Sunday, December 18, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Lattes

As I share this with you, I am sitting cozy on my couch, tree lit, presents (mostly) wrapped, cradling a mug of pumpkin spiced goodness.

I have been trying to perfect this for a few weeks now... first, I came up with my own pumpkin spice blend using ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and so on. It was too gritty. I cut back on the spices and added vanilla. It wasn't rich enough. I tried with two tablespoons of pumpkin. Getting closer... but not quite right.

I needed to capture the rich spiciness without the gritty texture... then it dawned on me! A sugar syrup. You wouldn't think that this is such a jump since the big coffee shops use a sugar syrup as a flavour base in their drinks but it never occurred to me sooner that I should just make this at home too.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Peppermint Hot Chocolate Cookies

Thanks for visiting! You may have found this post through Pinterest, the Great Food Bloggers Cookie Swap, or Metro Edmonton... yay! Please stay a while and check out some of my other cookies, like the Lemon Cranberry Pecan Oatmeal cookies or -if marshmallows are more your schtick- there are Chocolate Stout Marshmallows topped with crushed pretzels, among other treats and treasures. Enjoy!

When word spread about a cookie exchange for food bloggers, I paused... could I pull this off? Could I be creative and produce a cookie that would make a food blogger also pause? I've so enjoyed making sweets and treats for my friends and family that I wasn't even sure why I was concerned! I gave my head a shake, surfed on over to the sign-up page, and signed myself up!

Let me say... I am so glad that I did that! Thoughts of the cookie that I would create took over my thoughts. I scribbled ideas onto scrap paper and post-it notes. I made several trips to the craft stores to find appropriate packaging. I eagerly made and mailed my little care packages, then waited in very eager anticipation for the arrival of cookies in my mailbox and my cookies in the mailboxes of my fellow bloggers. 

This whole exchange really put me into the holiday spirit but also challenged me to come up with a creative and new cookie to share... it kick-started the rest of my Christmas baking and introduced me to a community of bloggers that I found so inspiring... A big thanks again to Lindsay of Love and Olive Oil (and her Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Malted Milk Chocolate Buttercream) and Julie of the Little Kitchen (and her New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookie). I can't wait for the next Great Food Bloggers Cookie Swap.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Eats & Smiles

After all of the appearances on blogs and Pinterest,
I have been trying to come up with
my perfect version of the pumpkin spice latte.
Current attempts feature my own pumpkin spice blend,
pumpkin puree, milk, espresso and vanilla... still tweaking.

I received my first batch of cookies from the
More photos to come with the full cookie post next week.

 Both the cookies and the lattes have been a treat
while I work away on my Christmas offerings at the dining room table...
Outside the window, the birds on our bird feeder and on the ground below
are a delightful distraction, for me and for the cats.

Not so much a smile then but rather one for the memories, 
my Santa figurine (that I've had since wee) plummeted from the shelf above the television
to a shattered demise below. A few tears... then back to it.

 Another glorious weekend... 
Doug, Charlie and I trekked about the snow and trees and bridges.

Eats and Smiles.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Peppermint Marshmallows

I have been on a real marshmallow kick lately. It's partially because I am obsessed with my Christmas baking but also because of the cold weather... what better to make than hot chocolate with marshmallows (as evidenced in my Eats & Smiles post last week).

In addition to those two very compelling reasons, I had one other very exciting reason for the marshmallow making... I signed up (a few weeks ago) for a food bloggers cookie swap! This swap was the brainchild of Lindsay of Love and Olive Oil and Julie of The Little Kitchen. What a great way to connect with a very vibrant food blogging community and share your wares!

They will be doing a round-up of all of the swap recipes (I will include a link once the recipes have been posted). You can also follow #fbcookieswap on Twitter to see some of the action unfold!

While I cannot yet share my cookie swap recipe here (come back on the 12th!), I can and will share the Peppermint Marshmallows with you!
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