Tag: brittle

xmas-cookies-myvegtable
And the winners are…

The most important decision I make every year around Christmastime has nothing to do with shopping and everything to do with baking: which cookies will win a coveted spot on my annual cookie platter? Each year, I churn out anywhere from 12-18 dozen cookies for Christmas; it’s my favorite holiday tradition. It has been twenty years since I first started giving gifts from my kitchen. Back then, I thought it was genius idea since I had little money for gifts. As the years passed–and I could actually afford gifts–I opted to keep on baking as a little extra something. My family gets excited about our cookie platter every year; the anticipation grows until they get their very own take-home box–it’s even more fun to see if their boxes are emptied before they make it home.

How do I choose the winners? After I pore over the pages of my favorite holiday cookie magazines and family recipe cards, I take a potential list to a vote with my husband and son. There is one rule–each of the five cookie “food groups” must be represented: something chocolatey, something oatey, something fruity, something spicy, and something nutty. I usually throw in some kind of candy for fun. Two cookies never up for dispute are my Grandmother’s Snickerdoodles–which are unlike any snickerdoodle you’ve ever had–and Oatmeal Scotchies.

Inspiration

pumpkin-guts-myvegtable
Biggest. Pumpkin. Ever. Tackled.

By mid-September, my Halloween decorations are up for my favorite holiday. I suppose the disadvantage of decorating so early is becoming overconfident that everything is ready for October 31st. Imagine my surprise on October 30th when I realized that we hadn’t picked our annual pumpkin! So, late that Friday night, after my son’s baseball game, we drove to a church pumpkin patch down the road from the ballpark. The pumpkins were barely visible in the dimly lit patch. The typical search for our prized pumpkin is a lengthy process: many are chosen and returned before the winner makes its way to our car. However, this year was surprisingly different. As we approached the pricing table, my son, Everett, eyed one of the biggest pumpkins ever–I could see the cogs turning as he went on his quest looking for its twin. It was as if the proverbial rays of light were shining down from above onto this pumpkin; he walked right up to it and said, “This one!” The search for the Ferrer Family Pumpkin was over in five minutes flat. Fastest. Ever.

Attempting to pick it up was a challenge; my arms weren’t able to make it all the way around its middle. If I couldn’t even carry it without help, how on Earth was I going to carve this monstrosity? Halloween morning, I carvedĀ our 3-inch thick pumpkin with my carving tools and a steak knife; cleaning out the inside felt like a never-ending task. I harvested over 2 cups of seeds: what to do with them? I needed to make sure I didn’t waste them; for the past several years, I’ve meticulously cleaned and saved them…and then forgot about them and into the garbage they went. Not this year! I had some sweet ideas. Because we had so many seeds, I decided to use them for two sweet treats: pumpkin seed brittle and spiced pumpkin seeds.

Inspiration