Johnny Depp & Helena Bonham Carter in “Sweeney Todd”.
I can’t wait.
First and foremost, let me say that I am a baker. No need to sugar coat, I love baking. Cooking is fun too, but it’s not as therapeutic as baking. To me, the measuring, sifting, and tasting elements of baking are calming and soothing. Cooking is more spontaneous; I don’t measure and I normally don’t follow any recipes. I just throw things into a pot and whip up some kind of dinner.
That being said, I finally found a baking book that follows the same baking philosophies as my own. Cue in Dorie Greenspan. Her book, “Baking: From my home to yours” is a favorite of mine. So many recipes, so little time. I had so many different recipes to chose from, but for my first Dorie endeavor, I chose her Peanut Butter Crisscrosses. Peanut butter cookies are heaven to me. From the salty and sweet crunch to the nutty the aroma that fills my kitchen when I am baking them, they are my favorite cookies. I normally use my old Martha Stewart standby recipe, but her cookies are more dense and clunky. They are more like biscuits than cookies.
I think starting off my baking endeavors with this peanut butter cookie recipe is the best way to usher in my new found love affair with this book. It’s the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
Peanut Butter Criss Crosses
Extra 1/2 cup of sugar for rolling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment or cooking spray. Whisk the dry ingredients together. Using a handmixer, beat the butter on medium speed in a mixing bowl until smooth and creamy. Add the peanut butter and beat for another minute. Add the sugars and beat for 3 minutes more. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to fully incorporate the sugar and eggs.
On low speed, add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they just disappears.
Mix in chopped peanuts if you are using them.
our the 1/2 cup of rolling sugar into a small bowl. Working with a level tablespoonful of dough for each cookie, roll the dough between your palms into balls and drop the balls, a couple at a time, into the sugar. (My hands are rather warm, so the dough got really sticky when I was making cookie dough balls so cooling my dough in the fridge for a little bit helped to make the dough easier to work with. ) Roll the balls around in the sugar to coat them, then place on the baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between them.
To make the criss crosses, use a fork and press down on top of the sugar crusted cookies.
Soft with crunchy edges, these cookies are the best peanut butter cookies I’ve ever made.
I love to give gifts. Honestly, it’s one of the best things about the holidays. While I like to receive them as well, I tend to go overboard in the gift-giving department. I love finding new looks, new products, and new accessories for my friends and family.
I always get my mom nice clothes, because she never buys herself anything new. I don’t know why, it’s like she just can’t be bothered to go shopping. I don’t know how I am related to her, as I have the exact opposite problem. So for her, the standard gifts are sweaters, earrings, and probably some pants. I noticed though that in the past years, she hasn’t worn much of the stuff I’ve given her. She claims that the clothes are “too nice” for her work, but I don’t buy it. I think my mom secretly loves throwing on just not-fitting trousers and some t-shirt. It’s all no fuss. Which is really disappointing because my mom is gorgeous. She has a great face with classic Asian features, and a great figure. So why she hides herself is beyond me… I’m working on getting her out more though.
Formy friends, it’s normally pretty easy to find a gift for them. The norm is jewelry, makeup, and some clothes. But this year I am rather uninspired. I think all the jewelry looks the same, and don’t even get me started on the affordable clothes. It’s all just blah. I have a hard enough time finding something for myself, let alone anyone else. So makeup it is!
I normally go the Bare Minerals route, but I jumped over to Benefit and loved their cute gift-giving packages. If you are looking for nice, handy presents for the girl who has everything, I recommend checking out the Benefits counter. Here are just some of my picks for Christmas gifts.
This is the limited edition 10 Pallete. Equipped with 2 mini brushes, you get both light and medium eyeshadow, powder, and bronzer. Perfect for the girl on the go and is $28.
Her Glossiness gift set comes with 3 double-ended lip wands, with different colors ranging from dark rose to a light peach. Great gift for someone who is always needing some handy lip gloss, it’s $26
The Big Beautiful Eyes kit gives you everything that you need to enhance your eyes. Perfect for defining and contouring your eyes, this kit is $32.
There you have, great gift kits from Benefit, all under $35. These kits make gift-giving so easy, and the girl who gets these presents is bound to love fun, makeup products.