Night Time City Outskirts & Ginger Brownies

This week I made some quick iPad doodles. They actually started as accidents–while making the backgrounds for some future oil painting sketches I noticed that they looked like night skies with some city lights in the distance. Especially once I added some stars…

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This week’s dessert recipe is for good old fashioned brownies, but with a nice little twist. Once again the recipe is from Martha Stewart’s Cookies (this book was one of the best purchases my husband ever made!).

1 stick unsalted butter
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 eggs
1.5 tsp grated ginger (I used ground ginger)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg (I used ground nutmeg)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 ground cloves

Melt the butter and chocolate together, then stir in all the other ingredients. Pour the batter into an 8 inch square baking dish lined with buttered parchment paper. Bake at 325 F for about 30-35 minutes–a cake tester (I just use a knife!) inserted in the centre should come out with moist crumbs.

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At first the taste seemed a little odd, but the more I ate the brownies, the more I liked them.

Ship & Tuzlu Kurabiye

This week’s drawing is a simple coloured pencil sketch of a ship:

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I saw this ship while visiting cousins in Corsica one summer. I made the outline for the drawing while pregnant with my son (over three years ago) and have since misplaced the photograph, so I had to do most of the colouring from memory. It probably would have turned out better had I been able to use the photograph, although as I recall it was a little blurry, so perhaps it would have made no difference…

This week’s dessert is somewhat “healthy” as it contains no sugar. We ate quite terribly over the holidays and I’m feeling a little sick of sweets! (That probably won’t last long though!)

Tuzlu kurabiye translates as salty biscuit, and here is my grandmother’s recipe:

4 cups flour
1 cup yogurt
1 cup butter (the recipe calls for oil, but I prefer using butter)
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 pinches salt (I’m guessing here, my grandmother’s recipe simply says “salt”)

Simply mix the ingredients to form a soft dough, then let it rest half an hour before shaping the cookies. One can also coat each cookie with some egg yolk and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top for a little extra flavour. Bake on parchment lined cookie sheets at 350 F for about 25 minutes.

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I made them a little too thick and ended up having to overcook them, so they were harder than they should have been. I think an extra pinch of salt would have been good too. But they were still enjoyable when dunked in a cup of tea.

Fun with Sharpies & Sugar Cookies

Remember my baby entertainment post? This week I made a few extra drawings for the board. It’s really just an excuse to draw with Sharpies, something I find very satisfying.

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My son helped with dessert. We made some simple sugar cookies and had fun decorating them.

The recipe for the cookies is from Martha Stewart’s Cookies and the icing recipe was something I quickly looked up online, but I’ve since closed the link and don’t remember where I found it.

Cookies:
4 cups flour (I used less, the dough seemed “right” with 3.25 to 3.5 cups)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt (I used much less, more like a pinch)
2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups sugar (I used only 1.5)
2 eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla

Icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp milk

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside. Beat the sugar and butter until pale and fluffy. Mix in the eggs and vanilla, then slowly mix in the remaining dry ingredients. Divide dough in half, flatten into disks, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm (about an hour). Let the dough stand at room temperature until it’s soft enough to roll, then roll it out and cut out your cookies. Place them on parchment lined baking sheets and chill them in the freezer for approximately 15 minutes. Finally, bake at 325 F for about 16-18 minutes. For the icing simply mix the ingredients and “ice” away…

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The cookies were quite sweet, and even more so with the icing. Most of the cookies we left bare because my husband and I both prefer things less sweet, and truth be told, we know we’re going to be the ones eating the majority of the cookies.

We don’t have any tools for icing cookies either, so I had to manage with a spoon and my fingers. We also didn’t have any food colouring, but we made do with some sprinkles…

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The recipe made quite a bit of dough which I saved overnight in the fridge, and the next day while the kids were napping I made some extra cookies. The “spooky ghost” on the right was for my son; since Halloween he’s been into “spooky ghosts.”

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