White Chocolate Gingerbread Sandwiches With Egg Nog Frosting

White Chocolate Gingerbread with Egg Nog Buttercream (Ellie's Bites)

Maybe it’s Pinterest’s fault, but the other day, I had an insuppressible urge for gingerbread. Since I had some movies to return to the library anyway, Ellie and I jumped into the car and went out to drop off the movies and pick up some molasses. Something made me throw a bar of Ghirardelli’s white chocolate into the cart too. For some reason, I thought white chocolate would go well with gingerbread. Maybe the sweet would compliment the spicy? Anyway, when I got home, and finally got the kids to bed, I made the dough, even though I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with it yet. Then Bryan got the urge for some egg nog and went out to 7-11 (we both have a tough time controlling our impulses, don’t we?). And I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my gingerbread dough.

White Chocolate Gingerbread (adapted from this recipe from Foodnetwork.com)

  • 1 stick of butter (softened)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 packed cup light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 bar good quality white chocolate- finely chopped
  1. Cream together butter and shortening, add brown sugar and beat until creamy (about 2 minutes)
  2. Add molasses and egg, and beat until combined
  3. Whisk dry ingredients together in a separate bowl, then add to butter mixture, 1/2-1 cup at a time
  4. Fold in the white chocolate
  5. Divide dough in half, and wrap each half in plastic. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
  6. Preheat oven to 350. Roll out dough to 3/8 inch using a bit of the dough at a time. Dough will be very sticky, so dust work surface, rolling pin, and even your hands with flour.
  7. Cut out circles or desired shape with a sturdy cutter (if the cutter is not sturdy, it could bend if you hit a chilled chunk of chocolate)
  8. Bake for 9-11 minutes (depending on size of cookie)
  9. Cool completely. Fill with egg nog buttercream by spreading a bit onto one cookie and topping with another.

Gingerbread with Egg Nog Buttercream (Ellie's Bites(

Egg Nog Frosting (Adapted from this recipe- my favorite buttercream from Amanda at i am baker)

  • 1 lb powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg (or more to taste)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4c Egg Nog
  1. Beat the shortening until smooth.
  2. Slowly add the sugar, adding the vanilla and egg nog as needed (I added some sugar, then some egg nog, then alternated until the frosting was smooth)
  3. Add vanilla and beat until combined.
  4. Add salt and nutmeg then beat until combined.

Once the cookies and frosting are combined into sandwiches, let them sit a little. I found that that let the flavors mellow together a little and by the time Bryan got home from work, he was begging me to make another batch.

Enjoy!!!!

 

Cookies From A Christmas Card

I can go two ways when it comes to getting ready for the holidays. I can be really on top of things, or I can go shopping the morning of our celebration. I’ve been in both places. Usually it’s the morning of scenario, but once or twice I’ve been prepared.

This year, I can thank Hani (of the beautiful food and photography blog, Haniela’s) for putting me ahead. She invited me to be a part of this amazing project where our objective was to find an inspiring Christmas card and cookie it- without necessarily duplicating it. So it was over a month ago that I found myself scoping out the Christmas cards and getting into the holiday spirit. And now, with two weeks left to go before the first night of Hanukkah, I am just about finished my shopping! Yay! And I have these cute cookies to share with you! Yay!

I walked into Papyrus and I was immediately drawn to this card. I liked the unusual colors, and I liked the polkadots. I tried really hard to find something I didn’t like because Papyrus cards don’t tend to be on the cheap side, and I was hoping to talk myself out of spending 24.99$ for 10 cards. But I couldn’t find anything I didn’t like. Plus I kept picturing that cute striped ornament on the right as a potential snowman. That’s how I wound up making these:

And these weren’t difficult at all, either. I started a few days ahead, and made the polkadots as RI transfers, piping circles and ovals in the colors I wanted, then covering some of them with gold disco dust.. Then I flooded the cookies in my base color blue and placed the polkadots onto the wet blue icing. Some of the cookies, I flooded in the base color, then covered in gold disco dust  before placing the polka dots.

These cookies were really easy and fun to do. But the best part was knowing that I was a part of this project along with so many talented ladies. I can’t wait until all of our posts are up so I can see everyone’s Christmas card cookies! Thank you, Hani, for allowing me to be a part of your project!

3. Georganne, LilaLoa
4. Lorraine, Lorraine’s Cookies
6. Pam, Cookie Crazie
8. Mariëlle, De Koekenbakkers
9.  Nadia, My Little Bakery
10. Liz, Arty Mc Goo
11. Callye, Sweet Sugarbelle
14. Meaghan, The Decorated Cookie
15. Paula, Vanilla Bean Baker
16. Miriam & Estíbaliz, Message in a Cookie
18. Myriam, Chapix Cookies
21. Maryann, Cookie Artisan
22. Hani, Haniela’s

Virtual Thanksgiving Potluck

I figured we all have a funny Thanksgiving story, but my husband has the best one. Back in his days as a 911 dispatcher, he had to talk many people through their emergency “my oven is on fire” phonecalls. I wish I could do his impersonations justice. I would tell you the story of the man who refused to bring his family out of his burning house because it was too cold outside. I was originally going to ask my husband to guest post for me, and tell you the story, but right now he’s on the couch watching “Precious” and eating the kids’ Halloween candy.  I’ll just settle your curiosity and tell you that the man eventually put out his own “house fire” by pouring a glass of water on it.

Anyway. The first time I made a turkey (just a small 2lb breast- I haven’t even attempted the real thing yet), I filled the entire downstairs of my house with smoke. That’s why, when Melissa and Kim (Simply Sweets by Honeybee, and The Cookie Puzzle) suggested a virtual cookie swap where we would each “cookie” a dish one may bring to a Thanksgiving dinner, I did NOT volunteer to make the turkey. I actually volunteered to bring the most underrated dish. The salad. It’s the dish that my dad is always asked to bring because he makes the world’s best dressing. I’d love to share the recipe with you, but he’d disown me. Instead, I’ll share with you how I made my cookie salad!

Please excuse the photo quality. I had to use the picture I had on my phone- for reasons I’ll explain later.

I started by dying a third of my dough a light green (I mixed leaf green with electric green), a third dark green (just leaf green), and a third red (a mix of red and orange).  Then I swirled together part of the light and dark green, making sure not to overmix. I rolled it out and cut out some raindrop shapes in various sizes. Next I crumpled up a piece of aluminum foil, flattened it out again- leaving lots of crumples- and laid it on a baking sheet. After spraying the foil lightly with cooking spray, I laid down the green cutouts. After baking, I left them to cool overnight, then peeled them carefully from the foil.

I made the cucumbers by rolling out a portion of the lighter green into a small log and wrapping it in the darker green. Then I cut slices from it (if I hadn’t been too impatient, I would have let it chill in the freezer for a while before slicing it) and dotted the inside with white sugar pearls.

The tomatoes are just balls of the red dough (to keep them from flattening too much, use a dough that holds its shape well, like this one from LilaLoa). The peppers are red dough, rolled and randomly cut with this cutter from Ikea.

Last, I had some leftover icing from this project so I made some RI transfers in the shape of carrot and purple cabbage shreds to sprinkle on top.

Now here’s the reason why the picture of the completed salad is the one I took from my phone. I originally made ranch dressing for this salad. I made a white buttercream, thinned it out and poured in some black sanding sugar. It was perfect. Until I put it in a piping bag and squeezed it all over my salad. The black sugar turned the white buttercream blue, and- although it was delicious- it was so visually nasty, I couldn’t even take a picture. I couldn’t try again, because I had already poured the blue dressing and ruined the salad. If you’re going to make this (maybe for April Fools Day?) I would make the white buttercream, pour or squeeze it on top, THEN sprinkle it with the black sugar.

So I know that salad isn’t very filling and you are probably anxiously awaiting the rest of your dinner, go check out what the rest of my friends brought to our “Friendsgiving”! (Assuming you didn’t fill up first on baked brie, chips and salsa, and crudities? Just me?)

I wouldn’t complain, also, if you want to tell me a funny Thanksgiving story! I love reading your stories!!

Inspiration Challenge: November {Show Me Your State}

So, when Melissa and I agreed to this challenge last month, I had no idea my state would be so front and center in the news! In my part of New Jersey, we were very fortunate. Personally we lost power for roughly 14 hours. We had no property damage. My parents, who only live five minutes away, didn’t lose power at all, so we were able to go to their house for a little while.

My heart breaks for those who lost everything. But this is a strong state. Everyone will pull together and rebuild. Our beaches will be rebuilt, and those who live there will move back. And there is a reason for that. Although New Jersey is often the punchline to the joke, everyone who lives here can’t imagine living anywhere else. Well, we can imagine. Especially for a brief period after we open the envelopes containing the tax bills. But, as is often the case, you pay for what you get. And we get it all. From anywhere in New Jersey, you are roughly one to two hours from the beach, the mountains, farmland, and two major cities.

When I decided on the design of my cookies a couple of weeks ago, I was focusing, not on the TV shows our state is famous for (there will be no Snookie Cookie… anyway, I couldn’t top this one by Arty McGoo if I tried!) but on my state’s nickname: The Garden State.

There are a total of at least four working farms within 20 minutes of my house. I work for my parents in their dental office, where, in the backyard, my dad grows enough produce to get them through the summer!!! I didn’t inherit that ability from him. I can’t keep a houseplant alive, let alone a garden.

I had planned to drive around and take some beautiful pictures of our fall foliage and maybe even take a drive to the shore to take some pictures there, but this month got away from me and then the wind and rain kept me in the house for the past few days. Then before I realized it, it was November first and it was too late. If I have a chance in the future, I’ll come back and add some pictures.

As far as the cookies go, I found some clip art I liked of the various vegetables above and used the pictures as a template to hand cut them. Then I used a mixture of royal icing, painted food coloring, and food safe markers to decorate them.

And this is what I think of, when I think of New Jersey. I AM a real housewife, and the closest I come to GTL is G(L)2-T. But there is one stereotype that I think most New Jersey residents will admit is accurate.

“What exit are you from?”

Now go visit Melissa at Simple Sweets By Honeybee to see her Texas cookies. I know she is super proud of her state and she always does an amazing job with her cookies!!! While you are there, you can link up the cookies that show us your state.

Then start thinking up your ideas for our December challenge: Winter Wonderland.