Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Brownies 4 a Cause

Smokey


Hello my blogging friends...I have a favor to ask of you. One of my friends at work told me yesterday that her kitty, Smokey, is sick and needs a $500 test. Tina, my friend, is the sweetest, kindest, most genuine person I've ever met. Literally. And I hated hearing her talk about how she'll have to "figure it out somehow" because she can't NOT do the test. So, I'm having a bake sale to try to raise some money for her so that she doesn't have to eat the entire cost herself. If you'd like to donate, please email me and I will give you the paypal information.

Brownies are $10 and Chocolate Chip Cookies are $11...shipping will be $10.50.

Obviously there is no pressure and no hard feelings if you can't or don't want to donate. I know times are tough for everyone.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Bacon Cups

Every year I think seriously about what I should bring to my Nana's house on Christmas Eve. I used to bake lots and lots of cookies but after the year the platter got left in the den without being opened, I said "No Way Jose". (One of my aunts bakes and Nana puts those out.) I used to bring a delicious hot crab dip but that was expensive and labor intensive. I could bring my famous artichoke dip but everyone there eats it when I bring it to other parties. One year I brought pumpkin creme brulee and made everyone swoon but that too was a lot of work and too hard to cope with during the craziness of Christmas Eve at Nana's.

This year I made bacon cups.

Yes, bacon cups. Little 2-bite bacon cups that I filled with a blue cheese dressing and topped with roasted buffalo shrimp. They were delicious. Unfortunately they are a lot of work and I ran out of time so I only had about 18 of them-and they went fast.

I started out with a mini-muffin pan and sprayed it with baking spray.

Then I cut one strip of bacon into 4 pieces and put that small strip on the top of a few cups. Next I wrapped a single piece of bacon around the cup and tucked the edges in so that they wouldn't curl while baking.

I tried several different ways of making these cups. I braided a piece of bacon and wrapped that around the cup and I also used two slices as is. The best result came from the single wrapped bacon slice baked at 4oo degrees for about 12 minutes.

The best part these little gems is the look on peoples faces when you say "bacon cup". It kind of made it worth it.

I'm not sure I'd make them again though...

Rainbow Cookies

My very favorite cookies of the season (and any season, really) are rainbow cookies. I've grown up eating them and even made them once with my aunt when I was little. Until I moved to Boston, I usually only ate them once a year when I traveled to NY for Christmas Eve. Once I moved here though, I found a local bakery that sells the best cookie I have ever eaten.

This year I felt like I wanted to try to make them again. Sure, I could easily (well, not really easily-parking is a bitch in that neighborhood!) have gone to the bakery and bought a few pounds but I really wanted to see if I could make a cookie that rivals the ones I get from the bakery.

I mixed up the dough and folded in egg whites...

Divided it into thirds and colored one red and one green...


Put them into pans and let them bake...

Slathered them with raspberry jam and wedged them together...


Drenched them with melted chocolate and let it set...

Trimmed them...

And cut them into rectangles...


They were delicious. Originally I told you I was going to post the recipe, but this is the first cookie recipe that I actually developed and made my own and to be honest, they really DO rival the ones from the North End. And since I do want to someday open a cafe in this area, I feel like I need to protect it. It might be silly, but you never know...

While I enjoyed the process and loved the outcome, these cookies are very expensive to make. In fact, this batch cost about $20. Commercially I am certain I could make them cheaper, but for now, I think I'll circle the block a few times and pay half the price for someone else to make them. Plus, it's a good excuse to play in the North End!