little snowball cookies which were buttery and tender.  Click on the link and read about how simple they were to make.  


Another set of wonderful cutters from Martha by Mail were in the shapes of Christmas ornaments.  I like using these whenever I get the chance.  Enjoy the set if you own them!


To finish the month I shared a good recipe from a trusted source, The Joy of Cooking.  A cooked eggnog is a safe choice for those concerned with consuming raw eggs and the technique for making it is classic.  I'm not a huge fan of this festive drink, but if I'm served a glass I will certainly drink it and leave not a drop.  



I'm ready to head back home to the suburbs of Philadelphia where I call home.  I miss my surroundings, my family and the familiar spaces of our old house.  The first order of business when I enter the house will be to hug my kitties and see what they have been up to.  I miss their stubborn personalities.  Mistress who insists on sitting on the one kitchen counter that is my prep area, even though I have other suitable counters for her to occupy, is always amusing.  Lion wanting to eat everything in sight as I'm making lunches or dinners, and wanting to be in the general area whenever he hears the mixers working can be annoying & cute at the same time; he can smell butter from many feet away!  Those are just some of the sights and sounds that make my home a home for me.  It's what makes me the happiest. It's what I like returning to.  

4 comments:

  1. Oh, David! What a wonderful wrap up for your December. Allow me again to tell you what JOY you brought to me and my husband with the gift of your ginger snap cookies. We ate them ALL in one day (gasp!) beginning at breakfast, then for lunch and guess what? We even took them to the theater that evening your package arrived because they were BETTER than popcorn or any other snack the concessions could offer us!

    Your gingersnaps are on my list to bake this weekend. I cannot wait to (eat more) share them with my friends and family as you so generously did!

    Happy New Year and Happy Homecoming very soon! Hurry! Your Mistress and Lion await!

    xo

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  2. I love that you gobbled those cookies so quickly! I must have made at least 12 dozen of them for Christmas, but I'm not sure how many I actually ate myself (a lot I can assure you).

    Happy New Year to you & your family! I can't wait to see my kitties.

    David

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  3. I found your blog through Janet's. I can't wait to explore your recipes and posts some more. And somehow- I think I will be baking up some gingersnaps soon!!!

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  4. Marci, I'm so glad to have you reading! Janet has been so kind and you know, she just made those gingersnaps over the weekend and loved them! I just know you'll like them too.

    Have fun baking!

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