Archive | December, 2016

New Favorites: Gingersnaps and a Mug

15 Dec

Aren’t yall glad I came out of my school-induced blog silence to post ten million cookie recipes? I am. Today, we’ve got ANOTHER iteration of my all-time favorite cookie, the gingersnap. First, be sure to check out the mambypamby version with bizarre secret ingredients or the super-easy fail-proof recipe MamaKef swears by or this paleo-fied one I like to use a method of procrastination. After you’ve made all those, come back to make the 2016 edition, which adds an air of sophistication to the classic gingersnap with some cardamom.

Best if eaten with a steaming cup of coffee from Harrar out of this brand new Oiselle mug (a perfect stocking stuffer for the runner in your life!).

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These are made straight from a Food52 recipe. I made some fatal errors when mentally running through my pantry’s contents so had to sub half of the molasses with maple syrup, subbed all purpose flour for the bread flour, and threw some all spice in with the nutmeg–all of which I have noted below, so you do you in terms of substitutions. I am duplicating Food52’s great work here only for fear of losing this amazing recipe, but you should absolutely click on the above link and show them some love.

Smoky Cardamom Gingersnaps

Ingredients

  • 14 TBS butter
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1/4  c molasses (or 1/8 c molasses and 1/8 c maple syrup)
  • egg
  • 1 c bread flour (I used all-purpose flour and they were still wonderful)
  • c all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg (I used 1/4 tsp nutmeg + 1/4 tsp all spice)
  • 1/8teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2cup sugar (for rolling)

Assembly

  1. Crack open the cardamom pods and remove seeds. Grind seeds with a mortar and pestle and set aside.
  2. Combine the butter and empty cardamom pods in a small saucepan. Heat on medium-low until the butter has completely melted and begins to foam slightly. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove and discard the cardamom pods and transfer the butter to a large mixing bowl. Cover and let the butter cool to room temperature.
  3. Sift together the flours, baking soda, salt, spices, black pepper, and reserved ground cardamom. Add the sugar to the butter and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the molasses and the egg. Gradually beat in dry ingredients until just combined. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days.
  4. Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment. Fill a small bowl with 1/2 cup of sugar.
  5. Scoop heaping tablespoons of batter, form into balls, and roll in the sugar. Place on a baking sheet two inches apart.
  6. Bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Peanut Butter Blossoms

13 Dec

The Christmas cookie baking bender continues– there is enough dough in my freezer to feed every mall Santa in America with a few dozen left over for the elves. ‘Tis the season for a diabetic coma.

Somehow, MamaKef’s famous peanut butter blossom cookies have never made it to this hallowed collection of HTML code–major oversight on my part. They’re everything a cookie should be: quick, easy, and insanely scrumptious. And if you’re really lucky, your mom will hunt down a special tray so you can cook the whole 4-dozen-cookie batch in one go, too.

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My brain is still fried from studying, so I’m not going to even try for anything witty–just make the damn cookies.

Paulatimi’s Peanut Butter Blossoms

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c butter, softened
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/2 c packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1.25 c all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 48 mini Reese’s UNWRAPPED, and preferably chilled in fridge
  • a mini muffin tray

Assembly

  1. Using a standing or electric mixer, combine butter, sugars, egg, peanut butter, and vanilla until smooth.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture and beat until just combined. Cover and chill for 20-30 minutes, or until dough is easily rolled into balls.
  3. Preheat oven to 375F. While the dough is chilling, unwrap Reese’s and return to fridge. Lightly grease your mini muffin tray.
  4. Roll dough into small balls– our recipe says “about the size of a walnut,” but that means nothing to me… I’d say you want about 3/4 TBS, just under what you’d use for a drop cookie. Place one ball in each muffin tray. Bake for 8 minutes.
  5. Immediately upon removing cookies from oven, gently press one Reese’s into the center of each cookie. Cool in pan for 15-20 minutes, then use a fork to gently remove from tray and cool on a cooling rack until chocolate is dry.

2016 CuK Gift Guide

9 Dec

It’s time for another list of things I love that people you know might love, too. Wouldn’t be a CuK Christmas post, though, if I didn’t remind you that consumerism is a bunch of hype and really the gift we all desire and deserve is the generosity, empathy, and hilarity of our fellow human.

But, you know, on to the material ish:

For anybody who bakes:

Run Fast Eat SlowI already wrote about how much I love this book, and it is worth another mention. Give it to everyone you know to make sure your next Superhero muffin is never far off.

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Dorie’s Cookies: The NYT calls this one of the year’s best baking cookbooks, and it’s dedicated entirely to cookies, so…liiiikkke…why haven’t you ordered it yet?

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MilkBar Class: From the people who brought the world Crack Pie and Cereal Milk ice cream, these “bake the book” participation classes sound like absolute heaven. The perfect gift for anyone who wants to learn how to wow the pants off people with their baking prowess. Classes are $95 and held in NY and DC.

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For people who actually have a personal aesthetic, and are totally into the copper/gold trend right now:

Copper Measuring Cups: I can’t vouch for the practicality of these guys, but they sure are pretty.

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Elegant Mugs: I love that these match without matching–pretty much nailing the style I think I’m pulling off every day with my thrown-together outfits. 

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A sophisticated oil/vinegar container: I’ve put one of these fancy little ditties on pretty much every CuK Gift Guide that I’ve put out, which is kind of hilarious because I just pour olive oil right out of my 1 gallon vat. But who wouldn’t love to serve their (obviously Greek) olive oil from one of these beautiful cruets?

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For your most Clarissa Darling-like friend:

I love these taco/hot sauce and unicorn/rainbow stud sets. Ladder for Sam and Fergbreath repellant sold separately.

For all your friends who live in an apartment too small for a dining table (except me, because my husband is obsessed with TV trays):

Couch Arm Table: Isn’t this just about the most brilliant thing you’ve ever seen?

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For anyone down for inclusion and equal rights for people of all genders:

Feminist Apparel has a wonderful collection of hilarious, patriarchy-slaying Tshirts, some of which are safer for work than this one.

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For the person who’s been wearing scrubs to work for the last 5 years and will soon have to dress like a real human:

Tieks— the super comfy, apparently-durable shoe you should buy for someone when the budget is no object. I know a few people who swear the $175 price tag is worth it because these guys can be worn all day, every day for both work and play…but I can’t say so myself, as I’ve been wearing the same (smelly) shoes to work for 4.5 of the last 5 years.

For Runners:

I could write ten runners-only gift guides, but I’ll try to pare it down to just a few:

Elite Marathoner Tank: Don’t we all want to channel our inner Kara?

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The softest cold-weather headband: Warm ears, unsweaty forehead, can’t lose.

SquadGoals Pin: If you missed the way Amy Cragg supported Shalane Flanagan through the darkest miles of the 2016 US Marathon Olympic Trials, you missed one of 2016’s best moments in athletics and awesome women. Make sure your best running friend knows you’re down for the both the easy work and the tough times with this cute, budget-friendly pin.

Shalane And Amy Pin

For someone who really doesn’t need any more stuff and would rather send some money to people doing awesome work:

Blue Chip Animal Refuge: A favorite of my beloved grandmother.

International Rescue Committee: Doing some of the most important work in Syria right now.

Planned ParenthoodBecause God only knows what the next four years have in store for us (see also: friggin’ Ohio).

Black Lives Matter: If I have to say more, you probably haven’t been reading the blog long (welcome! read this, then come back and chat).

Mincemeat Cookies–An Awesome Misnomer

8 Dec

You are reading the words of a free woman– another quarter of NP school is in my rear view and now it’s just an easy ride into the season of 10 million Christmas cookies in preparation for the GANZA. I’ve been whipping up cookie dough like it’s my job this week, including some old favorites (these highbrow gingerbread cookies and Greece’s most valuable contribution to civilization) as well as some Kefi cookie collective newbies, like today’s not-totally-appropriately named mincemeat cookie.

A friend I run with told me about these Polish cookies that “taste like Christmas in each bite” and that traditionally contained meat but are now just a wonderful collection of fat and fruit. Um, yes please. Back in ye olde days beef lard (or chunks!) apparently seemed like something we needed in cookies–for the record, if I ever go back to eating meat again, I’m starting with beef cookies. From what I can tell, when people today say “mincemeat,” they mean “jarred jam-like substance comprised of dried fruits, spices, and liquor.” Most recipes I found called for the store-bought kind, but since you literally just throw stuff in a sauce pan and let it simmer, I figured I would make my own.

I found a vegetarian version and doctored it up (original here), then added it to a recipe for the cookie itself (original here). They aren’t the prettiest cookies–y’all already know I’m here for palate-pleasing, not presentation–but MrKef was ALL about them, and my test tray disappeared faster than I could take a halfway decent picture (#parforthecourse).

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I managed to get one bite in before he could eat them all, and was pleasantly surprised to find that I had, in fact, bitten into Christmas. They’re slightly crunchy on the outside and ever-so-slightly cakey on the inside–the perfect drop cookie, if you ask me. Add to the equation that they are super-easy to make and you get a big endorsement from me on this one.

Mincemeat Cookies

Ingredients

–For the Mincemeat

  • 4 TBS butter
  • 1 c apple juice
  • 1 c raisin
  • 1/2 c dried currant (which from what I could tell were just raisins, but who am I to mince words with mincemeat ingredients? Har har)
  • 5 oz  dried berries/cherries mix (I found a Safeway brand, sub with just dried cherries)
  • 1/2 c Craisins (I used the 50% less sugar ones, you do you)
  • Zest and juice of one lemon
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1 lime + 1/8 c MORE lime juice
  • 1/4c Godiva liquor
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2-4 TBS rum (optional)

For the Cookie

  • 1/2 c softened unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c softened vegetable shortening
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1/2 c packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 c prepared mincemeat
  • 3.25 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Assembly

  1. To make the mincemeat, put all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring frequently. Reduce to simmer and cook down for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and stir in 2-4 TBS rum (optional–but I surely did it.) Allow to cool completely, before baking cookie dough–even better if you can let it sit overnight.
  2. To make the cookies– Preheat oven to 375. Using an electric mixer (with dough hook attachment if you have it), cream together the butter, shortening, and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla, beat for about 3 minutes. Add the mincemeat by hand, mixing with rubber spatula until mincemeat is distributed pretty evenly throughout the batter.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, and spices. Add one third of the flour to the batter, mix by hand until just combine. Repeat twice more until all the flour is gone.
  4. Drop about 2 TBS of batter onto a parchment- or silicon-lined cookie sheet, keeping 2-3 inches between cookies so they can spread out and become wonderful. Bake for 10-11 minutes, until just golden brown. Cool for at least 20 minutes before serving, even better if served the next day.
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