glazed sugar cookies with buttercream "embroidery"

I have a new hobby!! Looking at embroidery Instagram. Some accounts started popping up on my discover feed a few months ago and I instantly got all heart eyes about the colors and dainty little details and fresh adorable designs. If you had asked me a year ago if I liked embroidery I probably would have been like no, I’m not a grandma. But I am proud to say that 2017 was the year that proved me a doofus for ever thinking that embroidery is just for grandmas and now I could stare at these accounts for hours. 

(Peep some of my fave accounts here, here, here, and here!)

A few weeks ago I realized that I should get off of my bum and actually put this inspiration to use with buttercream, my favorite medium, obvs, on a sugar cookie canvas. Sugar cookie canvas! Hehe. Some elements, like flowers, have proved to be way more difficult than my buttercream rose adventures earlier this year, but other simpler things like dala horses made of dots (err— French Knot inspired plops) and trees made with satin stitch-like lines are so gosh darn satisfying to make. And all you need to make them are some teeny tiny piping tips and a good lunch because if you’re hungry and your hands feel weak and unstable then it won’t be that fun. 

Because these decorations are most effective when they’re very small, sparse, and delicate (as opposed to covering the entirety of a cookie with flowers), I’ve decided to prime my cookies with a layer of glaze that gives them a pretty glossy finish. Without it I think these would look and taste a little naked. You can make the glaze any color that you’d like but I went with pink here, mostly to try and prove Eggboy wrong after he said that pink is not a holiday time color. How did I do? And this sugar cookie recipe is my favorite go-to for cutouts! It’s got hints of vanilla, almond, and lemon zest that make its flavor just slightly brighter than your average sugar cookie, and I love taking them out of the oven right before they start to turn brown so that they stay nice and soft. 

The tools that I’m using here are all from Pampered Chef!! Which I’m extra excited about because Pampered Chef items remind me of my wedding. Is it a uniquely Midwest thing that you simply cannot get married without receiving Pampered Chef gifts or does this extend to other regions?? Please discuss. Either way, everybody needs these stackable cooling racks so that you no longer have to cover every inch of counter space in your kitchen with cooling cookies during the holidays. And I am also obsessed with their nifty rolling cookie cutter and marble rolling pin, two a+ rolling things that played an important role in the rolling of these sugar cookies. (See below for a complete list of featured items!) Happy cookie-ing, everybody!


Glazed sugar cookies with buttercream embroidery

makes about 32 (2 1/2") square cookies cookies

ingredients

For the cookies:

4 c (512g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1 c (226g) unsalted butter, softened

2/3 c (137g) sugar

2/3 c (80g) powdered sugar

zest from 1/2 of a lemon

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp princess emulsion (or another tsp vanilla)

3/4 tsp almond extract

for the glaze:

2 cups (240g) powdered sugar
2 tb (40g) corn syrup
2 1/2 tb whole milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
Pinch of kosher salt
Food coloring

For the buttercream:

1 c unsalted butter, softened
3 c (360g) powdered sugar
Food coloring
 

clues

To make the cookies, in a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and the sugars until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add in the lemon zest and mix to combine. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each, and then add the extracts.
Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing until blended. Turn the dough out onto the counter and divide into two large discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour, or up to two days. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375ºf. Line two baking sheets with parchment or a silicone mat and set aside. Working with one dough disc at a time, roll it out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4” thick. Use a cookie cutter to make 2 1/2” squares and then transfer to a baking sheet, 1" apart. Re-roll scraps and cut out more squares. Bake for 10 minutes, until they’re thinking about starting to turn brown. Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

To make the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, corn syrup, milk, vanilla, almond extract, salt, and a few drops of food coloring until very smooth. You’re going for the consistency of a thick glue. If it’s too thick, add a couple more drops of milk, and if it’s too thin, add a few more spoonfuls of powdered sugar. 

To make the buttercream, in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat together the butter and powdered sugar until smooth. Separate out into individual bowls (I’d suggest 5 or 6) and stir food coloring into each. Transfer to piping bags fitted with tiny round or star tips. 

To assemble, dip the tops of the cookies into the glaze, letting any excess drip off, and then place on a wire rack to dry. After a few minutes, once they’re mostly dry to the touch (they don’t need to be completely dry), you can go ahead and pipe on your buttercream decorations. You can go the freehand route or use cookie cutters to press indentations into the glaze which can serve as an outline for your decorations (like the dala horses in the photos).

Let dry and enjoy!! 
 


-yeh!


onion jam sufganiyot with za'atar, sumac, and yogurt powder

Hello! How was your weekend?? We had such a jolly holiday time tooling around town. We saw the community theater’s performance of White Christmas, had a great brunch at the town fancy restaurant that just started brunch, and did the holiday home tour where you get to tour a bunch of houses that are all dressed up for the holidays. It was so lovely and especially educational in our house planning stage. Eggboy got one of those laser measuring devices so anytime we found ourselves in a nicely sized living room, not too big/not too small/just the right amount of cozy, he would inconspicuously measure it go-go-gadget laser style. It was so cool. Then we came home and drew on graph paper and made hot cocoa with our espresso steamer. Excellent chill weekend!

Welcome to my first annual sufganiyot double feature, starring one savory recipe, one sweet recipe, and one silly sweater that I rented from the internet! Today I’m sharing the savory recipe which includes a buttery garlicky za’atar speckled dough that’s filled with sweet onion jam and dusted with vinegary sumac and yogurt ~powder~ that I had leftover from yogurt book testing. Yogurt powder is a lot like macaroni and cheese powder but tangier and less salty (but do you know what would work great in the absence of yogurt powder, should you not have time to amazon it?? Macaroni and cheese powder.) 

This one is for those people who would rather have a pile of cheese fries than a birthday cake (me). Or who want a next level garlic knot or savory monkey bread or any round bulbous soft hot bread thing (me me me). 

Early next week, right in time for Hanukkah, I’ll be sharing a rose jam sufganiyot recipe that follows the same general method so that you can get two great flavors for the price of one deep frying session. How long has it been since I complained about deep frying, am I due for a kvetch?

Actually on second thought, no time for that, I have to go order some books for Eggboy. The other day I half jokingly suggested that we do “Book Hanukkah” and gift each other one book for each night of Hanukkah (new, used, homemade… I think those are all the options). It was after we drew a two-story library into our home plan. I forgot about Book Hanukkah until a huge Amazon box arrived yesterday that was filled with books that I wasn’t supposed to see. So, ok, gotta go figure out what Eggboys read!!

A couple of notes:

-These are by far the best within a few hours of making them so if you’re looking to prep ahead, here are some tips: make the filling in advance (this can be made a few days in advance). For the first rising, the dough can stay in the fridge for a good day or two. Let it come to room temperature before stamping out your circles. Once you have your circles stamped, you can keep them in the fridge for up to 3 hours. Fry them right before your party, and then maybe hand off the job of filling them to that friend who arrives at the party looking for a job to do in the kitchen. 

-I like frying in cast iron! It does a nice job of maintaining the temperature of the oil.

-You can use any onion jam of your choosing here. I've linked to a super tasty recipe that tastes rather sweet on its own, but once it's in the donuts, it really balances out quite nicely.


onion jam sufganiyot with za'atar, sumac, and yogurt powder

makes 18

ingredients

2 1/4 tsp (1 packet) active dry yeast

1/2 c warm whole milk (105-110ºf)

1/4 c warm water (105-110ºf)
2 tb + 1 tsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt

Black pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tb za’atar
3 1/2 c (448g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 large egg + 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
6 tb (85g) unsalted butter, softened

canola or vegetable, for frying

filling/topping:

about 1 c onion jam

a few tb yogurt powder, for dusting 

sumac, for dusting

clues

in a medium bowl, combine the yeast, warm milk, water, and 1 teaspoon sugar and give it a little stir. let it sit for about 5 minutes, until it becomes foamy on top. 
meanwhile, in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together the salt, a few turns of black pepper, garlic powder, za’atar, flour, and remaining sugar. Add the eggs and yeast mixture and mix to form a very very stiff dough. It will seem like the dry ingredients aren’t all going to get incorporated but try as best you can. Knead for a few minutes and then with the mixer on, begin gradually adding the butter, tablespoon by tablespoon. This, too, will seem like it isn’t going to incorporated into the dough but keep on mixing for about 8-10 minutes more, scraping down the dough hook occasionally, until your dough is smooth and slightly sticky. transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature (or in the fridge, see notes) until it has doubled in size, about 2 hours. 

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and roll it out to 1/2” thickness. Cut out 2 1/2” circles and transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment. When re-rolling scraps, first press them together and then allow the dough to sit for about 10 minutes before proceeding. Cover the circles with plastic wrap or a dish towel and let rise for another hour, until doubled. 

In a large heavy pot fitted with a thermometer, heat 3-4” oil to 350ºf. Fry the donuts in batches of 3 or 4, for 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Meanwhile, fill a piping bag fitted with a large round tip with the onion jam. Using a skinny knife, poke holes into the tops of cooled donuts and rotate the knife to create space for the jam. Pipe the jam into the holes. Dust the donuts with a light dusting of yogurt powder and sprinkle with za’atar and sumac. Enjoy! 
 


-yeh!

photos by chantell and brett!

eggboy's birthday cake!

Hiiii!!! How were your Thanksgivings and Thanksgiving leftovers?? Ours was great, Eggboy completely knocked it out of the park with his annual pumpkin pie. I have never truly freaked out about a pumpkin pie, but this one was subtle and pudding-like, which I promise you is not just code for under seasoned and undercooked. He did indeed omit the cinnamon since mum is allergic, and the center never actually set, but I think those were two of the biggest contributing factors to why I loved it so much. It was creamy and light, not heavy and mashed root-vegetable-y. I can’t stop dreaming of it. This is the recipe he uses, from Sarah! The only other change he made aside from omitting the cinnamon was using more heavy cream instead of creme fraiche, and then I think he also cooked the filling for like three times longer than Sarah says to because he was over in the kitchen stirring the pot for half of the dog show. 

After Thanksgiving we went downtown and I survived my high school reunion!!!! I even remembered everyone’s names (and if I didn’t you’d have thought that I did because I had the liquid confidence of 1.5 margaritas). Everybody is nailing it! Everybody seems happy, has great hair, is doing cool things like designing airplanes/tesla batteries/fancy meat and molding the minds of future generations. It was just like time hadn’t passed and we were back in high school all over again minus the awkward turtles. I’m so glad I went, it was totally worth all of the hours stressing out about my outfit. 

We came home with a suitcase filled with various types of chocolate covered marzipan from both Christkindlmarkt and my all time favorite chocolate shop, Anderson’s, in Richmond, Illinois, which makes their own candy bars. I haven’t had them in like 20 years but now mum lives not too far from them and we went over the weekend and their dark chocolate covered marzipan is exactly how I remember it. 

Now we are home and ready to celebrate Eggboy’s 31st birthday, a.k.a. his reverse Bar Mitzvah, h/t to Drake for that inspiration. Tonight we’re going over to the Eggparents’ for salmon and birthday cake (it is also Eggpop’s birthday!) and tomorrow is Eggboy’s official birthday, so we’ll eat birthday cake for breakfast and then have goulash for dinner. 

Over the weekend I spent quite some time sitting on mum’s couch waiting for commercials to be over because Skate America was on (holy cow Nathan Chen’s short program, holy cow Bradie Tennell, and holy cow Shib Sibs!!!). During these commercial breaks I picked up one of the Vanity Fairs from the coffee table and flipped to a story about three very stylish English sisters that were the daughters of a duke and duchess who had descended from a family that came over from France in, like, the year one thousand. I am pretty much a sucker for any story involving stylish royal people our age (go Meghan!) but my greatest takeaway from this particular article involved their family traditions. It was per tradition that they moved into the 356 room castle when their grandpa passed away, and it was per tradition that they threw elaborate balls for their 18th birthdays, and per tradition, weekends are spent in the country riding horses with their flock of English hound doggos. And when they plant trees they have to envision how they will look in 300 years. 

Suddenly I was hellbent on finding a traditional birthday cake that will be relevant one thousand years from now.

So! I knew it’d be a yellow cake since Eggboy always wants a yellow cake for his birthday and he always makes me one on my birthday. The past couple of years for my birthday he has used the recipe in the Mast Brothers cookbook which he bought me years ago. Admittedly, this has brought on monstrous disasters every time, except for the first time when he made a bunch of random uninformed substitutions that somehow worked out but that he didn’t write down. I always assumed his disasters were just because the amount of pans wasn’t specified and because his baking experience is limited. But then when I tried to bake this cake earlier this week, guess what happened! Total disaster. Crater larger than the Grand Canyon. Expletives all over my texts to Michelle. Angry notes written in pen on the page. 

I'll spare all of the details and just cut to this birthday cake that is sitting in front of me and that I am very happy with and that was last minute made three-tiered because it's fun! It has Mast Brothers' frosting because Eggboy loves it, it is cream cheesy and tangy and good, but I have decided that Sarah's yellow cake, which I made last year, is officially the front runner for becoming our traditional family birthday cake. It's delicious, moist, a true classic, all you could ever want in a birthday cake. Eggboy, consider this my official proposal to make Sarah’s cake + Mast brothers frosting the official family birthday cake. Please and thanks! 

This three-tiered sitch is made of two batches of cake: a full 8" cake on the bottom, and then the 6" tier and 4" tiers make up the second batch. The sprinkles are a mix of India Tree's nature's colors confetti and cylinders, wilton gold pearls, and grocery store sundae sprinkles and chocolate sprinkles. Just call me a sprinkle mixologist. 

***Throws sprinkles in the air and dashes off to go wrap Eggboy's presents***

Hooray!!!!!!!! Happy birthday, Eggboy and Eggpop!!!!!!! 


classic yellow cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting

cake from sarah kieffer's the vanilla bean baking book, frosting based on the mast brothers cookbook

makes one 2-layer 8-inch cake

ingredients

for the cake:

3 large eggs

2 egg yolks

1 tb pure vanilla extract

3/4 c sour cream

1/4 c buttermilk

2 c (284 g) all-purpose flour

1 1/2 c (297 g) sugar

3/4 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 lb (2 sticks; 227 g) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 1-inch pieces

for the frosting:

8 ounces (226 g) dark chocolate, chopped

1/2 c (1 sticks; 113 g) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 lb (454g) cream cheese, room temperature

1 tb pure vanilla extract

a good pinch of salt

2 c (226 g) confectioners' sugar

 

clues

for the cake:

adjust an oven rack to the middle position. preheat the oven to 350ºf. butter and flour two 8 by 2-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

in a medium bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, sour cream, and buttermilk.

in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt on low until combined. with the mixer running on low, add the butter one piece at a time, beating until the mixture resembles coarse sand. with the mixer still running on low, slowly add half the wet ingredients. increase the speed to medium and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. with the mixer running on low, add the rest of the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined. increase the speed to medium and beat for 20 seconds (the batter may still look a little bumpy). scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, and use a spatula to mix the batter a few more times.

divide the batter between the prepared pans and smooth the tops. tap the pans gently on the counter 2 times each to help get rid of any bubbles. bake 17 to 22 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, until the cakes are golden brown and pull slightly away from the sides and a wooden skewer or toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean.

transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes. turn the cakes out onto the rack, remove the parchment paper, and let cool completely. once cool, the cakes can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated overnight or frosted.

for the frosting:

melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in a microwave in 30-second increments, stirring after each.

in  the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream together the butter, cream cheese, vanilla, salt, and confectioners' sugar. Add the melted chocolate and mix until smooth. 

layer and frost the cake. enjoy!


-yeh!

Turkey Wild Rice Hotdish

I am so far down the road of sufganiyot testing and hallmark movie watching that I have to remind myself that thanksgiving still hasn’t happened or else I’ll get confused about the turkey cupcakes on my Instagram feed. Still I have no regrets about having moved forcefully in the direction of holiday cheer from the moment that Halloween ended. I mean, let’s hear a round of applause for this bagel macaroni noodle menorah and this narwhal address stamp and the new Sia Christmas album. zooomg. 

We are going to Chicago for the long weekend, where we’ll celebrate Eggboy’s birthday, Stoopie’s birthday, Thanksgiving obviously, and the National Dog Show hosted by Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir. Oh, and my high school reunion, to which I will be wearing the closest thing to adult footie pajamas that Eileen Fisher gift cards can buy

I am extremely ready for my Thanksgiving routine, which goes like this:

Wake up to Stoop placing her small dog, Audrey, on my head (Eggboy has been up for hours, chatting with mum and reading the newspaper),

Flop down stairs, pour a coffee, migrate to the couch, struggle for five minutes with mum’s remote controls, and then finally find the Macy’s parade. Sing and dance along when the Camp Broadway kids come on.

Exchange sup dudes with Stoop husband. Alternate between the parade, twitter, pickin my nose, and Audrey being placed on my head until it’s time to oversee Eggboy’s annual pumpkin pie production. (He plans to repeat last year’s success, which consisted of Sarah’s filling and Yossy’s crust.)

Assist with stuffing tasting, vegetable chopping, etc. 

Gush over the sheep dogs during the dog show.

Check Instagram. Crimp Eggboy’s pie, tweet about his progress. Decide if he is a pieboy or not a pieboy this year. 

Ad lib until it’s time to eat and then just keep my head down until it’s clear that everyone’s forgotten about going around the table to say what we’re thankful for. It’s just so mushy 😭😭😭😭😭

Fall asleep in front of a movie, any movie. Maybe Elf this year??

Here is a perfect way to use up your Thanksgiving leftovers, a turkey wild rice hot dish that is topped with leftover stuffing!! It's soo cozy and good, and it's basically a thanksgiving sandwich that you can eat from a bowl. The thing about this wild rice hotdish though is that it should be made anytime during the winter months, not just when you have leftovers. Around here we pretend like it’s a little more of a grownup hotdish since it has ~local wild rice~ adding bite and nutrition, but it’s just as buttery and creamy and rich as, say, its tater tot counterpart. You can totally sub out the turkey for roasted chicken or ground beef or a vegan meat substitute (as so many of you did with the tater tot hotdish)!! And when it’s not stuffing season—which is sad to think about because stuffing should be eaten at all times of the year, right??—go ahead and top this with the traditional crushed cracker topping. Eggmom uses saltines! I bet ritz would be good too. Or cheez-its. Mmmmm.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!!!!


Turkey Wild Rice Hotdish with Stuffing (AKA Thanksgiving Leftover Hotdish)

makes 6 - 8 servings

ingredients

3/4 c (135g) wild rice, rinsed and drained

2 c (480g) water

Kosher salt

6 tb (84g) unsalted butter

2 carrots, finely chopped

2 stalks celery, finely chopped

1 large onion, finely chopped

3/4 c (95g) all-purpose flour

3 c (715g) whole milk

2 tb vegetable, or chicken soup mix (i prefer the orrington farms brand, but something similar, like a bouillon cube or better than bouillon or a homemade bouillon will work)

Black pepper

1 tsp dried rosemary, chopped

4 c (about 515g) cooked shredded roasted turkey*

4 c leftover stuffing (I like this recipe)*

*Since it's impossible to predict exact leftover amounts, don't fret if you have a little more or a little less stuffing or turkey! These amounts are just a ballpark.

Leftover cranberry sauce, for servinng

clues

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

In a medium saucepan, combine the wild rice, water, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes, until al dente. Drain the rice and set it aside.

To make the creamed soup, in a large pot, melt 6 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until soft, about 12-15 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for another minute. Stir in half of the milk and cook, stirring, until thickened. Stir in the remaining milk and cook, stirring, until very thick. Add the soup mix, a bunch of turns of black pepper, rosemary, and salt to taste. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

In a 9 x 13 casserole dish, 1/3 soup on the bottom, then 1/2 the rice, and 1/2 the turkey. Repeat and then top with the remaining 1/3 of the soup mixture. Top with stuffing and bake for 45 minutes, until bubbly. If the stuffing is getting too browned on top, cover with foil.

Serve with leftover cranberry sauce.