Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sugar Cookies, how'd you get so fly?

Whenever the holiday season rolls around, I set out on a baking spree and bake up a few different recipes. So far, I've made peppermint bark, sugar cookies and cake pops (coming up!). I used this popular recipe and these sugar cookies turned out amazing. The only thing I changed was using salted butter rather than unsalted because it was cheaper at the grocery store. I find that the salt balances out the high amount of sugar in these cookies. You can't taste that extra salt from the butter (I didn't add the 1/2 tsp of salt). Everyone around the house really enjoyed these cookies. Success! 

As you can tell, the first photo is the only one including cookies with the red icing. I split the icing up into three containers (red, white, blue). The red ones were the first to be iced, and were quickly devoured. Once everyone was all sugared out, I was able to finish decorating the others and photograph them. Lately I've been obsessing with photographing food, especially desserts, mmmm.

I didn't take pictures of the process because my battery died earlier. Blogger fail.  

snowmen, trees, candy canes, bells, mitts, stars

If you want to bake something sweet for the holidays, make these! They may be more time consuming due to the effort of rolling out the dough, cutting shapes, decorating (optional), but it is a lot of fun, especially done with holiday music in the background.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wishing for a White Christmas

I have always loved this time of the year. Everything around is holiday themed; red, green, silver, sparkly, covered in bows, dusted with artificial snow, wrapped in colorful lights, gingerbread homes, nibbling on peppermint bark, and everyone seems happier as the holidays progress. The only thing missing is REAL snow. Did you notice the pretty snowflake ornaments and glittery reindeer decorations? The snowflakes would look lovely on my tree

I made a collage of some Christmas goodies I've had my eye on for a few weeks now. 

Sephora: gift card, Clarisonic Mia, Philosophy bath sets, the Urban Decay Naked 2 palette - anything from Sephora is lovely.
+ Starbucks goodies, a TV for my bedroom, candles (to feed my obsession), new headphones and $$$!

Q: What are you wishing for this holiday season?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Peppermint Bark

Are you drooling? Or is that just me…

It’s about time I started baking for the holiday season. Baking is one of my favorite things to do and if I could have a blog dedicated all to baking, I would do it in a heartbeat, but there are many other things I enjoy blogging about so baking posts don’t go up too often. Anyways, my first December baking idea was peppermint bark! This recipe is simple, yet tastes so delicious. Combining peppermint and two kinds of chocolate sounds like perfection to me. 

You will only need three ingredients: chocolate (dark, semi sweet, milk – your choice), white chocolate and candy canes.

First, break 5-6 candy canes (or more if you use the mini kind) into chunks and chop them up in a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, you can crush them with a rolling pin in a sealed plastic bag.  Set aside.

Measure out 1 cup of the chocolate and set it up using the double boiler method (in a metal bowl on top of a pot with a small amount of water to melt the chocolate through the steam). You can also microwave it in short intervals (30 – 45s) and stirring in between, but this can cause the chocolate to burn or harden. 

Melting. Stirring. Sampling

Be careful when you grab the bowl, because it will be hot. Pour the chocolate onto a metal foil lined baking sheet. Spread it out into a thin layer, but not too, too thin so that you see the foil underneath.  Set it in your fridge for at least 15+ minutes (or in the freezer).

While it sets, you can being to prepare the white chocolate layer. Measure out 1 cup of white chocolate chips and melt them using the same method previously applied to the regular chocolate chips. 

Take the previously crushed candy canes and add a good amount of the candy dust, reserving the larger chunks, and incorporate the two as the white chocolate melts. If you have peppermint extract on hand, you can add a few drops also for an extra kick.

Melting. Stirring. Sampling

At this point, make sure your regular chocolate has set in the fridge/freezer. Next, spread the white layer on top of the regular chocolate with a spoon. Sprinkle the reserved candy cane chunks/dust on top. Allow it to set in the fridge/freezer for at least 30 minutes. Then, break it up into chunks. It’s best to just use your hands because the chocolate will have rough and rugged edges producing unique pieces of bark for everyone. 

You can package them up into cellophane bags and tie them with a decorative tag and ribbon and offer them as gifts. My batch was gone way too quickly to package up, but I’m not complaining.

Let me know if you guys have made this before, or what you plan on baking for the holiday season.  

Enjoy, and happy holidays!

Thursday, December 01, 2011


Is it really the first day of December? Time flies. I love the first day of each month. I feel like a 'fresh start' approach is just thrust upon us. December happens to be my second favorite month, after November. I adore the chilly months, and of course the holiday season at this time of the year. Scarves, parkas, mitts, blankets - perfection. I work at a craft store, so I've seen my fair share of red/green/sparkles/fake snow since July (not even kidding), and I'm happy to see people finally rushing in and purchasing their decorations for their creative geniuses to shine, or just recreating a craft they saw in the holiday issue of a Martha Stewart magazine. Either way, decorations are gorgeous! They usually don't get put up around my house until mid December, but that never stops me from decorating my own room.

On Monday I intertwined colorful lights around the headboard of my bed. That picture happens to be on the dark side, so the lights don't appear to be as bright in the picture they appear in person, but I love the pop of color they provide against my white walls.

It took me an hour to take apart the decorations from the mini tree we have, tearing the tinsel, switching the lights and gently putting aside the old ornaments. It went from childish, to chic and simple. Now the fake pine is adorned with white lights, metallic bulb ornaments, silver tinsel, smaller red bulbs, and a funky red, metallic topper. I love the simplicity of red/green/silver on the tree. I wrapped my yellow IKEA table with red holiday netting material (sounds horrendous, but I really can not think of any other way to describe it). The only thing missing is the scent of real pine. 

Are these not the cutest gingerbread faces you have ever seen? I will definitely attempt to recreate these girly decorated gingerbread faces and adorable snowmen faces. Stay tuned for Christmas baking posts! Baking holiday goodies might just be my favorite part of the preparation for Christmas. It's not just the baking part, it's also the quality time I spent with my mum, or my brothers when we bake and indulge together. I love taking photographs of desserts because I know how much people love looking at delicious foods through their computer screens (food porn anyone? Hahaha). Check out my photography tumblr for food pictures! 

Since I'll have two weeks of free time from University, I want to knit a scarf in that spare time. I've wanted to start one for a while, but I always worry about losing interest or running out of time, but if I'm doing nothing for two weeks then why not, right?

Q: Do you celebrate or have any special holiday traditions around this time of the year? 
What are your favorite holiday treats? This will give me an idea for what to bake and blog about.