Friday Faves

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{New Glassybaby: Cherish, Valentine, Princess. Happy Valentine’s Day to me!}

Happy Friday the 13th! I just realized what day it is, yikes! I’ve had the hardest time getting into this blog lately, but I couldn’t miss a Friday Faves the day before Valentine’s Day – way too much pink and red to post. I hope everyone has had a wonderful week and is looking forward to a fun and/or relaxing weekend ~ and a happy heart day! Some fun links and pics to get you a little closer to 5pm:

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{spectacular venue for my friends’ Katie and Brian’s lovely Seattle wedding last weekend}

photo-111{last minute valentines}

photo-110{Coop and I are in the spirit (even if he won’t look at the camera)!}

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{treat baskets for my two favorite babies}

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{basket and liner from pottery barn, books, lifefactory bottle (with valentine peanut butter m&ms of course), sleepers from old navy and gymboree and onesie from the baby gap, valentine glassybaby, heart teether from land of nod, reusable squeeze packets from amazon, and stickers from etsy}

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{basket and liner from pottery barn, books, lifefactory bottle (also with m&ms), sleeper from hanna andersson, onesie from old navy, heart tutu and headband from gymboree, pink headband from nordstrom, princess glassybaby}

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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, Valentine’s Day Edition

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Happy Valentine’s Day, friends!  And happy first birthday to Blueberries and Basil, which celebrated the conclusion of it’s inaugural year this past week (remember my first post?)  Valentine’s Day is the best holiday for cookie decorating, I think – although I might think that about every holiday. I made these conversation hearts pre-blog two years ago (inspired by Cupcakes and Cashmere), and although my decorating skills have improved since then, I still have a long way to go. It just takes so much patience! I also really love the tiny pastel hearts and the cupcakes, inspired by this amazing cookie blog (which I discovered thanks to my friend Kristen).

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My favorite way to decorate for a holiday! Remembrance, Joy, and Baby with mixed tulips and ribbon accents (more Valentine’s colors here).

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My godmother, a fellow Valentine’s Day lover, gave me these little bowls a few years ago – I love digging them out each year and filling them with my favorite Valentine’s candy. Similar here and here.  (Let’s not talk about how many candy hearts I’ve eaten in the past week.)

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I bought this little outfit for my first niece/nephew, who is due at the end of July. I’m trying not to shop too much before we know if it’s a boy or a girl, but this little gender neutral outfit was too cute to pass up (the hat says “HUGS” on the back!!). The hat is sold out online, but you can find the little onesie here (a more girly version here, more boyish here, all on sale!) – it’s probably too late for this year, but in case anyone else is planning ahead!

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My mom and I discovered this line of Parisian specialty teas at the Plaza Hotel when we were in NYC this past December. She loves the original Detox tea, but I’m obsessed with the “BB” version, which is a lighter, grapefruit-y version of the Detox and has added benefits for your skin. Like a tea version of a BB cream, get it? And so delicious.

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Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend and a festive Valentine’s day. Thanks for a year of loyal readership! It’s been such a fun year of blogging – and a great way for me to share some of my favorite recipes and document my weeks. If anyone has any suggestions of what they’d like to see more of, I’d love to hear them in the comments. XOXO!

Friday Faves

TGIF, everyone! It’s a week before Valentine’s Day, and I have yet to do or make anything fun and festive. This week was taken up by post-Superbowl celebrations, including the parade (of course).  We spent four glorious hours in the freezing cold to cheer on our Superbowl champs, and now I have the cold to prove it.  Hopefully I’ll have my act together in time for next Friday – I have two types of brownies and two types of cookies on my to do list, and I’m going to be at a bachelorette party all weekend, so wish me luck!

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Last year’s Valentines brownies and cookies.

‘Tis the season for gifting flowers.

Dying to try these Nutella cookies.

This website will make sending Valentine’s cards so much easier.

Great idea for a Valentine’s gift.

Love this lip crayon in Roman Holiday.

I just downloaded this book – can’t wait to read it.

And my favorite images of the week:

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Happy Friday, guys! Happy (early) Valentine’s Day, and Go Hawks!!