1) I had what was possibly the best run of my life on Saturday. Not the fastest, but the best. I was worried because my left knee/shin were hurting Friday night but I awoke pain-free and raring to go. I ran ten miles and for the first five I felt like I was flying. It got me thinking that I really need to let up on myself about a specific time. I want to run balls to the wall and go as fast as I can but that’s all I can demand of myself come race day (minus 6 days and counting!). If I feel anywhere near as good as I did this weekend it’ll be a miracle!
So….house warming thangs.
Let’s get to the point straight away…I did not photograph everything. Once the day of the party came I was totally distracted by, you know, partying, to actually remember to photograph anything I made but I can tell you there was some beautiful guacamole, some delicious tacos al pastor that Dan grilled, rice+beans, and plenty of sangria.
Here is what I did photograph!
Peanut Butter Cookies
from Smitten Kitchen (who used the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook)
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup chunky peanut butter at room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup peanut butter chips
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- For sprinkling: 1 tablespoon sugar, regular or superfine
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the flour, the baking soda, the baking powder, and the salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and the peanut butter together until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Add the milk and the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat thoroughly. Stir in the peanut butter and chocolate chips. Place sprinkling sugar — the remaining tablespoon — on a plate.
- Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls into the sugar, then onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion.
- Using a fork, lightly indent with a criss-cross pattern (I used the back of a small offset spatula to keep it smooth on top), but do not overly flatten cookies. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Do not over bake. Cookies may appear to be underdone, but they are not.
- Cool the cookies on the sheets for 1 minute, then remove to a rack to cool completely.
I think I am finally getting to grips with baking cookies. As I have said before, I am no baker and until very recently had never baked cookies on my own before! I am realizing the necessity of beating the ingredients until you feel like your arm might fall off. That creamy, creamy batter is a good sign indeed.
These turned out really well!
Polvorones (Cinnamon Cookies)
We had a kind of Spanish theme for food, which actually turned out to be kind of Mexican as well (that will happen, if you give me half a chance…). Obviously PB cookies are about as un-Spanish or as all-American as you can get so I thought Polvorones would be an excellent cookie to try. I based them on this recipe.
- 1 cup butter
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
- In a medium bowl, cream together 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar and butter until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Combine flour, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon; stir into the creamed mixture to form a stiff dough. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Mix together 1 cup confectioners’ sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon; roll balls in cinnamon mixture.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in preheated oven, or until nicely browned. Cool cookies on wire racks.
Dan informed me that the translation of “polvorones” is literally “dusties” – brilliant! They are very light and airy cinnamon cookies and “dusty” is a great adjective for the little blighters. I kept forgetting this when people asked though and calling them “fluffies” or “cloudies”. Blame it on the sangria.
Almendras al Pimenton (Spiced Spanish Almonds)
- 1/4 cup(s) light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon hot paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon finely diced jalapeno pepper
- 1 large egg white
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 cup raw whole almonds
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Whisk brown sugar, paprika, thyme, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Whisk egg white and water in a medium bowl until foamy. Add almonds and stir to coat; pour through a sieve to drain off excess egg white. Transfer the almonds to the bowl of spices; stir well to coat. Spread evenly on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake the almonds for 30 minutes. Stir, reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees F and bake until the almonds are dry and golden, about 30 minutes more. Let cool before serving, about 20 minutes.
You can find a plethora of recipes for these bad boys online and I just adjusted with what I had on hand. Using fresh jalapeno sounded a bit weird but I wanted the kick and it turned out just peachy. These were a hit at the party!