Holiday Star Cookies

Holiday star cookies, originally uploaded by almostgold.

Starting in on the frosted+sugared cookies now.

 Merry Christmas Cookies

1/3 cup vegetable shortening

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

2/3 cup honey

1 teaspoon lemon extract

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, cream vegetable shortening, sugar, egg, honey, and lemon extract until light and fluffy. Sift in flour, baking soda, and salt; stir until well blended. Refrigerate dough at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).  Lightly grease cookie sheets.

On a lightly floured board, roll dough 1/4-inch thick and cut into shapes with your favorite cookie cutters.  Place 1-inch apart onto prepared cookie sheets. 

Bake 8-10 minutes. Ice with your favorite royal icing technique. I like to slather them in frosting then cover them with colored sugar. 

Share with those you love.

Seven-Layer Brownies

Since we are off to the fair today, I have snacks on the brain. Thus once a twitter friend was trying to decide on some brownies to make, I felt prompted to share my friend Carolyn's recipe, which I wheedled out of her when we
did a holiday cookie exchange several years ago.

These are truly the
most fabulous 7 Layer Brownies I've had, and so simple to make.

1. Melt 1 stick of butter in 9"x13" pan, then add the following layers:
2. 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs
3. 1 cup of grated coconut
4. 3/4 of a 12 oz bag of chocolate chips
5. 3/4 of a 12 oz bag of butterscotch chips
6. 1 cup chopped nuts (Carolyn used pecans)
7. Pour 1 can of sweetened condensed milk over the top

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Refrigerate for nugget style brownies.

I mean, how can any recipe that starts off with melting an entire stick of butter *not* be fabulous???

Summertime Baking

One of the small pleasures of living in San Francisco is our cool weather continues through most of the Summer. Which means we can actually entertain the idea of baking during the berry months without getting up at the crack of dawn.

Here are a few that have tempted me, to be added to the "Must Bake" list:

If I had a deep fryer, I'd also be after a good recipe for Fried Zucchini chips. We had some at Rose Pistola last night. They were so good. So very evil and delicious.

Mini Bluberry Muffins

Made these babies again today.


In my fabulous mini muffin tray. MMMM. 


I love that I can just use these silicon pans without prep — no liners, no buttering each cup. And they make perfect teeny muffins that even the dieting ladies at my office will eat. That's what I call a win/win.

Non-related, this place has been devoid of photos for the last few months due to my fabulous new computer. Leopard broke my ancient copy of Photoshop. And though I tried to find a free or chea or lite photo app, I ended up not taking pictures out of annoyance at not being able to play with them the way I like to.

But last week, I gave in and bought Adobe Photoshop CS4
. And I love it. Worth every penny.

Nilla Wafer Pudding

It has already been established within these pixels that I do love white trash 70s food. It is the comfort food my mom made while I was growing up, so I can't help it.

Tonight, I'm making Nilla Wafer pudding.


1 box Nilla Wafers
1 box instant vanilla pudding
2 cups milk for the pudding
2 bananas

Make pudding. Line small round dishes with Nilla wafers on sides and bottom. Slice rounds of bananas and cover the bottom layer of Nilla wafers with them. Pour 1/3 of the pudding over the top. Make a layer of Nilla Wafers on top of that, then bananas, then pudding, repeat again.

Pop into a 350 degree oven and heat until warm throughout (15-20 min). Enjoy the leftovers for breakfast tomorrow.

The Blueberryist Muffins

BlueberrymuffinI am blessed with working downtown, steps away from a weekly farmers market.

This past week, in addition to the amazing peaches, nectarines, and strawberries that made their way home with me, I bought a pint of blueberries.

These were bursting with flavor, and needed to be used right away. I obliged by whipping up the blueberry muffin recipe I had just seen on the CHOW blog.

I'd seen comments therein about these being a little salty. Lacking any kosher salt, I subbed in some grey sea salt. The results are a few spikes of salt that perfectly offset the sweet berries.

Now I just have to decide what to do with more of these luscious berries this week. Thinking some sort of bread maybe?

holiday baking shortcut: gingerbread edition

I made gingerbread cookies yesterday, to take to a holiday party. The royal icing on top is such an amazing thing. It goes from marshmallowy consistency to shiny hard icing in such a short amount of time.

I made the icing from scratch, of course, but I cheated on the cookies. With my wrist repetitive stress injury, I didn’t want to deal with molasses. (I have lingering memories of the arm strain from making lebkuchen as a child.) So I did what any other savvy consumer would do — I bought the Williams-Sonoma mix at the mall last week.

The cookies are yum and no one will ever know my little secret.