Tag Archives: cookies

Merry Christmas [Cookies]

24 Dec

Every year we have Christmas cookie traditions: we make Swedish spritz cookies, gingers and sugars. By “we” I mean my mom often makes the dough or hands me the recipe, and then I get some crazy decorating idea on Pinterest and spend hours I can never get back getting carpal tunnel in my powdered sugar-covered wrists as I announce “Next year I’m just slathering icing on!” But of course the cycle repeats the following year as I get some new decorating idea.

This year I decided to keep my ginger cookies “simple” by only using a few shapes and two colors of icing: white and blue, because I’ve never seen blue Christmas cookies before.

billy madison blue duck

blue ginger cookiesThe marble technique looks pretty, but as usual, takes entirely way too much time.

Instead of rolled out sugar cookies, this year I decided to make copycat Lofthouse cookies (those delicious round iced sugar cookies you get at the grocery store bakery). They came out mini, which is probably better. I could have used green and red icing, but decided on purple and turquoise because they’re more fun.

copycat lofthouse

And look great when you drop your new iPad mini onto them:

ipad icing fail

I also traditionally make my own birthday cake to take to our family gathering in Cleveland on Christmas, and often get carried away. Two years ago I made a rainbow cake, last year I made a panda, and this year I decided to make chocolate Biscoff icing and decorate it using a technique I found on Pinterest.

Expectation:

decorated cake

Reality:

biscoff icing

At least the buttercream I made with this bad boy tastes amazing:

chocolate cookie buter

We took Squirt to the kennel this morning before I got a chance to take a Christmas photo of him, so here he is hoping some sprinkles will land on the floor:

squirt tongue

Hope you have a happy Christmas and can resist the sugar coma!

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Breaking baking news

23 Jun

We interrupt your regularly scheduled blog post for this special report.

I successfully made meringue.

If you remember, a year ago I tried to make French macarons, which are basically meringue, and everything that could go wrong, did. I could not beat egg whites for the life of me. Now I realized it is much easier when you actually have a mixer. I made some peppermint meringue cookies and they turned out wonderfully, no runny half-burnt, half-undercooked messiness.

Behold!:

(They may not look as professional as I had hoped, but they taste amazing!)

If you’re curious, this is the recipe I used.

So I got a new camera…

19 Jan

This is going to be a heavy photo post, because, well, everyone likes photos. That, and I finally got my new camera.

Remember when I was obsessed with finding a good deal on a DSLR on Black Friday? Well, there were no deals. I also realized I don’t really need a $500+ camera to accomplish what I want in my photos — specifically, shallow depth of field.

I believe my fascination with such photos started with this one:

I took it with the fancy Nikon I rented for my photojournalism class. To me it screamed “Look, I’m a good photographer with a good camera!” My photojournalism professor told me it sucked. (OK, not really, but he said I shouldn’t use it as my photo for the week. I’m hoping that’s because the assignment was a news photo and this picture doesn’t fully depict the giant sinkhole on Montrose Avenue.)

Ever since I took that picture I got it into my head that I could only take cool photos like that with an expensive DSLR. And then I got a super zoom camera and I fell in love. I could manually change the settings, get my shallow depth of field photos, and, well, super zoom. I’d have to buy an expensive lens to super zoom on a DSLR. So now I’m going to show off my mad photography skills in a series of random pictures from my trip back to the states.

Below you will find a photo of the best chicken wings in the world. And in true American fashion, they were all you can eat. They try to tempt you with other flavors, but the only kind you should ever get are garlic ranch. They serve garlic ranch wings in heaven, except in heaven they don’t give you a massive stomach ache or contain any calories. (And if you’re wondering why I photographed chicken wings, it’s because they are the best chicken wings in the world. Also, it was the first day I had my camera.)

This photo was not taken with my new camera, but I’m including it anyway because I made awesome Christmas cookies this year.

After Christmas Stephen and I took a trip to California where I fully got to break in my super zoom camera with dozens of photos of sea lions.

We went to the San Diego Zoo because they have PANDAS. They also had this in the parking lot. God bless America.

We had to wait in a long queue to see the pandas, but when life offers you the opportunity to see pandas, even if you’ve already held a baby panda in China and nothing can ever top that, you get in that queue (OK, line, since we were in America). We were politely told to take our photo then move out of the way so other people could take their photo and move. I think I took 20 photos of the same panda doing the same thing.

This might be the best photo I took of the trip. “What could be better than a panda?” you ask. Well, this:

I swear the only editing I did was add my blog address, so that when people google image “giant zebra wiener” they know what blog to go to.

I have no idea who this guy is, but I thought it made for a nice shot, especially the birds.

And then I got obsessed with shallow depth of field again and Stephen had to tell me to stop taking pictures of rocks. But doesn’t it look cool?!

We took a two-hour boat cruise around the harbor which was a total waste of money except I got this lovely shot of the sun setting under the Coronado Bridge.

We went to LA for the day where we did touristy things like complaining about all the tourists and I took too many photos of birds at Venice Beach.

That is all. Now that I have my new camera, I’ll try to make more photo posts, but, as usual, no promises. I still have photos saved on my desktop for that post I promised to write about Venice in August.