I am writing this post from the brown, eastwardly facing, L-shaped leather couch that sits in the middle of my sister's living room, in a small beach town in Southern Ontario - that is nice and warm in the summer, and cold and snowy in the winter. I am laying here, one leg hanging off the couch, the other hooked around the back, preventing me from sliding to the ground onto a pile of oddly shaped, very pointy toys. My laptop is resting diagonally, one corner on the couch and the other against my stomach. This is proving to be a difficult task, the slippery leather couch, the lack of traction on my laptop. I have considered approaching the table, but the journey just seems too far. My head has been stuck to this pillow, which is also slowly sliding off the couch, for the last 2 hours, and my physiotherapist is not going to be impressed with the current ergonomic setup of my workstation.
My jet lag has demanded that I stick to the worst possible schedule ever, combined with the continual excitement from a very enthusiast 2-year-old, and a very adorable, new-to-crawling 8 month oldjekljwdddddddddjksyrjwoq;fhjbvcd ksbvjskvLIEWLEJKLJLKJ KVlwkkkkkkkkmnxxqwnpqqqqqqq oh sorry, that was just my face planting into the keyboard.
Each time I visit my sister, the reality of having children and the work that comes along with it, the responsibility, it's like a big slap back to real life, and out of this fantasy world that I have created in my head, where children sleep uninterrupted all night, put away their toys and pull their shit together just enough so that we can dine at Mamnoon Friday at 9:00pm, because that was the only available seating, and we were just really craving some selk bi zeit and muhammara. I have come to the realization that the only way to survive parenthood is a light heart, a sense of humor, and a whack ton of booze. Props to all you parents out there. Keep up the good work, and go easy on yourself. That parenting shit seems hard.
Are we ready to talk about cookies? and all things exciting like candied orange bits and edible gold glitter, and Christmas and family, and holidays and magic, and booze and fruit cake, and booze for lunch, and Christmas baking, and booze!!! Today I had a glass of wine with lunch, and I didn't think twice, which is odd for me, because normally I will try to justify the appropriateness of drinking before noon for about 20 minutes, but today I was like - hecks ya, I'll have that big glass of wine with my big healthy kale salad, and then you can bring my that slice of chocolate cake, please, and then maybe I'll go home and have another glass of wine, and maybe another piece of cake, because all of my normal restraints, the ones that aid in the preservation of my liver, seem to be lost during the month of December, and I'm perfectly ok with that, because for this month only, we are going to edible glitter the shiz out of everything, and spike the punch!
For my first edible glitter experiment, I made these sugar cookies - with Grand Marnier, candied orange peel with an icing sugar glaze. I prefer to make my own candied orange peel using this recipe from Always with Butter, so that I have plenty of slices to dip into chocolate and snack on, or in reality, end up eating way too many at one time (due to lack of self control), and then end up sending them home with friends. The candied orange peel recipe makes around 30 pieces, and the cookie recipe below calls for 3, so you will have plenty left over for dipping. You could also purchase them from the store, if you have a favorite brand you prefer, or you could cut down the recipe and make fewer, but that sounds like a horrible idea, or a good idea if you lack self control like myself. These cookies are a combination of my favorite things, cookies, orange, and edible gold glitter. Ok, so edible gold glitter isn't necessarily one of my favorite things, it's just a new thing, and I'm a little obsessed. This sugar cookie recipe is one from the Cooks Illustrated 2011 Baking Edition, and like most of their recipes, a total success. I have made it time and time again, and I am always impressed withe the results. I adapted the recipe only slightly, because why mess with a good thing. I substituted Grand Marnier for the vanilla, and then added candied orange peel. I cut the recipe in half, and then used a version of my own icing. The cookies are soft and delicate, with tiny bits of fragrant orange peel dispersed - chewy and pleasant. The hint of orange is ever so subtle, and the sweetness on a totally appropriate level. Fun and fancy, these cookies will suit all crowds.
GOLD AND WHITE SUGAR COOKIES WITH CANDIED ORANGE
makes 25 cookies
recipe adapted from Cooks Illustrated 2011 Holiday Baking Magazine - Glazed Butter Cookies pg.43
notes: I used Jen's recipe from Always with Butter to make the candied orange peel. I dipped the leftover candied orange peels in chocolate, and omitted the rolling in sugar step.
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup + 2 tsp superfine sugar
pinch of salt
8 tbsp unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into 8 pieces, softened
1 tsp Grand Marnier
1 tbsp cream cheese, softened
3 candied orange peels, diced
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
3 - 4 tbsp milk
edible gold flakes for decoration
In the bowl of a stand mixer, with the paddle attachment, add the flour, sugar, and salt and combine. With the mixer set to low, add the pieces of softened butter one at a time, and combine until crumbly. Add the Grand Marnier and cream cheese and combine for a further 30 seconds. Add in the diced candied orange peel. Place the dough onto the counter and form into a ball. Flatten into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes minimum.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
Remove the dough from the plastic wrap and place it between two pieces of parchment paper. With a rolling pin, roll it out 1/4 inch thick. Using your desired cookie cutters, cut out the cookies and place them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Mold the extra bits of dough together and place them back in the fridge for 10 minutes before you cut and roll the next batch.
Bake for 10 minutes, rotating half way through, until the cookies have turned light brown on the bottoms. Place onto a wire rack to let cool.
While the cookies are cooling, combine 1 1/2 cups of icing sugar and 3 - 4 tbsp of milk. You want the icing to be thin enough to push through a small icing tip, but not so thin that it runs off of the cookie. Once the cookies have cooled, place the icing into a piping bag and with a Wilton round tip 10, 11, or 12, pipe the icing onto the top of the cookies and then sprinkle with the edible gold flakes.
Once the icing has set, the cookies can be stored in a tin for a couple of weeks.