Posts made in November 29th, 2012

vanilla cardamom spritz cookies

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Posted on Nov 29, 2012 in Food

Is your holiday baking in full swing yet? Mine is. It may seem a little early to some folks, but my family long ago decided to celebrate our “family Christmas” ahead of the actual holiday. We’re a totally blended group—I have three half siblings—so celebrating a week early frees up Christmas Eve and Christmas Day for everyone to visit the other sides of their family (including in-laws since we’re all married, too). It works out quite nice. It allows Craig and I to celebrate with my family the weekend before Christmas and still head up to Canada and hang out with his family on Christmas Day (which we did for the past two years, but couldn’t quite swing this year).

But anyway, the baking has started. And a new addition to my Christmas cookie repertoire this year—Spritz cookies.

Spritz cookies are nothing new for a lot of folks— especially around the holidays—but they were never something we made in my family. So when my awesome friends at BigKitchen.com offered to hook me up with a cookie press from Kuhn Rikon, I jumped at the chance to start a new holiday baking tradition.

I’ve never used a cookie press before—and was admittedly a little intimidated—but it was insanely easy and incredibly fun. It’s like a gun…that shoots out cookies. Perfect, adorable little bite-sized cookies. I think the world be a much better place if all the guns in the world shot out tiny cookies.

The standard Spritz cookie recipe is just your basic sugary, buttery, vanilla cookie, which is deliciously simple, but can be a little lackluster—especially when it’s put up next to all the other delicious treats on the dessert table at holiday gatherings. But by adding a bit of ground cardamom, the cookies go from ho-hum to out-of-this world. The cardamom isn’t overwhelming, but gives just enough of a flavorful kick to be interesting and addictive.

Spritz cookie dough comes together super speedy with only a few ingredients, but the consistency is key. Too tough and it wont come out of the press, too runny and it’ll come out in globs. To make sure I got it just right, I followed the recipe from Kuhn Rikon to a “T” and it was spot on. Those folks know what they’re talking about! The biggest key? Egg size. Make sure you use only a large egg in this. Bigger and the dough is too soupy and smaller are it’s tough as a brick.

Vanilla Cardamom Spritz Cookies

by Kuhn Rikon

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Makes: 4 dozen cookies, 1 cookie per serving

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • Sprinkles and colored sugar for decorating

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Combine butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Cream at medium-high speed until light colored and fluffy.
  3. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in egg, vanilla, cardamom and salt. Then add flour until well-mixed.
  4. Grab a handful of the dough and roll it into a thick snake shape, pack into the barrel of the cookie press and fit press with desired disk design. Press trigger until dough is packed in and no air pockets exist in barrel.
  5. To make cookies, hold cookie press perpendicular to an ungreased cookie sheet with the end of the press touching the cookie sheet. Press the trigger once, remove press and repeat for each cookie—spacing them about 1″ apart. Decorate with sprinkles and then bake in preheated oven for 7-10 minutes or until edges of cookies just barely begin to brown. Let cool for 1-2 minutes on cookie sheet, then transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.
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Want to win your very own Kuhn Rikon cookie press just like the one I have? Come back tomorrow afternoon a checkout my Friday Freebie post!

 

bthr book club: december book announcement

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Posted on Nov 29, 2012 in Lifestyle

Alright, we have a winner for our inaugural BTHR book club selection. After a few weeks of voting, you guys picked The Book Thief by Markus Zusak!

You can buy the book through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Half.com. Also, make sure to check out your local library! That’s where I’m getting mine from. It’s a quite popular book, so many libraries will have multiple copies (mine has 12!).

Now go secure your copy and get to reading! On December 27th, feel free to post your own review of the book to your blog, and then come back here and we’ll all get together for a discussion and link up party. I’ll bring the virtual wine.

Happy reading!

P.S. I did hear that some folks had issue with the polling plugin, so I’ll definitely make sure to work on that for next month’s poll. I’m also working on a new robust comments plug-in that will give you guys more options when it comes to subscribing to follow-up comments. Which will hopefully make our upcoming book discussion more user-friendly. To come!