Sunday, November 21, 2010

Homemade Weekends

   OMG, I can't believe Thanksgiving is this week already.  I am very glad I am not doing the main cooking.  Hubby and I will be going to his parents' house as they live about an hour away.  I will however be bringing some of the orange date bread I blogged about here.  I will also be trying out a new recipe for nutty sweet potato biscuits. 
   Why am I making the date bread again already?  Because my store manager requested it as my contribution to the pot luck at work on Friday.  Since the day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday, is the busiest shopping day of the year and we're all working long shifts without enough time to go get food on breaks, my store has a pot luck every year so there's food in the back whenever anyone has 5 seconds to shove something in our mouths.  Was that a long enough run on sentence for you?  And the bread is really good.  But since the recipe makes two loaves, I figured I'd take one to Thanksgiving and one to work.
  Last week I started looking through my cook books and magazines and the internet to start working out my Holiday baking plan for gifts.  I came across several shortbread recipes as I was looking.  I don't know about you, but I LOVE shortbread.  The recipe I decided to try first was Martha Stewart's Icebox Shortbread, which can be found here.  This is a very simple recipe with endless flavor options.  I decided to make half plain, to try just the base recipe, and half flavored with marcona almonds and orange flavored cranberries.  If you've never tried marcona almonds, you need to.  They taste like a cross between a standard almond and a macadamia nut.  Soooo tasty.
   How easy is this recipe?  I think it took me maybe 10-15 minutes to make the dough, roll it into logs, wrap in wax paper, and get it in the fridge.  Then it has to chill for 1 to 1.5 hrs at least before slicing and baking for about 20 minutes.  Now for the picture spam.

Plain Dough

Almonds and Cranberries
On Top and Mixed In

Rolled into Log

Baked Cookies

   I was very happy with the way these turned out.  I do highly recommend adding mix-ins to the dough.  Otherwise your cookies will either be very small or you will not get many cookies per batch.  The almond cranberry combo was very good.  Next time I think I might try chocolate chips, or cocoa nibs if I can find any.  Because of the chill time, this is a great recipe to mix up real quick before work, toss in the fridge to chill while you're at work,  and then bake when you get home.  You can also freeze the logs for later use.

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