Archive for December, 2012

December 18, 2012

Snow!

First snow of the year in the Lower Mainland. The Hubby woke me up with the news, and I knew instantly I would have to take advantage of it. The Dahg and I walked him to the Skytrain on his way to work this morning. Then we stopped at Starbucks for an eggnog latte on our way to the Hume Park off-leash area. He was a very happy dog in the snow!

happy dahg 12-18-12

Nothing makes me happy the way snow does. It is one of the major things I will miss about Montreal. I was so stoked to put on all my snow gear this morning. Here are some of my favourite snow pictures from last year to commemorate!

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December 11, 2012

Almond Sugar Cookies: a pictoral

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I am a junkie for almond flavouring. When I went to Starbucks as a kid (I’m from Seattle. We went to coffee shops as children in the 80s/90s, okay), my mom would order a latte, and I would order a steamed milk with almond flavouring. The almond flavouring went out of vogue a number of years ago and not all coffee shops have it anymore. Another childhood favouite was poppy seed muffins, and yes, I mean the giant ones you buy in bulk at Costco. I hold no shame in saying those sticky, oily things are freaking DE-LICIOUS. Why? Because they use almond extract instead of lemon. I don’t think I can rant long enough about the UNHOLINESS that is LEMON poppyseed. They almost exclusively sell lemon poppyseed muffins now, and I just can’t with them. Gluten-free poppyseed muffins are a project for another day though. Today, because it’s Christmas time, it’s all about cookies.

My mother baked the best sugar cookies when I was a kid. They always had this distinct flavour that was different than anyone else’s sugar cookies. When I was learning the artistry of cookie-baking, I tried countless recipes trying to get the right taste. I finally figured it out: the key ingredient is almond extract. Most sugar cookies call for vanilla extract. Almond, though, is so much better. It’s warmer, cozier, richer.

I leave you with a simple recipe for almond poppy seed muffins. Don’t let the tiny half-teaspoon of almond extract fool you. With the addition of almond flour, these pack a cozy punch. Add too much more, and they unfortunately suffer from the twinge of bitterness that comes with too much extract. Moderation is key to almond flavouring.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 3/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp xantham gum
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract