you NEED to make these cookies!

This is what my mom and I will be baking this weekend, as the week ahead holds the traditional cookie-exchange parties and other standard church-lady get-togethers. It is a seriously yummy cookie–almost chewy-brownie-like, yet still a cookie–perfect with a glass of milk.

It’s kind of like:+ (PLUS) +


I brought some to the library (to thank them for their unending patience with my unending interlibrary loan piles) and to A.’s violin teacher (also a fount of unending patience.) Plus, Tim took some to work.

(And I may or may not have eaten one with milk before dinner. Don’t tell.)

And so:

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cream together until light and fluffy:

1 cup of butter

3/4 cup of brown sugar

3/4 cup of white granulated sugar

When light and fluffy, beat in thoroughly:

1 large egg

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Meanwhile, blend together with a wire whisk IN A SEPARATE BOWL:

1 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour

3/4 cup of unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

Pinch of salt

Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until just blended–do not overbeat.

Fold in:

1 cup of peppermint bark, whirled a few times in the food processor

(For the bark, you can substitute 1/2 cup chopped white chocolate and 1/2 cup broken peppermint stick pieces)

Roll into 1-inch balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet, at least 1 inch apart. Bake in center of oven for 6 minutes, rotate pan, bake another 6 minutes.
Let cool in pan 5 minutes, then remove to cooling rack to cool completely.

{Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies. Inspired, as many things are, by Elise @ Simply Recipes.}


Some Medieval Good Times

[wherein I may lose my pacifist street cred.]

Can you bear with a post about a really fun birthday party for a 6 year old?

Yes, I know it’s Tuesday, but my Fannie Farmer plans were interrupted this week.

(No, we did not let Mr. and Mrs. S. down, but Saturday was one of those days that moves inexorably toward a Pizza Night and we–well, my mom, actually–brought them some of the deliciousness from Brick Oven, along with a sneak preview of birthday cake.)

So, thanks in part to the Magic Tree House books and to several by Margaret Hodges and some illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman (especially Saint George and the Dragon and The Kitchen Knight) Aidan loves the Middle Ages.

Or, as he prefers me to say, “Medieval Times.” Why?

“Because it sounds like there’s evil in it.”


Last year, Mr. A. had a terrible, awful, no good, very bad birthday, having spent it in the ER of Stony Brook University Hospital with a broken leg. So we decided together to make up for it by having a great medieval-themed birthday party.

“We’ve got to eat chicken legs off the bone, Mom. That seems medieval.”

Come on, how could I possibly say no?

We pinned the tongue on the dragon:

Need I point out how handy it is to have an artist for a Grandpa?We had a battle axe throwing contest (oh, yes, the artist-grandpa doubled as Lancelot)And some balloon-bamboo jousting astride a noble steed:Some young folks were dubbed knights of the Round Table:(Are you wondering where we got that throne? It’s from the church basement.)

After all were knighted, they slew a terrible dragon, who, surprisingly, was filled with a selection of organic candies and tiny toy knights:And then ate him in effigy:(I baked and frosted–Grandpa decorated.)