Monday, January 12, 2009


This is a post dedicated to a little bit of everything. My beloved September has come and gone. Those 30 delicious days were fleeting. Then I was launched into the holiday whirlwind, and though it was decidedly fun, I am now thankfully skidding to a bumpy stop.

My Christmas tree finally came down a few days ago, three cheers. The state of my mind is justly represented by the torrent of sticky notes and lists left like tracks of where I've been. Lists on my nightstand, on the fridge, the console of my car, and a running tab in my Google calendar. It is a beast. With horns. The upside to lists, you might agree, is checking off the things that have been done. Kinda like popping zits it's so fun.
And now for a little catch up. Our family has been having fun with various activities: a bunny hunt (that I wasn't a part of -- when hunting, I get to stay home), indoor swimming while snowing outside (which is fun until you have to run to the car in wet clothes), obsessive playing of speed Scrabble (I can't even tell you how much fun), continued work on the cookbook (which will hopefully be wrapped up in a couple months or so), kitchen remodeling (not so much fun), trying Bluberry Muffin Mini Wheats (yum), making a recipe from the kindergarten cookbook (good times), a little shopping at Ikea (always a good idea), playing with our new dog, Hazel, and seeing how she looks with a little makeup. We'll dedicate a different post to her.

We combined these two amazing recipes - Jake's is the chocolate chip one

A little glimpse at our cookbook work
Hazel with a faded makeup job

I thought I'd pass along a recipe to you since it's quite delicious. I sent these out as neighbor gifts for Christmas. They're from a recipe gotten from a friend of a friend which I tinkered with slightly until they were just right, also reminiscent of a treat from a bakery down the street from my house. A friend called me after receiving these and said she dreamed about them. They're pretty good.
Raspberry Cream Cheese Sandwiches

2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
4 oz. cream cheese
1/2 tsp. almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt, maybe a touch more - just taste the dough, but be sure to add enough or they don't taste right
3/4 cup raspberry preserves
1 cup confectioner's sugar
2 oz. cream cheese
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 Tbsp. milk (or more to reach coating consistency)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together flour and salt; set aside. Cream together sugar, butter, and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Add eggs, one at a time and beat until incorporated. Add almond extract and mix well. Slowly add dry ingredients and mix just until smooth dough forms. Roll out on a floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness and cut into 2-3/4" diameter circles. This is profoundly easier with a biscuit cutter and makes these less of a drag to make. Spray your cookie sheet and lay the disks of dough out on the cookie sheet.

Spoon a rounded 1/2 teaspoon onto the center of each disk. Cover each with another disk of dough which you can offset like a lunar eclipse to let the jam peek out. Astronomy and baking, who knew? If you want, you can press lightly down on the top disk where it meets with the bottom layer to help seal, but don't press hard. Bake 12 - 15 minutes depending on your oven, or until the bottom of each begins to turn a little golden. Don't overcook! After cooling, the cookies should still be moist inside. Remove from cooking trays to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
Combine softened cream cheese and milk in a bowl and whisk together until combined. Add powdered sugar and almond extract and continue to whisk until a thick but pourable consistency. Add milk a little at a time if necessary to reach the right thickness. Spread a spoonful on the top of each with the underside of a spoon. Let airdry 1/2 hour to 1 hour. You can freeze these prior to the icing stage and then thaw and ice before serving.

Okay, I have my Monday list burning a hole in my kitchen table. My youngest is running around with a bottle of washable glue and my 5-year-old has just opened Junior Monopoly and is asking me which color marker I want. The week has begun. Gotta go.