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A co-worker organized a cookie exchange, giving me the perfect excuse to bake an extra batch of my favorite Christmas cookies.

There are tons of variations on this recipe with tons of different names, but the gist is pecans, butter and flour, baked and rolled in powdered sugar.  This version of the recipe is my favorite.  The secret is in the double-rolling.  You roll the cookies in the sugar while they are still hot; the sugar melts into the buttery outer layer, creating the perfect sweet glue for even more sugar to stick to on the second roll.  Genius, I tell you.

Snowballs (from Gourmet, of course)

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup very finely chopped pecans (2 1/2 oz)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

Beat butter and 1/2 cup confectioners sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at moderately high speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in vanilla, then add flour, pecans, and salt and mix at low speed until just combined. Chill, covered, at least 6 hours.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Let dough stand at room temperature until just pliable, about 15 minutes. Roll level teaspoons of dough into 3/4-inch balls and arrange about 2 inches apart on lightly buttered large baking sheets.  It can take a while to roll all the dough, so I keep part in the fridge while I’m working on the rest.

Put remaining confectioners sugar into a large shallow bowl.

Bake in batches in middle of oven until bottoms are pale golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Immediately transfer hot cookies to confectioners sugar, gently rolling to coat well, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Roll cookies in confectioners sugar again when cooled.



Christmas joys


Christmas brings out the craftiness in everyone.  We’re away for the holidays this year, so instead of pouring my energies into decorating I decided to silk-screen my own Christmas cards (much as it pained me not to bring home even a tiny little Charlie Brown tree).

I had two designs, which I printed on three different colors of paper using four different colors of ink.  Next time I would use fewer ink colors, since I found I needed to switch colors just as I was getting into a printing rhythm.  I’d probably also use smoother paper – the textured paper can be a bit fussy about grabbing the ink.  But what fun!

Paper Anniversary



From me, to him

For our paper anniversary, we wanted to be creative so we set a $20 limit on our gifts.

I’ve been taking a print-making course, so I thought I’d put my new skills to use with an anniversary etching for RK.  This one is actually a test print – the final one is better – but I forgot to scan the final one before I framed it and am too lazy to dismantle the frame.  So, this is the gist.

I majored in art history, so I already knew, intellectually, what an involved process etching is, but after having completed my own etching from plate to press, I have a much deeper appreciation for Rembrandt and all those Renaissance etchers extraordinaire.  My fingers ache just thinking about it.


From him, to me

RK got me a journal for future dreams and projects for us to add to in the years ahead.  He filled in a few suggestions, like going back to Siena for our 10 year anniversary, that already have me dreaming of the years ahead.


1 is one


image by leticia-b

We are one year old this weekend.  (Well, we are eight years old, but our official, state-sanctioned union is turning one.)  An exhilarating, emotional, exhausting year – I can’t wait to see what the next 50 bring.

We’re celebrating with dinner tonight at the long-awaited new restaurant in our neighborhood, Ici Bistro; Sunday we’ll just relax, and I’ll probably drag out the wedding album and put on our wedding playlist for a little festive nostalgia.

Happy weekend!

It’s the Great Pumpkin Festival, Charlie Brown!


Another reason I adore my neighborhood: the Great Harbord Street Pumpkin Festival.  The whole street is lined with tables of jack-o-lanterns and one of the local bakeries donates pumpkin cupcakes.  Stretching out the Halloween festivities for one more day, it’s like trick or treating for grown-ups, and with the pumpkins all lined up and glowing, it’s magical, really.


Image by charmgirl13



Image by HiMY SYeD / photopia

Emerson’s House


Emerson's wallpaper

The accompanying article was frustrating on a number of levels, both in terms of factual errors and in terms of me wishing Emerson’s house’s caretakers could have been more articulate about him and his significance than “God and nature and stuff.”

But I love this house, and oh, how I covet this wallpaper.

Until the wind changes


Fall foliage by Sara Musicò

Just like that, fall arrived.  Last weekend was so hot and sticky that we sweat right through our friends’ wedding, air conditioning notwithstanding.  This weekend, I’ve been curling up with hot tea and hauling my furry slippers out from their summer hiding place.

Now that fall is officially here, it’s time for me to deal with my impending joblessness (the joys of contract positions; my current one expires at the end of December, which is starting to feel imminent).  I should be taking advantage of the long weekend to start applying for  jobs, but I’ve been downloading fonts, baking blondies and riding my bike instead.  All spoonfuls of sugar and no medicine – where is my Mary Poppins to crack the whip?