Friday, December 20, 2013

Zimtsterne (Cinnamon Star Cookies) Recipe

 I took German in high school, then the summer after my senior year was fortunate enough to visit Germany via a class trip. Ever since then, I have had a special place in my heart for German culture and cuisine. So it seemed appropriate to end this series with a traditional German Christmas cookie. 

Zimtsterne (Cinnamon Star Cookies) Recipe
originally found here
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar, plus more for rolling
15 ounces sliced almonds, with skin (about 4 1/2 cups)
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 large egg whites, room temperature
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

1. Sift the powdered sugar. Put 1/2 cup of the sifted powdered sugar, 10 ounces (3 heaping cups) of the almonds and all the cinnamon in a food processor. Process until the nuts are finely ground, with just a few larger pieces.

2. Whip the egg whites in the bowl of an electric stand mixer on high speed (about speed 6) until they hold soft peaks, about 1 minute. Gradually add the remaining powdered sugar while whipping, until the whites are thick, creamy and somewhat stiff, about 2 minutes more. Set aside 2/3 cup of this meringue for topping the cookies.

3. Fold the ground almond mixture and the lemon zest into the remaining meringue to make a stiff dough.

4. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

5. Lay a sheet of parchment or waxed paper on the work surface and lightly dust with powdered sugar. Turn the dough out onto the dusted paper, flatten and dust with more sugar as needed, and then lay another sheet of parchment or waxed paper on top. Roll the dough between the papers until it is about 1/4-inch thick. Flip the dough over and gently peel off the top sheet of the paper. For ease when cutting, lay the paper back on the dough, flip again and gently pull off the other side of the paper so that the dough is fully released from it.

6. Cut cookies with a 3-inch star cutter and place about 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Reroll excess dough using process from step 5 until you have used all of it. 
Zimtsterne (Cinnamon Star Cookies) Recipe
7. Use a small spoon to spread the reserved meringue (about 1 tsp per cookies) over the top of each cookie, taking care not to let the meringue drip over the sides. 

Zimtsterne (Cinnamon Star Cookies) Recipe
8. Press or sprinkle remaining sliced almonds in a decorative pattern into the meringue. 
Zimtsterne (Cinnamon Star Cookies) Recipe

9. Bake cookies until bottoms are light golden brown and meringue is set and crisp, about 30 minutes. Turn off the oven and open the oven door to release heat and dry cookies out in the oven for 10 more minutes.
Zimtsterne (Cinnamon Star Cookies) Recipe

Normally, I take care to get pictures of the entire process. I am a visual learner, and I appreciate when recipes show in-process photos so that I know what I'm doing looks right. This time, I did the recipe in two parts: I made the meringue and the dough, then went to pick E up from school, then finished the recipe. So I completely spaced on taking photos of the making of the meringue and the dough. I hope you can forgive me. ;) 

On the plus side, making this recipe in two parts is totally an option. You can make the meringue, then set aside what you'll need for the topping in an airtight container in the fridge. Then you make the dough, roll it out between the parchment paper, and store it in the fridge. It can stay that way for about 12 hours if need be. 

On the other plus side, these cookies are delicious-- sweet, but not too much, and very nutty and spicy. They are very different from anything I've ever made before, but remind me a bit of macaroons. Bonus: they're gluten-free!

I've had a lot of fun with this series, and I hope you have, too! My house is just the way I like it: completely overrun with delicious cookies. 

As always, don't forget to check I do deClaire for Laura's recipe, too! How amazing do these sound?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

One Year

This past Sunday was J's and my one year wedding anniversary. I am so grateful to have him in my life. He is my partner, soul mate, best friend. I can't imagine where I would be without him.

Our wedding was very simple, with just a few close friends and family. We found out last October that J was getting sent out here to California, then we got engaged in November and married in December. We had a small ceremony at sunset in the Old Market in Omaha (under the archway at 12th and Farnam, if any of you Omaha folk are curious). We were taking a risk having an outdoor ceremony in December in Nebraska, and freezing rain was forecast for that day, but it held off until we had moved to our reception venue, for which everyone was extremely grateful. 

We had our reception in the party room of Blue Sushi, where we had our first date. We had hands-down the best food I've ever had at a reception, and I'm not just saying that because it was my reception. 

While our wedding was small, and the planning happened over the course of three weeks, it was still very meaningful to us, and one of my happiest memories. I look forward to making many more memories with this man throughout the rest of our lives together.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Candy Cane Cookies

Happy Friday, and welcome to another weekly installment of Christmas Cookies with myself and Laura! This week, E helped me tackle candy cane cookies. It's sort of like playing with Play-Doh, but with cookie dough instead. Also more delicious.

originally found here

1 box (or bag) sugar cookie mix
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 egg
1/3 cup softened cream cheese (which is 2 and 1/3 oz of a stick)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus additional for surface
Red food coloring
1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract


1. Preheat oven to 325. In a bowl (I, as always, used my stand mixer), combine sugar cookie mix, melted butter, egg, cream cheese, and flour; mix together to form dough. 
2. Separate dough into 2 equal portions and place in 2 different bowls. I divided the dough then put one of the halves back in the stand mixer bowl.
3. Add red food coloring gradually to one bowl of dough, kneading together until desired shade of red is created. I kneaded the red dough in my stand mixer (with the dough hook attachment) to keep the red food coloring from getting all over the place.

4. Add peppermint extract to uncolored dough and knead together. (This was E's job.) 

5. On a floured work surface, takes small chunks of each dough, and roll into 1/4-inch-wide ropes (or "worms," as E so charmingly called them), each about 6 inches long. For each cookie, carefully twist  the red and white ropes of dough together and shape into a candy cane. 
6. Spread candy canes out on cookie sheets and bake on the top shelf of the oven for about 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool before serving.
can you guess which ones E made? :)

E had a lot of fun with this recipe, but it is NOT for the perfectionist. I had a hard time letting go of my need to make the candy canes look like candy canes and just having fun with it, but once I did, we had a blast. :) And then things got weird...

Once we got tired of making candy canes, we decided to use cookie cutters on the rest of the dough. The only cookie cutters I own are Star Wars (Yoda, R2D2, and Vader), however, so it looks like Santa is getting a candy cane, some nerd-dom, and a peppermint candy (or planet?) -shaped cookie for his snack this year. ;) It's okay, they're delicious no matter what form they take. 

Don't forget to check out I do deClaire for another Christmas cookie recipe! Looks like this week is mint themed! 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Stay-At-Home Mom Style: The Cardigan Uncertainty

Stay-At-Home Mom Style: The Cardigan Uncertainty
Stay-At-Home Mom Style: The Cardigan Uncertainty
Stay-At-Home Mom Style: The Cardigan Uncertainty
cardigan, tee/ Target | necklace/ laurenelainemoore | jeans/ Old Navy | boots/ JustFab

I am seriously loving cognac and black looks right now. This cardigan is the last of my Target haul. I grabbed it because the color is PERFECT (I've been looking for more of a camel than tan), and the length is about where I want it. But now looking at the pictures, I think the fit might be off. Ideally, I'd like something with a v-neck, and something that doesn't look so baggy and sloppy (but still has room to layer). This has plenty of room to layer, but it looks like there might be a bit TOO much room. Thoughts? Help a girl out.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Stay-At-Home Mom Style: Sweater Love

Stay-At-Home Mom Style: Sweater Love
Stay-At-Home Mom Style: Sweater Love
Stay-At-Home Mom Style: Sweater Love
scarf/ Kohl's | sweater, flats/ Target | pants/ Ross

1) This sweater is another from my Target haul last week. I can't decide if I like this one or the other one better, both are perfect holiday season sweaters!

2) Remember the maroon pants I bought two months ago, intending to get them tailored? Yeah, these are them... still untailored. The fit isn't awful this way, I'd just rather the hems be a bit more skinny ankle-pant type cut. Would make it easier to fit them into boots (which is how I wanted to wear this, since really it's too cold for flats, but at least I wasn't leaving the house the day I wore this). That's why these photos were taken inside. ;)

3) This is another example of wearing green and red type colors without looking like Christmas threw up on you. The leopard print is a nice way to tone down the holiday colors, I think.

4) I still have a lot of work to do on my DSLR skillz. I know the graininess and lack of being able to tell the pants are maroon is an ISO issue, I just need to play around a little more with the settings until I get it right. Or maybe look it up. But I'm more of a trial-and-error kind of gal.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

Have you ever had Mexican hot chocolate before? That stuff is amazing. So when I stumbled across this recipe for Mexican hot chocolate cookies, I just knew they were the perfect option for this week's Christmas cookie recipe. It's like hot chocolate, with a kick, in cookie form. What's not to love?

1 stick unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 325. In a heatproof mixing bowl set over simmering water (or a double boiler, if you're fancy like that), melt the butter and baking chocolate together, whisking constantly until smooth. Set chocolate aside to cool.

2. While chocolate cools, mix together brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla and eggs in a stand mixer with paddle attachment on low speed. Beat until well combined. 

3. Add cooled chocolate to bowl and continue beating until well combined.

 4. In medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, chili powder, baking soda, salt, and cayenne pepper (if using-- I opted to leave it out for the sake of my husband and daughter who are both afraid not big fans of spicy things). 

 5. Add dry ingredients to chocolate batter in stand mixer bowl and mix on low until well combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

6. Scoop 1" balls of dough onto cookie sheet fitted with parchment paper. Bake for 14 minutes. Cookies will be puffy and still slightly soft when done. 

5. Remove cookies from oven and immediately move parchment paper and cookies from baking sheet to cooling rack. Let cool for 5-10 minutes, then serve warm. 

I had enough dough to make 2 dozen cookies, plus extra dough (enough for another 1-2 dozen) that I put into an airtight container to freeze and save for another day. Mine look a bit more like little poops than the original recipe's, but I promise they taste delicious. Super chocolatey, but with a little extra kick from the cinnamon and chili powder. They are amazing dunked in milk, or even better-- hot chocolate! The perfect cookie for curling up by a fire and snuggling up on a cold winter's night. 

Don't forget to head over to Laura's blog for her recipe, too! How cute do these look?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Stay-At-Home Mom Style: Maroon and Olive

Stay-At-Home Mom Style: Maroon and Olive
Stay-At-Home Mom Style: Maroon and Olive
Stay-At-Home Mom Style: Maroon and Olive
Stay-At-Home Mom Style: Maroon and Olive
sweater/ Old Navy | jeans, necklace/ Target | boots/ JustFab

These are the first outfit photos I took with my fancy new DSLR camera, tripod and remote. Obviously I have a long way to go before I can actually take a decent photo with it, so just bear with me, k? I'm pretty excited about learning to use this thing.

On to the outfit: here we have another vaguely Christmas-y outfit, without being too "look at me I'm a Christmas tree!" The maroon and olive are nice nods to traditional Christmas colors, but not overboard. These olive jeans are another item I grabbed during my Target run the other day, and I looooove them. I'm so excited about having a pair of olive skinny jeans, they really should have been on my fall wish list. I feel so seasonal in this outfit. :) I plan on wearing it tonight to the Holiday Parade of Lights our town is having!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Stay-At-Home Mom Style: Holiday-ish

Stay-At-Home Mom Style: Holiday-ish
Stay-At-Home Mom Style: Holiday-ish
Stay-At-Home Mom Style: Holiday-ish
Stay-At-Home Mom Style: Holiday-ish
sweater/ Target | gingham shirt, jeans/ Old Navy | boots/ Shoedazzle

After some gorgeous weather over the Thanksgiving weekend, it's back to chilly and windy here in the Bay. Which can only mean one thing: layers! Looking through my closet I realized I was low on wintery/holiday-ish sweaters, so I hopped on over to Target to see what I could find. As luck would have it, they were having a sale on sweaters, so I grabbed this one and one other for a total of $20.98! I also grabbed some other stuff which I'll show off soon. ;) 

I love how seasonally-appropriate this outfit is. Neutrals, especially grey and black, seem to be really in this winter, but I like how the button up adds a little extra color and pattern mixing. The gingham pattern just plays really well against the geometric pattern along the neckline, dontcha think? This outfit has my creative juices flowing, I can't wait to show you all of my "winter" (because that means something different here on the central coast) and holiday-ish outfit ideas!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

November Budget

November Budget
original post | original post

1. Kohl's- Sonoma faux leather jacket: $34.00 (originally $68.00)
2. Kohl's- leopard scarf (can't find it online anywhere): $12 (originally $20)
3. Old Navy- quilted tweed puffa vest: $27.00 (originally $44.94)

Total spent: $73.00
Saved: $59.94

I only bought three things this month. What is wrong with me? I got lucky with a sale at Kohl's early on in the month, and a random sale at the Old Navy website, and other than that, I really didn't do any shopping other than the occasional online window shopping. I didn't do Black Friday because, well... I was too lazy. I didn't really have my eye on anything anyway.

Also, I'm thinking of bumping my $50 budget up to $100 because I always seem to go over $50, but I can stay under $100. I'm afraid if I do that, though, I'll just start busting that budget, too. :( Bad Kim!

The good news is, I was able to knock two more things off my wishlist (the jacket and scarf). Now, all that's left is that elusive neutral cardigan... Why are cardigans so hard for me?!

Fall Wish List
cognac flats
comfy fall shirt
fall dress
cognac boots
fall scarf
second plaid flannel shirt
colored cardigan
neutral cardigan
maroon/fall colored pants
brown leather (or fake leather) jacket
leopard scarf
black skinny jeans

I hope that the sales didn't get you too bad! And as always, linking up with Franish for Budgeting Bloggers!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...