warm our house

September 28, 2009

Dan and I finally got around to having a house warming party at our new gaff and it was super fun! I’ll get to that in a minute but first I had to mention two things:

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!

2) I got to meet up with Michelle, of Learn, Run, Eat…Repeat this Saturday and she is lovely!! She ran a 10 mile race herself on Sunday, which you can read about here.

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


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the flour, the baking soda, the baking powder, and the salt. Set aside.
  2. 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 ā€” the remaining tablespoon ā€” on a plate.
  3. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls into the sugar, then onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion.
  4. 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.
  5. Cool the cookies on the sheets for 1 minute, then remove to a rack to cool completely.

I made some pretty teeny cookies which is my preference because it scares me how big store-bought cookies can be.

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


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
  2. 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.
  3. 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


  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

melonshots September 29, 2009 at 12:12 am

Everything looks soo good! :)
yum. I love cinnomon cookies!

glad you enjoyed your weekend !


Susan September 29, 2009 at 5:25 am

Peanut butter cookies are my faaaavourite!! I've never made coated almonds before, those look particularly delish! Happy housewarming :)


Michelle September 29, 2009 at 5:55 am

Thanks for the shout out!! Looks like all your baking turned out wonderfully, glad the party went well!


VeggieGirl September 29, 2009 at 6:35 am

PB Cookies AND scrumptious almonds?? Yes, please!!


insideiamdancing September 29, 2009 at 7:33 am

Cookies and almonds? Great way to party! I need to make some PB cookies :D I didn't know Magnolia did a cookbook…oy, now I am torn between that one and Babycakes (also new to baking).

Congrats on the great run!


april September 29, 2009 at 8:16 am

OH my gosh cookie galore!! Can I come over? ;)


platipus329 September 29, 2009 at 8:22 am

You've definitely become quite the baker!
Congrats on the run, too


Holly September 29, 2009 at 9:17 am


all these recipes are in fact baller, shot caller!

you are a baker my dear, and i love you for it. so glad you had fun at your partay…hmmm, another phone date tonight? is that too soon, seeming as we just chatted on sunday?

i think not – have a wondrous day!


brandi September 29, 2009 at 9:31 am

everything looks delicious! glad you had a good run and a fun house warming!!!


K from ksgoodeats September 29, 2009 at 12:13 pm

Oh my sweet beans, everything looks so comforting in this post. There's nothing better than a freshly baked batch of cookies on a chilly day!

Woohoo for parties, bloggers, and awesome runs :)


Low September 29, 2009 at 12:19 pm

Yeah for great pain free runs and meet-ups! The housewarming goodies look great. I hope you got some goodies as well!


Janetha September 29, 2009 at 12:54 pm

excuse me but why was i not at this shindig?! i love sangria! it is a sneaky beverage.. you drink and drink and drink and then BAM wastey face. all those treats look divine! did you get some good loot?! love you!


Dee September 29, 2009 at 2:48 pm

all hail the baking queen!

those almonds look mighty tasty! im a sucker for a good spiced nut! its hard to only eat a few of those though!


runnerskitchen September 29, 2009 at 2:52 pm

I feel like you are my blogger twin! I also had a very good run on Saturday (not the fastest, but maybe the happiest). And my roommate and I are planning a house-warming partay for this weekend – I think I'm going to recreate your spanish almond recipe. So classy and yummy!

We will need something classy to counteract the cheap wine and paper cups we will be serving :-)

Yay for your upcoming 10 miler! So exciting.


Alison September 29, 2009 at 5:06 pm

Why did I read this before dinner? Why why why? Screw dinner, I want cookies! They look so pretty.

The almonds too! I would totally shovel a handful of those into my mouth right now. I love spicy nuts. (Don't say it.)

Love house warming gifts! Hope you got some fun loot. ;)


Brooke September 29, 2009 at 6:01 pm

Those PB COOKIES!!! My blogger sista Olivia (ohlivin.wordpress.com) made the SAME ones from the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook and sent them to me at college! OMG best cookies I've ever eaten!!

You and Holly are in my thoughts this week for yalls RACES!!!!! YIPPEE


Katie September 29, 2009 at 9:11 pm

Cookies are up there in my top 5 favorite foods (that's right, not a dessert, a FOOD) and yours look phenomenal. Good work!

Yay for your run, too! Nothing better than an enjoyable run. :-)


Jenny September 30, 2009 at 5:01 pm

you have been doing some serious baking girlfriend! those cinnamon cookies sound so interesting!


ohonemorething September 30, 2009 at 7:39 pm

These look so delicious!!! And they even SOUND delicious. Oh man, I can imagine how good your house must've smelled – better than any candle or incense I'm sure.



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