Friday, December 19, 2014

Melted Snowmen Cookies

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O
THER THAN getting to see my family in Los Angeles, this hasn't been the best Christmas for me.  My grandma was rushed to the emergency room.   Since being admitted to the hospital her condition has stabilized, but it's been a sleepless week for everyone involved and we're still not sure of her fate.  My grandpa also was rushed to the hospital today and they're waiting to hear the prognosis but it's looking like pneumonia.

I try to remind myself that there are many silver linings: this year has been a really great one in a lot of ways.  I have an amazing group of friends, I've fallen deeply in love, got to explore China with my family, and my grandparents who are all over 90 years in age have lived really complete, fulfilled, lives.  Every so often I think about how a situation is never really good or bad, our attitude is what makes it so.

Before my sister and I rushed to LA, we made these festive sugar cookies that look like melted snowmen.  They're really easy to make and taste great too.



MELTED SNOWMEN COOKIES
Yields 30 cookies

COOKIE INGREDIENTS
  •  3/4 cup softened butter
  •  1 cup white sugar
  •  2 eggs
  •  1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  •  2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  •  1 tsp baking powder
  •  1/2 tsp salt

COOKIE DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until consistency is smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract. Stir in dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, and salt. 
  2. Cover and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
  3. Preheat oven to 400° F.  Roll out dough on floured surface 1/3" thick.  Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter or cup. 
  4. Bake 6 - 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.
  5. Once cookies are cool, spread the icing on each cookie and allow to dry (see below for homemade icing instructions).
  6. For the 'head' of the snowman, cut a marshmallow in half and microwave them on a plate for 15-20 seconds or as soon as the marshmallow starts to puff up.  Remove and position them on the cookie.
  7. Using colored icing, decorate the faces on the marshmallow and the arms and buttons on the snowman's body.

ICING INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar 
  • 2 tsp milk
  • 2 tsp light corn syrup 
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract  

ICING DIRECTIONS
  1. Stir together confectioners' sugar and milk until smooth. 
  2. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy.  Add corn syrup to thin the icing if it's too thick.  When you put the icing on the cookie, allow icing to firm up and go from a glossy finish to matte.  This will take several hours.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Roasted Balsamic Cauliflower

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C auliflower is currently my "it" veggie.  Most people probably don't think so, but cauliflower is an incredibly versatile ingredient and can take on so many different flavors.  My go-to method is the easiest by far, taking cauliflower coated in olive oil, marjoram, salt and pepper, balsamic vinegar and roasting it in the oven.  You really can't beat the ease and taste with this recipe.  

A couple of other cauliflower recipes have been on my radar: these Crispy Cauliflower Tacos from Ashley at Blissful Basil, or this healthy Cauliflower Crust Pizza spotted on Greatist.com, and perhaps most amazing of all, a Creamy Cauliflower Sauce that is promised to taste as good as alfredo sauce (!!!), from Lindsay at Pinch of Yum.




Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup of Balsamic vinegar (or more depending on how Balsamic-y you like it)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp marjoram flakes

Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400°.
  2. Break cauliflower head into florets.
  3. In a small bowl, combine olive oil and dried marjoram.  Coat cauliflower florets with mixture and place on parchment paper or directly on a baking sheet, spreading apart evenly.
  4. Roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes, turning over halfway through.
  5. Remove tray from oven and spoon balsamic vinegar over cauliflower.  
  6. Return to oven for another 5 minutes.

What are some other ways you have prepared cauliflower?  I'd love to hear!