Happy New Year!

Posted by laura on Jan 06 2010 | Holiday, Tasty, Uncategorized

Resolution #1: Stop ignoring blog.

Holidays are the best and worst times to have a blog. They’re overflowing with all the kinds of activities I like most, which means I have plenty to talk about but no time in which to say it. We were a whirlwind of seasonal festivities. My lists had lists.

Now that the wrapping paper has settled a bit, I’ll put up a few posts with highlights and nonsense from the past couple of weeks.


Say no more, right?


Double chocolates (some with sea salt for an extra bit of happiness).




Ginger trees (Hot Wheels helped me ice these with white icing and sparkling sugar to look like they had snow on them, and then we stood them all over a chocolate cake with white frosting sprinkled with coconut to make a woodsy scene. Lesson learned: ginger and chocolate? YUM.)


Christmas cookies in process.


Christmas cookies in action. And upside down. And on a plate. And in a house. This is fast becoming the Dr Seuss cookie edition.

Absent on photo day:

- massive chocolate chips

- meringues

Let me tell you a quick story about those meringues, actually. They were my Christmas Miracle Cookies. (You’d think if they were that significant, I’d have gotten a photo of them, but no.) I’ve been having bad meringue karma around here. For years, I made them without a thought. Just whipped them up when necessary and never had a problem. Lately, I haven’t been able to make them work; I’ve been cursed by the sticky meringue gods and every attempt has been a flop. Or a glop, if you were to try them.

So when I found myself the night before Christmas Eve with three egg whites and no plan for them, I thought, “Don’t do it, Laura. You’re setting yourself up for disappointment.” But it was Christmas, by gum, and I was armed with my new Baker’s Illustrated cookbook. I followed the instructions to a T. The meringues actually held their form while I attempted to shape them into little trees (for the aforementioned cake tableau). I baked them super slow, and didn’t open the oven until it had been off for about 5 hours. I tasted them… sticky. Rrrgh. I went to bed Scroogily.

The next morning I complained to Tom that yet again, I messed up the meringue and didn’t know how. “Where are they?” he asked. “In the oven. I’m not talking to them.” Tom pulled them out. “They look good!” he said hopefully. “That’s what they want you to think.” I grumbled. He snapped one in half.

He snapped one in half. It snapped!! It was dry, and light, and just right – cue the choir, people, we have liftoff! What’s Christmas without a (albeit very very small) miracle?

Here’s a shot of the table from our Christmas Day open house:


Holy potato chips, Batman! That’s a big bowl. I didn’t realize how huge it looked. Of course, they were gone in a heartbeat, leaving that poor glass jar of celery and carrots to wonder if they’d every be asked to dance. Seriously, though, I don’t know why I ever bother with celery. Does anyone eat it? We put it out just to feel noble, I think.

What you can’t see, on the very edge of the table, is the ricotta pie. Oh yes, I did it, and it isn’t even Easter! (For those of you who’ve never heard about Lena’s Ricotta Pie, you can check it out here.) We never used to get this treat on a non-Easter day, but I broke that tradition wide open, I tell ya. A couple of our guests asked me what was in “the giant pop tart,” which momentarily offended my childhood sensibilities, but then I was forced to admit the resemblance. Poor pie.

I hope you also had a wonderful holiday filled with sweets and relaxation. Hmmm, that said, it looks like celery might just have its day, after all!

9 comments for now

9 Responses to “Happy New Year!”

  1. Debbie

    How did you make your gingersnaps look like that? So cool!

    Have you tried Dorie Greenspan’s World Peace Cookies? To. Die. For.

    Happy New Year!

    06 Jan 2010 at 5:17 pm

  2. Kristen

    You didn’t tell me there would be ricotta pie at the party! What an incredible spread! I love your decorate Christmas cookies. I’m going to tuck away the mini-marshmallow idea for next Christmas!

    06 Jan 2010 at 7:13 pm

  3. Kristen

    Oops, I meant to say decorated!

    06 Jan 2010 at 7:14 pm

  4. courtney

    thank goodness my favorite bloggie is back! here’s to a great 2010 where you continue your reign as queen of banana grams.

    06 Jan 2010 at 10:04 pm

  5. Sam

    We never had a Christmas without Memere Couture’s meringue cookies- she made 2 kinds, wintergreen (w/ green food coloring), and peppermint (with red food coloring). The key ingredient, of course, was chocolate chips. Ahh, mint and chocolate! I tried making them at some point, and they are pretty easy- the trick is, of course, is to put them in the oven, turn the oven off, and wait overnight.

    That ricotta pie looks fabulous- can you share the recipe?

    07 Jan 2010 at 7:30 am

  6. joe

    Laura!!! Ricotta pies are only appropriate on days ending in “Y”. Please abide by this simple rule.

    07 Jan 2010 at 9:26 am

  7. Great cookie-focused post.

    I loved the meringue surprise, it just goes to show that can never go wrong eating things you find in our kitchen.

    07 Jan 2010 at 12:03 pm

  8. laura

    Hey thanks, everybody, for the comments! It was like a second Christmas hearing from all of you.

    Debbie – I love the look of those gingersnaps – the secret is pressing them with the base of a cut glass water goblet. My mum uses the base of a cut glass sugar bowl for hers. You just dip the glass in sugar before you squash a ball of dough. Ta da!

    Kristen – those mini marshmallows are the KEY to the wacky cookie face. My only problem is that I like the look of those best, but I’m not that fond of marshmallow. Such troubles.

    Courtney – thank you!!! And as much as I’d love to be the banana gram queen, I’m pretty sure you won as many rounds as I did! I’m mainly just feeling lucky that Kristen lives across the country – she’s the real threat here. Don’t let her little ‘decorated’ stunt fool you.

    Joe – I’ll remember that. Come over!

    Tom – hey, I live with you. I’ll thank you in person.

    07 Jan 2010 at 8:31 pm

  9. laura

    Sam! I’m sorry, I don’t know how I skipped you. I would LOVE to taste those meringues that your Memere made. Chocolate chips in meringue?! Pure awesomeness.

    07 Jan 2010 at 8:53 pm

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