Christmas, Cocktails

Thyme Cranberry CocktailFor my #12DaysOfChristmas cocktail, I wanted to do something really different. I got the idea for this ChristmasThyme cocktail from Inspired by Charm’s  “A Very Merry Ornamentini.” I went with her idea for the vessel and garnishes (a clear glass ornament and rosemary and the aforementioned Sparkling Cranberries)  but made a completely different cocktail, as I wanted something less sweet and a little herbal. And what a cocktail it is!

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Christmas, Cookies, Holidays, Sweet Treats

Chocolate Crinkles

On the second day of Christmas, there was an unbelievably fudgy, deep-dark chocolatey, ooey-gooey cookie. Deep Dark Chocolate Crinkles are pretty much the exact opposite of yesterday’s Pecan Snowballs. Where those are hard and crumbly, these are soft and chewy. But hey—it’s #12DaysofChristmas and who says we have to choose? Make both and enjoy the compliments.

Like the snowballs, these need to chill. I actually made the dough in the evening, stashed it still in the mixing bowl in the fridge overnight, and shaped, rolled, and baked them in the morning. The balls of dough can even be frozen for up to three months, so keep a a bag in the freezer to bake up for impromptu gifts. If you’re a chocoholic, it really doesn’t get any better than these cookies.

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Deep, Dark Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Fudgy and impossibly chocolatey, these cookies will please the pickiest of palates.

Servings: 24
Author: Amanda
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs at room temp
  • 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • powdered sugar for rolling
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  4. In a stand mixer or medium bowl, combine the cocoa, sugar and vegetable oil. Mix with stand or hand mixer for 3 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until evenly combined.
  5. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and incorporate all the ingredients. Cover the dough and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  6. With a cookie scoop or teaspoon, measure out 1-inch balls of dough.
  7. Roll each ball in powdered sugar before placing onto prepared baking sheets.
  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Middles will still look wet when done.
  9. Let cool for two minutes before transferring the cookies to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
Christmas, Cookies, Holidays, Sweet Treats

Mexican Wedding Cookies


I began last year’s #12DaysofChristmas with a Meyer lemon snowball cookie, and this year it’s going back to the original, plus pecans. These things go by so many names it’s hard to keep up. I’ve called them tea cookies, Mexican wedding cookies, pecan meltaways, etc. What more do you need to know other than they’re delicious? Melt-in-your-mouth, crumbly shortbread, studded with pecans and dusted with powdered sugar. It’s impossible to eat just one.

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Review


I spent some of my childhood living in Charlottesville, Virginia, and when guests came to visit us, we often visited colonial sites like Jamestown and Monticello. We amassed souvenirs like bonnets and aprons, and my older sister and I would roam the woods surrounding our country home, pretending we were Revolutionary War-era young ladies, relying on the wilderness for sustenance. When presented with an opportunity to review Laura Kumin’s (of the food blog Mother Would Know) new cookbook: The Hamilton Cookbook: Cooking, Eating, and Entertaining in Hamilton’s World (Post Hill Press), I jumped at the chance to see how our forefathers ate, drank, and made merry.

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Christmas, Holidays

Marble Mantle Decor


“The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon will be there.”

This is truly my favorite time of year. I love the warmth of this season–which may sound strange given the outside temperature–but it’s a warmth of giving, of goodness, and light, that ignites in me as soon as we pack up the Thanksgiving leftovers (who am I kidding–I start getting giddy after Halloween). As I looked back at #12DaysofChristmas last year, I noticed I didn’t have a roundup of all of the 2016 recipes in one spot. Here they are below for your gifting/eating/drinking pleasure. Stay tuned next week for 2017’s 12 Days of Christmas (culminating in another awesome giveaway), but in the meantime, enjoy these 11 fantastic holiday recipes!

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Breakfast, Sweet Treats

Apple Cider Donuts
Sugar or glaze? Both!

As a New England transplant to the Deep South, there are a few things I desperately miss about the Northeast around this time of year. I’ll rank them in order of importance, from least to most:

3. Leaves changing
2. Apple picking
1. Apple cider doughnuts

That’s right; the thing I miss most about New England is a crinkly, white paper bag, full of freshly fried, subtly spiced, apple cider doughnut goodness. Picking actual apples comes second, with the eye-searingly gorgeous array of fall foliage bringing up the rear. 

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Cookies, Halloween, Holidays, Sweet Treats

Double Chocolate Monster Cookies

A version of this article was originally published in Best Version Media’s Spring Hill Living and Historic Midtown Living October 2017 magazines.

One of my favorite things to do with my kids (5 and 2) is bake. I’m a sucker for any sort of dessert, and my children, unfortunately, have inherited my sweet tooth. On the plus side, they’re always willing to help out in the kitchen, as long as they get to “sample” the finished product. Because Halloween is almost upon us, I thought it would be a great time to share a favorite spooky treat of ours. Yes, including children in a project involving sprinkles and frosting is most likely to end up in a mess (and the end result might not be stunning) but the smiles on their sticky faces are totally worth it.

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Main Dish

Thai Steamed Clams
Thai-Style Coconut Milk Clams with Ginger and Lime

Exactly a year ago today, I hit “publish” on my first post for Lemon Baby: grilled Mediterranean-style octopus, which remains one of my most popular posts. Our first blog birthday coincides with my own birthday, which was yesterday. As I said in the octopus post, I am one of those people who genuinely wants to spend their birthdays cooking a sumptuous meal. And if I make the mistake of asking my oldest kid for input, his answer is always going to be “clams and mussels.” It may seem odd that a five-year-old can get jazzed about shellfish, but jazzed he is. We have been known to fork-fight for the errant, shell-less morsels at the bottom of the bowl.

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Holidays, Mardi Gras, Sweet Treats

Blinged out baby

As you may have heard, king cake is king around these parts this time of year. I hope none of you are king caked out yet, because this weekend, Mardi Gras kicks into high gear as we approach a five-day celebration from today until Tuesday. A few weeks ago, I posted a guide to king cakes around the Mobile and Eastern Shore area. It’s in no way exhaustive, as I’m pretty sure my guests and I would’ve succumbed to a sugar coma before tasting every single king cake available in the area. But we tried, and I’ve gotten some great feedback on some we’ve missed. Read on to discover those and for a recipe for a king cake you can make right in your own kitchen.  Continue Reading

Holidays, Sweet Treats

Valentine Brownies
Sweets for the sweet

Growing up, my family treated Valentine’s Day a little differently than the romantic, red rose holiday it is to most. For us, it wasn’t so much a couples-only holiday as it was a day to let those you love know how much they mean to you. My maternal grandmother was the queen of homemade Valentines, and my mother has taken up that torch with pride. Every year, she  crafts adorable homemade Valentines for her grandchildren to distribute to their friends.

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Holidays, Mardi Gras, Sweet Treats

King Cakes
Cartozzo’s Cream Cheese king cake from Greer’s Downtown Market

When everyone else is packing up their Christmas decorations in early January and succumbing to a slight post-holiday funk, revelers all around the Gulf Coast (and in Europe and South America, too) are gearing up for another major holiday season: Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras or Carnival, as it’s known in other parts of the world, is a weeks-long celebration of Catholic origins between Twelfth Night/Epiphany (the celebration of the three wise men’s visit to the baby Jesus) and culminating on “Fat Tuesday” (named for the tradition of feasting on meat, milk, cheese, butter, and everything else that tastes good). Today’s celebrations involve parades, balls, beads, luscious and decadent food, and plenty of booze. It’s your one last chance to party until midnight on Ash Wednesday, when everyone goes home to fast and repent for the forty days of Lent. New Orleans is, by far, the most famous North American city to revel; however, 14 years before New Orleans was founded, the fair port city of Mobile, Alabama, held the very first Mardi Gras in 1704.

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Restaurants

The Dr. Bee, Säisho, Mobile, AL

It should go without saying, but I love trying new restaurants, both on travels and in my home city of Mobile, Alabama. As a mom of two children under five, I can’t say I get out as much as I’d like to, so it’s a pretty monumental thing to be able to enjoy some cocktails and a nice meal with my husband, out, alone. Säisho, one of Mobile’s newest restaurants, has beckoned me ever since it opened. Their own website states describes a “modern American gastropub, inspired by the kitchens and bars of Japan.” Some of my favorite flavors and dishes (ahem, ramen) are Japanese, so I was seriously pumped. I have heard nothing but wonderful things about Säisho, and it did not disappoint. 

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Christmas, Giveaway, Holidays

On the 12th day of Christmas, there was an awesome giveaway! This lovely set of Williams Sonoma* citrus-themed plates will be my present to one of you. Glazed earthenware with a hand-painted green rim, these salad plates will brighten up your winter table, for sure. It’s a set of four, one of each design of grapefruit, lemon, orange, and lime.

All you need to do to have a chance to win is write a comment on this post answering the following question:

“What’s on your wish list this year?”

*Williams-Sonoma is in no way affiliated with Lemon Baby or this giveaway. No purchase necessary to enter. Sweepstakes will run from 12/21/2016 6:00 PM EST and close at 6:00PM on 12/25/2016. Winner will be chosen at random and notified via email. Prize is valid only to US residents and will be shipped only to an address in the 48 contiguous states. 

Christmas, Soups

On the eleventh day of Christmas, there were oysters swimming in butter and cream. “Oh, that sounds good,” you say? You bet your Hatchimal it’s good. Good enough for Christmas Eve (or even the first course that is the marathon Christmas Day meal).

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Appetizers, Christmas, Holidays

On the tenth day of Christmas, there were nuts. No, I’m not talking about Great Aunt Bethany with the jello mold that may or may not contain cat food (if you don’t get that reference you need to watch more Christmas movies). I’m referring to the nuts of the pecan variety, lightly coated in a shiny glaze and spiced to perfection with paprika, cumin, cayenne, sugar, and ginger.

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Christmas, Cocktails, Holidays

 

On the ninth day of Christmas, mama needed a hot toddy. For those of you not familiar with this libation, it’s a warm cocktail of whiskey, hot water, lemon and honey, usually reserved for medicinal purposes. Like the Thai chicken soup I posted for the third day of Christmas, it’s my go-to when I’m suffering from a cold, but on a chilly, rainy night like tonight, it’s perfect, too.

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Breakfast, Christmas, Sweet Treats

 

On the eighth day of Christmas, there were still lemons in my kitchen. That’s right, I have not somehow figured out how to use 200 lemons in one week. But lucky for me, I’m not sick of them yet, despite drinking them in my water, and cocktails, and adding them into any recipe I can think of. So that’s why I bring you lemon curd tonight, and even better, a recipe that takes fewer than 30 minutes from start to finish.

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Christmas, Sweet Treats

On the 7th day of Christmas, there was more peppermint and chocolate. In case you didn’t believe me when I said this is one of my favorite combinations, here’s more proof. Peppermint patties are one of those things I never thought about making myself, but along came Gourmet magazine’s December 2007 issue, and my Christmas treat-making has never been the same.
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Christmas, Holidays, Sweet Treats

 On the sixth day of Christmas, there was caramel. Gooey, soft, sweet, buttery caramel, dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with tiny grains of sea salt. I’m a huge fan of caramel, in any form. Dulce de leche, caramel sauce, and caramel truffles are all good in my book. I’ve never been much into making candy (I’m pretty sure it’s because of the time I burned myself with sugar syrup in high school cooking class), but as long as you pay attention during the last stage, you don’t even need a candy thermometer for these.

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