Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Cookies: Ginger Snaps with White Chocolate

One of the big holiday traditions in my house growing up was Christmas cookies. My mom would bake at least 10 different kinds of cookies and we would eat them through out the holiday season. It was always fun to have all the different options to choose from for assuaging my cookie cravings. (If you didn't know, I have a pretty sizable sweet tooth.) I love to bake but can never seem to get my act together to bake that many cookies. Plus, I am not sure I need that many cookies in my house or else it could be bye-bye waistline! (or maybe it is "hello, bigger waistline?")

Every year I am invited to at least one cookie exchange and this year, for the first one, I made Ginger Snaps with a White Chocolate Drizzle. I like ginger snaps because they are very "Christmasy" and also fairly simple to make.

I apologize for a lack of photos but I had this really cute & helpful sous chef assisting me and he was not favorable to me stopping to take pictures.

It is always better with help. Especially help wearing a cute owl apron.

 Baking, baking, baking...

 Cooling, cooling, cooling...

The finished product - how festive!

I have to say, adding a simple drizzle of chocolate to things makes it that much better. 
Plus, everyone is impressed by it! 

Ginger Snaps with White Chocolate Drizzle
Source Unknown

1 cup - packed brown sugar
3/4 cup - vegetable oil
1/4 cup - molasses
1 egg
2 cup - all-purpose flour
2 tsp - baking soda
1/4 tsp - salt
1/2 tsp - ground cloves
1 tsp - ground cinnamon
1 tsp - ground ginger
1/3 cup - white sugar (for decoration)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees; cover baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix together brown sugar, oil, molasses & egg. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cloves, cinnamon & ginger. Stir into the molasses mixture.

Roll dough into 1-1/4 inch balls; roll each ball in white sugar before placing onto baking sheets 2" apart.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until center is a bit firm to the touch & edges are slightly dark. Cool completely on wire racks. 

Place waxed paper underneath the wire racks. In a plastic decorator's bag (or sandwich bag), melt white chocolate (chips or chopped bark) in the microwave on half-power for about 2 minutes, checking the chocolate every 30 seconds to avoid over-cooking. When chocolate is soft & melted, snip about 1/4" off the tip of the bag (or corner if using a sandwich bag) and quickly drizzle over cooled cookies. 

Let chocolate set for at least 10 minutes. Serve or store in air-tight container for 3-5 days.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Best Christmas Movies Ever!

My husband and I agree that Christmas is one of the best seasons of the year. He loves the weather, I love sweaters and boots. The food is more fun. People are more pleasant. There lights and sparkles on everything. *Sigh* How can you not just love it?!

And there are Christmas movies. 

Many blogs I read are benevolently providing their readers with gift guides - I am not that resourceful so I am providing you with my list of the top 10 Christmas Movies... in my opinion. 

#10: White Christmas
I think this is almost necessary to have on this list just because it is the iconic Christmas movie. It is a good story, however. And the best part is that the housekeeper is also the Sister Mary Lazarus from Sister Act. Yesss.

 #9: Just Friends
Not technically a Christmas movie but it is set at Christmas time and is hilarious. 
Notable Scenes: Anna Faris eating a tube of toothpaste while on painkillers; the interaction between Ryan Reynolds' character and his brother; the mom. Funny stuff.
#8: Mickey's Christmas Carol
A childhood favorite of mine. My friend, Marina, and I must have watched this movie about a million times. The birthplace of Scrooge McDuck. 
#7: Home Alone
This is just classic - all the pranks young Master Culkin plays on the unsuspecting burglars - oh, so funny. This is Daniel Stern at his finest. Plus, I love Catherine O'Hara, too. 
#6: Holiday Inn
Probably one of my all-time favorite classic films anyway, but it also works as one of my top Christmas movies. Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire - so good. Notable scenes: anything with Mamie the housekeeper and her kids ("Is you name Miss Linda?). Quality film-making.
#5: Love Actually
Such a cute story - very touching and gives hope to the love-lorn everywhere. Plus Rowan Atkinson is in it. 
#4: Scrooged
If you haven't noticed yet, I like funny movies. This is a classic, funny movie. Bill Murray is so funny as the "Scrooge" character. Karen Kane is the best Ghost of Christmas Present that there ever has been. If you haven't seen this, rent it (or whatever the kids do these days... stream it? download it? Ugh, I'm old.) You won't be sorry.
#3: Better off Dead
OK, so technically not a Christmas movie BUT has some of the best Christmas scenes E-V-E-R! 
Example 1: Teaching the French exchange student about Christmas. Cha-ris-muus... 
Example 2: The mom. She dresses up as a reindeer. She gives frozen TV dinners as gifts. She makes jackets out of aardvarks. We should all be so lucky to have her for a mom. 
#2: Christmas Vacation
In my opinion, probably the 2nd best in the Vacation series after the original. 
Why is the carpet wet, Todd? I don't know, Margo. 

Drum Roll......
#1: Elf
SANTAAA - I know him!
Oh, he's an angry elf.
I'm singing, I'm in a store and I'm singing.
I'm just a cotton-headed ninny muggin.
Syrup in coffee - why didn't I think of that?

There is no Christmas movie better than Elf. 

Again - these are my opinions. When I told my list to my husband he was not happy that A Christmas Story was missing from the list. Or A Muppet Christmas Carol. I am not saying these other movies are not good - they're just not my faves. 

Enjoy your holidays - and check out some of these films - you'll be pleased. 

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Fun New Project

I bet everyone is wondering what I'm up to these days... where have I been? what am I doing? 
Actually.. I am working on something big. Well, big for me, at least. 

I am opening an Etsy store. Yay!

After my post about my festive birthday garland, I got so much positive feedback on it that I decided that I would make and sell different fun garlands, banners, buntings, etc. I've been a busy bee trying to work on some items so sell in my new store so that is why my blog posts have been so sparse lately. That and it's the holidays... work is crazy... I have a 2 year old... etc.  (is "etc" even needed?! Aren't the first 3 things enough?) So definitely look for that, coming in January.

Something I do want to share with you is my new Lepper Colony logo that my very talented husband made for me. 

Isn't it awesome?! I heart it so much.

So now that I've told you all about this festive new venture, I have to get working as not to disappoint all my adoring fans. All 8 of you. (For all of whom, I am very grateful!)

And maybe I can get my buns in gear and actually post some holiday posts. I've been working on some tasty treats that I want to share. I'll be back with those - pinky-promise. 

Happy Holidays!