Grandma’s Christmas Cookies

Decorating cookies has always been my favorite part about Christmas. Top five, at least.

Every year the whole family would squeeze in together at the table with paper plates, toothpicks, spoons, and about eight rolls of paper towels. My mom would set out the tupper of sugar cookies and a huge array of sprinkles and we would just go. to. town. They’d all start out reeeeeally intricately decorated and by the end of, oh say two hours, we’d be slopping on whatever frosting color was near us just to get through the last couple of cookies. The oddly shaped so-called “music note” was always the last picked to be decorated.

That’s kind of how it went last night.

I wanted to share my Grandma’s classic sugar cookie recipe with you in hopes that maybe you’d give them a try. Cover the kids (and your furniture) in plastic, pour the adults some Christmas “spirit”, and have fun! I promise, if you don’t already do this every year, it will absolutely become an instant tradition.

 

CHRISTMAS SUGAR COOKIES // via hourglassandbloom.com

CHRISTMAS SUGAR COOKIES // via hourglassandbloom.com

CHRISTMAS SUGAR COOKIES // via hourglassandbloom.com

CHRISTMAS SUGAR COOKIES // via hourglassandbloom.com

 

For the Cookies:

1 c. sugar

1 c. butter, softened (but my Grandma always insisted that an extra bit of butter was completely necessary…like a tablespoon or so)

2 eggs

3 c. sifted flour (extra for rolling)

1 tsp. cream of tartar

1 tsp. baking soda

Using your stand mixer on a lower speed, mix the sugar and butter together until creamed. Crack in the two eggs, and continue beating until evenly mixed. Next, working at a medium speed, add in your dry ingredients a little at a time. At the end, the batter should be soft and lump-free. You really can’t over-beat this dough, so don’t worry too much about that.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in the fridge for at least one hour.

Drink some eggnog.

Remove the batter and set aside as you liberally flour a board or countertop. Making sure that your rolling pin is floured too, roll out a chunk of the dough into a fairly thin sheet. Cut out as many shapes as you can using your favorite cookie cutters, and place them on a non-stick baking sheet. (PS, you don’t need to spray or grease the sheet as there is plennnnnty of butter in these cookies as it is). Add the excess batter back into the main bowl, grab another big handfull, roll that out, cut, and repeat until all the dough is used!

Bake each batch of cookies should bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until just turning golden around the edges. Keep in mind that the cooking time will change by a few minutes or so depending on how thick or thin you’ve rolled them.

Let them cool on a rack until room temperature – then they’re ready to decorate!

 

CHRISTMAS SUGAR COOKIES // via hourglassandbloom.com

CHRISTMAS SUGAR COOKIES // via hourglassandbloom.com

CHRISTMAS SUGAR COOKIES // via hourglassandbloom.com

CHRISTMAS SUGAR COOKIES // via hourglassandbloom.com

 

For the Frosting & Decorations:

1 large bag of powdered sugar

water

liquid food colorings

assorted sprinkles

In a big bowl, mix a teensy tiny amount of water at a time into the powdered sugar. Seriously – for each cup you’ll only need about a tablespoon or so. You definitely don’t want the frosting too runny, or it won’t stay on the cookie!

Pour a bit of the frosting into four or five smaller bowls. Add a few drops of food coloring to each, and stir until you have the desired depth of color.

Now decorate!!!!!!

 

CHRISTMAS SUGAR COOKIES // via hourglassandbloom.com

CHRISTMAS SUGAR COOKIES // via hourglassandbloom.com

 

Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Grandma, the hummingbirds are for you…..and this martini, well that’s for me!

 

CHRISTMAS SUGAR COOKIES // via hourglassandbloom.com

 

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Perfect Popovers

When my mom told me we weren’t going to have croissants with Thanksgiving dinner, I was about ready to withdraw my RSVP.

Well, not really.

But I love croissants! They’re the essence of naughty buttery goodness that I associate with the holidays! Costco-bought or hand-made, I don’t care just hand ’em over! Yeah I said Costco.

Anyways, let’s get over the whole croissant tirade because they’re obviously not the subject of this post anyway. So, in leu of my favorite delicious flakey pastries this year, we were going to try our hand at popovers. Mom had her heart set ever since the fall issue of Martha Stewart Living showcased some particularly beautiful popovers. The ones on the glossy pages looked too perfect to be true. Could we really pull this off?

As it turns out…we kind of rocked this one.

 

PERFECT POPOVERS // via hourglassandbloom

 

The trick is temperature. Temperature of the eggs, the flour, temperature of the pan, of the oven half way through baking. Everything has to be just so.

First, pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees, with the popover pan on the lowest rack. If you don’t have a popover pan, I’ve heard that a muffin pan will do (but you’ll want to fill only the outer cups and you’ll need to reduce the baking time by 5 minutes)…but if you do want to invest, the special pans only run about $15-$20.

While that’s warming up, gather the rest of your goodies:

3 large eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 cups whole milk, room temperature

1 1/2 cups AP flour

1 tsp coarse salt

Vegetable oil non-stick cooking spray

Optional: grated gruyere cheese (yes. do it.)

In a large bowl, slowly whisk the eggs and warm milk together until just frothy. Next, add a little of the flour/salt at a time, whisking until it’s the consistency of heavy cream. Some small lumps may remain (leave them) and the mixture should have some tiny bubbles at the surface.

 

PERFECT POPOVERS // via hourglassandbloom

PERFECT POPOVERS // via hourglassandbloom

PERFECT POPOVERS // via hourglassandbloom

PERFECT POPOVERS // via hourglassandbloom

PERFECT POPOVERS // via hourglassandbloom

 

Remove the pan from the oven and coat the cups with your cooking spray. Fill each cup about three-quarters of the way, and sprinkle on the cheese. Now place them back in the oven and bake for 20 minutes…then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes. Don’t open the oven!

When they’re sky-high and golden brown, remove them from the oven and tumble them out onto a cooling rack. Take a little paring knife and make a slit at each one’s neck. How violent! You want a little steam to escape so they don’t keep cooking from within.

 

PERFECT POPOVERS // via hourglassandbloom

PERFECT POPOVERS // via hourglassandbloom

PERFECT POPOVERS // via hourglassandbloom

 

Serve them, like, now. They’re absolutely the best straight from the oven, slathered in butter. Mmmmmmm wouldn’t chocolate ones be good?! Marking that down on my christmas list.

I’m beginning to miss those croissants less and less……

 

PERFECT POPOVERS // via hourglassandbloom

 

 

A Rose is a Rose is an…..Apple?

APPLE ROSE TARTS with cinnamon custard // via hourglassandbloom.com #appleroses #cinnamoncustard

 

Oh my god. I’m making roses out of apples. And custard! Mother-freakin-CUSTARD!

And the strangest part of all is……I’m prouder than a peacock ’bout it.

I showed Mike about ten times yesterday. “Hey, hey look at these! Did you see what I made today? Look, they’re little roses! Aren’t they pretty? They’re made out of APPLES! Did you even know you could do that? No of course you can’t have one, I have to take more pictures! Why?? To prove that they exist and I made them!”

Yeah, I’m that annoying.

It’s just the season, it gets to me! So many festivities, with all their pomp and circumstance…there should be treats to match! And with me being all married-lady now, I feel this new giddiness about the holidays. The first time we carve pumpkins for our apartment which no trick-or-treaters will ever even visit, the first Thanksgiving with it’s glorious midnight turkey sandwiches, picking out our first Christmas tree and arguing over how to assemble the stand, our first cutesy photo holiday card sent out to our loved ones….all of these new familial moments for us!

Hence, the roses, which we should really get back to talking about.

In practicing for the upcoming Thanksgiving celebration at my parent’s house, I’ve begun the recipe testing period. Starting with dessert. My initial thought is to do an entire custard pie topped with roses, and everyone will Oooooh and Ahhhh and it will pretty much just be glorious. Today, however, we baby step into it with some mini versions.

{I filled my little tarts with a cinnamon custard (recipe below), but these would be delicious with almost any combination of tart or pie filling you could think of.}

 

APPLE ROSE TARTS with cinnamon custard // via hourglassandbloom.com #appleroses #cinnamoncustard

 

For the roses:

4 red eating apples (I used Red Delicious)

4 cups water

2 cups sugar

Bring the water and sugar to a gentle simmer, stirring often until the sugar dissolves.

Rinse, core, and slice the apples in half. Then, using a very sharp knife or a mandoline, thinly slice the apple halves into little crescents. Place the slices in the bath of sugar water over medium-low heat. After about ten minutes they should be softened and a dusty rose color.

Remove them gentle with a slotted spoon and arrange them in lines on a cutting board, as seen below. You want each overlapping slice to overlap the majority of the underlying slice. Each row should be about 8-10 inches long for a good sized rose.

Working from the end of each row, begin to roll the slices together tightly, careful not to tear the apple. At the end, gently pinch the rose together and prop it up on the board! Voila! Ain’t she purdy?!

 

APPLE ROSE TARTS with cinnamon custard // via hourglassandbloom.com #appleroses #cinnamoncustard

APPLE ROSE TARTS with cinnamon custard // via hourglassandbloom.com #appleroses #cinnamoncustard

APPLE ROSE TARTS with cinnamon custard // via hourglassandbloom.com #appleroses #cinnamoncustard

APPLE ROSE TARTS with cinnamon custard // via hourglassandbloom.com #appleroses #cinnamoncustard

 

For the Cinnamon Custard:

2 large eggs

4 large egg yolks

1 c. sugar

1 c. heavy whipping cream

2 tbsp. corn starch

1 tbsp. ground cinnamon

In a blender, or with a whisk, blend the cream, eggs, yolks, cinnamon and sugar together until frothy. Sprinkle in the corn starch a little at a time and whisk in well, careful not to form clumps.

Blind-bake your pie crust. Once partially baked, pull the crust from the oven and pour in the custard. At 400 degrees, bake for 20 minutes. Keep a very careful eye on the custard past the fifteen minute mark, you don’t want it to puff up! The custard is done when still just a little jiggly in the middle. Set aside to rest until room temperature, then top with your beautiful apple roses! Custard tarts should be refrigerated within 2 hours of removal from the oven.

 

APPLE ROSE TARTS with cinnamon custard // via hourglassandbloom.com #appleroses #cinnamoncustard

 

See? Easy, huh? I love easy, delicious, beautiful things, don’t you?

Have you started on your holiday prep yet? Or am I just wayyyyy early to the party?

 

 

 

 

 

Cinco de Drinko

Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrriba!

 

Hibiscus Margarita    // hourglass & bloom

 

Cinco De Mayo, though a thoroughly Americanized holiday, is one of my favorite days of the year. Ever. For sure.

Mike and I are headed down south to spend Sunday with two of our favorite drinking buddies: my parents. I’ve been planning and practicing the menu, salivating over Pinterest, and gathering ingredients. Today I’m sharing a delicious little Cinco de Drinko libation with you: the Hibiscus Margarita.

 

Hibiscus Margarita    // hourglass & bloom

Hibiscus Margarita    // hourglass & bloom

Hibiscus Margarita    // hourglass & bloom

 

Hibiscus flowers are packed with vitamin C, aids in respiratory health, and promotes good blood pressure among other benefits. For this recipe you can use dried hibiscus that have been soaked in hot water, or a hibiscus tea. The rest is easy-peasy….just whip up your favorite classic margarita (I prefer mine with a gold tequila for a richer flavor) and top the cocktail with a float of hibiscus tea!

The sweet, floral notes of the hibiscus are such a refreshing addition to this classic Mexican cocktail. And….you get all the added health benefits. Which is a pretty tasty bonus…

 

Hibiscus Margarita    // hourglass & bloom

IMG_6026Hibiscus Margarita    // hourglass & bloom

Hibiscus Margarita    // hourglass & bloom

 

What are your plans for the fifth?