Thursday, December 21, 2006
I did the rest of my baking this past weekend, using the same butter cookie dough that I used for this recipe. (In fact, I even baked another batch.) For the rest of the dough, I decided to go easy on myself and skip the cut outs this year. Instead I went the slice and bake route with two flavors - pistachio and cranberry (for a little green and red flair) and cocoa nib and orange zest. I also did a batch of little thumbprints with chopped almonds and cherry jam. The flavors worked really well, and I was pleased with the tiny bite sizes. (I actually didn't make them quite small enough the first time around and had to adjust the size of my "rolls" accordingly.) I did the pistachio cranberry in little squares, and the cocoa nib and orange in rounds. They got good reviews at work, and we have been nibbling on them all week. One tip I can share - I used raw pistachios in baking instead of toasted - they have a nicer bright green color. Learned that from my pastry class.
I also made another batch of brownies, using this recipe. I was in a hurry when I started mixing up the batter, and forgot to add the vanilla. It affected the taste a little, but they are still very good. I used Scharffenberger unsweetened chocolate this time (it was on sale at Whole Foods for $5.99) and Valrhona Amer Noir (55% I believe?) for the semisweet. I couldn't believe how gorgeous the big plastic-wrapped bar of Scharffenberger was when I opened it. It will be hard (maybe impossible) to go back to Baker's Unsweetened now. Even if Scharffenberger is owned by Hershey's, it's still better than that stuff.
Last weekend we also attended one of my favorite holiday events, the Solstice Dinner hosted by James' mother Francena.
As always, the meal was delicious - Francena served pot roast, smoked turkey, couscous, green beans, zucchini with bacon, and gravy, cranberries and bread on the side. Perfect for a mid-winter's meal. The champagne and conversation were free-flowing and a good time was had by all.
As Roibin toasted, "Here's to friends and family, may they be one and the same." Here's hoping that you and yours also have a happy, memorable and indulgent holiday, filled with champagne, hot chocolate, fires in the fireplace, and lots of wonderful presents!