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archive for December 2014

midnight in the garden of good and chocolate

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

Recipe: midnight chocolate shortbread cookies

I gave myself last week off from the blog and the computer. My hope is that you didn’t notice because you were offline spending time with loved ones and/or doing the things that you enjoy doing! We aren’t much for holiday traditions other than New Year’s Chinese dumplings and the soup full of yummy ingredients that represent health, wealth, good fortune, opportunity, and all that good stuff. I guess for us, the “tradition” is to ski. And ski. And ski.


jeremy seeks out a secret stash of powder on the mountain

christmas day nordic ski

enjoying the powder, bumps, and views from the mountain

jeremy skate skiing in 2°f



We’ve made a point of skiing every day since we got to Crested Butte – because why wouldn’t you? The snow has been fantastic and this town offers great downhill terrain and incredible nordic trails. It’s also a great way to fend off holiday weight creep and to see some of the local wildlife. Several ermine sightings have fascinated us on the mountain (you should see these little dudes run in powder), in our backyard, and on the nordic trails. We even witnessed one ermine carrying a little furry brown vole (presumably dead) across a big snowy expanse. Cute as they are (and they are DAMN cute!), don’t be fooled – these guys are skilled and ferocious hunters. I’ve also been getting my puppy fix, greeting all of the sweet mountain dogs in the neighborhood, around town, and on the trails.

curious little ermine checking us out

christmas parties are best with gentle, giant mountain dogs



All of the holiday cookies are now gone. Once the deliveries were made, Jeremy was allowed to dig into the leftovers. I added a new recipe to the rotation this year – a shortbread. I know I tend to bake a lot of shortbreads for gifts, but the reason is because they don’t get squirrely at high altitude and they keep longer. There have been times (in the early years) Jeremy has left a gift bag of cookies on a staff member’s desk only to find out they were out of town for a week or two. So I thought it was time to try a new shortbread cookie – a chocolatey cookie.

chocolate chips, vanilla, butter, salt, onyx cocoa powder, powdered sugar, flour

cream the butter, sugar, and cocoa powder

add a pinch of sea salt

vanilla



**Jump for more butter**

holiday greetings

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Our photo greeting card for 2014 is now live!

You can view it here. (<- Click the link!)


wishing you all the best possible year in 2015


stay on target

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Recipe: gougères

For some reason, I had this naive notion in my head that there was plenty of time to get all of the holiday, work, house, and social tasks done before leaving town. I hadn’t counted on losing three of those days to back pain which turned my three remaining days into an all out assault on my to-do list. Do you bakers ever think to yourself in the middle of mixing a batch of cookie dough, “Maybe I’ll just give them three kinds of cookies instead of four…”? Because I think that quite a bit – especially when I reach up to scratch my forehead and wind up leaving a smear of creamed butter and brown sugar where the itch was. Still, I stuck with four types of cookies and tossed in a batch of brittle at the last minute to boot! At some point around midnight, I looked up from the hundreds of cookies on cooling racks covering every known inch of counter space and said, “I hate cookies.” Jeremy, who was in the final stretch of his exam-grading marathon held his hand up, his gaze still fixed upon the exam, muttering, “I’ll commiserate with you in just a moment.”

Truth is, I love giving cookies to people and watching their faces light up with smiles. Cookies are miniature edible gifts. Kids love cookies, adults love cookies, strangers love cookies. Most are hand-delivered although a few get shipped. If I happen to see you in that 48-hour window of time between The End of Baking and when I leave town, you should probably expect cookies. Wednesday was the day to wrap up all business, clean the house (because it sucks to come back home to a dirty house), deliver cookies, pack for Crested Butte, and meet up with people I don’t get to see very often.


ramen lunch at oak with erin

happy hour selfie with my baby cousin!



My aunt, cousins, and cousin-in-law made a detour to Boulder en route to Vail for a happy hour get together. When Mom learned that her younger sister was going to be seeing us in Colorado, she instructed me to gift them a bunch of food stuffs because… well, because Chinese mothers always think you will starve. I tucked four kinds of cookies in the bag, too. My aunt was recovering from the flu and she apologized for not making some cookies to give us. I reassured her that cookies were the last things I wanted to see for a while. The hope is that my immediate future involves three flavors of skiing, savory snacks, and time spent with my guy. Now, if you are knee-deep in party season, I have a nice savory appetizer to share. It’s cheesy, elegant, and has a French name.

gougères: water, white pepper, flour, gruyère, eggs, salt, sugar, butter



Gougères are savory little baked puffs of choux pastry. It’s similar to the puffs in cream puffs, but these are baked with cheese. You can use all sorts of cheeses, but Gruyère is my favorite in gougères. They even rhyme!

combine the butter, sugar, salt, and water in a pan

add the flour all at once

quickly stir the flour into the liquid



**Jump for more butter**