Many of us will be celebrating the holidays this year, in some fashion or another. Tradition can be a truly wonderful thing, whether it’s travelling to see friends and family, picking out a Christmas tree, giving gifts to your loved ones, or…releasing albums??? This year marks the second winter in a row that Professor Shyguy, best known throughout our lovely community for his enthralling voice and lyrical prowess, has graced us with the gift of music. Almost every tune on this album should be recognizable in seconds, but the Prof puts his own spin on each of these classic Christmas tunes, which makes for a heartwarming welcome to this otherwise blustering, bitter season (especially to us in the Northeast!). So gather round, grab a cup of hot chocolate, and let the soothing sounds of the Professor bring you warmth!
Sup y’all? =) President Hoodie here, terrified to bring you a spooptastic track-by-track review of our debut comp of spoopytunes, ‘HalloWIN‘!
Chances are you’ve already devoured (or been devoured by?) this deliciously scary album upon its release date last Friday. Well, here’s a chance to do such all over again and this time aided by the creepy writing prowess of four of our blog writers. Starting the frightful journey, it’s R. Morgan Slade!
Horrific album artwork by Nate Horsfall of lightningarts.com.
Its a pretty basic cookie recipe, but it makes a metric poop-ton of cookies. Plan for some quality time with your oven.
Storage for your legion of Cookie Multitudes
Lather, rinse, repeat.
Your food parts, get them!
Preheat that oven to a toasty 350 degrees.
Now to make sure your cookies get a smooth, chewy, delicious flavor, start by sifting your dry ingredients with a wire strainer. If you’re lucky enough to have one of those fancy sifting gadgets… use that. Chip Mom is not that lucky.
Put 4 1/2 cups flour (!), 3 tsp of baking soda, 1/2 tsp of salt, and 1 tsp of cinnamon into the wire strainer and, over a medium size bowl, shake the strainer until all the ingredients have passed through. Be careful not to shake too hard… it WILL be a mess if you get too enthusiastic!
Set that bowl aside and in your larger bowl place 1 1/2 cups of softened butter, 2 cups brown sugar, 2 eggs, and 1/2 cup of molasses (I did mention that this makes a BUNCH of cookies, right?). Beat these ingredients until smooth and fluffy!
A note about softened butter: Cold-out-of-the-fridge butter is NOT the same as softened/room temp butter is NOT the same as melted butter. Cold butter stays in clumps; soft butter beats in smoothly. Since you want the butter to be evenly distributed throughout the cookies, make sure it is softened. If you forgot to take it out of the refrigerator, microwave the sticks of butter in the wrapper for 5 seconds. See if they are squishy when pinched. Repeat microwaving in 5 second bursts until the butter is soft. Don’t microwave for longer intervals or your butter will melt and the cookies will not bake the same! Here’s a picture showing the change in textures.
And now back to our regularly scheduled programming…
This is the fun, get your fingers messy part. Place a generous amount of white sugar on a plate. Taking chunks of dough in your hand, roll them into walnut-sized balls and then roll them in the sugar until coated. Place these delectable little bites onto your cookie sheet.
These little darlings will bake in a quick 8 minutes in my oven (the recipe called for 10, but did not include the scorch potential of being sugar coated!), so keep a close eye as they bake. Also: breathe deeply because these things smell AMAZING!
When they come out of the oven the bottoms should look only slightly browner than the tops. They will be chewy and delectable and plentiful. My batch made nearly 100 cookies (a personal record for cookies-at-a-time).
So bake, share, gift, and above all remember that Mama loves ya! <3
I love cookies. I love pies. I love cakes, and brownies, and tarts. But lets get real: Sometimes you just gotta bake a damn ham. Ham is delicious and deceptively simple; volunteering to cook one also scores you MAJOR holiday brownie points with the primary chef of the family. With that it mind lets gather round and drool over…
Requires a certain amount of dedication to get up early to put in the oven, but you can nap while its baking!
Whole Grain dijon mustard
Spiral Sliced Ham
Aluminum baking pan
Basting brush or spoon
Cookie sheet (you know I’d work cookie something in there)
Gather round all ye ingredients!
Once you’ve got everything, go to bed. That’s right, prep this stuff the night before. Chances are your family is eating its holiday “dinner” at like noon or 1 o’clock, so you’re going to have to get your butt up at a reasonable hour to do this. Plan for 2 hours of cooking and whatever travel time you have to transport a ham from place A to place B.
When you wake up in the morning, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Put your baking pan onto the cookie sheet for strength! The bottoms do fall out of those things. Then, place your spiral sliced ham face down into your baking pan, pouring 3/4 cups water into the bottom. You do this to help keep the ham moist while you reheat it.
~Yes, you’re reheating.~
Most likely your ham is pre-cooked as well as sliced. Placing the meaty side face down keeps the juices from leaking out and drying out the ham. Now you can cover that sucker with aluminum foil and put it in your pre-heated oven.
Sometimes your ham will come with one of these packets of “glaze spices”:
You know what you do with these things?
You are better than that. You’re gonna make your own damn glaze for your own damn ham with five easy-to-find ingredients: syrup, mustard, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Prep all the dry goods for your glaze (1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg) in a skillet on your stove since early mornings need all the organizational help they can get!
Now set your timer for an hour and a half, then set your alarm…ITS NAP TIME!!!
When you come back to the ham, check its internal heat with a meat thermometer (If you don’t have one, you really should get one before attempting a roast or a ham – it comes in all kinds of handy). When reheating I usually shoot for about 110 degrees; your ham should be approaching that. Add 1/2 cup maple syrup and 2 tablespoons whole grain dijon to the dry ingredients already in your skillet. Whisk together over medium heat, letting it simmer (lots of tinybubbles) for 2 minutes.
When everything is reduced and bubbly, carefully take out your ham and put it on the stove. Pour your glaze from the skillet onto the pan and spread it into all the little nooks and crannies with either a basting brush or spoon.
Take your time and make sure to get your glaze all over the ham. You want the flavor to be in every bite that folks take.
Now, bump up the heat in your oven to 400 degrees and place the ham back inside for about 20 minutes. The glaze will bubble, caramelize, and harden on the surface of the ham – all these things mean deliciousness is happening!
After 20 minutes, take your ham out of the oven, recover with aluminum foil, and lay towels over the top to keep in the heat in during transport. If your ham isn’t going anywhere, make sure you give it 10 minutes to rest before slicing. It has had a long day after all!
Hope this helps you to be your home’s hero some day soon! As always, I encourage you to come on over to the Chip Mom facebook page to share stories and pictures of your cooking adventures!