Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Visions of Sugar Cookies Dance in My Head

The Christmas season just begs for baking, especially in Texas since it's finally cool enough to want to turn the oven on. I baked a big batch of snowflake sugar cookies to give as little tokens of gratitude.

I iced the little snowflakes in wintery shades of white and pale blue, then added a few sugar beads to glam them up a bit. I gave a batch to the staff at our veterinarian clinic for keeping our furry family happy and healthy. I also gave some to our dentist's staff (they do eat sugar!), my husband's coworkers,  the lady who cuts our hair and, of course, some for our friends. When the snowflake cookies ran out, I baked a batch of snickerdoodles for anyone else who looked like they might enjoy a cookie. The next batch will be gingersnaps for Christmas Day. I've never made them before, but I do enjoy a good gingersnap with their gingery bite and subtle sweetness. So good with coffee!

So if you expect to run into me in the next few days, remind me to bring a cookie for you too. Happy holidays!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Lemon Curd in the Written Word

I am now officially a published baker! My friends at the newspaper that I used to work for needed a baking story for their holiday guide. Naturally, they asked their former graphic designer, blogger and up-and-coming baker to choose a holiday recipe to write about. I'm always happy to help the old gang, so I gladly accepted.

The hard part was choosing a recipe. It's easy to fall back on the usual holiday treats like sugar cookies, gingerbread or pies but that would be boring and too expected. Besides, people usually already have  recipes for these desserts because they've been made for years as a family tradition. I decided to offer a quick and easy recipe that isn't typical for the holidays but will fit right in and can be served in bite-size portions for parties or full bellies. I chose lemon curd tartlets in an optional no-bake graham cracker crust.

Sure, lemon is reminiscent of summer with its sunny color and citrus taste but that's what makes it such a refreshing alternative during the months of spices, apples and such. Plus, it only takes about 20 minutes to make enough curd to fill dozens of tart shells. The holidays are a busy time so it's nice to have a homemade recipe that is both quick and delicious. You really can't go wrong with lemon curd tartlets!

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