Saturday Surfing

Hi! I'm dropping in right before the Christmas holiday to wish everyone a belated happy Hanukkah, merry Christmas, and a very happy new year celebration. We actually just finished wrapping a turkey in bacon for our annual turkey potluck, which we with friends every year just before Christmas. (I'll spare you the bird picture.) Today I thought I'd share some great recent blog posts from my favorite bloggers. Enjoy surfing through these awesome links...

Perhaps now you also want to gather your friends that are home for the holidays to eat, drink and be merry. Spoon Fork Bacon shows you how to put together a quick and easy cheese board.

For simple hosting tips, check out Kim's Kitchen Sink. There have also been some delicious holiday inspired drink recipes circulating, like Dying For Chocolate's chocolate eggnog round-up. And Choosing Raw has a wonderful raw vegan chai spiced hot chocolate recipe.

And last but not least, a delicious sweet recipes. The first from Dessert First. I just made this cranberry curd tart recipe but used chocolate cream cookies for the tart shell and it is so good and perfect for the holidays. Lastly, Vanilla Sugar Blog posts fun, sometimes wacky recipes that are beginner friendly. Here's her recipe for Salty S'mores Bark.

I love sharing my favorite blogs with you and I have many more to share with you soon. 


cut-out ginger sugar cookies

Happy National Cookie Day!

This cut-out brown sugar cookie dough is lightly flavored with molasses and spices and though they require a bit of patience rolling out like most cut-out cookies, the final flavor of the cookie is of butter and brown sugar with a little bit of sweet and spicy....Also there are no eggs in this batter so you can eat as much dough as you want! (you know, if you're in to that.) These cookies are soft and chewy, not crunchy at all like your usual holiday ginger cut-out cookie. Instead of decorating each cookie with icing or chocolate, I sprinkled cinnamon sugar on each cookie before baking, then spread chocolate ganache or a cinnamon cream cheese filling in between two cookies for a delicious holiday cookie sandwich.

Cut-out Ginger Sugar Cookie
Recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen 


2 3/4-3 cups flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp salt

1 1/3 cup brown sugar
2 sticks butter (softened to room temp.)
2 tbsp cream cheese (softened to room temp.)
1/4 cup molasses

In a medium size bowl, mix together the flour, spices and salt.

In a mixer, fitted withe the paddle attachment cream the brown sugar, butter, and cream cheese on medium speed until light, about 3 minutes. Add the molasses and mix until combined.

Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed just until combined. Form the dough into two round patties about 6" in diameter, wrap in plastic wrap. Pat the dough down again to tighten the plastic wrap around it. Place the dough in the fridge for at least one hour.

Take one dough round out of the fridge, roll out the dough to about 1/8" thick between two sheets of parchment paper. Slide the rolled dough in parchment paper onto a baking sheet and refrigerate again until firm. Repeat with the other dough round.

Make sure your oven rack is in the middle of the oven and turn the oven to 375F.

Take the first sheet out of the fridge and cut out shapes with cookie cutters and transfer to another parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the other round. Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes. They won't deepen in color very much. Cool the cookie sheets on racks.

Once the cookies are cool, either decorate with royal icing, chocolate, or sandwich with chocolate ganache or this cream cheese filling.

Cream cheese filling recipe

8 ounces cream cheese
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
heaping tablespoon cinnamon

Mix together with a hand mixer or a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.


Pumpkin cream cheese crumble loaf

No one's sick of pumpkin recipes yet, right? Because this is just so delicious and I'm really excited to share it. If you don't have canned pumpkin and cream cheese in your kitchen, just head on over to your neighborhood Trader Joe's and pick up the ingredients for this.

Though TJ's isn't a local grocer, I do buy my basic ingredients there like free-range eggs, unsalted butter, organic canned pumpkin. One finally opened up 1.5 blocks down the hill from me so life is good! It makes living on a baker's budget in San Francisco a little easier.

There are three simple components to pumpkin loaf, the batter, filling, and crumble. It makes two loaves so you don't have to decide if the loaf is for you, or for your friends, and you will want an entire loaf for yourself :) The amount of crumble in this recipe is not a mistake. It's a lot of crumble and it's perfect and delicious, so go with it...

First, make the crumble:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cup oats (any kind from old-fashioned to quick oats will work)
2 tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 sticks  butter (then melt it)
1 tbsp vanilla

Ina  bowl, combine the flour, oats, salt, and brown sugar with a spoon until incorporated. Add the melted butter and vanilla and combine until the mixture comes together in small clusters.

Next, make the cream cheese filling:
8oz cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 egg

In a bowl, with any electric mixer or Kitchenaid, combine all ingredients until completely incorporated and set aside.

Finally, prepare two 9" loaf pans by spraying them with  non-stick baking spray. Turn the oven to 375F. Then make the batter: 
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter (room temp)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs (room temp)
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/3 cup milk, soured with 1 tsp vinegar

In a medium bowl, sift the flour with the baking soda and salt.

In your Kitchenaid fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy on medium speed, about three minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time until combined Add the pumpkin and mix on medium speed for another three minutes.

With the mixer on slow, alternately add the flour mixture and milk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour (add flour in thirds, and milk in half. Mix each addition until just combined. Don't over mix during this stage. 

Pour 1/4 of the mixture into one pan and another 1/4 in the other. Then scoop your cream cheese mixture on top of each, add the remaining pumpkin mixture to each loaf. Grab a butter knife and insert it all the way in to the batter and pull it in a swirl patter through the batter. Lastly, add the crumble over the top of both and quickly get it into the oven.

This batter could also be baked in to muffin tins or a bundt pan.