Dec 11 2013

Yelp’s Holiday Bazaar at the New Britain Museum of American Art

I have always been a cheerleader for shopping locally whenever possible and Christmas is an excellent time for supporting your local shopkeepers and artisans while checking names off your list. What better way to do so than at a holiday bazaar? One-stop shopping AND you get to meet and learn about the people who will be the recipients of the hard-earned dollars you’re spending!

Yelp's Holiday Bazaar

Emily Cahill of Yelp Hartford hosted a Holiday Bazaar at the New Britain Museum of American Art on Saturday and I was lucky enough to be on the guest list for this fabulous event! I welcomed the opportunity to browse the museum for the first time (I know, that’s sad–I’ve lived in this state my entire life and I’ve never been to the New Britain Museum of American Art!) while putting some good cheer into my season.

Yelp's Holiday Bazaar

Vendors were spread throughout the museum, providing ample opportunities to check out the exhibits. Have someone on your list who loves jewelry? Then Kate Stephen Jewelry has you covered. Does your pup deserve a little something special? Dogology is the place for you. Want a little something sweet but don’t have a sweet tooth? Poor & Pretty cupcake soaps and jars of frosting (whipped soap) are just what you need. From vintage clothing to gorgeous wooden cutting boards, eco-friendly t-shirts to hand-made pottery, there was so much to browse and enjoy! I had to restrain myself–I was there to shop for gifts, not for myself!

Poor & Pretty's cupcake soaps

In addition to the feast for the eyes was the feast for the body–food samples scattered throughout the museum. There could have been more savory choices, but I really enjoyed the chili I was able to scoop up from the Agave Grill/Wood N Tap table and the French bread from Hartford Baking Company close by. (Actually, I could have eaten that bread all night–but we already know that I’m addicted to carbs.) I had a bite of Original Aruna Blend chocolate–a raw chocolate from Aruna Chocolates with cacao, honey, maca, spirulina, chlorella, cayenne,  Himalayan sea salt, “and love”–and shared a moment over our same names (Kerry, meet Carrie). Divine is too weak of a word to describe what I ate. I broke my rule and bought some hot chocolate for me. We’ll just call it health food and move on.

What do you follow up an experience like that with? A car bomb cupcake from NoRa Cupcake Company, of course. Literally the icing on the cake. And all over my fingers. But that was perfectly okay; I licked it off.

NoRA Cupcake

It’s not a party without some spirit–or spirits. And Connecticut is home to many wonderful companies who hope to make your spirit bright this season. I saw the guys from Ripe Bar Juices again (they were at A Taste in Simsbury in August) and had a chat with them. Their rum punch? I think I’ll make it for Christmas this year. Maybe I’ll share it.

Ripe Bar Juices rum punch

Next to them was the Tanduay table where you could get a taste of a gingerbread syrup-based cocktail with this tasty Asian rum. It was pretty wonderful and the guy pouring the drinks was a riot. His mirth was infectious–you couldn’t resist smiling even when hearing him from across the room.

Tanduay Rum

I found Onyx Moonshine, where they were mixing drinks with DRY Soda (I had one mixed with Vanilla Bean, an unusual yet refreshing drink). I use Onyx in just about any drink that calls for vodka. In fact, my last batch of homemade vanilla extract was made using their moonshine.

Onyx Moonshine

I discovered Peel Liqueurs, which was totally new to me. They make all-natural fine Italian liqueurs, offering 3 flavors: Limoncello, Cremencello, and Bananacello. I sampled the Limoncello, which was tangy and delicious. Sadly, I did not win the monstrous flask they were giving away as a prize, but I’m sure the winner is having a good time with it now.

Peel fine liqueurs

My favorite, favorite, favorite brewer was there: Olde Burnside Brewing. I tried to be unobtrusive in snapping a shot of their display, but was teased out of hiding and stepped up to the table for a better shot–and a great conversation. Father Christmas Highland Ale was being poured, their best selection, albeit a seasonal one. Sadly, no bottles were sent to Torrington this time, but I have the inside scoop on where to find them–and that the packaging has changed. The old blue bottles are no more–look for the 2-pack boxes instead.

Olde Burnside Brewing Company

Eventually, the night had to end, and for me that was earlier than the event was over. I missed the music, for which I’ve heard much praise since, but I couldn’t stay. Kudos to Emily Cahill on an event well-done! Yelp’s Holiday Bazaar was all I imagined it would be… and more!

Disclosure: Admission to Yelp’s Holiday Bazaar was free with a $10 donation to the New Britain Museum of American Art. I was not compensated for this post.

Dec 06 2013

Snickerdoodle Blondies

Everyone needs a magical dessert that comes together in no time yet wows the recipients. Something she can put together in a half-asleep state and know that it will come out alright. The answer to last-minutes notifications of school parties and late night cravings. These Snickerdoodle Blondies are the answer to your prayers.

Snickerdoodle Blondies

I love the flavor of snickerdoodles, but don’t always feel like dishing out dough half the night. With Snickerdoodle Blondies, you get the same great taste with far less effort. And, depending on how you cut them, they can serve anywhere from 12 to 24. Not bad for less than a half-hour’s work!

Snickerdoodle Blondies

This variation is a little more cakey than “fudgy” (at least, consistency-wise when comparing to brownies), but that also gives them staying power. 3 days after I baked them, they tasted even better than the first day. That’s a rare gem right there! Perfect for parties and potlucks, you can bake ahead and not have to worry about any frantic preparations in the hours preceding your event. They’ll taste just fine a day or two later. No worries!

Snickerdoodle Blondies

These may just be my favorite cookie right now…

5.0 from 1 reviews
Snickerdoodle Blondies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Cookie
Serves: 24
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 cup (16 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 large cage free eggs, room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9"x13" baking dish and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar. Beat until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes.
  5. Beat in the eggs one at a time, waiting until the first is fully incorporated before adding the next.
  6. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  7. Gradually add the flour, mixing until just incorporated. Remove from mixer.
  8. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the top.
  9. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the center springs back when lightly touched.
  10. Cool for 15 minutes, then lift the blondies out of the pan by the parchment paper.
  11. Cut while still warm for best results and less cracking.

What’s your favorite cookie?

Dec 04 2013

Toasted Almond and Molasses Cookies with Kahlúa Buttercream #client #KahluaHoliday

Christmas time is cookie time in my family. Not only is it a tradition to gather in my mom’s kitchen and bake together, but we do it with a purpose–to share those treats with our extended family on Christmas Day. My sister and I have been doing this for nearly 20 years now and I don’t see an end in sight.

Molasses Cookies with Kahlúa Buttercream

Cookies are a wonderful way to show you care. You put your heart and soul in the baking of them and offer it to your loved ones, a token of your affection for them. Nothing says I love you quite like homemade cookies. They are an essential holiday gift.

Molasses Cookies with Kahlúa Buttercream

Traditionally we bake a dozen or more varieties and assemble trays from our combined efforts, a cornucopia of the best the season has to offer. Candies are sprinkled over the cookies before packaging up and shipping out to the various family parties for all to enjoy. I love this time of year.

Molasses Cookies with Kahlúa Buttercream

The Molasses Cookies I’m sharing with you today are a variation of the very same molasses cookies I’ve been baking with my little sister since I was a teenager. We usually roll them out and make cut out cookies, but I have less and less patience for that the older I get. With my method, you still get the wonderful spicy flavor with a lot less effort. Sandwiching a layer of Kahlúa Buttercream between these already awesome cookies makes for an unbeatable treat. Everyone will rejoice when you share these cookies!

Toasted Almond cocktail

To pack an even bigger punch, add a bottle of Kahlúa Coffee Liqueur to your cookie tray as a hostess gift. You’ll surely be asked back again and again after such generosity! And if your host needs any suggestions on what to use that bottle for, kindly offer her a Toasted Almond. One of my most favorite drinks of all, evoking childhood days spent chasing the ice cream truck for the frozen treat of the same name. Forget cookies and milk–give me cookies and Toasted Almond any day!

Toasted Almond cocktail

Happy Holidays! May they be oh-so-sweet!

Kahlúa Buttercream
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: frosting
Ingredients
  • ½ cup (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2½ cups confectioner's sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Kahlúa Coffee Liqueur
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer cream the butter and half of the confectioner's sugar, starting on low and working your way up to medium speed. Beat for 4 minutes.
  2. Add the salt, Kahlúa, and remaining confectioner's and beat for an additional 3-4 minutes, or until smooth and creamy.
  3. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

 
Molasses Cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: cookie
Serves: 20 sandwich cookies
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup (12 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 large cage free egg
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste (look in produce aisle)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup organic sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes.
  3. Beat in the molasses.
  4. Scrape the sides and beat in the egg; it may take a few minutes for it to not look curdled.
  5. Scrape the sides and add the ginger paste, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, salt, baking soda, and flour.
  6. Start the mixer on low and gradually move up to medium speed, beating until just incorporated.
  7. Place the organic sugar in a small bowl or ramekin.
  8. Portion out the dough with a #60 cookie scoop, rolling each ball in the sugar before placing on the baking sheets. Dough will be quite sticky and will need some room to spread; I placed 8 dough balls per sheet for baking.
  9. Bake for 8 minutes, or until the edges are dry and just starting to brown.
  10. Leave on baking sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool.
Assembly
  1. Spread some Kahlúa buttercream on the bottom of one cookie, place the bottom of another over that, and make a cookie sandwich.
  2. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

 
Toasted Almond
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: cocktail
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 2 parts Kahlúa Coffee Liqueur
  • 2 parts amaretto liqueur
  • 1 part cream
Instructions
  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Over the ice, pour the Kahlúa, amaretto, and cream, cover, and shake for 20 seconds.
  3. Strain and pour into a rocks or martini glass and enjoy.

Want more holiday recipes and ideas? Be sure to follow Kahlúa on Facebook and Pinterest.

To get inspiration for more great recipes and entertaining ideas with Kahlúa and for a chance to win the ultimate holiday party, please visit www.kahluaholiday.com.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Kahlúa. The opinions and text are all mine.

Dec 03 2013

Coconut Lime Sugar Cookies

The days are getting shorter, the darkness much longer, and the nip in the air is hard to ignore. Winter is nearly here. And while my family lives for the winter–my husband and kids have a passion for skiing that eclipses everything else this time of year–I’m not quite ready to give over fully to it yet. I’m grasping at straws here, holding on to anything that reminds me of the sunshine I am sorely missing.

Coconut Lime Sugar Cookies

Coconut Lime Sugar Cookies embody the spirit of a season long past, a whisper of hope for what’s to come… We can make it. We can get through this. And our patience will be rewarded; our bodies will be kissed by the sun again. Someday.

Coconut Lime Sugar Cookies

It was my intention to turn these into a sort of margarita-in-a-cookie, but the tequila and orange liqueur flavors didn’t come through as strongly as I had hoped. Regardless, the flavors meld well with the rest, creating a cookie with a crispy exterior, chewy interior, combining into something really quite addictive. I’d say they’d last 3-4 days at room temperature, but I’m not sure they’d last that long anyway. You won’t be able to put them down. Maybe you should freeze some to ration throughout the winter. Breadcrumbs leading to warmer days ahead.

Coconut Lime Sugar Cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Cookie
Serves: 60
Ingredients
  • ½ cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (16 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½ cups vanilla sugar
  • 1 large cage free egg
  • 2 teaspoons orange liqueur
  • 1 teaspoon silver tequila
  • Zest of one large lime, finely grated
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar (for rolling cookies)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 rimmed cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Spread the coconut in an even layer on a baking sheet and toast it as the oven preheats, tossing frequently and watching carefully to ensure it does not burn (it can happen quickly!). Transfer to a clean bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (3-4 minutes).
  5. Beat in the egg until fully incorporated.
  6. Add the orange liqueur, tequila, lime zest, and lime juice and mix until incorporated.
  7. Gradually mix in the flour mixture, beating until just combined. Remove from stand mixer.
  8. Portion out dough with a #60 cookie scoop, rolling balls in sugar before placing on the cookie sheet. Give them plenty of room, as they will spread a bit.
  9. Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until just starting to lightly brown.
  10. Leave on cookie sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

 

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