Friday Feasts: Vanilla Bean Snickerdoodles

WOW!  It’s December.

Have you started any of your holiday baking?  Or even shopping?

Like Katie mentioned in her last post, the company that we both worked at together shut their doors after almost forty years in business.  I was one of the last ones there to close out my department, followed by my direct boss.  Saying goodbye was bittersweet, but it’s been nice having the last few weeks off.  My house hasn’t been so consistently clean, EVER and dinner has been on the table almost every night.  I’ve been enjoying it a lot.  It’s really nice not working around the holidays.

Since I’ve had the time off I’ve had the chance to try some awesome cookie recipes.  Which leads me to sharing these Snickerdoodles with you.

They’re perfect in every way.  Not too crispy, but not too soft.  The cinnamon/sugar seems to melt in your mouth after the first bite.  The smidge of vanilla bean adds to the final touch of perfection.

Wrap these in a cute treat bag and take them to your neighbors or your next holiday party.  Your friends will think you’re even more amazing.

Sinkerdoodle-2

Vanilla Bean Sinkerdoodles

Adapted From:  Joy the Baker Cookbook

Ingredients

2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp cream of tarter
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup of unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, scraped of seeds

Directions

First, to make the cookies, in a medium mixing bowl whisk together flour, cream of tarter, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In a bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar for 3 to 5 minutes until light and fluffy.  Scrape down butter/sugar mixture and beat in eggs one at time on medium speed for one minute each, scraping down sides after each step.  Add vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds and beat until just combined.

Scrape down butter/sugar mixture.  Add flour mixture mixing on low speed just until combined.  Finish incorporating mixture by hand with your favorite rubber spatula or wooden spoon.  Do not over mix.

Let cookie mixture rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.  This hardens the butter back up, so during baking time your cookies don’t become a hot mess.

While the cookie mixture is resting, mix together 1 teapsoon of ground cinnamon and 1/3 cup of white sugar in a small bowl.

Preheat oven at 350 degrees F placing oven rack in the center of the oven.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using a cookie scoop, scoop tablespoon sized dough balls into cinnamon/sugar mixture and roll around until well coated.

Place on cookie sheet and bake for 12 to 14 minutes.  I found that 12 minutes is perfect.

PS – more holiday recipes coming!

October Round-Up!

October was a month of transition for Monique and me.  After struggling against a dipping economy for two years, our employer was finally forced to shut its doors after thirty-six years.  The weeks leading up to the final day were stressful and often confusing, as we were never quite sure when our final day was coming.  So, for a month that traditionally kicked-off the beginning of our seasonal baking and crafting, more focus was spent on wrapping up loose ends at work and worrying about the next day while we were at home.

Now that it’s over for both of us, we’re moving on into new adventures.  Monique is enjoying her time off while she looks for a new job and I start my new employment tomorrow.  I will miss seeing her face every day, but I am grateful that working there brought me to her.  I’ve learned so much from Monique these past four-and-a-half years, and not just about baking and cooking!  She’s taught me volumes about having faith in one’s self, one’s family, and one’s friends.  Teaming up with her has kept me blogging and writing, and I’ve learned to stop wondering whether or not I can accomplish something.  I try!

So, even though we no longer share a day-job, Monique and I intend to continue on with our cooking and crafting the best we can as we adjust to new lifestyles.

And now, despite all that?  I did manage to do a few holiday-themed things this October.

Halloween bark!

Halloween bark!

This stuff is preeeeeetty tasty on top of being colorful and Halloween-y.  It’s very, very simple and you can substitute out ingredients depending on what you have.  You’ll find the basic recipe here, from The Girl Who Ate Everything.

Apple Crisp in a Mini Pumpkin

Pumpkins & Apples 006

Tiny pumpkins for tiny pies! Eeee!

Topped with homemade whipped cream!  (And taken with an iPhone in bad lighting because my dinner guests were waiting!)

Topped with homemade whipped cream! (And taken with an iPhone in bad lighting because my dinner guests were waiting!)

What I adore about this recipe is that it’s broken down per serving.  Only have three pumpkins?  You can know exactly how many apples/oats/etc you need for each!  Not only is the filling delicious, but the sides of the pumpkin grow soft during baking (despite what they may look like on the surface — dig down!) and are lovely.  You can find the recipe here, from The View from the Great Islands. 

Milk Jug Ghosts!

You know what isn’t scary? Upcycling!

You know what isn’t scary? Upcycling!

If you’re on Pinterest (and you probably are), you must have seen the milk jug ghosts pin floating around all month.  For a household with three milk drinkers, we tend to go through these jugs quickly.  So, I gave notice that we’re not to send them straight to the recycling bin, but instead leave them with a face drawn on them and I’d add them to our line-up!  Here we only have a few, but by the end I think we had twelve!

Many people have posted instructions for the milk jug ghosts, but I’ll send you to the Krazy Coupon Lady for the how-to.

. . .

Hope everyone had a happy, candy-filled, costumed, pumpkin-overloaded Halloween!  Enjoy your weekend… and try not to think about how we only have 50 days left until Christmas!

Tuesday Tip Day: iPad Bookmarklets and the OneTsp Recipe Clipper

I’m pleased to announce our very first guest blog post!  Monique is off on a fabulous Hawaiian vacation for her husband’s 30th birthday and I have been all sorts of slacking in the Blog Department due to school demands and the on-going celebrations for my 30th birthday!  So, Kathy psychically sensed my need for a hand and sent over this post.  We are currently finalizing plans for our just-the-two-of-us birthday celebration this coming Saturday, and while it may not involve Ray’s @ LACMA again, we’re looking for something equally wonderful. 

In the meantime, clip some recipes!  – Katie

We share a lot of things: a first name, a birthday month, emo adolescent memories, a first-row Tori Amos concert experience, our love of the ocean and Lolita’s Mexican food, but.. that pasta on her fork? That we did not share, no matter how hard I tried.

We share a lot of things: a first name, a birthday month, emo adolescent memories, a first-row Tori Amos concert experience, our love of the ocean and Lolita’s Mexican food, but.. that pasta on her fork? That we did not share, no matter how hard I tried.

Guest Post by Kathy Valdoria of faint.idea.

When I first approached Katie about writing a guest post about how to make iPad bookmarklets, she stared blankly at me, then asked, “What are iPad bookmarklets? Tiny bookmarks that look like iPads?”  I could very well get into a post about making a mini iPad bookmark, as I do love papercrafting.  But when I say “bookmarklet,” I’m talking about the little buttons you can save to your web browser’s toolbar to help add functionality to your Internet browsing experience.

Still not sure what I’m talking about?  Well, Dear Readers, let’s see.  Some if not most of you probably use Pinterest, right?  If you go to their goodies page, the thing they list at the top of the page is a “pin it” button. It’s super easy to install in a browser on your laptop or desktop computer: just click on the button and drag it onto your bookmarks toolbar.  Now you can surf the web and pin things at your leisure, without having to visit the actual Pinterest website to pin something when it lacks an embedded “pin it” button.

Alas, getting this bookmarklet onto your iPad isn’t as easy.  The kind of nice thing about Pinterest is that they have an iPad (and iPhone and Android) app… so if you just use Pinterest, maybe that’s enough for you and you can stop reading this post right here.  BUT… perhaps, like me, you’re the type of person who gets annoyed when Yet Another Website wants you to download Their Own Exclusively Branded App for your mobile device. Furthermore, there are other great bookmarklets out there you may want to use! In which case, read on.

One way to add bookmarklets to your iPad is to just add them to Safari on your computer, then sync your iPad to it.  I find this method clunky and annoying, as I pretty much never use Safari on my computer.  That said, there’s another method I prefer. I’m actually going to send you off to another website for just a little bit.  Load up this post on your iPad, then head on over to Chris Bray’s tutorial for adding bookmarklets to your iPad.

Chris Bray has a pretty comprehensive list of bookmarklets to choose from, but, as I write this, it lacks my favorite one: the OneTsp recipe clipper.   OneTsp is basically an on-line recipe box.  Yes, there are many out there: Recipe.com, SimplyRecipes.com, MyRecipes.com, AllRecipes.com, Anything-With-The-Word-Recipe-In-It-And-More-dot-com.   It’d be just dandy if you had a preferred website, but if your favorite recipes are scattered over a bunch of these, maintaining multiple memberships may be headache inducing.

Conventional bookmarking is easy enough, but if you bookmark a ton of recipes, it can take a while for you to sort through your folders to find a recipe.  Plus, if ever your preferred device crashes and you have to wipe your hard drive or reset your iPad or what have you, you can lose all your bookmarks.  OneTsp allows you to add recipes manually, via copy/paste, or with the clipper bookmarklet. It’s a breeze to edit recipes or add notes for variations.  You can then sort them alphabetically, chronologically, or by tag.  There is a search function in the event you forget to tag a recipe.  You can even easily download back-up copies of all your stored recipes in plain text, if you’re concerned about the accessibility of their website.

A OneTsp account is free for the first 150 recipes, which I think is quite generous.  Even though I haven’t hit my limit, I personally use it so much I think it’s worth the subscription to support the developer.

Anyway, if you try it and you’re not convinced it’s awesome or even just useful, no hard feelings. To each their own. But if you find it as useful as I do and your iPad is basically your cookbook like mine is, here’s how to add the bookmarklet to your iPad.

Happy recipe-clipping!

Friday Feasts: Vanilla Bean Marshmallows

Christmas is right around the corner!  It seems that most of my Facebook friends are up to some yummy baking.  My freezer is getting full with my annual baked goods that I pass out to my co-workers and bring with to the family rounds.  We had three places to be, but thanks goodness its in a matter of three days and not one!

This pas Monday we had a hot chocolate gathering.  Katie brought in her super cool hot chocolate maker and I made home made marshmallows.

Have you ever had a homemade marshmallow?  These are worth trying at least once in your life time.  These would be such a cute gift too!

These were delicious!  The real vanilla bean taste is very intense which makes these a ten.

I couldn’t take a cute marshmallow picture for the life of me! Please forgive!

Vanilla Bean Marshmallows

Adapted from: Baked Bree

Katie’s Christmas tree marshmallow enjoying itself in a hot chocolate bath!

Meatless Monday: Vegan (Pumpkin!) Cornbread

Oh, that sneaky pumpkin.

Looks like it found its way into a plain, ol’, boring cornbread recipe and it brought its friends Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Molasses!  How kind!

We’re getting two days of rain here in usually-sunny Southern California.  Perhaps the rest of the country would scoff, but for us this is an event!  Something to plan for!  And plan we did at work.  Monique is bringing vegetarian chili for our lunch on Tuesday, so I volunteered to bring the cornbread.  I didn’t have a favorite cornbread recipe on hand, so I went to Foodgawker and looked around for nearly 30 seconds before I found Pumpkin Cornbread at Sweet Pea’s Kitchen.  Huzzah!  The recipe wasn’t vegan, but I only had to switch out the egg to make it friendly.  Definitely not gluten-free either and I didn’t make any adjustments for that.  Maybe next time!

Crisp on the outside and warm and gooey on the inside. Perfect!

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