In My Defense

December 21, 2008


Did I say I was done with the holiday baking?  Well, whoops.  As it turns out, I was done with the Christmas baking.  Never—not once—did I mention Hanukkah baking, which, you know, is completely different.  So, I confess, we celebrated Hanukkah this weekend with Kevin’s family and I made rugelach.   (It just might be time for an intervention.  My name is Kristin and I cannot stop the holiday baking.  Surely there is a support group for this?)  I waffled between the recipe I used last year, a pinwheel recipe and a recipe by Dorie Greenspan.  In the end, the third of these won.  I couldn’t resist the traditional shape: cute little spiraled nuggets, fillings seeping out around the edges.


Into the cream cheese dough, I tucked apricot preserves, dried cranberries, chopped pecans and bits of bittersweet chocolate, but you should feel free to play around with the combination.  These cookies, old-timey and imperfect, are fun to make and even more fun to eat: what, with the flaky pastry and jammy, tart insides.  The bits of chocolate here and there don’t hurt either (and I know chocolate’s not traditional but Dorie said I could).  Because I’ve got about a billion things to do before we leave for Minnesota on Tuesday night (But no more baking.  Seriously.  I swear.), I’ll leave you with step-by-step photos after the jump:

Read the rest of this entry »


My chief complaint with the iPhone is that it is entirely unconducive to cradling on your shoulder while you, say, make dinner and talk to your mom at the same time.  It’s nothing like the receiver of the phone that used to hang in my family’s kitchen (rotary! oh, the horror when my friends came over!).  That one was dumbell shaped and clunky, but my mom could cook an entire dinner with it pinched between her ear and shoulder, the curly cord stretching from the stove to the sink to the table and back again.


The iPhone?  Not so much.  On Sunday as I was cleaning up after yet another baking project, I called my mom.  Before I could even get past the obligatory “What did you have for dinner?” question, the phone slipped out of it’s awkward position bewteen my cheek and clavicle, causing me to drop a (brand new) bottle of vanilla (extra large, extra expensive) on the counter, where it promptly shattered.  Which is when I started cursing.  Which is when I hung up the phone.  Which is when I vowed that the holiday baking was OVER.

Read the rest of this entry »

Homespun Edge

December 11, 2008


Okay, people, let’s hear it: how are you holding up?  Is cookie fatigue setting in?  I mean in your own kitchens, though I suppose you could catch a slight case of cookie fatigue just from hanging around here this week.  First it was pistachio-dried cherry cookies and then it was chocolate-espresso snowcaps.  And now it’s these peanut butter pinwheels, which—let me tell you—nearly gave me cookie fatigue and them some.  In fact, it had me ready to throw in the spatula.



Thankfully, I recovered and the confections will continue to emerge from the oven.  But for a short time on Sunday, when I made these stripey cookies, it was dicey.   You see, I committed the cardinal sin of cooking/baking: I didn’t read the recipe through before baking the cookies.  There, I said it.

Read the rest of this entry »


December 9, 2008


These cookies are a little bit magic, I think. They bring out your inner-child, if nothing else. For one thing, you get to arm yourself with a cool tool, the spring-loaded ice cream scoop:


And with that scoop, you get to sweep through a bowl of chocolate cookie dough, gathering up a perfect tablespoon of dough and leaving wavy streaks in your wake:


Read the rest of this entry »

And … It’s Christmas

November 30, 2008


During our Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday afternoon, somewhere between the ooh’s and ahh’s and mmm’s and chatter and laughter, a silence settled over the table. Maybe it was turkey coma or maybe the frenetic holiday pace was taking its toll. Whatever the case, the silence didn’t last long. Soon, a cheerful Christmas carol wafted into the dining room from a stereo in the next room. I put down my fork and said, “And … it’s Christmas!”


I was only partly kidding. The holiday season is in full swing and I’ve been whisked up in it. Thanksgiving has melted into Christmastime and that means one thing: it’s time to bake. Candies, cookies, caramel corn, sweet-and-spicy nuts. Really, anything that can be slipped into a glassine bag, tied with a shiny ribbon and bestowed upon your favorite someones.

Read the rest of this entry »