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Sunday
Dec292013

Top Recipes of 2013

White Chocolate Espresso Cake
| White Chocolate Espresso Cake |

Another year is over. I know I seem to say it each year, but these past few months have whooshed by me. Once again, I have compiled a list of this year's favorite recipes. These are recipes that I personally adore—and you do too. Often made more than once (or twice!) a season, these are the breads, rolls, cookies, and cakes that I remember long after they have disappeared from the kitchen counter.

Wishing you and yours the best in the New Year!

Bacon & Chive Beer Bread Sunflower Seed Bread Rosemary Sandwich Bread
Bacon & Chive Beer Bread | Sunflower Seed Bread | Rosemary Sandwich Bread

Pumpkin Spiced Doughnuts Cranberry Flaxseed Muffins Nutella Espresso Rolls
Pumpkin Spiced Doughnuts | Cranberry Flaxseed Muffins | Nutella Espresso Rolls

Chocolate Chunk Ginger Cookies Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies Brownie Cookies
Chocolate Chunk Ginger Cookies | Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (gluten-free) | Brownie Cookies

Black Tea Cake with Honey Buttercream Rhubarb Vanilla Pound Cake Fresh Strawberry Cake Vanilla Bean Malt Cake
Black Tea Cake with Honey Buttercream | Rhubarb Vanilla Pound Cake | Fresh Strawberry Cake | Vanilla Bean Malt Cake

Saturday
Dec212013

Christmas Sugar Cookies

Christmas Sugar Cookies

The holidays are here and time must be spent with family and friends. The days feel short lately, with so little sun and such busy evenings. I want to thoroughly enjoy every moment with loved ones—to relax and laugh, drink wine, and spend time in front of the fire—before heading back home to everyday life. For this reason, my words will be few.

It doesn't feel like Christmas until a batch of sugar cookies comes out of the oven, smelling of butter and tasting of joy. Last weekend I baked and decorated a large batch, wrapping them up in small boxes and gifting them out to those I hold dear. If there were ever a holiday for this simple, but beloved cookie, this is it.

Christmas Sugar Cookies Christmas Sugar Cookies Christmas Sugar Cookies Christmas Sugar Cookies Christmas Sugar Cookies Christmas Sugar Cookies

Over the years, I've tinkered and played with this sugar cookie recipe until I've landed on this particular version. It is everything I look for in a sugar cookie—consistent, soft, and bakes up with a smooth and even surface for decorating. A heavy hand with the vanilla, a pinch of salt, and just the right amount of sugar to be pleasing, but not overpowering. There is nothing more I could wish for in a sugar cookie and I imagine you will feel the same.

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Monday
Dec162013

Peppermint Marshmallows

Peppermint Marshmallows

The past two weeks have been dreadfully cold, as winter fully sets in up here in the North. The air is so chilled that it seems to take one's breath away, burning down the windpipe fiercely. Everyone scurries around from place to place to do last minute shopping, bundled up from head to toe in coats and scarves and mittens until nothing but red cheeks are showing. Fashion has given way to practicality. Though the wind is fierce, the earth's thick coat of white is beautiful enough to make up for winter's ferocity, at least in part.

A few degrees of warmth might make the ice and snow a bit more tolerable.

Peppermint Marshmallows Peppermint Marshmallows Peppermint Marshmallows

With all of the below zero temperatures, I have spent my time indoors, cuddled up with a hot cup of tea and an overdone holiday movie. When I have a spare bit of time, I like to find an excuse to turn on the oven, whether making a batch of my boyfriend's favorite cookies or finding an excuse to treat my coworkers.

Last weekend, I had it in my head that I would make a batch of gourmet peppermint marshmallows for the holidays. Midway through the recipe, as the sugar was wildly boiling, I came to the unfortunate realization that my candy thermometer was broken. After trying to salvage the recipe, with the sugar certainly overcooked, I ended up throwing it entirely into the trash bin.

Peppermint Marshmallows

I have never come across a recipe for marshmallows that did not require a candy thermometer. In fact, the vanilla bean marshmallows I shared with you earlier this year is one of the few recipes where I insisted you needed one. However, suddenly candy thermometer-less and with no less of a desire to make marshmallows, I began the search for a recipe that didn't require one. And find one, I did.

With a red swirl and drizzle of dark chocolate, these Peppermint Marshmallows exceeded my expectations. While they are glorious on their own, I wholeheartedly suggest adding them to a mug of hot chocolate for a moment of divinity.

Peppermint Marshmallows

These Peppermint Marshmallows are easier to prepare and less fussy than other marshmallow recipes. The addition of extra gelatin ensures that the marshmallows will set without the worry of boiling sugar to a specific temperature (as there is with traditional marshmallows). Red food coloring is dropped on top and swirled with a toothpick before the marshmallows have a chance to set. Drizzled with dark chocolate and sprinkled with crushed candy canes, the marshmallows are elevated so that they could be given as a holiday gift or served at a holiday party.

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