Tuesday
Dec142010

tallbreads or the start of Christmas baking

I do a lot of baking as Christmas presents.  I started this weekend with tallbreads.  And what are tallbreads you ask?  What my family calls shortbread.

Shortbread

1 cup butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Put the butter, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl.  Cream together.  Mix in the flour.

The dough is going to remind you of pie crust.  Very crumbly.  

Take a teaspoon of dough roll it in a ball and dredge it in sugar.  Put on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper or a silpat.

Bake for 20 minutes.  This is why the temperature is at 325.  I am underbaking a bit.

These melt in the mouth and disappear magically when you are not looking!  

I created a chocolate shortbread recipe too.  I will share the semi-sweet and dark chocolate version tomorrow.

Monday
Dec132010

Christmas cookie party

We had another cookie decorating party this weekend.  This time the theme was Christmas which does not mean you ever know what you are going to get.  Especially if the boys are feeling creative.

Here is the cookie recipe again (because I was asked for it):

http://panaminthandmade.squarespace.com/blog/2010/11/2/a-party-around-cookies.html

I do believe people had fun!

Cookies were eaten and decorated.  Soup was eaten and rolls devoured.  The Teahouse was climbed on.

To all those who came to decorate cookies, we enjoyed ourselves bunches!

Friday
Dec102010

and now back to our regularly schedule program (lefsa)

Yes, I am being silly.

I made a pot roast last Sunday and we had it with mashed potatoes.  I decided I was going to make a few extra taters because I wished lefse.  And what is lefse?  It is a Norwegian potato flat bread.  Think potato tortillas.  

Lefse

1 pound mashed potatoes

5 ounces (1 cup) flour

1 teaspoon salt

more flour for rolling

(please notice this are the same proportions as for gnocchi.  why should I not be surprised?)

So the first thing is to make enough mashed potatoes.  Notice all those peels?  The potatoes need to be made with butter and cream just like you would server for dinner.  Truly think leftovers!  I, of course, have to plan leftover mashed taters.

Preheat your griddle over a medium low heat.

It is a good thing if you can use cold mashed potatoes because that way you will not burn your fingers.  You are going to squish the flour and salt into the potatoes and make a smooth dough.  It should feel like tortilla dough.  Nice and smooth not sticky.  You may need a bit more flour or a bit more water (just wet your hands) depending on the humidity around you.

Once you have a ball of dough, make twelve golf ball size balls of dough.  This will make small breads.  If you wish bigger breads, you need something more similar to a fist size.  I grew up with the fist size ones but my griddle is not that large.

Put the raw round on the griddle.  You are going to bake it for two or three minutes or until it has golden spots.

Flip and do the same to the other.  Spread with butter and sprinkle with sugar or cinnamon sugar or spread with jam.  These are yummy warm or cold!

This is actually part of our holiday traditions.  And I admit that we need to do this one much more often then the holidays!

 

Thursday
Dec092010

please pause for station identification....

See what my Beloved Mister has been making!  He spent most of yesterday and today making knives.  Yes there were learnings.  Yes there were frustrations but honestly, I do not think that he has been this relaxed in awhile.  He really enjoys the knife making.  All these knives are for sale.

The top one has already sold.  The second knife down is what I would call a carving knife with exhibition grade iron wood for the handle with plain and mosaic pins.  The third knife down is an eight inch chefs knife with an iron wood handle.  Again, it has mosaic and plain pins.

Now my favorite.  See that small one?  It is a pairing knife with a camel bone handle.  This fits in my hand just right and it is  a lovely size.  The blade is three and half inches long.  I would hide it in my kitchen and make it mine but somehow I do not think I would get away with that! (laughter)

Thank you for your patience with the station break!  (hehehehe)

Wednesday
Dec082010

building

Russell worked on the Teahouse and the columns for his forge this weekend.  Eight batches of cob is now the record.  Having help helps!  Thanks Irene!

He has been experimenting with glass blocks.  

There is cob all the way to the roof but not necessarily all the way through.  All this wonderful required a favorite sweet.

Homemade vanilla creme pies.  I take our favorite oatmeal cookies and make a vanilla frosting.  I try to find two cookies a similar shape.  Spread one with frosting and put the other on top.

My beloved Mister thinks these are better then store bought and that we should always have some in the house for breakfast.  He makes me smile.