Sunday, December 10, 2017

Weekly Wanderings

Those cookies look pretty spectacular, eh?  With the Christmas season under way, my cooking buddy and I thought it only fitting to whip up some seasonal bite sized treats. 

The recipe for each can be found at the bottom of this blog entry.

The two photos above, from the Main street in Concord, MA.  How charming is this little café?  The downtown area, quaint and lovely.

Where I spent the day after Thanksgiving- and delightful if I do say so myself.

For this cheesy green bean/cauliflower/mushroom bake, super easy, healthy and tasty, here is the recipe.

An awesome evening at MFA (the swanky dance that Museum of Fine Arts holds on the first Friday of every month) with two people whom I love spending time with.  The night made even better by an unexpected surprise, which made my night.

Oh yeah.  My kind of magnet.

Robert, hangin in the paper recycling bin.  The best place to chill out, obviously.

My favorite evening spot at home <3

Finally!  Something that captures the general essence of how I feel about selfies ;-)

Pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap crust.  For a better photo, see just below.  And yes, believe it or not, both photos are the same cake.  Just different lighting and settings. 

One of the best cheesecakes Ive ever eaten.  For the recipe, click here.

Want to make this tasty pumpkin cheesecake treat?  Here's how to do so.

The above four photos, Umami in Northwood, NH.  An old barn converted restaurant/café.  I LOVE the interior.  Cozy but so rustic.  Inviting, romantic, very New Hampshire.  Highly recommend a visit here.  They have an extensive menu of café drinks, as well as some mouthwatering looking burgers and other homey dishes on offering.

I came here for tea/coffee and writing with a great friend, during which we wrote a recent blog entry that's been a fairly big hit: "Why Challenging, as opposed to Easy Relationships, are Ultimately More Fulfilling, Growth Inducing and Satisfying."

This book is excellent.  Ive almost finished reading it after starting a few days ago.  Its written in a personable, conversational tone that's engaging and fun for the reader, but enlightening and informative.  Highly recommend for anyone who likes to write.

Now this book was a surprise for me.  Both, in that I picked it up at all, and additionally, that I am really loving it.  Not the usual type of read I would go for, either in terms of writing style or topic matter.  But this is a great book.  Its fiction, about an old, semi washed up musician named Bad.  He has several ex-wives under his belt, a drinking problem and is a bit of a resigned loner of sorts.  However, by chance he meets a young woman, a reporter wishing to interview him, and the two are both surprised to find they seem to feel a unique click/draw between them.  Some things begin shifting/growing in Bad emotionally that even are surprising to him.

First, the authors prose is excellent.  The writing, superb, lyrical, really fun to read.  The story, unique and interesting.  I recommend giving this one a try, even if you aren't sure its something you would typically like.
With Maxx :-D

One of my very favorite places in all of Boston.  The library <3

Breakfast :-D.  Fried eggs in red pepper rings, chicken jalepeno sausages, and pancakes made from only the following ingredients: eggs, bannaas, vanilla extract and spices (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger).  They came out so fluffy and delicious though. 

This may soon be a feature on Brooke and Maxxs Culinary Crafts... ;-)

Georgetown Cupcakes.  Possibly the best frosting in all of Boston.  I'm a serious advocate for the idea of their serving up frosting shots.  Cupcake, optional.  The cakes are quite good too though, but man oh man, this frosting.  The above photo?  A semi excessive decision that resulted in much moaning over their mouthwatering yumminess, lots of laughter and brief splitting stomach aches after the fact.

Peppermint cheesecake cupcake. The wildcard we sampled.  Agreeing that with the frosting on top, was too much.  But without it, would have been fairly decent.

A book I happened upon in the library that I've added to my ever growing "to read" list.

Our living room, all decked out for the holidays!  Now, doubly my favorite spot to spend time in when at home.  LOVE this.

And, as promised, the Christmas cookie recipes from the very beginning of the blog:

Brooke's Brown Butter, Honey Mascarpone Topped, Bomb Diggity, Bite Sized Ginger Cookies
2 cups of flour
1 tablespoon of cornstarch
3/4 cup of browned butter*
1 egg
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of molasses
1 teaspoon of baking soda
About 1 tablespoon of ginger
About 2 tablespoons of cinnamon
About 1 teaspoon of ground cloves
About 1/2 a teaspoon of nutmeg
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
For the frosting
8 ounces of mascarpone
5-6 tablespoons of honey
1.5 tablespoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1. Brown the butter first. Put the butter into a saucepan over medium heat. Watch it closely. As it boils, it will go from light yellow to having bits of light brown inside. A nutty smell filling the air. Its easy to accidentally burn, so remove from heat before you think its time.
2. Cream together the browned butter and sugar (with either a fork or electric hand mixer).
3. Mix in the molasses and egg with a fork by hand.
4. Now stir in the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, spices and vanilla extract.
5. Bake the cookies at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes. They will be soft even when finished. Thats just the way you want them.
6. Allow to cool before frosting.
To make the frosting, simply mix together the four frosting ingredients using a fork. Taste. If not sweet enough, add a bit more honey.
These cookies taste best near to room temperature, but should be stored in the fridge because of the frosting. They will stay good for up to about 3-4 days.

Maxxs Sugar Dusted, Cranberry & Chocolate Spangled Stars
For the cranberry jam
1/2 bag of cranberries (about 6 ounces)
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of water
1/4 cup of juice from an orange
For the chocolate layer:
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted in the microwave at 50% power for 5 minutes.
For the cookies:
2 cups of flour
1 cup of granulated sugar, pulsed in the food processor for 30 seconds to make it superfine.
1 teaspoon of baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of pure almond extract
3/4 cup of butter at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cranberry jam, combine ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat until simmering softly. Remove from heat and place somewhere cool to chill.
Now, make the cookie dough. Cream together butter and sugar. Add in the eggs. Then, stir in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, vanilla and almond extracts.
Place the dough in the fridge to chill for at least an hour (wrapped in plastic wrap so it doesn't dry out), though overnight is ok too.
Roll out dough and cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Bake at 375 degrees F for 7-8 minutes, though it could be 12-15 depending on thickness of cookies. Keep a close eye on them.
Once cookies are done, allow to cool before frosting. When cookies are cool, prepare the chocolate layer in the microwave. Then, layer chocolate on top of a cookie. Top the chocolate with a layer of the cooled cranberry jam. Top the ensemble with another cookie, ideally in the same shape. Viola! You've got your finished treat.


  1. When it comes to savory or sweet, I'm savory all the way. The cheesy green bean/cauliflower/mushroom bake is making me hungry!

    1. Haha, I'm glad you think it looks tasty. If you try making it at home, please let me know how it comes out :-D thank you for the comment.