Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Recipe for Friendship in 2012

In yoga the other day, as my head and upper back fell into an easy forward bend, the instructor asked us to think about the year 2011, and to let our actions and experiences shape our vision for 2012. So, as the blood rushed into my upside down head, I did a quick review of the events and people that have made a mark on me in the past year and thought about where I am now as a result of certain events and special people. 

How awesome are these gingerbread cookies? 
photo from

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Rugelach for Chanukah

If you read the title correctly and out loud, you should be choking on a bit of phlegm right now. Take a moment to sort yourself out.

All sorted? Good.

I mentioned on Christmas that I made a yummy Jewish cookie to bring to a very non-Jewish event that happened to land on a Jewish holiday.

Rugelach are often made for Chanukah as well as other holidays because they are so delicious. The secret is in the cream cheese crust! Seriously, how smart are Jews?! We put cream cheese in everything! On our bagels, in our kugels, and in the creme de la creme of little pastry cookies — Rugelach!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Red Velvet Brownies Follow the Feast of the Seven Fishes

This year, my family celebrated Christmas Eve in the traditional Southern Italian way — by indulging in a Feast of the Seven Fishes (festa dei sette pesci) at my cousins' half Jewish, half Roman Catholic house.

While the Feast of the Seven Fishes originated with seven fish dishes, our particular feast included even more types of fish and was followed up with twice as many types of desserts, including the Red Velvet Brownies and two types of Rugelach I brought.

The dessert spread, starting with my cousin's Tiramisu cake

Monday, December 19, 2011

Fat Mint Cookies

For such small cookies, these little guys were a HUGE hit. One of my bosses (and everyone else’s boss) named these cookies when he tried to explain how much he enjoyed them: “I thought they were Fat Mints. You know? Those Girl Scout cookies?”

…he meant Thin Mints.

I couldn’t resist renaming my creation "Fat Mint Cookies" (originally Polka Dot Cookies). For these tiny, minty cookies that look like plumped up versions of my favorite Girl Scout cookies, "Fat Mints" is just the perfect name!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Oreo Truffle Surprise

Lately at work, everyone has been on edge due to fast approaching deadlines and a company-wide meeting on Friday — all of our out-of-towners are coming in for the holiday party this weekend, so our assignments are all due before they arrive.

Last Friday we all un-wound with several batches of break-and-bake chocolate chip cookies that had been sitting in the freezer in case of emergencies. Several of us also indulged in a most-epic Nerf gun war.

This week, the marketing team planned a “Blitz” day that involved all of us locking ourselves in one of the conference rooms and cranking out work through dinner. The mere thought of it made me yearn for my baking things. Unfortunately, my supply is quite limited these days. 

Lucky me, (and lucky co-workers) there has been an incredibly simple, show-stopping, NO-bake recipe floating around the food blogging world: Oreo Truffles. Requiring only 3-4 ingredients (5 if you want them to look fancy), Oreo Truffles take about 25 minutes to make, not including freeze time.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Cinnamon Chip Cupcake Ode to Firenze

Rather than bore you with a three-stanza lyrical verse, I'll just get to the point. I haven't written in over a week or baked anything new in almost as long. My apologies.

On second thought, I may still write an Ode to Firenze or something along those lines and see what I can do to link it to baking... maybe I'll write each verse on a cookie.

...I'm still working out the details in my mind, but look forward to whatever I come up with!

A View of Old Florence from Across the Arno River
I would write a verse in Italian, but the Italian vocabulary I’ve retained since my semester in Florence one year and a half ago is really pathetic. I used to be able to interpret any menu and find my way around a train station in perfect(ly flawed) Italian. Now, I can’t even remember how to say “I’d like a glass of red wine please,” which was one of the first phrases I mastered – wine is very important in Italy!