Friday Faves

IMG_3473{pumpkin snickerdoodles}

What are you up to this weekend? I have a long and ambitious list that includes a haircut, a trip to the pumpkin patch, and three dozen pumpkin sugar cookies that need decorating. [I have a new little cousin/nephew as of 2:00 this afternoon, just in time to get his name on his cookie! And one of B&B’s most loyal readers also welcomed a baby boy today – happy birthday Gavin and Cooper!] Some fun links and pics for your evening (I was supposed to post this 12 hours ago and somehow forgot ~ I’m blaming an early morning spin class that really threw off my routine):

IMG_3474{my new ‘godmotherglassybaby from my sweet godson}

photo-125{soup weather, finally}

IMG_3475{my new favorite sunscreen, thanks to my friend (and supergoop guru!) Steph}

IMG_3497{topping bar at Portage Bay Cafe, yum}

St. Patty’s Day Faves

photo 2-32 {elf (because I don’t have lucky), hope, shine}

Happy St. Patty’s Day!! This was supposed to be a Friday Faves post last week, but of course I didn’t have my act together so it’s a Tuesday Faves this week.  I hope everyone has fun plans for the holiday, which is one of my favorites! I’m excited to put together an outfit this morning, and treat myself to a green beer or two tonight. Some fun thematic links and pics in the meantime:

  • Homemade Mint Milanos – yes please!
  • So sad I didn’t think ahead and make this this year – bookmarking for SPD 2016!
  • If only I had known Harper would be here by now, I would have ordered this for her.
  • I pinned these biscuits years ago and have yet to make them – also on next year’s to do list.
  • One of my very favorite B&B posts.

photo 1-38{and because I’m a complete glassybaby nerd: a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!
everlasting, pumpkin, taxi, grass, blue bird, sweet pea, grace}

photo 2-30 {St. Patty’s Day cookie fun (with stencils!)}

photo 3-18{gorgeous greens}

photo 1-36 {and presents for the babies! books, bottles, hat (Coop’s dad is a C’s fan), bow}

My Favorite Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I first discovered this recipe almost three years ago, when Emily first posted it, and I’ve been making it for every chocolate-chip-cookie-appropriate occasion since. I haven’t posted it until now, however, as I wasn’t entirely sure this blog needed another chocolate chip cookie recipe – it’s fourth in two years, which is a pretty high ratio, especially considering (a) I have a long list of “to make for blog” recipes, and (b) I don’t even like chocolate chip cookies that much.  Don’t get me wrong, I still eat them, but I would much prefer snickerdoodle or peanut butter over plain old boring chocolate chip any day. These cookies aren’t plain old boring chocolate chip, though, which I was reminded when I made them for baby Harper’s doctors and nurses a couple weeks ago and everyone got really excited about them.

When my nephew was born last summer, he made his debut via a scheduled induction over a week after his due date.  Those post-due-date days of waiting impatiently gave me plenty of time to whip up a double batch of sugar cookie dough, roll out what felt like a million “onesie” cookies, bake them, frost them, decorate them, and freeze them.  I took them out of the freezer the morning my sister was induced, wrapped them all up in cellophane bags and tied them with blue ribbon, and delivered them to her hospital room about an hour after she was admitted.  While of course at the time she rolled her eyes, she appreciated me later when the anesthesiologist made several trips back to her room for more cookies, topping off her epidural each time.

Baby Harper didn’t give me enough time for royal icing, so these cookies were a perfect fall back plan.  She had given us a few signs that she might be early, so a couple weeks before her due date I made a batch of this dough, rolled the dough into balls, and froze them. And I’m so glad I did, because when my brother called me at 7 am on the day my sister-in-law hit 39 weeks to tell me they were heading to the hospital, all I had to do was pop them in the oven. So while they didn’t make it to the hospital quite in time for pre-birth special treatment, I’d like to think that the nurses took extra good care of her once she arrived.

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But I digress. What you’re probably more interested in is why these chocolate chip cookies are that much better than your average chocolate chip cookie. The blog post they originated from lists seven reasons – it explains them in greater detail than I will, but the cliffs notes version is: (1) mixture of cake and bread flours – not sure why but it seems to really make a difference; (2) chilling the dough; (3) room temperature ingredients; (4) size of cookie (the bigger the better!); (5) good quality chocolate; (6) salt (my favorite part by far); and (7) don’t overbake them. The recipe tells you to let all ingredients come to room temperature, and then once you’ve made the dough to let it rest in the fridge for 24-72 hours (ideally 36), and then still to wait to eat them until the day after you bake them….so if you’re going to follow all of those steps it really requires some planning.  I’ve done it that way and they are amazing, but I’ve also done it with eggs straight from the fridge and only a few hours of chilling and they still turn out delicious.

My only other note: I’ve had really good luck freezing these cookies, either baked or unbaked. If I’m going to freeze them unbaked, I let the dough chill in the fridge for as much time as I have – anywhere from 4 to 72 hours (I feel like I should do at least 4; the original recipe says 72 max) and then scoop it into balls and place the balls on a parchment lined cookie sheet as though I was going to bake them (I sprinkle the salt on at this point too). I freeze the salted dough on the cookie sheets until firm, and then place the frozen unbaked cookies in a freezer-safe storage bag. I’ll often make a batch when I’m bringing dinner to friends with a new baby, and I’ll bake a dozen to deliver ready to eat and then include a bag or two of frozen unbaked cookies for them to bake later – the gift that keeps on giving!

photo 1-8 photo-53 photo 2 Chocolate Chip Cookies, previously: oatmeal coconut, pumpkin, s’more

Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies, from For Me, For You via Cupcakes and Cashmere

Yield: 2-3 dozen cookies, depending upon size

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons cake flour
1 2/3 cups bread flour
1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt, such as kosher
2 ½ sticks (1 ¼ cups) unsalted butter, softened
1 ¼ cups light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ¼ pounds bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks, preferably about 60% cacao content, such as Ghirardelli
Sea salt or kosher salt for garnishing

Combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Whisk and set aside. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until very light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Reduce the mixer speed to low; then add dry ingredients, and mix until just combined. Add the chocolate chips, and mix briefly to incorporate. Press plastic wrap against the dough, and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. The dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Remove the bowl of dough from the refrigerator, and allow it to soften slightly. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Using a standard-size ice cream scoop (or a large tablespoon), scoop six mounds of dough onto the baking sheet, making sure to space them evenly. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt, and bake until golden brown but still soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies onto the rack to cool a bit more.

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Friday Faves

photo 2-31 {two weeks until spring!}

Happy Friday, friends! Two blog posts in one week, can you believe it? Let’s see if I can keep it up for the month of March. St. Patty’s Day, March Madness, a new baby niece….so much material, how could I not? That’s right – I’m officially an auntie times two! Little Harper Elizabeth joined us on Wednesday, a week early (so I hope she didn’t expect her blanket to be finished!). She’s pretty perfect…and so tiny!

What are you up to this weekend? Something fun I hope! I’m heading out of town tonight (sadly, not to Vegas for the WCC tournament), and I’ll be frantically trying to finish up Harper’s blanket on my flight.  Wishing you a wonderful weekend. Go Zags! Some fun links and pics from the week:

photo 1-35 {I gave my friend Lindsay the “single malt” glassybaby drinker for her birthday and she sent me this picture ~ almost makes me want to start drinking bourbon}

photo 1-37 {this new “adjustable” rolling pin has changed my life – or at least, my cookies}

photo 2-29 {lemon ricotta pancake at Tallulah’s with my friend Jessie, right before we both started our diets healthy eating lifestyles in preparation for her wedding in Hawaii in May}

photo-97 {One of my favorite things that I did for Coop, so I had to do it for Harper as well.  She’s going to be a sporty little gal if her dad has anything to say about it! Rattles from Land of Nod, burp cloths from Swaddle Designs.}

Jimmy’s Pink Cookies

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Just in time for Valentine’s Day – barely! (and let’s not talk about how I didn’t post a single recipe all of January). I read about these cookies awhile ago, and have been patiently waiting for the right time to make them. And while one could argue that anytime is the right time for pink cookies, I think these are best saved for either a (baby girl) baby shower or Valentine’s Day. I made them for my sister-in-law’s baby shower a couple weeks ago, but of course didn’t think to take pictures, so I had to make them again this week for the blog (the sacrifices I make for you people!). They’re super easy, adorable, and delicious, so if you’re in need of a last minute treat for Saturday, I think these might be it.

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I read about these cookies in Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life. Molly Wizenberg of Orangette and Delancey, so if she’s writing about a sugar cookie you know it must be good.  I’m guessing Jimmy is her friend; she credits him with the recipe.  I make sugar cookies pretty frequently so I’m a little disenchanted with them, but something about these – be it the excessive amount of butter, the cream cheese frosting, the pink – really makes them extra special.  They might not be as fancy as my usual royal-icing holiday cookies, but they taste a lot yummier – and you can frost them in about one-fifth of the time.  Coming from someone who was up an extra three hours last night (and missed Scandal) outlining and flooding three dozen Valentine hearts, that’s worth a lot.

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Please note the cherry extract in the photo. The frosting calls for kirsch or cherry extract – per my Google research, kirsch is a cherry-flavored brandy, traditionally used in fondue (gross?). I couldn’t find it anywhere, although if I’m being honest I didn’t look that hard, because cherry extract sounded more like something that belongs in frosting. However, when I made these for my sister-in-law’s baby shower a couple weeks ago I couldn’t find the cherry extract either, and I actually DID look – at seven different stores.  SEVEN. Including a Wal-Mart, because when I Googled “cherry extract” Wal-Mart popped up. Again, the things I do for this blog – it takes a lot to get me into a Wal-Mart. But alas, they didn’t have it, nor did any of the other six places I tried – so I just used vanilla and the cookies were delicious. And then for purposes of blog accuracy I ordered cherry extract on Amazon and used it this time, and I have to admit I kind of liked it. But I have a weird palate for artificial fruit flavor I think – it smells just like cough syrup, which I also weirdly love.  All of this is to say, if you have kirsch on hand (or find yourself at a liquor store and feel like splurging on a bottle, even though you only need a teaspoon for this recipe), by all means please try it (you can always use the rest of the bottle for fondue, apparently). If you’re planning ahead and want to order cherry extract on Amazon, I definitely wouldn’t discourage you (you could also just borrow mine). But if both of those options sound stressful, you could definitely use vanilla – or almond – or any flavor you like – and your cookies will be just fine.

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Aren’t they so cute? My only regret is that I didn’t use more frosting – Molly tells you to spread it on thick but I was worried about running out so I scrimped a little, and then of course I had tons left over. The frosting really makes the cookie – I think it should be as thick as the cookie itself. Happy Valentine’s Day! (And incidentally, happy second birthday to B&B! Valentine’s Day Year One and Year Two, if you want to kill some time). XOXO.

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Jimmy’s Pink Cookies, from A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg

For the Cookies
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons (3 ounces, or 3/4 of one stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 1/4 teaspoons kirsch, or more to taste, or a capful of cherry extract
Red (or pink) food coloring

To make the cookies, combine the butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat, first on low speed, and then slowly increasing to medium, until light and fluffy. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt and whisk well. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating until the flour is just absorbed. Add the vanilla and beat well to incorporate. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap on a large, clean surface, and turn the dough out onto it. Gather the dough into a ball, press it into a thick disk, and wrap it well. Refrigerate for one hour.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners. On a clean, floured surface, roll the dough out to a thickness of 3/8 inch. (If you don’t have a lot of room, cut the disk of dough down the middle and work with only one half at a time, leaving the second half in the refrigerator until ready for use.) Using a cookie cutter, cut the dough into whatever shapes you like. Molly uses a 2 1/2 inch round cutter, which, once the cookies have puffed slightly during baking, yields a 2 3/4-to-3 inch cookie. Jimmy uses a much bigger cutter, often in the shape of a heart. I used small (2″) and medium (3″) hearts – the cookies are pretty rich so I opted not to use my large (4″) heart, but you definitely could just go for it and make them huge.

Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake them one sheet at a time, keeping the second sheet in the refrigerator or freezer until the first one is done, for 16-20 minutes, or until the cookies are pale golden at the edge. Do not allow them to brown (oops, some of mine did!). Transfer the pan to a wire rack, and cool the cookies completely on the pan.

To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat on low speed to fully incorporate, then raise the speed to medium or medium high and beat until there are no lumps, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the kirsch (or extract) and a couple drops of red (or pink) food coloring and beat well. The frosting should be a pretty shade of pale pink. Taste, and if you want more cherry flavor, beat in a bit more kirsch (or extract). Generously spread frosting onto fully cooled cookies. Decorate with sprinkles if you’re so inclined.

Stored in an airtight container, pink cookies will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days – and they’re delicious cold – or you can freeze them indefinitely.

Yield: 20-24 (3-inch) cookies (I yielded 15 3″ hearts and 15 2″ hearts)

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Friday Faves

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{Seahawks Glassybaby: Grass (similar here), Blue Friday, Remembrance, We Are 12, Blue Bird}

Happy Blue Friday, friends! I haven’t updated this blog since Christmas, but there’s nothing like a(nother) Seahawks Superbowl to inspire me to post a Friday Faves!  Do you have big plans for Sunday? As much as I wish I was currently on a plane to Phoenix, staying home for the game means I get to make some fun Seahawks treats (and follow the game a whole lot better).  I’m listing some of my favorite Superbowl recipes and ideas below – if you have any to add I would love to hear them in the comments!

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend. Go Hawks!!

  • Homemade Queso: yum. We had queso in Austin a couple weeks ago and it was served in adorable mini cast iron skillets, so that’s what I’m going to do on Sunday – one for the upstairs TV and one for the downstairs. If you wanted to make your life easier, my friend Kelly makes amazing queso and she does hers in the Crock Pot – brilliant!
  • Three Healthy Dips: I’m most excited about the caramelized onion, but they all look yummy. And will help to balance out the queso, obviously.
  • Homemade Tater Tots: Not gonna lie, I’m probably not actually going to make these – but they’re an adorable idea in theory. And if I somehow end up with five extra hours on my hands tomorrow, maybe I will!
  • Seahawks Rice Krispie Treats: These would also be a pain, but somehow less ridiculous than making your own tater tots.
  • And last but not least, Jello Shots!

photo 1-31{decadent cure for my dry winter skin}

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{my royal icing practice continues: favors for Cooper’s baptism and Baby N’s shower}

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{so sad to say goodbye to the PDX carpet}

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{Coop pulls off my Hawks beanie better than I do}

Friday Faves

photo 3-15 {hot cocoa cookies}

How is this the last Friday before Christmas? Are you ready? I have pretty much everything checked off my list, but I keep feeling like there’s something (or some things) I’m forgetting. I do have a dinner party for 23 to worry about on Monday, and then Christmas Eve dessert for 25. Any ideas?  I’ve been too busy trying to process the Serial finale to worry about entertaining.

I’ve decided not to stress out about it, though, because Christmas should be fun, not stressful. Right? Wishing everyone a calm, peaceful weekend.  I hope yours is filled with yummy treats and lots of time spent with your favorite people (and maybe a manicure). And if you need any last minute entertaining tips or gift ideas (or maybe just want to see a picture of my favorite little guy):

photo 1-29 {easy idea for hostess gifts}

photo-102{satsumas at the market}

photo-94 {loving my new “Grace” Glassybaby}

photo-96 {Coop’s first Christmas photo}

photo-98 {special wrapping paper for my little buddy…}

photo-99{and my new little buddy to be!}