12 days of cookies: peppermint sugar

One recipe I have yet to conquer is rolled out sugar cookies. I keep procrastinating, worried that they’re not going to turn out and I’ll have a disaster on my hands. This weekend is when I will hopefully be able to say I successfully made sugar cookie rollouts, but for the time being, these are a great substitute! I might even use the dough as a starter for the rollouts, I guess we will just have to wait and see! Sister gets the credit for finding this idea on the Pillsbury website, but I must say we outdid their attempt. I used to love the tube of cookie dough you could buy at the grocery store, ready to bake… but there is nothing quite like homemade cookies – especially when they’re just as easy!

To find the sugar cookie base to use, I just googled “soft sugar cookie recipe”, and found one on Annie’s Eats blog. All I had to do was switch out the flour and I was good to go! Man, don’t the 12 days of cookies keep looking better and better? I’ve got to really up my game on the next ones to make sure they don’t disappoint!

Peppermint Sugar Cookies

  • 4 – 5 cups gluten free bisquick (depending on the stickyness of the dough and the consistency desired)
  • 4 1/2t baking powder
  • 3/4t salt
  • 3 sticks butter
  • 1 1/2cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 5t vanilla
  • 3-4 candy canes, crushed

1. Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.

2. Add in the eggs and vanilla and beat the dough until it is well mixed together.

3. Add in the baking powder and salt, and then the gluten free bisquick a little at a time, mixing to incorporate. Make sure the dough is not too sticky, but not too dry either.

4. Add in the crushed up candy canes and mix well. Let sit outside (if it’s cold out), or in the fridge for about an hour, or overnight if desired.

5. Scoop and roll into even balls, and bake in a preheated 350′ oven for 10-12 minutes, making sure the cookies are set but not overbaked.

6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly on the tray, and then move them to a cooling rack.

7. To decorate, melt some white chocolate chips + grapeseed oil in a double boiler. Dip half of the cookie in the melted chocolate, and then top with additional crushed candy canes. You can also decorate with sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, colored sugar, etc.

These look so festive and are a great addition to my Christmas cookie list!

I brought a tray of various cookies to a potluck at work yesterday, and these were the first to go! A nice alteration to regular sugar, but don’t worry, a cutout recipe will be coming soon!

12 days of cookies: snowballs

Sometimes when baking gluten free, mistakes happen. Sometimes these mistakes ruin the entire recipe, and sometimes you just find another way to make the recipe. Well, this one is thankfully the latter.  I don’t have much experience baking these even gluten-filled, so it was quite the experiment. The first time I tasted this recipe was two years ago when sister participated in a cookie exchange at her work. Oh my goodness, I never knew I could love a recipe so much that I had never had before. It took an entire year to get the recipe that was used, but luckily it came in time for last Christmas so I could experiment with my own!

The original recipe (from Betty Crocker, by the way), used chopped nuts as the mix in. I did make that version last year, but I also made a version using mini chocolate chips. I love both, but the chocolate won out this time! And what about this recipe didn’t exactly turn out as expected? The snowball shaped cookies turned to… melted snowballs? I think the extra leavening in the Bisquick combined with not chilling the dough before baking was why this happened!

Snowballs

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2c powdered sugar
  • 1t vanilla
  • 1c gluten free bisquick
  • 1/4t salt
  • 1/2c mini chocolate chips
  • powdered sugar to coat

1. Cream the butter and the sugar together with the vanilla until pale and fluffy.

2. Add in the bisquick and salt and mix to combine. I do everything in just one bowl so it is an extremely easy recipe!

3. Roll into balls and place into the fridge/freezer to set up. (I didn’t do this on accident and they still turned out, just not quite as successfully!)

4. Once the snowballs have set up, place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 400′ oven. *You can also roll the dough in powdered sugar for their first coating if you desire, I’ll be trying out this trick next time.

5. Bake for 8-9 minutes until the cookies are set – do not overbake!

6. Once out of the oven, you are supposed to be able to roll them in powdered sugar. Well, these cookies were crumbly at first so they got a sprinkling on the pan instead (rolling was NOT an option – plus they weren’t quite ball-shaped). This step could also be skipped if you pre-rolled in the powdered sugar, but I’m not quite sure how that would work yet. I’ve got to give credit to Sister for this step, because she took charge after they were not rolling initially (and I was on to the next dough-making!).

7. Once the cookies with the first coating have cooled, roll again in powdered sugar and place on a cooling rack. The first coating will make somewhat of a frosting-type coating that the second coat will stick to.

Even though these did not turn out quite as expected, they are still delicious and Sister said she actually prefers them flatter. I on the other hand love dough, so I would like to try these again to see if I can get them rounder and more dough-like, but with 8 more kinds of cookies to go in the 12 days of cookies, there’s not the time or necessity to try them again! Maybe next year ;).

And by next year I mean January because these are almost gone.

12 days of cookies: gingerbread trees

Another day, another recipe. My sugar tooth is definitely getting its fill this week, but that’s what is great about this season! Unlimited cookies, advent calendar chocolates and St. Nick goodies – it really is a good thing I’m in the last month of half marathon training which is forcing me to go out and RUN! Even when the weather is freezing, when my training plan says run, I can have no excuses. Even in rain and 10 degree weather, I’m out and I’m going.

It’s a good thing these cookies are sooo worth being drenched and slightly turning into an icicle while out in Wisconsin December weather. Sister came across this recipe and I am go incredibly glad we tried them out. It was easily converted to gluten free by subbing out all the flour to gluten free oat flour (ground in a blender) and a little added xanthan gum (totally optional). There was a minor panic attack when the cookies completely deformed themselves in the oven, but that was easily corrected by scooping the sides back together into a triangle shape. Much easier than cutting out a bunch of trees, and just as adorable!

Gingerbread Trees

  • 2 1/2 cups gluten free oat flour
  • 1 1/2t xanthan gum
  • 1t baking soda
  • 1t ground ginger
  • 1/2t ground cloves
  • 1/2t cinnamon
  • 1t salt
  • 1 sticks unsalted butter or margarine
  • 3/4c organic sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c molasses
1. Whisk the flour and other dry ingredients together in a small bowl.
2. In a larger bowl, cream and butter and suagr until pale and fluffy. Add in the egg and molasses and mix until well combined.
3. Add the flour mixture into the wet and stir until thoroughly mixed.
4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and stick in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight.
5. Take the dough out of the fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface (I used sorghum flour, but you can use oat or any other gluten free flour).
6. Roll the dough to 1/4″ thickness. I have a Joseph Joseph adjustable rolling pin and it is FANTASTIC! Best present I bought myself last Christmas!
7. With a pizza cutter or knife, cut into triangle-shaped pieces. I cut into strips and then zigzagged to make triangles.
8. Bake in a preheated 350′ oven for 10-12 minutes. At around 8 minutes, we took out the pans and reformed the triangles. The edges had expanded a little too much, but using a metal spatula worked perfectly to reform them.
9. Let the finished cookies cool a bit on the pan, and the move them to a cooling rack.
10. Top cooled cookies with a drizzle of powdered sugar + milk + butter frosting and a few holiday sprinkles.
(Yet another) Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart – I can’t resist!
These look like they took FOREVER, but cutting them out was too easy, especially with the pizza cutter.

I love gingerbread cookies, and you can be sure this is not the last one that will be on the 12 Days of Cookies!

12 days of cookies: coconut macaroons

Day 2 of the 12 Days of Cookies was actually made on Thanksgiving. Whoops. Anyways, this was my first attempt at making coconut macaroons and it was delicious – they will definitely be made again. Just maybe not before Christmas since there were four different cookies made this weeekend, and many more to come before the Holidays! Have to cut back somewhere, right? And one of the best things about this particular cookie is that it was naturally gluten free – no special product had to be bought for it! Some macaroons are made with flour to make them more cakey, but I liked the cakey and crunchy taste of these.

Coconut Macaroons with Coconut Chocolate Drizzle

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/4c – 1/2c sugar (depending on sweetness desired, could also try substituting coconut sugar)
  • 1/4t salt
  • 14 oz (one package) sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4c coconut milk
1. Preheat oven to 350′ and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Froth egg whites, sugar and salt with a whisk until fluffy.
3. Add in the coconut and mix until combined and all of the shredded coconut is coated with the egg mixture.
4. Drop into tablespoon sized balls (I used a small cookie scoop to help make them uniform) and flatten slightly if desired.
5. Bake between 25 and 30 minutes, or until lightly brown. Allow to cool either on the baking sheet or on a cooking rack.
6. In a double boiler (or microwave), melt the chocolate chips and coconut milk. This will make a ganache-type consistency once melted and mixed together.
7. Drizzle the tops of the cooled macaroons with the chocolate mixture and lay on a rack to harden. You can also place in fridge or freezer for a few minutes to help it harden, but do not store in the fridge.
Need some help storing the macaroons? I used this tip and it worked really well!
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

Have a flour version you want to make gluten free? Sub the regular flour for coconut flour.

You could also mix in different things such as chocolate chips or nuts. They would hold up to just about anything. Need them a little more festive looking? Sprinkle with some colored sugar or sprinkles!

12 days of cookies: peppermint drops

There’s a lot of cookie baking be done in the house. Christmas is by far my favorite holiday season and Christmas cookie baking is the best. The past few years I even made a seasonal job out of it – selling various kinds of cookies/candies/cupcakes to friends and parents co-workers. Last year I made over 100 dozen cookies and made a little profit from it, but I had more free time since I was on winter break from school and was only working 20 hours a week. Fast forward a year and I am now working 40 hours and making Christmas cookies for others does not have the same appeal… I’d rather spend the time I have making cookies to eat ;).

I’ve already  made a few different kinds, and there are many more in the making (well, at least 11 more!). All gluten free and absolutely delicious. Hope you enjoy this little theme!

Chocolate Peppermint Drops

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Whip together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla and mix well.
3. Add in the baking powder and salt.
4. Combine the Bisquick and cocoa powder and add to the butter mixture a little at a time.
5. Scoop into table spoon size drops and roll into balls. Flatten slightly. If too sticky, put them in the fridge for a few minutes to set up.
6. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving a little room in between each dough ball. They don’t spread very much so you can place fairly close together.
7. Bake 10-12 minutes until set, but not over baking.
8. Immediately place a Candy Cake Kiss in each one. Do not place back in the oven with the kiss because they melt really easily!
9. Let set up completely before serving.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

*Not gluten free? Just sub out the gluten free Bisquick with flour.

I love the combination of chocolate and peppermint, easily my favorite. And they look so festive!

 

race recap: festival foods turkey trot

I have wanted to participate in a Turkey Trot for longer than I’ve been running. They had one in my hometown that people I knew from High School did and I always thought it sounded like a fun way to spend the morning of Thanksgiving! I seem to remember looking at the Festival Foods Turkey Trot last year as another race to do, but with only choices of a 2 mile fun run or a 5 mile timed run I didn’t want to do either – I didn’t see the need to drive to run 2 miles when it was un-times, and I was definitely not ready for the 5 mile! Oh how a year changes everything!

Luckily my half marathon training plan fit quite well with the Turkey Trot.  I do my weekly runs on Monday and Thursday, so I would have had to do a run anyways. My plan called for 4 miles, but really what’s another mile on top of that? The weekend plan helped as well because I would only be running a 5k on Saturday so Thursday ended up being my longest run of the week. We ended up at the Fond du Lac Turkey Trot – 20 minutes from the parents house so we drove home on Wednesday night and stayed over.

The run started at 8, so we decided to just leave around 7:30 and not worry about getting there super early. I woke up at 6, had coffee and one rice cake with PB2. I wasn’t sure what to wear for the race – I decided to wear pants, a tank top and a zipper sweatshirt (note: WAY too much clothing!). I ate another rice cake with PB2 right before heading out the door.

The race began at the high school and fortunately was easy to find! They had race packet pickup the day prior, but we couldn’t get ours then so once we parked we ran into the gym to get our timing chips, shirts and race bibs. We also stopped by the bathrooms quickly as we heard the 5 minute warning. Kinley sprinted over to the car to drop off our shirts at the car – there’s nothing like starting off a race in a rush, right?! And then we headed to the starting line. There weren’t many runners so we made it in plenty of time and were fairly close to the front of the pack!

And we were off! Sister naturally sprinted ahead but I lagged behind in attempt of pacing myself. Unlike at Sugarmill, we could wear iPods so I had my Nike+ going and a single song playing on repeat. I have been obsessed with this one song since I first got it and figured it would be a nice way to zone out while running! I hit 1 mile after exactly two rounds of the song – this was my first time having any idea what my pace was but I couldn’t rememeber how long the song actually was but I knew it wasn’t over 5 minutes, so I was doing pretty well!

I hit 2 miles after two more rounds of the song and my pace kept slowing minimally after that, but I was okay with it – especially since I got past the weird sprinter who would stop and walk backwards, and then sprint ahead – she was driving me NUTS! I had to walk for a bit around mile 4. I knew the end was near, but my legs were tired and I needed to deep breath a few breaths before I got going again.

The course end got there quickly. I turned a corner and I saw it up ahead. I tried to quicken up my pace to finish and I did enough to get past a few more people. Needless to say, I was shocked when the time said 48:xx when I was nearing the finish line – finishing 5 miles under 50 minuetes was excellent for me!

Official finish time: 48:49.

Just should have left the long-sleeves at home… 😉

 

disney 1/2 training: 8 miles

It’s official. I have now run 8 miles. At one time. Last week did take me to somewhat of a new level at 7 miles, but I think I have (once) run that distance in the past. 8 miles? Never. So today was the day. And nothing like a 10′ day to get my butt in gear!

I recently found Runner’s World What to Wear for Runners guide to help with what you should wear depending on the temperature, wind and weather conditions. It was 10′, 7mph wind, sunny and I like to feel “in-between”. It said I should wear a winter hat, running tights, a long-sleeve shirt, a jacket, gloves and sunglasses. Well, I was already wearing earmuffs, running pants, a t-shirt, a pullover jacket and gloves, so I figured I would just stick with that. Turns out I should have switched my t-shirt for a long-sleeve shirt… guess I know better now! Could have gone for some warmer gloves as well!

So how’d it go? Besides absolutely FREEZING, it went well! I think the colder air made me zone out more and run faster to try to warm up… which never happened. I ran straight the first four miles, took a short walking break to eat a Clif Shot Energy Gel. I got a chocolate one this time and it was sooo good. Just like brownie batter! I took a few sips of water at this point too to wash down the gel and then started running again. I walked a couple more times just to stretch out my legs a little bit but kept it at a good pace the rest of the time. Even though I was still feeling good when my mileage was up, I was glad I could go into a heated house away from the wind! I also managed to somehow lose yet another headband on my run, although this time I didn’t notice it until I was home so it’s probably gone for good! Unless I stumble upon it next week haha. Good think I don’t get nice headbands, like those from Lululemon because then I would get real angry if I lost it on a random road;). Maybe the grip would help… hmm. Anywhere, here are my splits, averaging 10:12 a mile – even faster than last week!

When I got home my water had turned to ICE! I will definitely be getting a Nathan water bottle holder the next time I see one to help with my freezing hands and water bottles during my runs! Can’t believe there are only 4 weeks until Disney! Next week I have a 10k, 9 and 10 miles the weeks after and then 13.1! It’s coming so soon! And what’s the best way to spend the day after running 8 miles? Baking Christmas cookies, of course!

disney 1/2 training: 7 miles

My 7 mile run took me to the next level. I can’t even remember the last time I ran anything over a 10k so my comfort zone is definitely starting to stretch. There’s only 5 weeks(!) until the Disney World 1/2 Marathon in Orlando and I am so excited. Even though I know the next 5 weeks are definitely going to test my body + mind, I feel content and happy and so fortunate that since I got over the tendonitis in my food at the beginning of training I haven’t come up against any other injuries *knock on wood. Poor sister was having some IT band issues this week, but hopefully they have turned around since she completed her 7 mile run just fine this morning!

I woke up at 6 6:30 this morning to set out for my run at 7:30.  Getting the tree was on the schedule for this morning as well, so I had to make sure I was back and ready by the time we left for that.  Kinley chickened out of running outside and decided to head for the gym.  Since I decided to go against the monthly gym membership fee to save money, I had no choice so I sucked it up and prepared to head out. When I got up I had coffee and a rice cake with PB2 + preserves, per usual. I have found that eating more than an hour before running is too much time, I need something closer to the start but not too close that my stomach gets all wonky. I also had plenty of water to make sure I was hydrated.

Today was not only the first 7 mile run I have done in a very long time, but it is the first day that I tried fueling on a practice run.  Sure I’ve had applesauce and a couple of clif bloks during races, but not during weekend runs because the fuel I got from my pre-run food was sufficient. I (only) have 3 more long runs (8, 9, +10 miles) before the half marathon so I need to make sure I am using what will actually work for me and make sure I can take it while running (and keep it down…). I decided to use the Razz Clif Shot that I got in my Clif Bar Pace Team packet. The energy shots are Sister’s favorite item to use to fuel, and this way I will only have to use one at around miles 4, 8 and 12? I guess we will see, but these seem more convenient than the Bloks and Sisters says they last longer. The Razz flavor was okay – but I am really looking forward to the chocolate one I already have for my 8 mile run!

I set out at 7:30, just like I was planning. I was going to wear a rain jacket but decided to go without and just get drenched.  I don’t think a coat would have really helped much anyways… I had a Christmas mix on my iPod and just felt happy… I don’t really know why I was feeling this way but I couldn’t get over the fact I was running my furthest distance to date and feeling good while doing it! At mile 3.5 I took a walking break to figure out how to get my Clif Shot open with cold + wet fingers… teeth, that’s how. So I took that with some water and continued on my way. I got SOAKED. Literally from head to toe nothing was dry but that was okay – it wasn’t that cold so I at least wasn’t covered in ice ;).

Please forgive my lazy eye… never noticed that before – maybe it was flipping out from the cold/wet??

I ended up running all of it except for the first 200 meters, a minute or so at the halfway point and then 200 meters at the end. I really wasn’t expecting a decent time and was just aiming for under 11minutes miles and didn’t think I was going fast especially being weighted down with wet clothes, but I was pleasantly shocked when I finished and had run it averaging 10:19 minutes miles (fast for me, especially when it was 7 miles!)! I finished it in 1:12:13, and fairly even splits? Well, even enough for me!

That umbrella looks so innocent, nothing that would actually help in a torrential downpour.

give thanks for: thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was over a week ago, but a busy week made me forget to post even sometime in the month of November… whoops :).

Water + Cranberries Centerpieces

Our delicious menu for the meal 🙂

The fully set table.

Gluten Free Bisquick Quickbreads – delicious! Recipes soon.

The whole spread.

The combination of all of the food was incredible!

I can’t even tell you what my favorite part was, everything was way too good and there were definitely not enough leftovers!

Crosby enjoyed his plate as well 🙂

Desserts! The two on the left will be recipes soon and then a Birthday cake for Kinley (aka Noni – don’t ask, inside joke from Hawaii haha)

Crosby had been tuckered out all week and an entire day of eating didn’t help his condition!  Don’t worry bud, you’ve got a year to recuperate.

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving (10 days ago 😉 )!