Thursday, December 16, 2010

Oh gingerpig, oh gingerpig, how tasty is your frosting...

Maybe because its my first Christmas in 9 or so years without snow, but I haven't really gotten into the Christmas spirit all that much yet this year. So I decided to bake. Food is a great mood-altering substance.

Hmmmmm... What to make. Well, Christmas = Cookies. And the whole Birth of Jesus thing, of course. YAY for the Nativity.

But also... yay for gingerbread!

Nana shared a great recipe with me quite a few years ago. It's pretty much great. So great, in fact, that I don't even feel guilty for eating a half dozen-ish while catching up on The Biggest Loser. I mean, how can you say no t this. (Hint: The answer = you can't. Even Chuck Norris would cave)

I'm going to take some to work tomorrow to contribute to the growing stack of Christmas junk that is accumulating at the office.

Here's the recipe so you can make some of your own:

Stained-Glass Gingerbread Cookies

Preheat oven to 375 degrees


3 1/4 C. Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Ginger
1/2 tsp. Allspice
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
3/4 C. Butter (room temerature)
3/4 C. Sugar
1/2 C. Molasses
2 Tbsp Water
Jolly Ranchers (or other hard candy)
  1. Mix all dry ingredients together and set aside
  2. Cream butter and sugar.
  3. Beat Molasses and Water into butter and sugar.
  4. Gradually add flour mixture, beating at low speed until completely mixed.
  5. Refrigerate overnight.
  6. Line cookie sheets with foil or parchment paper.
  7. Divide dough into 6 pieces. 
  8. Roll out one piece at a time to a thickness around 1/4 inch, keeping the dough you are not using cold in the fridge.
  9. Cut out cookies with your finest cookie cutters.
  10. Place unbaked cookies on parchment or foil-lined cookie sheet.
  11. (Optional step) Cut out smaller shapes from the middle of the cookies and fill with crushed hard candy. Crush the candy by putting in a sturdy bag (Each color in a different zip lock freezer bag inside a paper grocery bags work really well) and then smash them with a hammer. I take this outside and smash it on the cement. If the bag thing doesn't work, you can put the candies in a box, then put that box in another box, mailing it to yourself, and then smashing it with a hammer when it arrives. Either way. Put the cookies on the lined cookie sheet, and then put the candy powder in the cutout. Fill just to the top of the cookie. If you do this step, make sure to line the cookie sheets. I pity the fool who has to clean melted Jolly Ranchers off of their best cookie sheets.
  12. Bake cookies for 5-6 minutes at 375 degrees. DO NOT OVERBAKE. The cookies will puff up, but won't change colors. They may not look baked, but take them out of the oven. Take them off of the hot cookie sheet and put them on a cooling rack. They will cool and stay nice and soft. However, if you like your gingerbread a little crispy, feel free to bake them for a few more minutes.
  13. If you want to frost the cookie, do it after they are completely cooled.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

When life gives you pink lemons...

When life gives you pink lemons, you can consider yourself better than people that have been given boring yellow lemons.

Just Kidding!
 Did you know that there was such a thing as pink lemons? So cool! There was someone giving away a bunch of pink lemons at a garage sale, and I took a handful of them. Since life had given me pink lemons, I decided to make myself some pink lemonade.
Juicing the lemons gave me about 1 1/4 cup of juice. I put this in a 2 quart pitcher, added somewhere between 1/2 and 3/4 cups of sugar, and filled it with water and poured myself a cool tangy glass.

By the time it was diluted down, it was a pale pink, and was just as tasty as normal yellow lemonade.

Hooray for the citrus-friendly climate of Arizona! In a few more weeks, the lemons, oranges, and grapefruits growing in my yard will be ripe! Yummers!!