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Archive for December 2013

Christmas Tree Cookies | Christmas Recipes Week II

Friday, December 13, 2013

This Christmas cookie recipe was passed along to me by one of my past Brides, and I can't stress enough how excited I was to try it out because of who it was coming from.  Exhibit A, B, and C, below please:

This was the favour table at her wedding and all of the cookies you see were made by my incredibly talented Bride!  Now, I'm sure you can see how it's serious business to receive a cookie recipe that has been tried-and-tested in this girl's kitchen.

Below is the recipe, which is very, very simple (the only time-consuming part was rolling all of the little balls and positioning them on the cookie sheet).

Christmas Tree Cookies modified from Better Homes & Gardens 

Ingredients for cookies:
1 c. butter
1/2 c. white sugar
1 Tbsp. milk (I had eggnog left over and used this instead!)
1 tsp. vanilla (you may substitute with mint extract)
2 1/4 c. flour
green food colouring

Ingredients for icing:
1 c. icing sugar
approximately 2 Tbsp. milk (or eggnog)
Edible glitter, in white

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 (I modified this method, from 325, because I felt it was taking too long for the cookies to bake - as well as bake all the way through).  
2. Cream together butter and sugar.  Beat in milk or eggnog and vanilla or mint and mix until combined.
3. Slowly add flour - you might like to add more if the cookie dough is too sticky to mould.
4. Remove approximately 1/3 of a cup of the dough and set aside (you will use this when you roll the balls out for your tree base).  Add green food colouring to the remainder of the dough and mix evenly.
5. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  With the green cookie dough, roll out 1/2 (or smaller even) balls and arrange: one line of four, followed by one line of three, one line of two and one ball to top off the tree.  When you're adding each ball, be sure to lightly press it to the ball it's next to.  Use the plain dough to create a ball at the base of the tree.
6. Space all cookies approximately 2" apart.  Bake for 10 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned.
7. Once cookies are completely cool, whisk together icing sugar and milk (or eggnog).  You can always add extra icing sugar to get the icing-consistency you find ideal.  
8. Decorate however you wish and enjoy!

Homemade Oreos & Eggnog Cookies | Christmas Recipes

Saturday, December 7, 2013

I know a lot of you will be baking up a storm and making cookies for exchanges, Christmas bake sales, and for your Family and here are a few recipes to help get you started!

Homemade Oreo Cookies by Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients for the chocolate bit (which are VERY good on their own):
*1 1/4 c. flour
* 1/2 c. cocoa
* 1 tsp. baking soda
* 1/4 tsp. baking powder
* 1/4 tsp. salt
* 1 to 1 1/2 c. white sugar (your decision)
* 1/2 c. plus 2 Tbsp. of room temperature butter
* 1 large egg

Ingredients for the filling:
* 1/4 c. room temperature butter
* 1/4 c. vegetable shortening
* 2 c. icing sugar
* 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Method for the chocolate bit:
1. Pre-heat oven to 375 and set your oven rack in the middle.
2. Thoroughly mix all dry ingredients (for the chocolate wafers).  Gradually add butter and egg (be sure to mix completely, but don't over-mix/whip).
3. Place rounded teaspoon-sized dollops of cookie dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.  These guys spread quite a bit while being baked, so try to space them about 2 inches apart.
4. With moistened fingers, press down slightly on the tops of the dollops to flatten them a bit.
5. Bake for 9 minutes (rotate baking sheet at the 4-minute-mark).

Method for filling:
1. Place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl and gradually add icing sugar and vanilla.
2. Beat the mixture, on high, for about 2-3 minutes (until fluffy).
3. Once your chocolate wafers have cooled completely, place filling into a piping bag and squeeze a healthy-sized blob onto the centre of one wafer.  Cover with another wafer (you may have to press down a bit to help evenly distribute the filling between the two).  Repeat this process with remaining wafers.  

Eggnog Cookies by iheartnaptime

Ingredients for the cookie dough:
* 2 1/4 c. flour
* 1 tsp. baking powder
* 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
* 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
* 1 1/4 c. white sugar
* 3/4 c. softened butter
* 2 egg yolks
* 1 tsp. vanilla
* 1/2 c. Bolthouse Holiday Eggnog

Ingredients for icing:
* 1 1/4 c. icing sugar
* 3 Tbsp. eggnog
* ground nutmeg for garnish

Method for the cookie dough:
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Cream together butter and sugar.  Gradually add egg yolks and vanilla.
3. In a separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients together.  Slowly add to creamed mixture.
4. Add eggnog and mix until smooth.
5. Place teaspoon-sized dollops on a baking sheet.  Bake for 18-20 minutes until the bottoms are lightly browned.  Place on a rack to cool.

Method for icing:
1. In a small bowl, mix together icing sugar and eggnog - you can add more icing sugar or eggnog, based on your icing preferences.
2. Place icing into a piping bag (or ziploc baggie, like I did ;) and slowly drizzle icing over cooled cookies.  
3. Garnish with ground nutmeg.


Maple Roasted Almonds and Walnuts with Quinoa Crisps | Christmas Recipes

Friday, December 6, 2013

Maple Roasted Almonds and Walnuts

* 4 cups of nuts (Walnuts, Almonds, Filberts, etc)
* 1/2 c. maple syrup
* 2 Tbsp. butter, melted or at room-temperature
* optional - 3 to 4 Tbsp. of quinoa crisps, sesame seeds, and/or flax seeds

1. Pre-heat oven to 350.
2. Measure out nuts and pour them into a large bowl.
3. Thoroughly mix in maple syrup and butter (and quinoa or seeds if you decide to add them)
4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and evenly distribute nut mixture on paper.
5. Place on middle rack in oven and bake for approximately 35-40 minutes (*be sure to turn and sift around several times to ensure even roasting and prevent burning).


Knechtal Cheese | Kitchener Farmers' Market | Food Photography

Last Friday, I was able to capture one of my favourite foods as well as meet with three of the loveliest individuals on the market scene, here in Kitchener.  Additionally, I'm excited to have some dairy images in my food portfolio, as they are going to fit very nicely into a larger, support-local project I'm working on!

Hopefully, these images will inspire you to grab a bottle of red on your way home from work and visit the Market tomorrow!  Warm baguette, cheese and wine sounds like my kind of Saturday night!

Family Portrait Session at Jakeman's Maple Farm | Beachville Ontario

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Every year I have the pleasure of capturing the Family of one of my long-time friends and the best part of it all is getting the opportunity to photograph the kids as they grow up!  Please enjoy a few of their images from this past October (and if you're ever looking for a great location for Family photos, Jakeman's Maple Farm is perfect - and be sure to visit the gift shop before you head home ;)).

An X-Men Kind of Christmas

A little obvious, perhaps, but just a sneak peek of my Brother's Christmas gift this year :)).  I'll post the finished product after the holidays (but in the meantime, I'll leave this here: Cloudsfactory - on

Knechtal Cheese | Kitchener Farmers' Market

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Just a little *wedge* of what I captured this past Friday - I was in heaven at Knechtal Cheese!  Who wouldn't be if they had the chance to capture one of their favourite foods?!  Full post on Friday!