Thursday, December 29, 2011

December 29th

Happy anniversary to my amazing, fun, wonderfully handsome husband. We had a great dinner at Boulevard Steakhouse and enjoyed outstanding entertainment from Justin Young. Check out his website at   He rocks!

my love

Justin Young... JY gettin' funky @ Boulevard Steakhouse
And so great to be able to spend the evening with Emily and Katie. What a great anniversary!

winter fun

Some of the reasons I enjoy Christmas - spending time with the people you love and Christmas lights. I didn't really spend any time in the kitchen today, but rather enjoyed the day and evening outdoors with people I love.

First we (Mark, Katie, Emily, and I) tried out some snow tubing. Not done exactly the same way in Oklahoma as it is in Pennsylvania... in Oklahoma it's done in the minor league baseball stadium, slides built up on scaffolding, man-made snow/ice packed onto the slide. The best thing... you don't have to climb up a huge hill in giant boots and a snowsuit. You just grab a tube, walk up some stairs, and enjoy the ride down - AND you can just wear a sweater (no need for the giant coat when it's 55 degrees).
Double thumbs-up from Katie
Our next stop? Ice skating - one of Emily's favorite winter activities. We had a great time skating with our friends Justin and Rachel too. I'm sure we'll spend more time on the ice soon.
Emily, me, and our friend Justin Young on the ice
people I love
We rounded out our evening with Christmas lights. Nowhere have I seen better Christmas lights than in Oklahoma City. Everyone enjoyed looking at the abundance of colored lights, but I think my family got the most entertainment out of my excitement over the lights. Here's a sample of the view (pictures really don't do these light displays justice).

Chesapeake Energy Corporation lights - every branch loaded with colored lights that change to pure white before your eyes and back to color again

this house really loves Christmas lights
A great winter day.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

cinnamon roll cookies

Christmas is quite possibly my favorite time of year. I love all of the magic that the holiday season brings, the extra kindness people show, and all of the delicious food. Here's something that's quickly becoming a family favorite in our house. They do take a bit of work, but it's definitely worth it.

This year I made these cookies 100% wheat/gluten free for Katie. Just substitute the all-purpose flour for a gluten free flour. I used a mixture of gluten free all purpose baking flour and sweet white sorghum flour (both Bob's Red Mill brand). Using a wheat free flour makes the dough a bit more difficult to roll up, but don't worry if it doesn't look perfectly rolled. It will still look like a yummy cinnamon roll when you drizzle it with glaze.

Cinnamon Roll Cookies
Cinnamon Roll Cookies
for the dough:
2 2/3 cups cake flour*
4 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, frozen
9 to 12 tablespoons ice water

* If you don't have cake flour, you can substitute all-purpose flour (1 cup cake flour = 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sifted all-purpose flour)

Sift the flour, sugar, and salt together into a large chilled bowl. Set a grater in or over the flour mixture and grate in frozen butter, gently lifting the flour with a fork to coat the butter. Sprinkle 9 tablespoons of the ice water evenly over the flour/butter mixture and gently stir with a fork until incorporated. Add more ice water if needed. The dough should be similar to a pie or pastry dough and hold together when a small amount is squeezed in your hand. Turn the mixture out onto a floured surface and knead twice just to distribute the butter. Be careful not to overwork the mixture. Form dough into two disks, cover in plastic wrap, and chill for 1 hour.

for the cinnamon filling:
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
3 tablespoons melted butter

Mix sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.

Roll disk of chilled dough on a floured surface into an approximate rectangle. Brush the dough with melted butter and sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar. Roll up dough like a jelly roll. Cut into 1/2 in thick slices. Put on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes.

Cool cookies on a wire rack. When cooled, drizzle with glaze (1 cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon water (or more if needed to thin), a few drops of vanilla extract.