Sunday, June 28, 2015

Plastic Fantastic Fourth of July





I have a thing for plastic- and paper-ware.  Fun, pretty, clever, playful... there is so much cute stuff out there begging me to buy it and bring it home, and I can almost always never say no.  Their squeaky, high pitched, plastic-y voices call out---"pick us, pick us!!.... we're perfect for picnics, for barbecues...we're dressed in so many bright and festive colors....we're relatively cheap (especially those blue and red-checked bowls that you picked up at the grocery store)..."




"....we never BREAK (unlike your favorite red and white transferware vegetable dish that you sweat bullets over every time you use it to actually serve food in)....we are dishwasher-safe (but don't put us in the microwave, like someone did to Mr. Baby-Blue Polka Dot plastic-plate, who now sports a couple of unattractive bubbles and bumps)..."  




The many darling paper plates and napkins that I encounter everywhere are tempting too, their papery voices whisper beguilingly..."you don't even have to wash us, just throw us away when you are all finished eating.  Minimal cleanup. You like that, don't you?" 




These voices don't stop once I bring my latest find home and tuck (stuff) it into my already bulging cupboards and drawers. These melamine-as-paper plates charmers below created a shrill clamor as the Fourth of July approached---"don't we remind you of all those family picnics on the beach, the boxes of fireworks your brothers bought from those roadside stands (when fireworks were still legal in California), Colonel Sanders fried chicken with sand in it?"






"...we even play very nicely with your more casual, and less stuffy ceramic plates and server ware....." (so articulate for plastic)




"...and we love your vintage-style dishtowels and napkins....."



"Oh please bring us out so we can all be nostalgic and go on a sentimental journey back to all those Fourth of July picnics at the beach, in the park, in the back yard with the smell of newly cut grass and the whine of hovering mosquitoes!"  So out came the red, white, and blue crew....




...and some cupcakes dressed up in pretty cupcake-papers (another weakness)....



.....and we had a grand old time decorating my dining room table and creating a Fourth-of-July, picnic-worthy table vignette that celebrates all those Fourth of Julys of the past, as well as those yet to be....








Happy Fourth of July and thanks for visiting!

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Linking to the following this week....

Best of the Weekend at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
That DIY Party at DIY Showoff
Roses of Inspiration Linkup at The Enchanting Rose
The Scoop at Confessions of a Plate AddictStone Gable, and Cedar Hill Farmhouse
Amaze Me Monday at Dwellings
Inspire Me Monday at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch
Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life
Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style
Bouquet of Talent at Life on Lakeshore Drive
Party in Your PJs at the Cookie Puzzle
Lou Lou Girls Fabulous Party at Lou Lou Girls
Share Your Style at Common Ground
Tweak It Tuesday at Cozy Little House
Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop at Ducks 'N a Row
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home
Your Turn to Shine at Canary Street Crafts
Idea Box Thursday at Mila's Little Things
Share Your Cup Thursday at Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson
The Inspiration Board Creative Party at Carolyn's Homework
Foodie Friday and Everything Else at Rattlebridge Farm
Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest
Inspiration Thursday at In The New House Designs


Sunday, June 14, 2015

When a Cookie Meets Some Ice Cream




What comes to mind when you hear the words "birthday party"?  I know I immediately think "cake and ice cream"....or more specifically, chocolate cake and ice cream (but that would be for my party).  In this case, we were having a little celebration for my stepson's birthday, and instead of a birthday cake, he requested his favorite cookies....molasses crinkles.  




Molasses crinkles have been around forever.  I think it was one of the first cookies that I attempted as a child when my mom insisted that I start baking from a recipe and stop wasting ingredients by randomly mixing together stuff from the kitchen cupboards; I believed that I had hoped that my science experiments would produce a yummy dessert (I never made anything yummy that way, just disgusting, gloppy messes that had to be thrown away). 



This molasses crinkle recipe (skip ahead to the end for that) yields my favorite kind of cookie....thick and chewy and buttery.  



The molasses and the brown sugar give these cookies a deep rich flavor.  Cinnamon, ginger, and ground cloves seals the deal by adding a warm spiciness that lingers after each bite.  Rolling each "small walnut" sized cookie in sugar before popping them into the oven adds a subtle bit of sparkle to each cookie once they come out.... 



Sprinkling each unbaked, sugared cookie with a few drops of water causes those deep cracks and fissures (the "crinkles") to form during baking....



And yes, cookies can be the festive star of a birthday party table if you stack them up on a pretty pedestal or serving dish...and then add the birthday year in candles.  



These are the candles-as-numbers that you can get at any grocery store.  Those little tabs on the bottom of the candle are useless when it comes to trying to stand them up in cakes or cupcakes (forget about cookies), so I stuck a toothpick into the bottoms, and it worked beautifully when it came time to sit each on top of my nice, neat cookie stacks. 



Introducing some good vanilla ice cream to the cookies elevates them to true birthday-celebration status.  



Is adding the chocolate ganache to this already wonderful cookie/ice cream duo just gilding the lily? Nope.  Not in my house.  I added a splash of coffee liqueur to the ganache (click here for the recipe) to enhance and deepen the chocolate, and it tasted fabulous with the molasses and ginger of the cookies and the creamy vanilla ice cream.   







Cookies aren't what I would normally think of when planning the birthday dessert for any party... but here is what thinking outside of the box gets you, especially when you add that old birthday standby, ice cream (and in my world, chocolate)..... 



***

Recipe


Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 1/4 cup unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger

Cream together the butter and brown sugar.  Add the egg and beat well.  Add the molasses, and beat until light and fluffy.  

Sift together the flour, soda, salt, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger (another option is to use a whisk to mix dry ingredients and remove any lumps). 

Add dry ingredients to the butter-sugar-egg-molasses mixture, and mix just until combined (you don't want to see any traces of the flour mixture, but you don't want to over mix either). Chill the dough for at least 2 hours; overnight is better.  Chilling the dough well helps to prevent the cookies from spreading in the oven and produces a thick, chewy cookie.

Using a spoon or a tablespoon-sized ice cream scoop, form small-walnut sized balls. Roll each ball in granulated sugar and place on a non-stick cookie sheet (using parchment paper is even better, since it eliminates any sticking).  Sprinkle each unbaked cookie with a few drops of water (this causes the cookies to crack when they bake) and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the cookies are set, not hard (they will firm up as they cool).  Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for 15 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.


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Thanks so much for visiting!

Linking to the following this week....

Best of the Weekend at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
That DIY Party at DIY Showoff
Roses of Inspiration Linkup at The Enchanting Rose
The Scoop at Stone Gable
Amaze Me Monday at Dwellings
Inspire Me Monday at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch
Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life
Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style
Bouquet of Talent at Life on Lakeshore Drive
Party in Your PJs at the Cookie Puzzle
Lou Lou Girls Fabulous Party at Lou Lou Girls
Share Your Style at Common Ground
Tweak It Tuesday at Cozy Little House
Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop at Ducks 'N a Row
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home
Your Turn to Shine at Canary Street Crafts
Idea Box Thursday at Mila's Little Things
Share Your Cup Thursday at Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson
Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
The Inspiration Board Creative Party at Carolyn's Homework
Foodie Friday and Everything Else at Rattlebridge Farm
Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest
Inspiration Thursday at In The New House Designs