Monday, December 12, 2016

Christmas Cookies Part 1

It's the most wonderful time of the year!!!

Christmas is less than 2 weeks away. I can not believe how fast it has come. There is always something magical about this time of year. There's just more happiness in the air. And as much as I love Christmas, I don't want it to come yet because I don't want it to be over!

So far my family has done the following to celebrate the holiday season...

Visited a Christmas tree farm
Sat on Santa's lap ( the kids not me )
Saw Santa's reindeer
Decorated our Christmas tree
Watched the classic Christmas movies (Frosty the Snowman & Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer)
Put up our Christmas lights
Wrapped gifts and put them under the tree
Started an advent calendar and then lost said calendar 

But now for the best part of all. BAKING. I love love love baking for my family.


I mean literally just a perfect excuse to make and eat dozens of cookies. Today I am making one of my own favorites which are the Italian rainbow cookies. And one of my husband's favorites the peanut butter cookies with the Hershey kisses on top. Also, known as the Santa hat cookies.

Every year I always say that I am going to attempt to make rainbow cookies but never do because they are a little bit of work. But this year they are my mission. Since I have never made them before I didn't have a recipe so this one is inspired by allrecipes which I have included the link below.  Rainbow Cookie Recipe 

What we need

8 ounces almond paste
1 cup butter at room temp.
1 cup sugar
4 eggs (separated)
2 cups flour
6 drops red food coloring
8 drops green food coloring
1/4 cup seedless red raspberry jam
1/4 cup apricot preserve

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (melted)

Step 1
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line three 9x13 inch baking pans with parchment paper.

Step 2
In a large bowl, break apart almond paste with a fork, and cream together with butter, sugar, and egg yolks. When mixture is fluffy and smooth, stir in flour to form a dough. In a small bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold egg whites into the dough. Divide dough into 3 equal portions. Mix one portion with red food coloring, and one with green food coloring. Spread each portion into one of the prepared baking pans.

TIP- I only had two 9x13 baking pans so I baked the first 2 layers and had to wait to bake the last layer. However, I found that as the dough got to closer to room temperature while waiting, it was much easier to spread the last layer onto the baking sheet. Next time I will leave all 3 portions of dough for 15 minutes before spreading onto the parchment paper baking sheet.

Step 3
Bake 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until lightly browned. Carefully remove from pan and parchment paper, and let cool.

Step 4
Place green layer onto a piece of foil large enough to wrap all three layers. Spread green layer with raspberry jam, and top with uncolored layer. Spread with apricot jam, and top with pink layer. Transfer layers to a baking sheet, and enclose with plastic wrap. Place a heavy cutting board on top of wrapped layers to compress. Chill in the refrigerator overnight.

TIP- I was afraid that when I was assembling the layers together that they were going to break apart. So instead of trying to peel them off the parchment paper, I flipped the layer face down and then peeled the parchment paper off the top! It worked great!

I know I know it doesn't look so pretty! YET! I was a little concerned myself!

Step 5
Remove foil. Top with melted chocolate chips, and refrigerate 1 hour, or until chocolate is firm. Slice into small squares to serve.


Now for the Santa Hat Cookies! These are super easy!

Of course I realize that I do not have vegetable oil. So I am going to substitute that with coconut oil.

All you need is
Peanut Butter Cookie Mix
1 egg
1 tablespoon of water
3 tablespoon of coconut oil (melted)

Step 1
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. I lined my baking sheet with parchment paper because it just makes it so much easier.

Step 2 
Mix all ingredients together.

TIP- If you are using coconut oil instead of vegetable oil, make sure that the water and egg are room temperature so that it does not cause the melted coconut oil to harden. I first mixed in the egg and water a little bit before adding the coconut oil.

Step 3
Shape dough into balls and place 2 inches apart on ungreased or lined cookie sheet. Use fork to flatten cookies into crisscross pattern.

Step 4
Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, depending on the cookie size. Or until edges are light golden brown. I made large ones this time. 

Step 5 
When cookies come out of the oven, top each one with a Hershey's kiss.


Now we can eat them :)

We had a such a good day together. I had my little audience while I baked. Baby girl even wanted to help!

Still more time to bake more cookies!!!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Homemade cough drops but not !!

So I've been battling a cold the last week or so. Basically, can I get away with not going to the doctor and just will away the sickness?!

As I was laying in bed, resting and browsing through Pinterest, I came across a recipe for homemade cough drops.

I, of course, watch the video and think to myself... that looks pretty easy.

Realize I don't have half the ingredients and that I am way too lazy to try to do this right now. I mean I am sick and don't want to move.

So anyways, I have some raw honey from this fabulous place in Florida and have an idea. I pull out some wax paper and make droplets of honey and throw it into a freezer. Now I don't actually think this is going to work but I'm like maybe it will freeze?!

Well, it did not freeze. 

BUT!!!!  It was very, very soothing on my throat to scoop it off the paper by the spoonful and eat it :)

So it was a fail but not a complete fail!!! Cold honey drops for a sore throat for the win :)

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Happy December!

YES! The very best part of winter is the holiday season! It is upon us!

Our family got our Christmas tree this weekend! We visited with Santa and even saw his reindeer.

Baby boy absolutely loved hanging with Santa. Baby girl couldn't get away from him fast enough. As soon as she saw him she put her hand over her eyes. She was very happy to say goodbye and couldn't blow him kisses fast enough. 

So much more to post about all the fun things to do this holiday season!