A Christmas Miracle

I know that a majority of my posts have something to do with food. What can I say? This gal loves to eat. So, until I find a new hobby or completely perfect my cooking skills, y’all are just going to have to deal with these stories.

With that being said, I kind of just set up this post to be about failure, didn’t I? Sorry if I have misled you, but I have some wonderful news, people. I hope you are sitting down.

I just made the best Christmas cookies, ever. I did not mess this up. And honestly, I don’t even know if they’re technically considered Christmas cookies, but tis the season.

Now, I’m going to share this recipe with you under one condition: this is only to be used in emergencies – say you have completely fudged up a recipe and need to redeem yourself or perhaps you don’t know what to get your boss for Christmas.

Note: Everyone loves cookies (especially bosses), and if they say otherwise, run far away.

 Ingredients:

Pre-baking
Pre-baking

1 ¾ cups of flour

¼ teaspoon of salt

¾ cups of softened butter

½ cup of sugar

½ teaspoon of vanilla extract

Enough raspberry jam to fill the center of each cookie *I use the kind of jam that has seeds in it simply because it’s awesome.

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper, or lightly spread butter on them if you don’t own lining (like me).
  • Add the flour and salt in a bowl and whisk together.
  • Add the butter and sugar into another bowl and cream together until it becomes a fluffy mixture. Also add the vanilla extract and mix all three ingredients.
  • Gradually add the flour mixture with a spoon. This will obviously harden the butter/sugar mixture, and it may seem crumbly, but no worries!
  • Pinch off approximately 1 tablespoon of the dough and roll into a ball. Once you have placed them on the baking sheet, use your thumb to create a well in the center and fill each cookie with jam.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes. *I actually baked mine for about 12-14 minutes, so keep an eye on how done you want the cookies to be.
  • Resist eating the whole batch of cookies. I may or may not have failed at this step.
The finished product.
The finished product.

A Broken Family Tradition

I remember sitting on a stool in my family’s restaurant watching the chefs scurrying around an iron kitchen and cooking delectable plates of food for the hundreds of people who chose to spend their special evening with us. In order to not mess up the assembly line of pasta being scooped on plates, vegetables being steamed and sauce being stirred, my job was to sprinkle parsley on the outgoing plates. Seems easy, right? You betcha.

As I got older, I realized that these family genes – the ones that made my “Big Noni” (aka: great-grandma) a legend who is still talked about to this day, and the ones that have been passed down to EVERY. SINGLE. HUMAN in our family – must have decided to skip-a-doodle-do right on over me. Probably due to the fact that I will settle for Raisin Bran Crunch and not shed a single tear over soggy asparagus.

This is where I precisely gained a hatred for the TV Network because if people can watch “30 Minute Meals” with Rachael Ray and learn how to make pot roast, then why did I not absorb the hours and hours of free lessons while sitting on that green stool at the end of the kitchen. WHY, I MUST ASK WHY?

I digress.

In case you are wondering where this panic is striking from, I’m starting to develop this irrational fear that I will soon be asked to a dinner party and will have nothing to show thanks with in return. Right now, the best I could do is arrange some bagel bites on a plate and call it a day. Oh, my Big Noni would be rolling over in her grave and calling me every name under the sun. Scustumad. Stunad. I can hear it now.

Recipes, prayers and a scotch tape cross.
A look into Noni’s cabinet: Recipes, prayers and a scotch tape cross.

I have asked my Noni (aka: grandma) to write down her recipes, which are etched into her kitchen cabinets, and she has refused. Actually, it goes something like this:

Me: “Noni, I would really like to have the family meatball recipe. You think we can make this happen?”

Noni: * Laughs * “Babe, I don’t think there is hope for you.”

People, this is a problem. I don’t know if my family has put two and two together, but I am the only one. No more Sears children in this family line. Zero. Zip. Zilch. I feel as though it is my civic duty to pasta lovers across the world to learn how to make this sauce that has been passed down from Noni to Noni and son to son. Heck, even Stanley knows the recipe and he’s not even Italian!

So, with Thanksgiving upon us, you know what this means? I get to spend 5 – you read that correctly – days badgering my family until they have no other choice than to teach me their ways. Pictures will follow, assuming no one dies.

A Little Butter Never Hurt Anybody…

Sometimes, I like to think that I am creative.

Examples: decorating my apartment, this blog, attempting Pinterest recipes… should I go on?

Last night, I decided that I was going to bake a sweet (no pun intended) recipe for my intern to celebrate the fact that it was Friday and we hadn’t lost our minds…yet. So, where does one go when she needs to find a quick recipe that will prevail the biggest of dessert critics (or just needy interns)? Pinterest, duh.

Now, here’s the thing about working with people. You really learn their quirks. For example, about a month after working with each other, I soon learned that Cat (our all-star intern turned junior associate) really had a thing for peanut butter. Which is dandy because I do too. So instead of taking coffee runs, you can often find us in the kitchen bonding over the one of two jars of Jif that I keep in the fridge. No shame.

The inspiration.
The inspiration.

Naturally, I decided to make homemade Reese’s Peanut Butter bars. I printed off the recipe, dashed to the store and figured that there was no possible way I would screw this up because all you do is mix and freeze. Boy, was I wrong.

I put in the one-cup of graham cracker crumbs, the three-and-a-half CUPS of powdered sugar, the one-and-a-half cups of peanut butter and a tablespoon of butter. One of these things is not like the other.

You mean, this isn't what homemade peanut butter cups are supposed to look like?
You mean, this isn’t what homemade peanut butter cups are supposed to look like?

Needless to say, my recipe was actually a recipe for disaster. It looked like straight sand. My world crumbled in my hands. Literally.

Maybe blame the bottle of wine, but I realized that I had to have missed something. And by something, I mean 2STICKSOFBUTTER. Paula Deen would be so ashamed of me. So ashamed.

All I remembered was my fourth grade teacher saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.” So that is what I did. I dumped my mixture of failure into the bowl and added two sticks of butter.

And, whatdoyaknow, it turned out perfectly. If I can redeem myself, then so can the Democrats.

Happy intern, happy office.
Happy intern, happy office.