Every holiday, I make batches of several kinds of cookies for friends and family. This year, I took it easy and kept it simple with only one, er, two things… a s’more and/or hot cocoa kit. This is one I put together for my nanny, who has been a lifesaver for me for the past year. I really could not do anything without her. I hope she enjoys it with her family this holiday! Here are some recipe links:
- I tried out a recipe this year for graham crackers from my go-to kid-friendly cookbook, Le Petit Appetit. I’ve tested it a few times and like it better when it’s rolled out thicker, like 1/4”-3/8”, for a softer cracker. Also, I discovered the best way to cut butter into dry ingredients.
- This was the first time I ever made marshmallows and it was frickin’ easy, but took a while. They are totally worth it.
- I made mini chocolate bars by melting milk chocolate baking chips and pouring it into a parchment-lined cookie sheet. I smoothed it out a little but wanted some texture so I just made sure it was relatively even in thickness. Then I put it in the freezer for a few minutes, took it out while it was slightly soft to score it into pieces for the graham crackers, and popped it back in for another 5 minutes or so.
- The hot cocoa is a non-hot version of this recipe (i.e. I left out the cayenne after burning my mouth during the test run). I also crushed up some candy canes for a sweet sprinkle.
I’m always so self-conscious giving homemade gifts away - will they like it? (Of course.) Does it seem cheap? (Of course.) But I love to make and craft and bake! Can you tell Tom and I have also been practicing our rhyming for a new book for Lucy? I’ll share that soon enough, my friends…
Have I mentioned that I’ve been baking and cooking up a storm lately? I guess it’s leftover nesting impulses? Maternal instinct? In any event, I’ve warned my husband not to get used to it, because this domestic affair with cooking (and yes, even sewing) may not last.
So this Christmas, I’m trying to round up a few recipes to make in triple or quadruple batches to package up pretty boxes and tins for friends and family. Chocolate chip cookies, chocolate peppermint cookies, and sugar cookies were favorites from last year. This year I was thinking of adding s’mores with homemade grahams (from Le Petit Appetit) and marshmallows, and maybe some gingerbread. Mmm… now I’m hungry.
Ever since Vampire Weekend’s last mega-awesome album, Contra, I’ve been wondering, What the hell IS horchata? (C’mon, admit that you have, too.) Well, during a trip to my local coffee shop, I noticed their chalkboard was wiped clean with fresh text reading, “Horchata - Cinnamon Oat drink with Agave - Hot or Cold.” Hells yeah, I thought, and ordered it up.
My taste buds thanked me that day. But I give credit to the dear sirs of Vampire Weekend, who opened the door to a tasty new beverage. I found a good recipe I think I’ll try. And I hear there’s even a canned version of the stuff coming to the US - the traditional Mexican recipe with rice, not oats. Not sure if they can contain such palatable pleasure in a can, but I’ll try anything once!