Monthly Archives: November 2012

Pistachio Cardamom Cookies

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These are some of the best cookies I’ve ever had. They will be made in mass quantities for Christmas. But I have to admit that it is not my recipe. I found it on Baked by Joanna. Since I didn’t have time to cook much this week and definitely didn’t have time for photos, I thought it was time to share one of my favorites from another blog. They are delightfully light, divine shortbread-like cookies. Try them. You’ll fall in love.

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cardamom
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp orange zest
1 1/2 cups pistachios (or almonds)

Directions
Coarsely chop 3/4 cup of the pistachios and bake in the oven for approximately 5 minutes until the nuts are fragrant. Remove the pistachios from the oven and transfer to a bowl to cool.

In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, salt and cardamom together. Set aside.

Combine the butter and cream cheese in a mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy, approximately 2 minutes on medium speed. Add the sugar, vanilla and orange zest and beat for an additional minute. Reduce the speed to low and begin adding the flour mixture until just combined. Remove the bowl and fold in the cooled pistachios.

Using plastic wrap, form your cookie dough into an 8-inch log. Refrigerate the dough for at least 4 hours, overnight is best.

When you are ready to bake your cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Finely chop the remaining 3/4 cup of pistachios. Unwrap the cookie dough and roll in the chopped pistachios making sure to coat the entire log. Using a knife, slice the cookies into approximately 1/4″ thick rounds. Place the sliced cookies on a parchment covered baking sheet about half an inch apart.

Bake the cookies for 18-20 minutes, until the edges are slightly golden brown. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the cookies rest on the sheet for a minute or two. Then, transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely.

UPDATE
I dip the cookies in white chocolate for added yumminess. Melt 1 cup white chocolate chips (I microwave them in a small bowl in 15 minute intervals, stirring well until melted. Or use a double boiler.) Dip one edge of the cookie into the chocolate until 1/3 to 1/2 of the cookie is covered. Place on waxed paper until chocolate hardens. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 2 1/2 dozen

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Aged Beauty

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Some things age beautifully. They settle into their surroundings with dignity and grace. I am not one of these things! But this old gristmill at Reed Spring near my hometown in Missouri is. Reed Spring Mill is in the southeastern Missouri town of Centerville in Reynolds County, near the Black River on the edge of the Mark Twain National Forest. I think it is beautiful.

How are you aging?

Italian Cream Cake Recipe

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This is one of the yummiest cakes I have ever tasted. I found this recipe online several years ago and we have changed it to fit our family. It is a great holiday recipe, but it is also the perfect dessert for a family get together, take to a life group, or deliver as a thank-you gift.

Ingredients for cake
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup shortening
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 egg whites
2 cups all-purpose flour
1.5 cups flaked coconut
1.5 cups chopped pecans

Frosting Recipe
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup toasted coconut

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease three 9 inch, round cake pans (or use two pans and cut the finished cakes in half for four layers). Combine soda and buttermilk.
2. Cream sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup oil and shortening. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix buttermilk mixture alternately with flour into creamed mixture. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla.
3. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the whites into the batter, then quickly fold in remaining whites. Stir in 1 cup pecans and coconut.
4. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
5. Make the Cream Cheese Frosting: Beat together cream cheese, 1/2 cup butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and confectioners’ sugar.
6. Frost cake between layers, sides, and top.
7. Press chopped pecans into frosting on sides of cake. Sprinkle toasted coconut on top.

Spinning Plates

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What was I thinking? I started a new fitness regimen, diet, budget, and spiritual mentorship at the same time. I am pretty sure that is the definition of “crazy.” In order to keep all these plates spinning, a few other things had to go. I cannot find time in the day for everything. So leg shaving, eyebrow tweezing, blind dusting, garage cleaning, and a few other “ings” have been given up in hopes that the medicine taking and grave digging will be pushed farther into the future. **Please note that cooking, working, and bathing are still on the agenda.

In the last century, we women were told that we could do it all. We were supposed to be able to bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never let our husbands forget they were bacon-eating men. Not to mention, give birth to babies, oversee their education, save for their future, have gleaming counters, perfect figures, and know intuitively when Macy’s is having a sale on shoes. I have discovered that I can do it all—with two secretaries, a nanny, several electronic devices, and a housekeeper. Without that kind of help, however, I’m hosed. Plates, my friends, have ceased their spinning.

Sometimes it feels like I’m the one going in circles and the plates are simply taunting me. Ever feel that way?

My question is, why do feel we have to have so many plates in motion? What is wrong with letting someone else spin a few? Isn’t it smart to admit I can spin six plates, maybe seven, but plates eight, nine, and ten need to be spun by someone else? Or to leave them in the cupboard for another season of life? Isn’t that healthy?

The funny thing is we women are usually the ones reaching into the cupboards for more plates to spin. We get caught up in the sparkling magic of it all and forget that we have plates behind us that are starting to wobble. I think it is time to stop running around trying to do it all. Time to prioritize things so I can do my few things well and let the others go. I’m asking myself what is important to God, what is important to my family, what is important for the future. Those are the plates I want to concentrate on. The rest are just breakfast dishes. It’s not my day to wash them!