This morning, Jon and I explored some of the more famous roadside attractions in Carver.
First stop: King Richard's Faire. This Renaissance fair has been around for a long time, but geeze is it expensive! Now I know why I've gone only once before.
After paying $25 to get in, no kidding you need gas money. Hey, look...the Knights Templar! Symbologist Robert Langdon must not be too far behind.
Second stop: Edaville Railroad. Edaville is famous (in these parts, at least) for its Christmas Festival of Lights, when you ride on the unique narrow-gauge railroad and look at lit-up diaroma-ish displays. But in the fall, you can take a train ride through the bogs and enjoy the cranberry harvest and the foliage. I love autumn!
This gingerbread house is an example of the kind of lit-up sites you'd see on the train ride at Christmastime. Just imagine snow on the ground and a December-dark forest twinkling with tiny electric lights. This is what I think about when I think about Christmas. And, on the right, is one of the "classic" Edaville signs that's scattered around the town.
“Hi Greg, I made these today and they're SO delicious! My new favorite cookies! I love the flavors and the crunch.”
Thanks, Amelia! I'm so glad you and your son liked these cookies. I'm going to be trying some more cranberry-based recipes soon, so stay tuned!
The day in food on Jon's birthday. (Happy 32nd, HB!)
D's Omelet Shoppe is the kind of place, were it in Iowa or New Hampshire, presidential candidates would visit to press the flesh and kiss babies during the primaries. But D's is in Massachusetts, so you don't have to worry about having a politician get between you and your home fries.
And finally, a stop off at Erickson's Ice Cream for some dessert. Unfortunately, Erickson's closed for the season last weekend. No black raspberry ice cream for me!
Carver's the kind of place that's got some pretty cool things in it...if you look in the right places. Well, maybe cool is overstating it just a tad. Maybe neat is a more accurate adjective.
Exhibit 1: Savery Avenue. From Wikipedia: "Also located in Carver is Savery Avenue, the first divided highway in America, which was opened to the public in 1861 by William Savery." We're famous!
Exhibit 2: the Lakeview Street bears. This carved, life-sized representation of "The Three Bears" is in someone's front yard on Lakeview Street, just around the bend from Sampson's Pond. The bears are lovingly attired to match each holiday--even Halloween! This is the kind of small-town wackiness you just can't make up.
More to come soon.
Alicia, my blog buddy, wrote in to ask:
“Can we get the Dulce de Leche and Almond Brickle ones in time for Christmas? I love those flavors.”
Most certainly, Alicia. I know you asked about the Dulce de Leche Cookies before. Stay tuned. I promise I'll do these cookies--and my other season-specific cookies--in time for everyone's holiday baking. Not to pat myself on the back or anything, but my XXX Cranberry Cookies and Eggnog Cookies are really, really good.
I've been doing a lot of cookie care packages recently and will probably be doing even more, so I started a new category: Deliverables.
I've also gone back and recategorized all old posts that now fit in Deliverables. Hmmm...maybe I have a future as an indexer.
I almost called this post something punny like "Excidered About Cider" but reconsidered...
It turns out people l-o-v-e-d my Mulled Apple Cider Cookies. In fact, the three dozen or so I brought in to work disappeared around noon. Here's what a few of my real-life cookie-eating coworkers had to say:
“These were SOOOOOO good!! I'm going to have to try to make them at home. Yummy!”
“btw, i LOVED the cookies today. i think i'm a sucker for anything apple-related...apple cider, apple pie, and now apple cider cookies! mmm sooo gooood.”
And here's what Laura and Chris, neighbors, readers, and real-life cookie tasters had to say:
“Jason [our doorman] just buzzed me and I got the cookies! Ran downstairs, thought the good cookie delivery man [Jon] might be downstairs but he was gone. Oh my gosh Greg, these Apple Cider Cookies are amazing! I absolutely LOVE them! Ate one in the elevator and will leave some for the Cookie Monster who I recently discovered (because of you) lives with me [Chris, Laura’s husband]. These are so delicious, they were almost wet inside from the applely (a word?) goodness and were crisp and sweet outside. Now I have another one to add to my list of favorites.”
Thanks, everybody! I'm so glad you liked them. You've really got to try making these cookies--especially around the holidays. Your house will smell soooo good and Thanksgivingy or Christmassy. Forget the scented candles; bake cookies instead!
Alicia, a reader, fellow food blogger, and—most recently—a real-life cookie taster, sent me my very own care package:
“Two of the items were made with my own two hands. Only one of them is edible. A third thing should be shared w/Jonazz on a cool evening. And the last thing is just a keepsake to remind you that someone in VA loves what you do.”
I got the package yesterday after work. Thanks so much, Alicia!
My box of deliverables contained a batch of super-tasty spice cookies, a hand-knit scarf, a box of Godiva hot chocolate (which I will share with Jonnazz...and maybe use in a cookie), and a heart-shaped cookie cutter.
Thanks again, Alicia. Wearing that nice, warm scarf, I'll soon be doing some rooftop cookie eatin' and hot chocolate drinkin'.
Here’s the most up-to-date list.
Good Ol’ Peanut Butter
Dark Earl Grey
Fourth of July
Dulce de Leche
Here's the recipe for my Mulled Apple Cider Cookies in process.
Reduce the apple cider. It looks kind of funky but tastes--and smells--like heaven.
Cream the creamables. A stick of butter and a 1/2 cup each of white and dark brown sugar.
Combine the wet ingredients. Make sure the reduced apple cider is cool before you add the egg yolk.
Add the wet ingredients to the creamables. Mix 'n mingle.
Cut the apples. I used an alligator chopper to make a 1/4" dice. Then combine the dry ingredients.
Add the dry ingredients to the combined creamables and wet ingredients.
Scoop, sugar, and bake the cookies. Who needs potpourri or scented candles when you've got the real thing?
Make these cookies, and your house will smell delicious for days.
This is an old recipe of mine that I’ve tweaked a little to up the spice and apple flavors. These guys are a little on the labor-intensive side, but the taste--and aroma--are well worth the work. In this version, I use a super-thick reduction of apple cider and mulling spices, ground-up graham crackers, and--of course--a crispy coating of turbinado sugar.
The key ingredient here is mulling spices. They impart a rich, aromatic, and decidedly autumnal flavor. I happened to have mulling spices on hand from when I wrote the “first edition” of this recipe last fall. If you don’t have mulling spices in your kitchen cabinet, or if you can’t find them at a reasonable price in the store, try combining your favorite fall spices--cinnamon, clove, allspice, cardamom, etc.--with some orange peel. (Note, though, that I haven't tried this recipe with ground-up mulling spices.) Or you could try using Mandarin Orange Spice tea bags--a whole bunch of them--as replacements for the mulling spices. (This is something I do with my Sweater Weather Cookies.)
Simmer the apple cider-mulling spice mixture until the 3 cups of liquid reduces down to 1/2 cup of liquid—a mere sixth of the original volume (if I did my math right). You won’t believe how much flavor this concentrated little bit of liquid of can hold.
Makes 3 dozen cookies. (To see this recipe in process, check out Picturing Mulled Apple Cider Cookies.)
1 stick butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups diced apples
1 1/2 cups oatmeal
1 cup finely ground graham crackers
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon clove
I gave one to Pam and then scarfed one down after work tonight. Super yummy. I'm saving the rest for dinner tomorrow night.
Scratch that. Jon's having one right now. He says they're delicious! (Can I have your recipe?)
I got a message when I came home tonight that my cranberry recipe contest entry won something! I don't know what I got, but I'll post about it as soon as I find out.
Good thing we're heading up to Massachusetts this weekend!
This was actually an autumn Sunday, but I didn't want to mess up my post titles. Sorry! I was still feeling a little under the weather, so we didn't venture very far, just up to Madison Square Park, up to Central Park, and then back down to Chelsea. The rain held out, and the sun actually came out in afternoon. Huzzah! But I was too tired to make my usual Sunday-night batch of cookies. Stay tuned, though...new cookies TK tonight!
At Madison Square Park, there's an art installation called Tree Huts. They look like tree houses to me.
Also in Madison Square Park is Shake Shack, the city's most popular burger stand. Usually there's a line wrapping around the south side of the park, and you have to wait for close to an hour just to place your order. On this day, though, we were literally first in line and got the first burgers of the day.
After we walked around Central Park for a while, we headed home but stopped off to gawk at a new super-luxe development and have cupcakes from Billy's Bakery. Jon and I are definitely cookie guys, not cupcake guys.
On Saturday Jon and I headed to Williamsburg in Brooklyn to check out the store. (They call it a "gallery," but whatever.) There really are scents like rubber cement and roast beef that smell like rubber cement and roast beef. ("The snozzberries taste like snozzberries!"). There's also a 90-pound mastiff named Zephyr who really likes to have his belly scratched.
It's all a touch silly, but it's fun. Here's a blurb about the scent called "Greenbriar 1968":
“This scent is a memory of my Grandfather, the sawmill that he owned and the stone house where he lived.
It is blended with Sawdust, Fresh Cut Hay, Worn Leather Work Gloves, Pipe Tobacco and a healthy amount of Dirt. There is also a faint whiff of cotton overalls covered in Axel Grease.”
And guess what: It really does smell like sawdust, leather, tobacco, and damp basement. I didn't pick up the greasy overalls, but you get the picture.
We got "Burning Leaves" and "Cedarwood Tea." They're so diffferent and interesting that you can't help but keep sniffing yourself. You definitely won't find these scents in a department store.
This time from the BBC reality show Big Brother 9. I chose this one not for the use of the Britishism biscuit but for this person's...um...vocal support of cookies. All I'll say is that you've been warned. Maybe she's a candidate for a "deliverables" post of her very own.
I used dried cranberries (craisins), of course, and orange, which is a cranberry's best friend. Toasted almonds and a roll in turbinado sugar add the crunch. (If you've got almond extract on hand, feel free to add a 1/4–1/2 teaspoon to the wet ingredients.)
Jon and I are heading up to Massachusetts next weekend for the cranberry harvest festival. I'm sure Mumma will have me baking something while we're there, so stay tuned for more cranberry recipes and pictures of the harvest and other local specialties.
(Check out this video of an olde tyme dry harvest in my hometown of Carver. Wow! Dick Ward, my high school gym teacher, is the town's agricultural commissioner.)
Makes 3 dozen cookies. (To see this recipe in process, check out Picturing Cranberry Crunch Cookies.)
1 stick butter
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons orange zest
1 1/2 teaspoons orange juice
1 1/4 cups dried cranberries (craisins)
1 cup finely ground graham crackers
1 cup toasted slivered almonds
1 cup oatmeal
3/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
I wasn't feeling so hot today--my annual change-of-weather cold--so Jon brought home some takeout from Ben's Deli for dinner. The booty included chicken noodle soup, matzo balls, pickles, rye bread, and a slice of seven-layer cake.
There's nothing better for a cold than chicken soup (aka "Jewish penicillin") from Ben's. Because as Ben's says, "We cure our own corned beef. Our chicken soup cures everything else."
I'm so full. Oy...
In-Young, reader and real-life cookie taster, is home convalescing this week and missed out on Monday's cookies. So I baked a batch of my Coffee Cake Cookies and mailed them off to her this morning.
Get well soon, In-Young!
I know...this post is a little late because I forgot to transfer the pics from my camera to my computer. But here goes. Jon and I had lunch on Tuesday at a neighborhood place called Momoya. Boy, oh boy was I having a severe spicy tuna jones. My craving was soothed, but now I want spicy tuna for dinner!
“YUM!!!! I just made these cookies, and they are sooooooo good! My daughters love them, and my house smells so delicious from them cooking. Both of my girls were drooling just from the smell. Definitely a new favorite cookie for me. Thanks for your wonderful creations.”
Laura and her husband Chris are readers, real-life cookie tasters, and--of course--neighbors. Laura emailed me last night to say:
“So now about these Apple 'n Honey cookies, they are delicious. And you are right they are similar in texture to honey cake, which both my mom and my sister love so I have been exposed to holiday honey cake for my entire life. I picked up the cookies Sunday night, but have been away since Monday morning, had to travel a couple of days for work. Thank goodness I ate one of the cookies before I left, because apparently you-know-who ate (inhaled) the other three before I even left Monday morning at 8 am. I knew these would be very much 'up his alley.' I think I was right.”
Thanks, Laurel and Laura!