A very easy-to-make cake that is fast, fresh and VERY tasty. Preparation time is about 10 minutes, bake time is about 30 minutes. Read through to get the entire recipe!
I Am Really NOT the Sentimental Type BUT...
Getting this in the mail today brought me to tears (happy tears). Thank you to the Best Brother in the world and his amazing wife for the sweetest birthday gift one could wish for!
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½” pieces
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus whole leaves
1 large egg, beaten to blend
Coarse sanding sugar (for sprinkling)
Over the winter break, I made these rosemary shortbread cookies for a second time (the first time was for Thanksgiving) and they came out as delicious as ever. Until I tried this recipe, I had never made cookies that combine rosemary and caraway seeds (for some reason, I always thought it was a meat spice?!?). And even though the spice combination is rather unexpected, the resulting taste is really refreshing! Double bonus points for how easy they are to make!
Preheat oven to 350°. Toast caraway seeds in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat, tossing occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Coarsely chop; set aside.
Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, and salt until very light and fluffy, 7–10 minutes (beating air into butter makes for tender shortbread). Reduce speed to low and add flour, caraway, and 2 tsp. chopped rosemary; mix just to combine. Dough will look shaggy and a little dry (it’s not!).
Press dough into two 8”-diameter cake pans. Brush with egg, sprinkle with sanding sugar, and top with rosemary leaves.
Bake until shortbread is golden brown and sides pull away from pan, 20–25 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let cool in pan before turning out and cutting into wedges or bars.
Shortbread dough can be made 1 month ahead; wrap tightly and freeze. Shortbread can be baked 1 week ahead; store wrapped tightly at room temperature.
Castillo de San Marcos
Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse
Memorial Presbyterian Church
St. Augustine, FL
When it was suggested to me that I travel to St. Augustine, FL, I thought, where? I had never heard of St. Augustine until the day I decided to drive 100 miles from Orlando and visit. And as it turns out, I am in the clear minority when it comes to knowing about St. Augustine. With over 2 million visitors a year, it clearly holds a lot of tourist draw (and to be fair, it felt like all 2 million of them were there the same day I was!). I completely understand why. It has a lot of history (it was founded in 1565!), beautiful scenery (fully restored buildings from the Spanish and English rules of Florida) and, of course, great ocean views. So if you are ever in the Central Florida region, I would highly recommend a visit to Florida's old capital and America's oldest city!
I must confess, I am rather sad the holidays are over. But at the very least, I have this blog to write about them and remember how much fun it was to plan for a good meal and enjoy the party with my loved ones!
A few posts ago, I shared with you the menu I was planning on for Christmas and I am happy to report that all the dishes came out beautifully! Hands down, my favorite was the turkey. It was fresh, juicy and just perfect! And as usual, I spent quite a lot of time setting up the table decor (my favorite part of any party). This time however, I had help from the best of helpers: mom. After a trip to the local Marshall's (where we purchased placemats and a few decorations) and Target (where we found the polar bears at 50% off plus the paper christmas trees and candles), we were able to complete our polar bear theme.
The colors we used this year were gold, white and a punch of black. It was all inspired by the design of the menu I did a few weeks back. The menu also inspired the handsomest party favors - custom made cookies by Cakes and Cookies by Claudia.
All in all, I think I am really liking the idea of hosting celebrations! I am already looking for an excuse to have another one soon!
PS: A shoutout to our lovely hosts: Jessica and Stefan Popov and the great help from Jenny Blair (still dreaming of that casserole!) and of course, mom and dad, who are always willing to assist in any loving way they can.
Porcelain Mugs: $2.99 EA
Sharpie: $1.99 EA
Grab a Sharpie
Draw on Mug
Bake @350 for 30 Min
A few weeks back, I mentioned I was planning on going down the DIY route for the majority of the gifts I will be giving to my family. We had given ourselves the creative limit of $10 per person per gift. I knew that meant I will had to get crafty. What I didn't realize was how much fun this project would be! If you ever get a chance to try it, I would highly recommend it! It was much easier than I ever thought. All you need is some plain porcelain mugs and a Sharpie! At first, I tried drawing with a porcelain pen but I quickly switched to a Sharpie since the porcelain pen turned out to be too runny for my liking. I also used a touch of silver (also a Sharpie) so adding some red or another fun color might work really well. Happy crafting!!