Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Sugary and Magical, 2015

Over the weekend I used up all the sugar in our house to bake all of the Chrismassy things. I made our traditional sugar cookies and even did what I swore I wouldn't do again and made the adorable PITA santa hat party mix for the teachers. I also taught barre, went to two Christmas parties, and drank a bottle of champagne all by myself. It was a nice little weekend.

First up, sugar cookies! I made the dough on Saturday after teaching barre, let it chill overnight, and then got to rolling, cutting, and baking first thing Sunday morning. Claire helped, of course.

Cora too. These days she prefers to be 2 inches away from me at all times. Negative two inches if she can manage it.

While the cookies cooled I embarked on the Santa Hat project, which is just terrible. Cora was skeptical of my ability to execute on the perfect pictures in the recipe post. And as I melted and dipped and redipped and redipped again, only to end up with Seussian hats full of ripples and ridges, I was skeptical too.

But when you have them all finished and you line them up, back away, and then squint- they look pretty good.

Landon kept Cora happy while my hands were covered in red chocolate and I couldn't give her the love and attention she deserves/loudly demands. He is the best.

I made the white chocolate chex mix to add in, doing a separate dark chocolate version because some people (James) don't like white chocolate and they deserve Santa mix too.

Finished project! Those little containers and some very heartfelt thank you notes were passed out to the kids' teachers on Monday. We do love them all very much.

That done, me and my red-dyed fingers and dully aching back moved on to cookie decorating!

By far my favorite holiday tradition, we mixed it up by adding some new sprinkle types this year as well as some darker frosting colors. Riveting stuff, but you can't mess too much with perfection. Claire ate everything she decorated so quickly we never saw any finished products, Landon made careful, beautiful cookies and didn't eat anything until the end, and James took his usual hour to decorate only 5 cookies that all somehow mock me and my sacred tradition. Cora ate a plain cookie and judged his sprinkle choices.

As she should- red clearly shouldn't go there and his icing coverage is terrible. I'm a traditionalist and also the decorator of 90% of our finished products.

They are so, so good. When we were done, I cleaned up, making sure to eat all the remaining frosting, James grilled some chicken for dinner, and the big kids enjoyed our new roaring fireplace

Cora helped me clean by smashing the broom into my beautiful new(ish) walls.

Speaking of Cora, I ordered her this shirt on a whim because it was $3 and Carter's had free shipping and even though I don't like shirts with writing, I couldn't resist the combo of doggie and tiara for my little doggie-obsessed tiara-wearer. I showed it to her Sunday night and she was so excited to wear it on Monday morning she could barely stand it.

She paired it with princess heels in the evening and I just love her marching around the house click-clacking away while demanding her big siblings read to her.

Make no mistake, Cora is 100% in charge of our house. Luckily, she's liberal with the hugs and loves us all so much she can barely stand that either.

This Saturday I'll be baking a bunch of cinnamon rolls (I ran out of sugar and stamina this past weekend), so let me know if you have a beloved recipe. I've done Pioneer Woman's (yummy, sweet, and high in quantity, though I had to find a different icing because I hate coffee and maple syrup); Epicurious (very good; wish the quantity was higher- I don't like doubling doughs because yeast intimidates me, so I made two separate batches, but maybe that's just superstitious?); and Sally's Baking Addiction (also very good; I like the fluffiness and the glaze). Basically they're all good - how do I pick? I like a soft roll, lots of cinnamon sugar, and a great glaze, maybe with cream cheese, but also maybe without, and overall just the sweeter the better. I need about 3 dozen. And then I need to teach a bunch of extra barre classes.


  1. I heartily endorse this recipes from Melissa Clark:

    You can use apple cider instead of bourbon, but if these are for adults I'd recommend the bourbon (I've also used Sherry, in a pinch).

  2. I highly recommend these -
    Awesome cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting (my favorite!). I've been making them for Christmas morning breakfast for years. The directions use a bread machine but if you don't have one there are instructions in the comments section. It makes a dozen really big rolls, but you could probably cut and roll them smaller. So, so, so good!

  3. I made the Pioneer Woman ones with this cream cheese frosting. They came out super yummy! Enjoy! PS...I never comment but I absolutely love your blog. One of my faves, for sure. Merry Christmas!

  4. I second the 'clone of cinnabon' rolls. I once made a tray, then bought a tray of Costco Cinnabon rolls (I both love and hate that Costco no longer had these). In a blind taste test, people could not tell a significant difference, and thought mine were just a little better! (Also note as I learned the hard way: the special butter does matter)

  5. One more note: I looked at the all recipes one, which is almost identical to the one I used. The only difference is that instead of margarine, it said to use an 80/20 margarine/butter mix. It was a pain to find, but it made the gooey stuff so good - the right texture, but buttery-tasting!

  6. For super easy cinnamon rolls, I buy frozen bread dough, let it thaw, roll it out, liberally apply butter, sugar, and cinnamon, roll it up, cut into rolls, let rise overnight in greased pan, bake 13-15 mins at 350, and done!