chewy ginger molasses cookies and the winner of the challenge dairy shortbread challenge

ginger-molasses-cookies

After much baking, and deliberation, a winner has been chosen for the Challenge Dairy Shortbread Challenge! A panel of judges, which included a chef, chose the Bleu Cheese Currant Shortbread Rounds! So, congratulations, Kristen! Well done! I had not even considered anyone would enter with a savory recipe. This one was sweet, and savory, and sweet again. It was very inventive, and quite delicious. This little swirls of flavor would make an easy and elegant little appetizer.

If you have not already looked all the entries, though, please click on all of them in the comments section and take a look. All were delicious, and finding a winner was very difficult.

I’d also like to thank Challenge Dairy who has sponsored this contest, and who will be giving Kristen a year’s supply of Challenge Dairy Butter.  If you didn’t win, don’t worry, you can still go to their website to print off coupons.

And now, on to these chewy ginger molasses cookies. Awhile back, Brooke gave me a plate of gingerbread men. I think they were meant for my family or something, but all I remember was that I ate almost every single one.

They had this hidden flavor I couldn’t put my finger on. So I had to keep tasting them. Again. And again.

When I finally realized the flavor was orange zest, I had to eat a few more, just to be certain.

Coming up with a chewy cookie when you don’t use shortening is very difficult, as far as I am concerned, so I usually don’t take chances. That’s why I generally take a chewy cookie recipe, that is already tried and true, and then make it my own. Though these are pretty different from Martha Stewart’s Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread cookies, I used that recipe as a guide.

a review of ‘the morning gift’

morning-gift-tx

morning-giftI mentioned The Morning Gift was my favorite book a couple of weeks ago when I posted the vanillekipferl recipe. Though this isn’t a Christmas book, it fills me with such happiness that I am sharing it with you now.  I hope you all like it, too.

Eva Ibbotson is this amazing writer who caught my attention with her book A Countess Below Stairs (recommended to me by Julie). Her writing style is varied and complex, which, along with her exceptional knowledge of all things European and wonderful, makes you feel slightly inferior for just a moment before resolving to be smarter and better informed in the future.

Ruth, the main character in The Morning Gift, is an old-fashioned heroine, slightly reminiscent of Anne Shirley—intelligent, quirky, and lovable. She is half Jewish and living in Austria in the midst of Hitler’s power at the start of the second World War. Everyone in her family escapes, but due to terrible complications, Ruth is stranded in Vienna. Her story starts when a young professor and colleague of her father, comes to check on the family to be sure they have all left the city safely. When he finds Ruth there, they discover the only way to get her out of the country is to marry. But dissolving the marriage when they arrive in England is more trouble than they expect.

This is one of those books that is more fun the more you read it. I found myself laughing out loud and calling my mom on the phone every time I got to a good part (She loves it too, by the way).

Some of Ibbotson’s Young Adult novels have some mature themes (nothing too steamy, though), as they were written initially for grown-ups. If you’re wanting a daughter to read this or any of her other Young Adult novels, you may want to preview them first.

giant villains. giant vegetation.

calamity-jack-tx

calamity-jackCalamity Jack, the sequel to Rapunzel’s Revenge, is written by Shannon and Dean Hale, and illustrated by the awesome Nathan Hale.  It is a modern retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk, complete with giant villains and giant vegetation.  It even brings in a few new characters.  I like the fantastic new adventures, and Jack seems more cool in this book.

Calamity Jack is well written and magnificently illustrated.   It’s even funnier than the first book.

—Mr. Book Reviewer (That’s me up there, reading the book!)

we have a winner!

Congratulations to  . . .

Cassidy,

the winner of the 3 month subscription to the Cookie of the Month Club from Platine Cookies!