WTF, More Snow? Molasses Cookies Are the Order of the Day, Then.

31 01 2010

Hello? Is it...ME you're looking for? (yes. it is.)

So, the last time it snowed, I didn’t believe the local weather team. They are, after all, habitual liars. And so I was stuck with no milk, no bread, and most importantly, no booze. But THIS time…THIS time, I braved Kroger on Friday evening and stocked up on the essentials: champagne, flank steak for fajitas, and baking necessities. Saturday rolled around and it looked like this by noon:

Doo, doo, doo, lookin' out my back door. Into a snowpocalypse.

I’m a winter person. I love the cold, I love snow, I love BOOTS. This worked out for me. What didn’t work out was El’s visit to my house! She was down for a class and was supposed to take her test on Saturday morning and then stay the night so we could, you know, get kind of drunk and bake. But instead, I had to go it alone. I asked my Sig Ot what he was in the mood for, then blatantly ignored his pleas for chocolate chip cookies. I wanted molasses, what can I say. And I’m a huge bitch. (Srsly. Dude puts KETCHUP on his FLANK STEAK that has been marinated in LIME JUICE. His opinion is null and void.) Anyhoodles, here’s a delicious, simple molasses cookie recipe from our buddies at ATK. As usual, I amped up the spice numbers, but I’ll put down what they wrote. Also, be sure you spray the measuring cup with cooking spray before you pour the molasses in so it slides right out. (That’s what she said?) (No. Nevermind.)

Molasses Spice Cookies (from the ATK Family Cookbook)

  • 1/2 cup + 1/3 cup sugar (*I only used 1/3 cup to roll them in.)
  • 2 1/4 cup AP flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 12 Tbl. butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar (I used light because it was all I had)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup light or dark molasses
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper (*you can only do 1 sheet at a time, otherwise the cookies don’t bake evenly. Put 1/2 cup sugar into a shallow dish for rolling.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients through the salt.
  3. With a mixer on medium, cream butter, 1/3 cup sugar, and brown sugar together for about 3-6 minutes, until fluffy. Beat in yolk and vanilla. Beat in molasses, making sure you scrape down the bowl.
  4. Mix in the dry ingredients until combined, then scoop out 2 Tbl. of dough, rolling it in the reserved sugar and placing it on the lined cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating the ONE SINGLE PAN halfway through. Let set on cookie sheet for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack, or shove them into your gaping maw, happy that you didn’t listen to your Sig Ot about making no damn chocolate chip cookies. Happy snow days!
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Lo’s Epic Fail and Win Weekend

24 01 2010

It was more of a train wreck cake, in an Amy Winehouse sort of way. Minus the street drugs.

People. I have been over this before. I. Hate. Decorating. Hate. It. But when The Greek’s mom (hi, Carol!) gave her a train cake pan specifically for Big Easy’s birthday, I was all, “Pfft. That doesn’t look too difficult, even for me!” Then I made the fucking thing. I followed the directions, played by the rules. But nope. The goddamn things wouldn’t bake all the way through. They weren’t a total lost cause though, and I would be feeding them to children who are generally not very picky when it comes to things filled with sugar and topped with more multicolored sugar and sugar sprinkles. So I sat down to decorate. I’m not sure who coined the phrase, “Fuck that noise,” but I would like to pat him or her on the back. It was SO TEDIOUS and I have no patience especially when planning for a 3 year old’s birthday party, and said 3 year old is acting like he just drank 4 Red Bulls and did a bunch of speed and isn’t wearing pants. So I did what any good mother would do and said FUCKIT and made another batch of vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting. Made the frosting blue, and BAM! The kids loved ’em.

Preeeeeeeetty in piiiiiiiink...iiiiisn't sheeeeeeeeee.....

Now, the weekend wasn’t a total fail! Remember a long, long time ago when I was complaining about not having a good yellow cake recipe because Billy’s Vanilla always failed me? WELL. My adorable coworker commissioned me to make cupcakes for her granddaughter to bring to school for her 8th birthday. I debated over what to make because I had to make 30 and somehow always seem to fuck up recipes when I double them unless specific instructions are there. The only recipe I knew of that made at least 30 was Billy’s Vanilla, but I didn’t want to fuck up the kid’s birthday cupcakes! But decided, after drinking some coffee (which I never drink), that I would try it anyway. I found the recipe on Martha, dyed it pink, and prayed to Jeebus that it would be okay. And whattaya know?? THEY TOTALLY DID. I was beyond butt-stoked. I used Billy’s Chocolate Buttercream to top ’em off (holy shit, that makes a ton of frosting. I frosted 36 and have enough to probably do another dozen) and put a little silver dealie on top of each because I fucking wanted to. THAT is decorating I can do. Not frost a bunch of tiny edible trains. So, I guess I traded one fail in for a win. If only that would happen to my bank account…





Wickett’s Remedy by Myla Goldberg

20 01 2010

I don’t generally have bad luck – I mean, shit happens but I feel like I get a good balance between crap and cupcakes.  Usually.  But I don’t know which voodoo witch I pissed off because nothing has gone my way recently.  The pinnacle of all of this was the 4 hours I spent on the DC Metro Sunday.  And of course I didn’t have a fun, trashy absorbing vampire book to entertain me.  Nope, I had a collection of John Cheever’s letters.  Which, don’t get me wrong, are amazing and I’m absolutely loving reading it, and I so wish people actually corresponded still, but, when you’re boarding a train for the fourth time in the same day, and you’re wearing the same clothes you were wearing 24 hours before, and your hair is grody with product, and you’ve had to walk around DC in the cold rain while wearing your favorite purple SUEDE boots, you don’t really want to read a letter written in the 1930s by a man having a lot of trouble with his first novel.  Not. What. You. Want.

Which brings me to the book I finished reading today – because it was also not what I wanted.  And while my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Sunday just sucked all over the place, Wickett’s Remedy had so much potential that it was all the more disappointing.  It’s the story of a girl from the South Side of Boston in the early part of the last century and her life as a Southie girl trying to make it through working across the bridge, marrying “above her station,” and into the great influenza epidemic in 1918.  And, honestly, if it was just that story, it would have been a decent book, nothing outstanding, but an interesting story told well.

Instead, Myla Goldberg went all gimmicky and just really killed the book for me.  As you’re reading along about Liddie’s life, there are these notes in the margins.  And they’re little comments about the current action, told by a chorus of the dead.  Let’s say we’re learning about Liddie’s job at a fancy department store, and a statement is made about a co-worker – in the margin there would be a little note – from the co-worker’s ghost – contradicting that statement.  Instead of enhancing the story, it just kept throwing me out and distracting me.  On top of this, at the end of each chapter we these little vignettes – a newsletter, a newspaper article, a letter, a bit of conversation – all without any real context.  Eventually these little end of chapter snippets came together to form a story of their own, but it was so unnecessary.  Again it just disrupted Liddie’s story, which was really quite lovely and bittersweet.  So, I can’t recommend this book, but I can recommend Bee Season by Myla Goldberg – which I loved and is the reason I grabbed this book.  Hopefully I’ll finish something wonderful soon, and in the meantime, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that my curse will be broken and I’ll go back to leading a normal uneventful life.





What to Do With Leftovers: Chinese Food Rice Edition

19 01 2010

I got this after I Googled "angry rice." It made me giggle, because it was not my intent. HAHA.

Hey hey! My Sig Ot eats a lot of terrible food. I mean A LOT. McDonald’s Hardees, Burger King, Taco Bell, you name it, he eats it. But one thing he does not like? Rice. Yeah, I know. Who the fuck doesn’t like rice? “Only an asshole, you’re probably thinking to yourself.” And you would be mostly right. EXCEPT. Now I have this boner for rice pudding, so when he orders the mediocre MSG-laden dishes from the joint down the street (“There’s vegetables! he insists), I get at least one take-out container full of the shit. Most of the time I forget it’s in my fridge, only to have my rice-pudding hopes dashed by finding it weeks later, crammed in the back of the fridge next to my powdered buttermilk and something that may have resembled a lemon at some point. But this time I had a plan. Sort of. Okay, not really. I had America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. So I made fried rice one day, and then tonight, I decided, would be the night when 2 became 1….wait, no. That’s not right. No, I decided I would try my hand at rice pudding. I actually wasn’t all that impressed with America’s Test Kitchen recipe, as it took too long to make. So I hit the innernetz and found a recipe so easy, I can’t even remember where it was or how I found it. AND! It was made with coconut milk, which, of course, I love. So here it is. It took about 20 minutes to make, and I’m not entirely sure that it’s “real” rice pudding, but it is goddamn delicious, which is more important anyway.

Coconut Milk Rice Pudding (kinda)

  • 2 cups precooked rice (the size of a regular amount from a Chinese joint)
  • 1 14 oz. can coconut milk
  • splash of whole milk
  • about 1/4 cup sugar
  • splash vanilla (I also added a splash of coconut flavor because I’m cray-cray like that)
  • some cinnamon and/or nutmeg if you’re feeling saucy
  1. Bring coconut milk to a simmer. Add sugar to dissolve along with the whole milk. Stir.
  2. Toss the rice in, stir it around, and add the rest of the stuff.
  3. Let it simmer til thickened, stirring kind of often, and remembering that it will thicken after it starts to cool. So don’t be a dick and overcook it.

The end! Happy eating!

Oh, and here’s this for good measure (probably an accurate portrayal of what happens when El and I get together and run errands):





Oh Yes I Did. Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Cream Cheese Frosting. SHWING!

17 01 2010

Hello, looooooooovaaaaah...

First and foremost, let’s talk about Mexican chocolate and how I’m obsessed with it. I’m obsessed with Mexican chocolate. THE END. HAHAHAHAHAHA! Kidding. But, for real. It’s so good. And I know the stuff I make isn’t technically Mexican chocolate, but my heart is in the right place because I add a bunch of cinnamon and a dash of chipotle and they are sooooo gooooooood. And, as of a few days ago, I am also obsessed with dulce de leche because it is friggin’ easy to make. And fucking delicious. But I had heard that it was kind of a gamble to create because it involved boiling a can of condensed milk, and if you know me, you know that I am the poster child for Murphy’s Law, so the can would inevitably explode, rendering me sightless and burned and I would be banished to the shed in the backyard where I would spend my days laughing maniacally and playing backgammon alone. Well, maybe not all that, but the thought of boiling a can of anything gave me a serious case of the heebie jeebies. So I turned to Google and learned from a variety of sources that I needn’t boil the can to make ddl. What I did was poured the can into a makeshift double boiler and let it hang out on medium-low heat for an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes. Let it cool, stick it in the fridge, and BAM! A bowl full of calorie laden deliciousness whenever you want to dip a spoon in there.

Anyway, I was making spaghetti and meatballs for my friend’s belated birthday gift. Even though it has nothing to do with Mexican chocolate, my friend is a Spanish teacher and I’m all about Mexican chocolate, so I selfishly decided on those cupcakes (which involve your favorite chocolate cupcake recipe plus 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and slightly less than a 1/2 teaspoon on chipotle, unless you’re feeling bold enough for more, but a little of that shit goes a looooong way). Then the problem was deciding which frosting to make. I’m bored with everything, and Ghiradelli wasn’t on sale at Kroger this week, so I would not be making Martha’s delightful dark chocolate frosting. Then I remembered I had an open can of condensed milk in my fridge that I needed to use so, uhDOI, dulce de leche is where it’s at. However, since I am totally impatient, the ddl wasn’t as spreadable as I had hoped. So I turned to Google again and found a recipe for dulce de leche cream cheese frosting. JACKPOT. Even better? All I had to do was take 5 ounces of cream cheese and mix it with about 1/2 a cup of dulce de leche. AND IT IS DIVINE. (And it frosted 18 cupcakes.)

Yep. Just like this.

I totally recommend this recipe anytime you want to impress people, or if you’re hosting a Mexican-themed dinner party, or if you’re totally premenstrual and need an excuse to have a bowl full of dulce de leche in your fridge. Now, what to do with the rest of it…





Lo’s Link-Happy New Year Resolutions

12 01 2010

[crickets chirping] [tumbleweeds] [other things to indicate quiet]

Googled "quit while you're ahead," got this from jackiechankids.com. It seems more than appropriate.

Why, HELLLLLOOOOOOOOO!!! See, um, here’s the thing: I don’t make resolutions. It’s kind of a “quit while you’re ahead” sort of thing. I’m bound to break them, so I don’t even make them! [Hip hop career, here I come!] But I decided that maybe this year I’d try something new: I’m going to make resolutions! But not, you know, dumb shit like exercising more or quitting smoking or practicing arson. I’m talking BAKING resolutions! 2010 is gonna be MY YEAR. To bake (and cook). More. Than I do, you know, now. I want to try new things and maybe even start [gasp!] decorating. Even though I have the artistic ability of a drunk quadriplegic. I want to branch out to do more fruit cobblers, more meringue buttercream, more cookies! A roast! Steaks! Potatoes! In different forms! And I want to do it all on a (suuuuuuuper) tight budget. So, without further ado, here is a starting list of shit I want to make before 12/31/10:

http://www.recipetips.com/recipe-cards/t–3721/pear-and-cranberry-cobbler.asp WHAT THE FUUUUUCK. How did this not get brought to my attention until recently?? Definitely for winter time, definitely for my belly.

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/ Pretty much anything from this site makes me want to reach into my monitor and shove it into my gaping maw. El got me her cookbook for Xmas, and I almost passed the fuck out trying to decide what to make first. I still haven’t reached a decision.

http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/tiramisu-cupcakes?backto=true&backtourl=/photogallery/fancy-cupcakes#slide_2 WTFOMGLOL. Tiramisu? YESHPLZ. I didn’t even like this shit til The Greek made it for me and I wanted to dive into the bowl. Cupcakes are much harder to dive into.

http://bbq.about.com/od/steakrecipes/r/bln0324b.htm Because…why the fuck not? I already mastered Beef Wellington. I’m sure my Sig Ot would like me more if I made this. Big Easy? Meh…he’ll just stick with the cupcakes.

http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/twice_baked_potatoes/ Bacon and cheddar vs. Bleu cheese and chives! ONLY ONE WILL REIGN SUPREME! In the meantime, you’d better let me keep tasting them so I can make sure that they’re both still good…

http://www.wilton.com/decorating/ I detest fondant, on principle (it’s one of three that I have). But Wilton is a great place to go for basics, especially when you are completely and utterly worthless when it comes to making your baked goods look at all appetizing like I am.

http://www.ehow.com/how_4825621_casual-inexpensive-course-dinner-party.html Because, why the fuck not? I’m almost 30. I’m the same age as Betty Draper for chrissakes. Plus I like to pretend I’m fancy.

Those are all the resolutions I can come up with for now. Chances are, I won’t make a lot of this shit, but at least I have this page to reference in June when I’m feeling worthless. Then I’ll still have 6 more months to get my shit together and become an upstanding member of society.

Fact: I am fond of Courtney Love, Paul Rudd, Dave Chappelle, Kool & the Gang, AND New Years Eve.





Looks Like We Made It

10 01 2010

If you want to listen to one of the best songs ever, go ahead and click here.

Well, folks, we can hardly believe it, but Baking, Books, Booze is now a year old.  Isn’t that crazy?  I don’t think I’m going out on a limb when I say Lo & I aren’t known for completing tasks.  We’re both lazy and easily distracted – not a good combo when it comes to follow through.  But here we are, a year later, and so much has happened.  We’ve written 92 posts, the most popular of which is this by far – apparently people really like Gordon Lightfoot.  We’ve shared some of our favorite recipes, biggest failures, secret shames, and ever increasing insanity.  We’ve laughed and cried and consumed more sugar and alcohol than any rational person should.  And even though I’m sure we would have done most of these things anyway – it has been wicked awesome sharing it all with you and we can’t wait for the year to come.  We just wanted to take a second to thank everyone for stopping by, and an extra special thanks to anyone that’s commented.  We hope you’ve found a good book, a new favorite recipe, some drinking inspiration, or even just a laugh or two.  We wish we could give each and everyone of you a cupcake of appreciation, a Beam & Coke and the perfect book.  Instead, we give you this –  just be careful, we will not be held liable for any babies that are made during this song.  Thank you and you are welcome.