Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Grandma's Sand Tarts

This is a family recipe that my mom always made around Christmas time, which she got from her mom (my Grandma) who always made them around this time too. They are similar to sugar cookies but don't have any baking soda or powder so they don't really rise. They are simple and easy to make, but incredibly delicious. We call them Sand Tarts.

Sand Tarts Recipe

Makes about 30 cookies

2 cups sugar
2 1/2 sticks butter
2 eggs + 1 egg white for egg wash
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups flour
8 oz almonds, peeled
Powdered sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Begin by placing the almonds in a pot of boiling water for 1-2 minutes, until the skin comes off easily. Peel all of the almonds and set aside.
In a large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla until combined. Slowly add in the flour. On a board with powdered sugar to prevent the dough from sticking, roll out the dough until pretty thin, about 1/4 inch thick. Cut dough into squares and transfer to a cookie sheet either greased or with parchment paper.
Combine the egg white with 1 tablespoon of water and brush the cookies with it. Sprinkle with sugar. Place one peeled almond in the center and push a little hard so that the almond is stuck in the dough. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until edges begin to brown.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Eve, Breakfast, and Hiking

Last night my family and I went to my favorite restaurant in Park City, and the one we go to every year, Grappa. 

I had Cinnamon Roasted Beet Salad and Red Snapper with Spinach Ravioli.

For dessert we had Tiramisu, Italian Cookies, and a pretty cheese plate.

It was all delicious :)

For breakfast I made Ina Garten's Herb Baked Eggs, which were absolutely delicious!

Then we went on a family hike. It was warm and beautiful, and so much fun.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Pumpkin Pancakes

These pumpkin pancakes are fluffy and delicious, and perfect for a big family breakfast. If you let the batter sit for a few minutes before cooking it the pancakes will be even fluffier. Definitely serve with maple syrup as it really brings out the pumpkin taste!

Pumpkin Pancakes Recipe
Makes about 12-14 pancakes

1 3/4 cups milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

Maple syrup, butter for serving

Combine the milk, pumpkin puree, eggs, vegetable oil, and vanilla in a large bowl. In a separate bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir to combine.
Pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto a greased skillet or pan. Cook until both sides are browned and the inside is cooked.
Serve with maple syrup or butter, or anything you like.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy :)

I've been busy skiing, running, baking, cooking, reading, wrapping presents, spending time with my family and having some pretty amazing dinners. So basically, I am having a wonderful winter break :) And I can't believe that tomorrow is Christmas Eve! My family has some pretty great traditions that I can't wait to do and share with everyone!
Here are a few photos of my last few days.

 These are amazing cookies (jam filled soft cookies) that I made from a blog I follow (Eat Live Run) -

Skiing - 

Dinner - 

Dessert - 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Chocolate Dipped Orange Snowflake Cookies

These cookies were inspired by an orange cookie I had at the restaurant Sunroom Cafe in Madison. I bought the cookie, meaning to have one bite and save it for later, but it disappeared within 10 minutes. I also wanted to make these cookies today because yesterday I bought a new cookie cutter - a snowflake! I think that these cookies are so cute, especially half dipped in chocolate! Enjoy

Chocolate Dipped Orange Snowflake Cookies Recipe
Makes about 18 cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
3.4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp milk
2 tsp orange juice
1 tsp orange extract
1 tablespoon orange zest
Powdered sugar for rolling out dough

8 oz semi sweet chocolate
1 tbsp heavy cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in a large bowl of electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat until combined. Add egg, milk, orange juice, orange zest, and orange extract. Gradually add the flour and beat until dough is combined.
Roll out the dough on a large surface sprinkled with powdered sugar to about 1/4 inch thick. Place cookies on a cookie sheet with parchment paper, and bake for 9-1 minutes. 
Allow cookies to cook while you make the chocolate.

Place half the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30-40 seconds. Add the rest of the chocolate and cream, and stir until completely melted. (If the chocolate is too thick you can put it in the microwave again or add more cream.)

Once the cookies are cool

Family Dinner

Yesterday I got to cook my first real dinner since I've been back! I woke up early and had a great breakfast with my mom, then we went to Whole Foods.

I forgot to take pictures of some of the food :( We also made French String Beans and Pan Roasted Cherry tomatoes, and Rack of Lamb Persillade. (All of the recipes are Ina Garten) But here is what I did get pictures of. 

Parmesan and Thyme Crackers

Vegetable Provencal Soup

Potato and Fennel Gratin

Ginger Cookies

It was a great dinner and a really fun night :)

French Toast Breakfast

French toast is a great breakfast or brunch, especially when you have people over. It is easy and really yummy. A few days ago I made this french toast, which is an adaptation of Ina Garten's Challah French Toast.

Recipe for French Toast
Serves: 4-6

6 extra-large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla
1 tablespoon good honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
Bread (slightly dry is best)
confectioners sugar for dusting

Combine eggs, milk, orange zest, vanilla, honey, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Soak the bread in the mixture, turning once to make sure it is completely coated. Cook in a pan or skillet (sprayed with non-stick spray) for 2-3 minutes on each side, until the outsides are brown and inside is soft but not mushy. Dust with confectioners sugar and serve with maple syrup, fresh fruit, jam, or anything you like.