Monday, January 4, 2010

We all must start somewhere!

It is a new year - 2010 - and I believe that it is important to try new things and continually expand our knowledge.  I have always thought of myself as a lifelong learner and adventurer so here I am - on a epicure adventure.

This is just the beginning, where we will go and what will we delve into is still yet to be known.

So far I have decided that this blog will be about my gardening and cooking adventures. There may be more added to that as time goes on, but for now I think just gardening and cooking will entertain many.  And while there is a snowy blanket on my garden I will entertain you with my wintertime cooking and baking adventures.  As I sit here with a wonderful cup of tea I am dreaming of what to create for dinner tonight. Then my mind jumps over to something new to bake.  The possibilities are endless and thankfully so are the ingredients!

With Christmas just passed by I have lots of past adventures that I can report on.  Here is one of my favourites that I made recently.

Lemon Cranberry [Christmas] Sandies - They are a wonderful cookie to make at Christmastime but really, you could make them anytime and use different coloured sugars to decorate them with.  (I used red and green sugar - as the season would expect)  the recipe is as follows.  The texture of these cookies is crispy on the outside and crumbly on the inside but not dry at all.  I think it is the cranberries and lemon zest that keeps them moist and delicate.

lemon cranberry [christmas] sandies

Makes: about 144 1/2-inch cookies; 72 3/4-inch cookies; or 36 1-inch cookies
Prep: 30 minutes
Bake: 10 to 15 minutes per batch *or until bottoms are light golden

1  cup butter, softened
1/2  cup powdered sugar
1  teaspoon vanilla
2  cups all-purpose flour
1  cup finely chopped dried cranberries*
3  teaspoons finely shredded lemon zest
  Coloured sugar or nonpareils

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add powdered sugar. Beat until combined, scraping bowl. Beat in vanilla. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in cranberries, lemon zest, and any remaining flour (use your hands to work in flour, if mixture seems crumbly).
2. Shape mixture into 1/2-, 3/4-,or 1-inch balls. Roll dough balls in sugar or nonpareils. Arrange balls 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheets.
3. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes for about 1/2-inch balls, 13 minutes for 3/4-inch balls, or 15 minutes for 1-inch balls, or until bottoms of cookies are light brown. Transfer to wire racks and let cool. Makes about one hundred forty-four 1/2-inch cookies; seventy-two 3/4-inch cookies; or thirty-six 1-inch cookies.
*Tip: Place dried cranberries in a food processor. Cover and process until finely chopped. Or finely chop cranberries by hand.

An interesting thought about these cookies is - how would these taste if we took out the cranberries and replaced them with candied ginger and replaced the lemon zest with orange zest? Maybe a little cinnamon and cloves could round out the flavours.  Ginger Orange Sandies or maybe Orange Ginger Sandies,  hmmm, I think I will have to try this.  They would be absolutely divine with a hot cup of chai tea. 

So there is my first post, it was not difficult at all.  Now that my tea is finished and I must make my way to the kitchen to refuel I will publish this post and move on with my day. (which will most likely consist of recipe searching)

Until next time - E

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