Monthly Archives: December 2010

Attempted Raspberry Reduction

Ever since our honeymoon in CA, I’ve been dreaming of a dessert I had there.  It was the most delicious dessert I have ever had.  Period.  The restaurant named it “like water for chocolate”.  To give you an idea of how much I loved it… we returned to the restaurant the next night just to have the dessert again.  THAT’S how good it was.  I even took a picture so that I could remember it forever.

Last week, the raspberries were on sale at Harris Teeter.  I picked up 4 little boxes so that I could attempt a raspberry reduction for the first time.  I used Emeril’s recipe because it seemed simple enough that I couldn’t screw it up.

I could tell as soon as I strained it that something was just not right.  The reduction came out a bit too watery, but it was still yummy so I didn’t care.  I think I may not have added enough raspberries?  I know what you’re thinking:  Did Rocio make that perfect looking angel food cake?  The answer is a resounding “NOPE!”  I cheated and bought a splenda made cake at Teeter.

I think I’ll try this recipe one more time before I go looking for another one.  I just really want to recreate the magic from that dessert.  I’ll let you know how it comes out next time!

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Christmas Cookie Bake-athon

December slipped through my fingers!  The beginning of the month was consumed with paper writing, followed by finals, followed by a trip to visit family and friends around Ohio.  By the time we were back home, it was December 24th.

Ian was scheduled to work back to back days starting with Christmas and running through New Year’s Eve, so I decided to keep myself busy by baking for his co-workers and for the awesome maintenance staff of our building.  I’ve practiced my hand at chocolate chip cookies before, but I wanted to send along a variety of sweets.  Gingerbread cookies seemed appropriate for the season and I found a cherry jam cookie recipe that sounded promising.

I rounded up the ingredients for the three types of cookies and busted out my stand mixer for the first time.  It worked like a DREAM for creaming the butter in all three recipes.  No blisters this time around!  The bake-athon took two days, almost eight sticks of butter, and it all began with the Joy the Baker‘s cherry jam cookie recipe.

Cherry Jam Cookies – I was intrigued by the use of cherry preserves in this recipe.  Its simplicity and description convinced me to attempt them for the gifts, but the outcome was not quite what I expected.  They were fluffy, sweet, and the tiny bits of cherry were pleasant surprises in each bite.  That being said, I wasn’t impressed.  They were so understated that I felt guilty including them with the other two types of cookies.  I can see these being a nice treat alongside a cup of tea and perhaps they would be even more tasty with some blackberry jam.  These are just things to consider for next time…

Chocolate Chip Cookies – Next up was my trusted chocolate chip recipe.  I always refer to nestle’s site when baking these.  The only changes I make are 1) I use ghirardelli semi-sweet chips instead of nestle’s chips (personal preference) and 2) I add 1 cup of quick oatmeal instead of chopped nuts.  I love making these cookies.  I’ve tried a few other recipes, but I always come back to this one.  These sweet treats are always a hit!Soft Gingerbread Cookies – Lastly, the bake-athon was wrapped up with this delicious recipe.  The description doesn’t lie – they are really soft and delicious!  The comments on this recipe are all correct though, so be sure to flatten the cookies once you place them on the cookie sheet.

It’s Monday, December 27th.  Another semester has been completed (the 4.0 streak continues), cookies have been delivered, and Christmas cards have been sent out (albeit it late!).  We have four more days left this year and I have a lot I want to do!  It’s going to be a busy couple of days…  What are your plans for bringing in the new year?

My New Cookbooks

I’m thinking of starting a tab where I can list my new cookbooks.  The coolest thing about this blog adventure (so far) has been how excited my loved ones have gotten.  Mom sent a stack of books (picture 1), I bought a few online that I have been testing out (picture 2), and my sweet friends made a collection of recipes for my birthday (not pictured).

The post-it notes indicate recipes I want to try…and yes… they are color coded!

It’s finals week on my end, so I’m afraid I must bid you adieu.  The class that inspired this wonderful blog is demanding that an epic research paper be turned in by Monday.  I have almost everything lined up to begin writing except one interview that will take place tomorrow morning.

I’ll be back next week with some yummy experiments!

Spicy Vegetable Blah-ness

I strongly dislike starting December with a mediocre recipe.  I’m a sucker for soup, but something about this didn’t appeal to me.

The combination of spices sounded interesting (cumin seeds and chili flakes), and it even called for fresh ginger!  But somewhere between the blended sweet potatoes and chickpeas, and the added spinach, it fell flat.  Luckily, I made cornbread muffins to go with the soup, and they salvaged the meal.  The soup didn’t taste as bland with the crumbled muffins in it 🙂

Lame as this post (and soup) has been, there are exciting things on the horizon!  Two of my friends have agreed to let me showcase their favorite recipe on Feature Friday!  I’m also hoping to get a step-by-step “how to” from mom on her delicious spanish tortilla.  It’s all very exciting and I look forward to sharing it with you!

Here’s to December, and to the end of 2010!

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