Chocolate-Dipped Espresso Shortbread cookies

22 12 2011

This one of my favorite cookie recipes I like to make at Christmas. I got the recipe out Fine Cooking’s Cookie magazine. They are so delicous and you can use any shape you want.

Here’s the recipe:

1/2 lb (1 cup) of cold unsalted butter, cut in 1/2 inch pieces

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 tsp salt

10 oz (2 1/4 cups) all purpose flour

2 tbsp. finely ground espresso beans

10 oz (2 1/4 cups) all purpose flour

For the dipping chocolate:

9 oz of semi sweet chocolate

1 Tbsp. vegetable shortening

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer), combine the butter, sugar and salt on low speed until the butter combines with the sugar but isn’t perfectly smooth. 1 to 2 minutes. Add the flour and ground espresso and mix on low speed, scraping the bowl frequently, until the dough has just about pulled together, about 3 minutes; don’t over mix. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick. Aim for a uniform thickness to ensure even baking. Cut out shapes, press scraps together and roll out again. If the dough becomes sticky refrigerate briefly. Arrange the cookies on two parchment lined cookie sheets and refrigerate until chilled, at least 20 min. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Position trays on upper and lower thirds of oven. Bake cookies until golden on the bottom and edges and pale to golden on top. This can take 30 min to 1 hour. Rotate the pans halfway through baking to make sure they bake evenly. If the cookies are done before 30 minutes reduce temp to 275 degrees, if they take longer than an hour increase temp to 325 degrees.

Dip the baked cooled cookies.

Lay out a sheet of parchment or waxed paper on a work surface. Put the chocolate and shortening in a small heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Melt the chocolate stirring until its smooth. Do not get any water in the chocolate or it will seize. Dip half of each cookie into the chocolate. Set the cookies on the prchment and let the chocolate set up at room temperature, about two hours.

Advertisements




My first gingerbread house

19 12 2011

I’ve been trying to find the time to post for Christmas but the holidays have bee n crazy.  I made my first gingerbread house from scratch this year.  I have only made one before in my life and it was when I was much younger and I did it with my grandma.  She died a number of years ago and I always think of her this time of year.  So I decided to take a some of my memories and keep them well.  Baking with her is what we did she.  There wasn`t anything that she couldn`t do.  Seriously she was a amazing……I wish I had photos to show all of you.  Taking this on this year I thought I was ready to show my nieces all my major skills.  That didn`t work out so well, thought I would finish two houses in one night….not possible.  Gingerbread takes time….for sure.  I hard time with making and rolling out the dough.  I doubled the batch and it didn`t turn out as smooth as I hoped apparently my mixer does not have enough horse power to handle that much dough.  My friend told my it made it more rustic….I guess it did….she is the sweetest.  So here it is…..la gingerbread house.

I went to my absolute most favorite store when it  comes to this stuff…. Scoop n Save.  I  bought the chocolat rocks for the path and rock candy for the chimney.  I also grabbed the snazzy plastic reindeer and trees.

Ok…I know they are bit kitschy but I love them and how great would these trees and deer be in a snow globe DIY.  They deer was 50 cents and the trees were 35 cents. CHEAP.

I cut out the window openings then crushed up some Kerr clear hard candies for the windows. Baked at 350 degrees till the melted.  I love how they just look like frosted windows.

He looks so serious, eh.  Candy is serious business.  Mike (my husband) asked informed me that mushroom do not grow in the winter time.  I told him that coconut covered mushrooms grow in magical gingerbread forest where plastic reindeer live……duh.

Next year I am not playing around.  I am going to work on piping skills and my nieces are going to have some serious memories that they will be able to pass on….and my sons.  Their future wives will be so impressed!





It’s “Fur” Christmas

29 10 2011

Keep fur on your decorating must haves list. I have found these beauties for you can use when warming your home up for the Christmas season!

This is a seriously gorgeous stocking! I found this on Habitat…a UK site. I would love a bunch a different colors to hang around the fireplace!

This would look sooo good under my tree! Tree skirt is from Arcadia Home.

Wine needs to keep warm too…..fur coat is from Pottery Barn. (the Santa hat is pretty adorable too…great way to dress up a hostess gift)

Why not my whole bed? Looks heavenly…..love Restoration Hardware!

More from Restoration Hardware….. love the coloring in these pillows

Hot water bottles from Restoration Hardware

A very luxe throw from Zgallerie

Pellicia pillow from Crate and Barrel

Some more beautiful throws from West Elm.

And finally……this gorgeous table runner from ZGallerie….love.

Hope you enjoyed and are inspired to cozy up for winter!





Christmas

15 10 2011

So here it is……my first Christmas post. Yes, it’s only October and I should be thinking about Halloween but I’m not. Especially because I know I need to order what I want in November so I can I have it all for December 1. Christmas time gives me the opportunity to completely justify the redecorating of my whole house. Usually I can slip in some paint and some other little reno that I can completely justify to Mike. He is so good at letting go off on my whirlwind of holiday bliss.

So here’s a little inspiration to get you in the festive mood……


Feathers ornaments are so beautiful and I love how you can easily make a DIY project out of them. The large assortment of feathers on the top left can be found at Seltzer Studios I found the beautiful feather wrapped ornament at John Lewis , Red Book Magazine showed the large grouping as aDIY for a table chandelier. Made by Roost you can find the feather porcelain ornaments at Out of Gray. The single peacock ornment is sold at Crate and Barrel.

I love owls….like LOVE them. They are so beautiful and I REALLY love them in my Christmas decor. Starting at the top left here is where I found these beauties. Cute little fluffy owl (branch not included) at West Elm. the Pearl white owl is from John Lewis. The winter owl tree topper I CANNOT find anywhere. However….last year I became completely obsessed with having this owl on top of my tree. So I bought a white feathered owl from a store, ordered some feathers, glued them on and ended up with a pretty close comparible. It was a fun project…although very messy (feathers EVERYWHERE and Mike was a “bit” annoyed with me). Ok…ridiculously cute fluffy owl I found on Trendy Tree. This site has a lot of cute owls, birds, etc you can find….and my favourite part about this site….not expensive. For those of you who do not want to turn there house into a feathery disaster, Pottery Barn has come out with their own version this year. He is cute….very woodlandish.

I really like simple non fussy decorations. Decorations that have a handmade feel (whether I made them or not) . What a really like about all of these is that although they have a rustic, primitive feel to them they all feel very modern. Starting with the lovely papiere mache deer i found at West Elm. The fabric wrapped ornments on Etsy are so simple. I love the way the fabric gives them such a nice texture. The string ornaments are a DIY on Martha Stewart’s website…I love you Martha. Wired stars are fabulous, I really love their shape. You can find those on the Garnet Hill site. House stocking hook is from Crate and barrel. Silver temple bells, Vivaterra. The final bunch I found on a Danish site calle Oi Soi Oi. I don’t think you can buy these but I love how they show you can make beautiful Christmas decoration from unexpected materials.

These are SO pretty. It never ceases to amaze me the impact one word, or on black and white image can have. The german glitter frame , I found on Pottery Barn, is just beautiful. I love trees and the sparkle they added is just perfect. The She Loves Christmas ornament hits a personal note for me. It is made by Beth Quinn, blogger, jewlery maker. She is so talented….definitely worth exploring her shop and her blog. The book ornament is made by Brookish on Etsy. I love how you can capture your favourite words on something you can bring out once a year, this particular one is Pride and Prejudice. Okay the music sheet ornament is BRILLIANT. It is photocopies of christmas sheet music decoupaged onto a glass ball. I am doing White Christmas FOR SURE! The typepad ornaments can be found on Ornamental, another fantastic blogger and Etsy shop owner.

Oh my goodness…..I can’t get enough of any of these! You’ll either love or hate these. I honestly cannot get enought of the mermaids! Mermaids and deer are from Plasticland (very cool site). Bear cup (and other varities are on Modcloth. Flying pig (oh my goodness….can you stand it???) is sold on Vivaterra. Jackalope jewelery holder, Seltzer Studios. These white nesting doll are actually measuring cups, can be purchased from Urban Outfitters.

Okay…..this is it for now. I am already thinking of a million other things I need to blog about for Christmas! Hope you enjoyed!








%d bloggers like this: