March 6, 2013

Kaleidescope In A Cookie

Well, she did it again. Joy The Baker came up with a recipe that I enjoy much too much. *shrugs* Ah well. At least I have someone to give these too so I won't eat all of them. (Happy Birthday, Momma! I love you!)

refrigerated cookie dough waiting to be sliced
These are so easy to make! I whipped the dough up after putting the baby to bed and washing dinner dishes,  cleaned up more (new) dishes, and still had time to watch a show with my love before crashing in to bed, which we managed to do on time! Since Little Lady isn't sleeping well right now (Teeth? Food issues? Scared of the dark? Who knows!) we try to get to bed around 10. Every little bit helps right? Now if only I could get back into the habit of getting up before she does things would be pretty grand. 

i think it's so fun how the picture on the cookie changes with each slice
These smell amazing during the assembly process by the way. Orange zest, cranberries, poppy seeds, and vanilla. Mmmmmmm. (Also, if you have a store that sells stuff like dried cranberries and/or poppy seeds in bulk they're pretty inexpensive!) 

Cranberry Orange Poppy Seed Cookies
makes about 3 dozen cookies

2 cups all purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened*
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons orange zest
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Set aside.
   In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar on medium speed until soft and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add egg, yolk, and vanilla and beat until well blended, another 2 minutes. Stop the mixer to scrape down the bowl as necessary.
   Add the flour mixture, orange zest, cranberries, and poppy seeds, all at once, to the egg mixture and beat on low speed until just incorporated. Stop the mixer and remove the bowl and finish incorporating the ingredients with a spatula.
   Divide the dough in half** and place each half on a sheet of waxed paper. Press each half into a log 1 inch in diameter. Roll into plastic wrap and store in the fridge to chill for at least 3 hours, although overnight is best.
   When ready to bake, place racks in the middle and upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
   Remove the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap, and use a knife to slice dough into 1/3-inch-think rounds. Place on baking sheet about 1 inch apart.
   Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until barely browned around the edges. Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
   Cookies will last, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to 4 days.

* Don't do what I did and forget to haul butter out of the freezer until 15 minutes before you want to make the dough. I ended up having to force it to soften (read: zap it in the microwave) and I think it was a little too soft (read: melted), which made the batter a little tricky to shape when it was done.

** If you're super hard-core about getting things in exactly halves, like me, I recommend a kitchen scale with a sheet of waxed paper on top.

 Note: These don't get much bigger than the slices on the sheet, so it's really easy to eat a lot few of them without realizing it. "They're like muffin vitamins! When I eat them I feel like an astronaut..."

 (Also, don't forget to check out Joy's new cookbook!)

Happy Wednesday, y'all!


March 5, 2013

Things Lovely

"Mrs. Martson was one of those that, having great possessions, go sadly all their days. It is strange how generation after generation spends it's fleeting years in this fetish-worship, never daring to make life beautiful by the daily use of things lovely, but for ever being busy about them." - Mary Webb, Gone To Earth

"Mrs. Martson's china glowed so, and was so stainless and uncracked that it seemed as if the lives of all the beautiful young women in her family must have been sacrificed in it's behalf" - Mary Webb, Gone To Earth

A china tea cup I received as a wedding present, ensconcing my morning dose of coffee.

This really struck me today while I was reading. (There will be more on the book when I've finished it.) I know I've seen houses with beautiful things that no one ever touched, holding court in empty rooms where no one was allowed to sit, although thankfully this happens less and less often. I am very grateful that my lovely Mom was wise to this sadness and has always enjoyed using her prettier plates and cups regularly. Somehow though I had managed to slip backwards into the old thoughts of things being too pretty to use every day and two weeks ago my little sister was totally surprised to discover that I actually own two place settings of china that I got as wedding presents! They had lived their entire, so far quite sad, existence safely wrapped in bubble wrap in boxes in a cupboard. She was sweet enough to lovingly chide me for not getting any real use out of them so we unpacked them and I made space for them in the hutch with the regular plates. Now I see their pretty selves at least three times a day and I usually use some piece or another; they're such a cheery reminder of the man I married and our wedding day. Talk about a boost to a day! 

 Do you have any pretty things hiding in cupboards that you could dust off and use to brighten your today?