Friday, December 24, 2010


Remember when I said I had celebrated the end of my grad school semester by baking cookies and that I had made the best Chocolate Graham Crackers?
Well, I wasn't kidding, and I couldn't wait to share it with you. Simply because these were truly the best Chocolate Cookies/Crackers I have ever made and eaten, they are that delicious!
The recipe I found at Ashley's blog The Edible Perspective, a super nice blog which I really enjoy reading, plus Ashley has some awesome recipes in there, you should take a look!
I saw this Graham Cracker recipe at Ashley's blog and could not wait to try making them myself, so as soon as I was done with my school work I entered the kitchen and made a batch. Oh my, it was Chocolate Graham Crackers perfection! Even the dough was delicious just by itself, and since it is vegan we were able to indulge on it without any worries - and I tell you, Matheus and I did have a fair share of raw chocolate cookie dough. However, the baked crackers were even better!
Perfect texture and taste, both Matheus and I loved them!
Matheus liked it so much that when I had to make reindeer cookies for his class' end of the year learning experience he asked me to make it with Ashley's recipe. Here is the result:

30 + cute reindeer cookies that I baked for the whole class, teachers and volunteers, we had a fun time at school!
To make the reindeer shaped cookies I used a circle cookie cutter which I bent into a triangular shape (the first reindeer cookie I made I shaped the dough into a triangle myself, that is the picture you see on the top of this post, using the cookie cutter made for a much more neat reindeer!). Cut out the triangles, stick two pretzels for the antlers, two chocolate chips for the eyes, and one red m&m candy for the nose and bake the cookies for about 10 minutes.
Couldn't be more simple and you cannot imagine how much the kids enjoyed this! Actually the teacher and the moms all really liked it too.
Since I followed Ashley's recipe exactly I am going to leave here the link and you can get the recipe at her website:
Chocolate Graham Crackers

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season, and wish you all a Very Happy and Blessed Christmas! Ho Ho Ho to all!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Cookies!

Wow, where did the year go? Gosh, this semester was busy!
Going back to school was a lot more than I expected; grad school is intense, lots of huge, long papers to do, exams and more exams, projects galore, and all my free time was basically gone.
I have been doing everything I normally do as a mom and wife (cooking and cleaning, taking to school, picking up from school, taking to soccer, play dates, and I am also the room mom for Matheus' class) plus the new student life (studying in between activities), phew, I am just glad this semester is over. But I am also excited for the next one to come, I chose 3 classes that I believe I am really going to enjoy! :-)
I haven't posted in a while, but I have been cooking daily as I always did. Taking classes both on campus and online enables me to be more at home during the morning so I can invent and be creative in the kitchen. Thing is I find myself more and more cooking with my intuition and basic instincts. I have reached a point where I not only like to cook but I also know how to do it well enough to not be relying on recipes all the time anymore.
I surely still am feeding my love for cookbooks and added a few of them throughout the semester to my pile, but to be true I use them mostly for inspiration than anything else. Which is good as I can adapt the recipes I want to make to whatever I have at home, or to whatever flavors our palates prefer.
I just love knowing how to cook, it is a blessing I will tell ya!
You know how when you want to eat something and have been craving that dish for a while? See, when you know how to cook you just go into the kitchen and whip it up! This happened to me the other day, I wanted to eat pot pie, but I wanted it to be just the way I wanted. So when I had the time (and the phyllo dough defrosted!) I went into the kitchen and made the best pot pie ever. Ok, it was just the regular and usual one like the Pot Pie with Phyllo Topping I have posted here before. I adjusted the veggies to include my beloved (and in season!) butternut squash and used almond milk in the sauce (dairy issues friends), it was the most perfect pot pie I could have asked for. I ate pot pie like it was my job, and felt as happy as could be!
On days like this I am really glad I can cook - and that I like doing it too!
Anyways, last week I turned in my last project of the semester and what do you do when you are finally done and happy, with free time to boot?? You bake cookies, of course!!
I made the best chocolate graham crackers you could ever imagine, but the recipe will come in another post.
Today I want to share some of the other cookies I have been baking: Christmas Cookies! I love making these, I truly do, you have no idea how much. Decorating these cookies is therapeutic and something I could do for hours - which I do, as it takes a few good hours to decorate these babies.
This year cookies were made all in mini size, which I like not just because they are really cute, but also because they make the perfect bite when you want something festive and sweet. It is Holiday cheer without sugar overload! :-)
The recipe I used was my basic sugar cookie dough that I have already posted before (click here to see the original post), but I am adding it to this post so you all can see again.
They were decorated with royal icing, using the flooding method. I assure you, they are much easier to make than you could ever imagine.
You can decorate these anyway you want. This sugar cookie dough is super easy to make and the wonderful to work with, plus you don't need to wait for the dough to chill or anything. You make it and you bake it, and eat it too!
I made some with cocoa powder (the gingerbread man ones), but the consensus here at home was that the regular version was better.
Plus, I have better chocolate cookies to share with you on the next post, so stay tuned!
Hope everyone is having a good end of the year! Ho ho ho!

Cookies in little tins to give to our friends as gifts!

Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 cups flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl cream butter and sugar with electric mixer. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add baking powder and flour one cup at a time, mixing after each addition. The dough will be very stiff. Blend last flour in by hand. Do not chill dough. Divide dough into 2 balls, On a floured surface, roll each ball in a circle approximately 12" in diameter and 1/8" thick. Use cutters as guide; the dough should be only slightly thinner than cutter. Bake cookies on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper on top rack of oven for 7 to 8 minutes, or until cookies are lightly golden on the bottom.