04 January 2012

Baking with the Boyfriend

Busy busy busy has been kind of the theme of 2011, and the days leading up to Christmas were no different. As the year progressed, and as things got busier and more hectic, I was constantly wracked with anxiety about the relationship between me and my boyfriend. I was so terrified that because we were so busy, and because we didn't get to see each other that much, that somehow that would cause things to collapse. I don't exactly have a very happy or healthy romantic past, and in my last relationship, that always seemed to be the way it would go. And unlike the way I now realize that I felt about that last relationship, I reallllllllyyyyyy realllllllyyyyyyy like this one.

So, naturally I didn't want that to happen.

But as it turns out, the happiest surprise about being in a healthy, functional, and loving relationship is that... well... it's not that hard. We like doing a lot of the same things, and even if it's not something we both enjoy, we end up enjoying it because we get to hang out. So the few days of vacation we had after school ended and before Christmas, we made the most of it. Even though they were filled with errands, chores and holiday preparation responsibilities, we tried to do a decent amount of it together. We helped each other shop for our families, and most exciting of all for me, he helped me bake! My usually solitary day long baking marathon was far more enjoyable (and more productive!) with him around to keep me talking and lend a helping (much stronger than mine) hand.

He was particularly helpful in instances where butter had to be mixed in, since with my teeny hands and non-existent upper arm strength/bad wrists, it usually takes me an eternity to get it to the consistency it's supposed to be without a mixer (our hand-held bit the bullet a few months ago and we haven't gotten around to replacing it).

We tried out three, totally new recipes this year, two of which I'll talk about in this post.

First up is a Pinterest find for Swirled Sugar Cookies. While the recipe seems to be just for regular Pillsbury type hard sugar cookies, it was the visuals that really got me. All swirly and sprinkley and pretty...

Overall, a pretty straightforward recipe, and the result tastes even better than the Pillsbury ones I loved so much as a kid. The only thing of note that we found is that it's actually much much easier to make the cookie cane if the dough hasn't been refrigerated. Ours got TOO hard after refrigeration to even bend without it just snapping. Which was kind of bizarre and may have somehow been our fault. But beyond that, easy peasy.

Ours aren't the neatest looking, mainly because the sprinkle application was kind of a difficult process... I couldn't really find a great way to do it without either messing up the cane, or getting sprinkles EVERYWHERE. The only vessel we had that would have worked were the large cookie sheets with edges and they were in the oven at the time. Additionally I probably should have refrigerated it slightly more before slicing to prevent the shape deformation from the pressure of the not-so-sharp knife I used.

The other recipe was one I found in my perusing of Tracey's Culinary Adventures . It's a great blog, and I love digging through recipes when I have 15 minutes to spare. When I stumbled upon the recipe for Eggnog Cut-Out Cookies, I knew at once it was a must-try. Both of us absolutely love eggnog, and to have cookies that taste like it? Perfect.

The recipe itself was super easy to whip up, and quite honestly a good third of the dough ended up in our stomachs before the oven was even pre-heated. The dough was SO FREAKING GOOD. Almost better than the finished cookies. Which were also SO GOOD. This is a recipe that is definitely being put in my recipe box for future and frequent use.

Some tips to remember for next time I make them (and there will most certainly be a next time): 1) Don't roll the dough too thin. They're better thicker. and 2) Remember to put the Cinnamon Sugar on top BEFORE baking.

As I mentioned earlier, we actually tried out THREE new recipes that day, but the third will have it's own post devoted to the recipe review. But, to hold you over... here's a sneak peak!


P.S. - Find me on Pinterest! Turandot23.


DrChopSuey said...

Aww you and your BF are so sweet! This post just make me smile. And man those cookies must have been yummy!

On a sidenote... going to follow you on Pinterest -- I'm DrChopSuey (go figure). But I still haven't figured out how to work the blasted site. (I know tech savvy scientist here can't figure out a website... eh).

DrChopSuey said...

BTW -- thank you for alerting me about the photos on my blog. It wasn't your browser. It was blogger and picasa and me having issues. But thanks -- hopefully fixed now!