Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

‘Tis the Season for Cookie Swapping

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

To all of my loyal readers (besides Mom & Dad)…

I sincerely apologize for not blogging for the past few months and sharing my food adventures solely through Instagram. Fall has been hectic, living up the post-grad life and discovering what the “real world” truly is. But alas, it’s a weak excuse. And for that, I am giving the gift of a promise this year: a promise to have the redesigned wikiKitchen up and running in January!

But a promise is only worth so much. So I decided to treat a few fellow food bloggers by participating in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap and taking it one step further. What beats receiving a dozen cookies from a stranger in the mail? Receiving an assortment of cookies from a stranger in the mail! Baking five different kinds of cookies in one day is no easy task though, so I partnered up with my mom so her swap-mates could also enjoy the variety of cookies (and yes, she really does refer to me as “the spawn” on her blog).

So, what did my lucky swap-mates (Melissa’s Cuisine, Bonibella, and Aubrey of Real Housemoms) receive? (Click the images for recipes!)

  • Cocoa Almond Cookies – A must-have for those who like nutella but love Trader Joe’s cocoa almond spread (remember to substitute it in the recipe!)
  • Meyer Lemon Butter Cookies – A melt-in-your-mouth kind of cookie (my mom’s fave!)
  • Pistachio Fudge – An easy-to-make holiday treat
  • Red Velvet Shortbread Cookies – A festive cookie that can be easily customized when it comes to shapes & lettering

And for the final cookie, saving best for last: Brown Butter Snickerdoodle Cookies. When we read they were the best snickerdoodles in the world, we had to try them! Let me tell you, brown butter really does make the world of baking a better place. The few leftovers we had of these snickerdoodles were the first of the cookie assortment to go in our house! But I can’t blame ’em. These cookies achieve perfection when it comes to texture and flavor.

And for those of you wondering what I received in the mail? Lemon crinkle cookies (and chocolate-covered almond toffee!) from Sushi Day (a fellow UC Irvine anteater – zot zot!), vanilla crescent cookies from Bailey Bakes, and chocolate peppermint crackle cookies from A Kitchen Addiction.

Stay tuned for the wikiKitchen redesign! But until then, enjoy the world’s best brown butter snickerdoodle cookies.

Brown Butter Snickerdoodle Cookies
From Ambitious Kitchen
Makes 18-24 cookies

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon of salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
1¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon plain greek yogurt

For rolling mixture:
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and salt in a bowl and set aside. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. The butter will begin to foam. Make sure you whisk consistently during this process. After a couple of minutes, the butter will begin to brown on the bottom of the saucepan; continue to whisk and remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to brown and give off a nutty aroma. Immediately transfer the butter to a bowl to prevent burning. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.

With an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yolk, vanilla, and yogurt until combined. Add the dry ingredients slowly and beat on low-speed just until combined.

Chill your dough for 3 hours or as long as possible in the refrigerator, or place in freezer for 30 minutes if you are super eager (this is what I did seeing as I had four other types of cookies to make in the same oven!).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Once dough is chilled measure about 2 tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball. Meanwhile mix 1/4 cup sugar and the 2 teaspoons cinnamon in a bowl. Roll balls in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place dough balls on cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.

Bake the cookies 8-11 minutes or until the edges of the cookies begin to turn golden brown. They will look a bit underdone in the middle, but will continue to cook once out of the oven. Bake longer if you like crispier cookies. Cool the cookies on the sheets at least 2 minutes. Remove the cooled cookies from the baking sheets after a few minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.


You’re Invited: Earth Day Trash Bash

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

I wouldn’t say I’m the savviest when it comes to going green, so I usually don’t celebrate Earth Day. But I am a huge fan of using recyclables to make clever, crafty things. So this year, I decided to throw a craft-themed Earth Day party so my friends and I could celebrate by reducing, reusing, recycling and most importantly, getting crafty! And you can’t throw an Earth Day Trash Bash without some appropriately themed food. Remember these old-school dirt cups with gummy worms? For tips on how to throw an Earth Day Trash Bash of your own, check out my article over at Small Kitchen College!


Eat Under $10: Budget Corned Beef & Cabbage

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Being away at college every year for St. Patty’s Day really gets me missing my dad’s corned beef and cabbage. Rather than trying to recreate this expensive and time-consuming Irish dish, I created a budget-friendly “Irish-Hungarian fusion”, which embraces both my dad’s Irish heritage and also my mom’s Eastern European roots. To do this, I deconstructed corned beef and cabbage and reassembled it into something similar to my mom and grandma’s Hungarian specialty: stuffed cabbage rolls. Read the story behind this recipe for Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Mustard Sauce and Carrots on Small Kitchen College. As my little green-clad buddies might say, “They’re magically delicious!”

Comments Off on Eat Under $10: Budget Corned Beef & Cabbage

Coolhaus Holiday Party: Ice Cream Sammies, Drinks, & a Cranky Santa

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Last night I got a chance to attend the Coolhaus/Eater LA Ugly Sweater Hot Chocolate Launch Storefront Warming Party at the recently opened Coolhaus storefront in Culver City (thanks to my mom’s winning hot chocolate flavor idea submission!). If you haven’t heard of it yet, Coolhaus is a new gourmet ice cream sandwich business that has flavor combinations named after famous architects and architectural movements. Wonder where the name Coolhaus comes from? It originates from the Bauhaus modernist design movement, Rem Koolhaas (a famous Dutch Architect), and “cool house” (which is what an ice cream sandwich basically is with a cookie roof and floor with ice cream walls).



When the Easter Bunny Goes on a Diet

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

Eggs Benedict: a brunch specialty of an English muffin half topped with a slice of Canadian bacon, a poached egg, and a drizzle of Hollandaise sauce. How did this lovely combination come to be? Now that’s a mystery. While there are several myths about the origin of eggs Benedict, the most popular myth claims that the idea came from a hungover Wall Street broker named Lemuel Benedict, who was desperately looking for a cure to his hangover in 1894 at the Waldorf Hotel. After Benedict piled bacon and poached eggs on top of buttered toast and topped it with Hollandaise sauce, Oscar Tschirky, the maître d’hôtel, altered Benedict’s concoction and replaced the toast with a toasted English muffin and the bacon with Canadian bacon. (more…)