Sunday, December 28, 2008

My Favorite Christmas Cookies

I love cookies, and to me, Christmas is the ultimate time to eat cookies. There are so many good recipes to try. I didn't have a lot of time this year, but I probably made seven or eight different kinds of cookies, and these are some of my favorite. The bars in the middle are Seven Layer bars. I didn't have butterscotch chips so I used dried cranberries, and they were great. The cookies around the edge are almond-raspberry shortbread thumbprints. These have been a hit every year, and I can't stop eating them. The ingredients are simple: butter, sugar, flour, almond extract, and seedless raspberry jam. Yum, yum, yum.

Cookie cutouts have been a tradition at Christmas. I didn't have any helpers for decorating, so the cookies look rather plain this year. I like the strange ways kids decorate cookies! Nevertheless, they tasted great, and alas, disappeared all too fast.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Holiday cookies and desserts

The Christmas season brings with it many parties, concerts, open houses, and various special events that have cookies and other desserts. This year I decided to keep track of all the cookies that they offered. (If you have a blog that needs pictures of desserts, and you do not have the talent to make them, you do whatever is necessary.)

The first was a sale at the college bookstore. The little cookies were bait to attract shoppers, who then were expected to buy something that was on sale.
I attended a community event called Santa's Village, meant mostly for kids, that had cookies.

I skipped a December graduation event because it was too late in the day, but I suspect it had cookies. However, I did attend a band concert with big cookies.
Some Christmas events are by invitation only. Here are desserts at a very nice invitation-only Christmas party I went to.
Wait, there was more. The little men were solid chocolate! I am not sure what the little white snowmen were made of--I did not try one, but I am sure they were delicious.
One of the local banks had a customer appreciation day or some excuse to serve big bakery cookies. I would like to make an Alliance with them--they provide cookies, and I will eat them.
And finally, there is the employee Christmas party with cheesecake.
That is enough for one post. If I find more cookies, I will show them in another post.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The two Lindas serve dessert

On the first day of finals week I was surprised by an array of cookies, cake, candy, cider, and even healthy things like grapes in the lounge. The two Lindas had been at work.
Here the new Linda is preparing brownies for the table.
Here the old Linda (can I say that?) is sampling some of the cake.
Thanks, Lindas.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Key lime cheesecake

Brian C sent an e-mail message last night that he had put a cheesecake made with real key limes in the faculty refrigerator and invited people to sample. I got there a bit late today, but there was still about a third left. I sampled it and it was very good. Brian's ability to create desserts clearly is much higher than mine.

People who have the ability to create excellent desserts need and audience, and I am always ready to be part of that audience. (Or is it an eatience?)
I had a meeting to attend today, and when I stopped back two hours later, the plate was empty. The eatience approved.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Pumpkin pie disaster

I noticed that after Halloween some neighbors had discarded perfectly good pumpkins, so I checked the Internet to see if they could be used to make pumpkin pie. The site at had all the info I needed. I even learned that most canned pumpkin is actually butternut squash--it has better flavor and texture than pumpkin. Also, the best pumpkins to use for cooking are the small pie pumpkins, not the large jack-o-lantern pumpkins.
I decided to prepare my pumpkin by microwaving it. It worked--the picture below shows pumpkin that has been microwaved on the left and raw pumpkin ready to go into the microwave on the right. Then I set out to find all the ingredients. We had all the spices, but the evaporated milk we had on hand was very old. It did not smell bad, so in it went. Enough spice and who will know that it came from the last century.
I decided I did not want to bother with a traditional crust, and since I like making crisps so much, I decided to modify my crisp recipe to make a crumbly crust, and that was a mistake.

The website warned that the pumpkin mix would be watery before it was cooked, and mine certainly was.
I cooked them a bit too long, and my crust alternative did not work out well. However, the pies were not only edible, but actually quite good. However, they would never win any baking awards.
Maybe I should have just stuck to apple crisps. It is pretty much the same recipe I used for rhubarb crisp, rhubarb-raspberry crisp, rhubarb-blackberry crisp, cherry crisp, and peach crisp, though I have switched to the oven because I have scaled it up. (If something works, just keep going with it.) Unfortunately, I am almost out of apples.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Educational cookies

The good Karen in the education department brought in lots of deserts today. There was banana bread, some kind of muffins, brownies, and other sugar-filled delectables.
Thanks, Karen.