Saturday, November 21, 2015

Soft Ginger Cookies ♥

Good morning and welcome to what I like to call "Eat Week"! This Thursday is Thanksgiving and I've got my stretchy pants all ready go. Well, not really - but I do see elastic waste pants in my future.  All bets are off this week.  Especially since turkey dinner is my absolute favorite meal! I love the stuffing and mashed potatoes drowning in gravy, the cranberry sauce and the butternut squash.  Its all so delicious.  It's a wonder I even have room for pumpkin pie but somehow I find it. Oh dear....yup....elastic waste pants are definitely going to be must! : )  

When I was a kid I don't remember being that crazy about Thanksgiving.  I think as a small child I thought of it as just a warm up to Christmas, except with no presents. I saw relatives I hadn't seen in while and my mom would buy nuts and weird fruit that hadn't been around since last Thanksgiving. I have very vivid memories of watching The Wizard of Oz.  It used to be on every Thanksgiving night and I waited all year for it.  It was a major treat! ♥
It wasn't until I got older did I realize how wonderful a holiday it actually is.  It's a holiday all about families & friends getting together to celebrate thankfulness and all the blessings in our lives.  What a wonderful thought.  Especially with all the sadness and suffering in the world, I am continually reminding myself how very blessed I am and remember to be grateful everyday.  No matter what - there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for. And if I get to do that over turkey with a glass of wine, even better ♥

I made a batch of these soft ginger cookies last week to bring to work.  They were so good that I decided to bring them to Thanksgiving dinner this year.  They were really easy to make and made the whole house smell like gingerbread while they were baking.  If that doesn't get you in the holiday spirit I don't know what will. ♥
(Public Service Announcement: if you want to make friends at up with cookies : )
Recipe from Grandmother's Kitchen (how could I resist?)
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened (no substitute)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons sugar, plus additional to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Combine flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer beat butter for 30 seconds. 
Add sugar and beat until fluffy. 
Add eggs and molasses.  
Beat well.  
Add half of the flour mixture; beat until combined.
Stir in remaining flour with a wooden spoon.

Shape into 1 inch balls.

Roll in sugar. 
Place on ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart and bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes or until light brown and puffed. 

Sprinkle  tops with sugar.  Let cool on cookie sheet 2 minutes.  Transfer to wire rack to cool. 

They taste just like a ginger snap except soft and chewy. MMMM!
I hope you make a batch and share with someone you love ♥
Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Eat Week to all!!! 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Pumpkin Biscotti ♥ You can run, but you can't hide (from cookies! : )

Happy November 1st!

Last night was Halloween.  We spent the night trick or treating with great friends around their neighborhood and then went out to dinner afterwards.  Turns out everyone loves a "hot dog" and we came home with boat loads of candy!

The weather was gorgeous - crisp and cold with a smell of burning wood in the air.  It reminded me of one of those perfect Halloween night's when I was a kid.  That happy smile lasted all night ♥

The colors have been absolutely gorgeous lately.  My yard is a painting of reds and oranges.  It's a shame the leaves have to fall so quickly.  I wish they would stay longer.  I'm sure my hubby wishes that too, since he's the one in charge of the raking. LOL

The mornings have been freezing.  Have you ever noticed how much better your coffee (or tea) tastes on a cold morning? That first sip is magical.  You can feel it all the way down to your toes. For me, it's heavenly.  Especially with it being so dark now, it's harder and hard to get out of a warm bed.  I just want to stay in my pj's and watch I Love Lucy all day. 

About two weeks ago I was in the mood for something pumpkin so John and I made these pumpkin biscotti cookies together.  He's been helping me a lot in the kitchen lately.  And even though things take extra long and the mess is.....very big.... I really hope he's leaning something that will stay with him, because let's face it - there's nothing like a cute guy who can cook  ♥  Am I wrong?

Anyway, they came out really yummy..... here's the recipe:

2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of ginger
pinch of cloves
pinch of salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven 350 degrees.
Sift together flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, and spices into a large bowl.
In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla.  Pour the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture.  Give it a rough stir to generally incorporate  the ingredients.  The dough will be crumbly. 

Flour your hands and a clean kitchen surface and lightly knead the dough.  Lightly grease a baking sheet or line it parchment paper.  Form the dough into a large log, roughly about 15-20 inches by 6-7 inches. The loaves should be relatively flat, only about 1/2 inch high.  Bake for 22-30 minutes, until the center is firm to the touch. 
**Feel free to form two smaller logs instead, just cut the baking time to 18-24 minutes.  That's what I did **

Let biscotti cool for 15 minutes and then using a serrated knife to cut into 1 inch wide pieces.  Turn the oven to 300 degrees and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes.  Cool completely. 

If you like your biscotti more crunchy vs. chewy, let them sit uncovered overnight in a dry space. 

We decided after they were done to add a little chocolate, so I melted some chocolate chips in the microwave and we got dippin'.....
They were delicious with or without the chocolate.  Perfect with coffee on a cold fall day. 
I want to make up another batch of these for a party that I am going to next week. 
The eat fest has officially begun and will not end until January 1st.  You can try, but you can't hide from it!
The best thing to do is take advantage of the nice days and go for long walks, breath in the fresh air, and enjoy the season before it gets too cold to go out.  Try to burn off all those Kit Kats, peanut butter cups, and in my case - pumpkin biscottis  : )
It's a losing battle, but good luck anyway! ♥♥♥