Monthly Archives: December 2010

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

Wishing you all a merry Christmas and a wonderful time during the holidays.  I hope Santa has found you and hope good health, happiness and good luck follow you during the New Year.

For the last two weeks I have been on a baking kick and today, after a 5 AM roll call to see what Santa might have dropped by, I went right back to baking.  I have been trying out new recipes from America’s Test Kitchen while looking for unique cookies.  With that in mind I started with the Orange Gingerbread Cookies with Rum Glaze.  Orange Gingerbread Rum Cookies   In general, I love anything baked with ginger and oranges and wanted to see if I could make a passable ginger cookie.

I mixed the ingredients as noted by the recipe and hit a wall when I came to the refrigeration part.  I like instant gratification, dough to cookie within 20 minutes max, so I was a little bummed when I read that I had to refrigerate the dough for 15-20 minutes.  I read further only to find out I had to roll the dough to 1/4 inch thickness and stick it into the freezer on cookie sheets (insert groan here).  I did the rolling and got two cookie sheets of dough and…my cookie sheets did not fit into my freezer, they were too long!  Tried again after completely emptying a shelf and still too long.  I carefully slid the rolled out dough with the parchment and laid it down with a slight crease into the empty shelf sans the cookie sheet.  Did the same for the second piece right onto the first piece.

20 minutes later I pulled the dough out with no incidents – sigh of relief – only to find out all my cookie cutters have disappeared!  Did I tell you that Mr. Little likes to clean, which is very nice.  But, everytime he cleans things simply disappear never to be found again.  Well, he had cleaned again.  I found a coffee mug that I thought would work and started cutting out cookies.

Baking the cookies was easy but I had to be careful not to over bake them as the appeal for this recipe is having the cookies maintain a soft and chewy texture.   Orange Gingerbread Rum Cookies   The rum glaze ties the whole thing together with a wonderful subtle kick.  Overall, this was an easy recipe that produced a light and not-too-sweet cookie with a grown up flavor.  I will make these cookies again but I plan on doubling the recipe and making my cookies slightly smaller.  And, just in case you are interested, here is the recipe:

  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated zest from 1 orange
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbs each of ground cinnamon & ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 12 tbs (1, 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter cut into 12 pieces & softened slightly
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 4 tbs milk
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tbs dark rum

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with  parchment paper.  Process sugar and zest together in food processor, about 30 seconds.  Add flour, spices, baking soda, and salt (process until combined).  Add butter and process until mixture is sandy, about 15 seconds.  Add molasses and 2 tablespoons milk; process until dough is evenly moistened.  Divide dough in half and roll each half to 1/4-inch thickness between two large sheets of parchment paper; freeze until firm, 15 to 20 minutes.

Peel parchment from dough.  Using 3-inch round cutter, cut cookies and place 3/4 inch apart on prepared baking sheets, gathering and rerolling scraps.  Bake until centers are set, 8 to 11 minutes, switching and rotating baking sheers halfway through baking.  Cool on sheets 5 minutes, then transfer to write rack to cool completely.

Whisk confectioner’s sugar, rum, and remaining milk together in bowl until smooth.  Spread teaspoon glaze in top of each cookie, let dry 30 minutes.  Enjoy with a cup of tea/coffee or on its own.  Orange Gingerbread Rum Cookies

Divinely Happy!

I had wanted to write about Divine Lace, a luxurious yarn spun in Italy with a 70% Mulberry Silk and 30% Cashmere content, for the last two weeks.  Little Knits Divine Lace       But, after much contemplation, we decided to take our first vacation in 7 years.  Have you ever taken a vacation with two kids under the age of 8?  Have you ever been on a plane for more than 7 hours with an extra 2 hour stop on tarmac?  Then you know what I am talking about when I say I am ready for a vacation, again. 

We flew over to the east coast to visit family and friends for Thanksgiving and while it was great it was not a real vacation.  When we got back I found that I had fallen behind by about 4 weeks.  I am almost caught up and decided it was time to post about Divine Lace

Divine is spun in Italy with the highest quality silk and cashmere and it is a dream to work with.  Little Knits Divine Lace   It feels wonderful next to skin, drapes beautifully and has a soft silky sheen.

In our search to find someone to help us dye this yarn we came across Grey Drizzle Fibers, a Seattle indie dyer that specializes in dyeing subtly variegated color-on-color hues.  Little Knits Divine Lace       The owner/dyer is meticulous with her dye work (read: obsessive), and skeins the yarn beautifully so as to make sure all colors are presented on every hank and later, winding them is a breeze.  She is a perfectionist and we like that.  Little Knits Divine Lace     Her colors have depth and show beautifully when worked but sadly the beauty of her color work is hard to show fully with photos.  So expect to be surprised pleasantly when you see Divine in person as it will be much more beautiful than the photos shown on our site.   Little Knits Divine Lace

We are also offering free shipping for Divine Lace; for U.S. minimum purchase for free shipping is 2 hanks and for everywhere else it is 4 hanks (free shipping applies to whole order).  Grey Drizzle is a small dye-shop so this is the first batch of Divine Lace we have and the next batch won’t be here for at least a couple of months. 

On a not-so-related note, I am inserting a picture of our cat Tank watching me while I take photos.  Tank is a pretty boy    I found out he was there when something nipped me on my ankle and scared me in the quiet of the night.  This little boy came to us when he was a few weeks old weighing less than a pound.  Now at about 5 months he is almost 7 pounds!  Many thanks to all of you for your cat food recommendations.  After several unsuccessful tries we have settled on Royal Canin.  Tank seems to love it and it has minimized his lethal gaseous excretions.  Tank you are the cutest cat that lives in our zip code!  :)

So those are my yarn news.  Personally speaking I am trying to get ready for the holidays and focusing on baking.  I have also increased the frequency of my gym visits as I have become a cookie monster (I am wearing my “fat jeans” as I type this paragraph).  I love sweets and Seattle weather does not help.  I also bought America’s Test Kitchen Holiday Cookies magazine and tonight I am going to try to bake at least one batch and continue to bake until I go through at least half of the recipes.   Cookies for the holidays    Just in case you are interested I will be posting the recipes that I bake right here.  Watch for a huge baking disaster as I have not been very domestic lately.