Sunday, December 20, 2009

Visit with Santa

So far this year with Santa and 2 kids has gone way better than last year! Check that out here!!! We were going to take the kids to see Santa at the mall, but that place is always just so crowded and rushed. Well every year we have a tradition of going to Chicago to see the windows at Marshall Fields (oh, sorry Macy's, whatever, it will always be Marshall Fields to me!!), and then we head over to Daley plaza for a German Christmas village. So this year we thought we would take the kids to see Santa up there for a change. It was great!!! There was a decorated, interactive line for the kids to wait in. It really helped get the kids even more excited to see the big man! The workers helping with the line were great too, they would talk to the kids, and ask them questions. Then we got ushered into a room with just us and Santa. Both kids sat on his lap and told him what they wanted. (By the way, L asked for "Big trucks", and D asked for " a pretty dress".) He gave each kid a button and out we went. D was so very shy when talking to him, but at least she didn't cry. (Which, if you know D, she is anything but shy! The girl doesn't stop talking!!)

So, I am doing Christmas cards, they will be a bit late, but here is the picture. I hope everyone out there has a very Happy Holiday season, and a fantastically Happy New Year! I do have more cookies to bring you, I just don't have the pictures up loaded yet. I promise to do at least until the end of the year, and then I think it will just be a cookie of the month. I really do need to get back to what the blog was about. My family. So thanks so much for everything!

Merry Christmas from Hippie Mama Kelly, Adam, L and D!!!

May your days be filled with fun and joy!

Cookie of the Week!-Gingerbread men

Wow, am I behind. Sorry about that out there. Well you all know how this time of year can get just crazy, and over here it has. I swear there is something everyday. And the kids and I were on the road on and off for the last 4 days straight. Yikes! And it's not even Christmas yet!

Well, I have never made Gingerbread cookies before, and at Adam's urging we did. I'm sorry that I don't have any pictures of them, but they did turn out really fun. Even the kids ate them!

So here is the recipe that we used. The trick is to keep the dough cold until you are ready to use it. We found that this worked great. Oh and to make sure that your cookie cutter is properly floured. You don't want to do through all that work and then have it stick when you cut it out. We just decorated them with a simple powdered sugar and milk icing. It did run a bit, but pretty much stayed in place. All right so when I went back to find the recipe we used, I couldn't find it. But this one was very similar!

Happy baking!

  • 3 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter (room temperature, softened)
  • 1/2 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
  • 1 Tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses

1 In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and spices. Set aside.

2 In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Mix in eggs and molasses. Gradually add the flour mixture; combine on low speed. (You may need to work it with your hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.) Divide dough in thirds; wrap each third in plastic. Chill for at least 1 hour or overnight. Before rolling out, let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. If after refrigerating the dough feels too soft to roll-out, work in a little more flour.

3 Heat oven to 350°. Place a dough third on a large piece of lightly floured parchment paper or wax paper. Using a rolling pin, roll dough 1/8 inch thick. Refrigerate again for 5-10 minutes to make it easier to cut out the cookies. Use either a cookie cutter or place a stencil over the dough and use a knife to cut into desired shapes. Press raisins, chocolate chips, or candy pieces in the center of each cookie if desired for "buttons".

4 Transfer to ungreased baking sheets. Bake until crisp but not darkened, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Let sit a few minutes and then use a metal spatula to transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Decorate as desired.

Makes 16 5-inch long cookies.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cookie of the Week!- Starbucks Peppermint Brownie

Okay so I just had to try this. It is my all time favorite holiday treat!!! Now, I got the recipe here but I recommend using a 9x13 pan instead. I found that using the smaller pan the brownie's were too large and the bottom started to dry out before the middle was done. Overall though, a big plus!!!!


Peppermint Buttercream Frosting

  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Frosting

  1. Preheat oven to 325. Then prepare a 9x9 inch baking dish by spraying lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Cut a piece of parchment paper to the width of the bottom of your pan but long enough to extend over the edge of the right and left sides of the pan.
  2. Sift brownie mix to eliminate any clumps. Then add melted butter, water eggs and 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract. Mix by hand just until dry ingredients are incorporated.
  3. Pour into prepared pan. Bake according to package directions. Let cool.
  4. Beat together cup powdered sugar and 1/2 cup softened butter. Mix in another 1/2 cup powdered sugar, then add 1 tablespoon milk and peppermint and vanilla extracts. Spread frosting evenly over the top. Place brownies in fridge to firm up frosting.
  5. Bring 1/3 cup milk and 1/4 cup butter almost to a boil over medium heat. Pour chocolate chips into a heat-safe bowl. Pour milk mixture over the top and let sit for 5 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and whisk until smooth. Use an electric mixer to beat in 1 cup powdered sugar until frosting is smooth. This will make more than you need, so remove 1/4-1/3 cup frosting and reserve for another use.
  6. Spread chocolate frosting over the white frosting on the brownies.
  7. Place back in fridge for about an hour to firm up frosting. Remove brownies from pan and slice into 9 pieces.

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