Bits & Piece (Friday Night Open Mic)

Gotta a migraine. This is gonna be short.

Dec. 3rd was the 19th Anniversary of the first cell phone text message.

The floor is yours.

— KW

Christmas Cookie Recipes (Part One)

Here are a few recipes for most of the cookies above.  I left out the Santas and the second picture from the top right is actually toffee.  If anyone is dying to make candy let me know, otherwise I’ll leave that recipe out as well.  I make money off that stuff so I sometimes hesitate to give it out but will do so for you guys if you really want it.

Please don’t blame me for the added pounds, these are not calorie friendly, but hey it’s Christmas.  Cooking times may vary, depending on your oven so be careful.  I generally use unsifted, unbleached flour and unsalted butter for all these recipes.  First up for Mike and ash is the Coffee Kisses recipe (upper right corner of photo).

Coffee Kisses
For Cookie Press (makes only 20 cookies)
 
Ingredients:

½ cup butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp instant coffee
2 TBS hot water
1 large egg
1 ½ cup unsifted all-purposeflour

Filling:
¼ cup butter, softened
1 cup confectioner sugar
1 TBS Kahlua
Chocolate candy sprinkles
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375.  In electric mixer beat butter with granulatedsugar until light and fluffy.  In cup,dissolve instant coffee in hot water and beat into butter mixture and add egg (itwill look terrible at this point) then add flour gradually.
Load gun with dough and stardisc.  Press them onto ungreased cookiesheet and bake about 8 minutes until edged begin to brown.  Cool.
Combine filling ingredients andput a generous amount between two cookies. Gently squeeze the edges until a little frosting leaks out and then rollthe edges in chocolate sprinkles.
We generally double this recipewith no problem.   I always test a trayin the oven with only 4 to 6 cookies on it to make sure they hold their shapeas the dough is very soft.  Sometimes Ineed to add a little flour to the dough (about 1 or 2 TBS).
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                                                           Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies
                                                                     (2nd pic on top left)
                                                          For cookie press (about 4 dozen)
 
   
 
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½ cup butter, softened
1 3oz. pkg. cream cheese
½ cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp lemon extract
1 TBS grated lemon peel
1 ¾ cups flour
½ tsp salt
Directions:
1.        Beat butter and cream cheese thoroughly
2.        Add sugar gradually, continuing to beat untillight and fluffy
3.        Add egg yolk, lemon extract and lemon peel andbeat well
4.        Add flour and salt gradually and mix well
5.       Separatedough in thirds and color one batch red and one green
6.        Fill and assemble gun and press onto ungreasedcookie sheet
7.       Decoratewith colored sugar
8.        Bake 14-17 minutes at 350 on ungreased cookie sheet until justturning golden around the edge.
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Red Velvet Whoopiepie recipe (to add peppermint, see below)
(top left corner of photo)

Ingredients:

2cups  all-purpose flour
2TBS unsweetened cocoa powder
½tsp baking soda
¼tsp salt
½cup butter, softened
1cup packed brown sugar
1egg
1tsp vanilla
½cup buttermilk
1TBS red food coloring
1recipe Whoopie Pie Filling, recipe below


Directions:
Gold Medal Enriched Bleached Presifted Flour, All-Purpose $2.99
Enriched Bleached Presifted Flour, All-Purpose
Selected Varieties Only, Loyalty Card Required
thru 2011-12-25
Pavilions
Gold Medal Enriched Bleached Presifted Flour, All-Purpose $2.49
Enriched Bleached Presifted Flour, All-Purpose
Limit of 3 per customer, Selected Varieties Only, Coupon Required
thru 2011-12-17
Walgreens – Food
Comstock Pie Filling or Topping, Apple $2.49
Pie Filling or Topping, Apple
21-29oz
thru 2011-12-24
Fresh & Easy
Preheatoven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment; set aside. In mediumbowl combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Inlarge mixing bowl beat butter on medium to high 30 seconds. Beat in brown sugaruntil light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Alternately add flour mixtureand buttermilk, beating after each addition just until combined. Stir in foodcoloring.

Spoonbatter in 1- or 2-inch diameter rounds, about 1/2-inch high on prepared bakingsheets, allowing 1 inch between each round.

Bake7 to 9 minutes for 1-inch cookies or 9 to 11 minutes for 2-inch cookies, oruntil tops are set. Cool completely on baking sheets on rack. Remove cooledcookies from baking sheets.

Tofill, dollop Whoopie Pie Filling on flat sides of half the cookies. Top withremaining cookies, flat sides down. Makes 60 one-inch or 42 two-inch cookies.

WhoopiePie Filling: In medium mixing bowl beat 1/4 cup softened butter and half an8-ounce package softened cream cheese until smooth. Fold in one 7-ounce jarmarshmallow creme.

**Add1 tsp peppermint extract to filling and as soon as cookies come out of the ovenadd crushed peppermint to half of the cookies. With the crushed peppermint they need to be shipped or eaten fairlyquickly as you cannot freeze them very well.

______________________________________________________________________

ApricotOatmeal Cookies (my personal favorite)
(bottom left corner of photo)
Forcherry chocolate variation see below
Makesabout 5 dozen
Ingredients:
¾ cup snipped dried apricots
¾ cup butter
1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp baking soda
2 cups rolled oats
½ cup chopped walnuts orhazelnuts
Powdered sugar frosting(optional)
Directions:
Place snipped apricots in a smallbowl and cover with boiling water.  Letstand for about 5 minutes and then drain.
In large mixing bowl beat butteron medium to high speed until softened. Add about half the flour, the brown sugar, sugar, egg, baking powder,vanilla, cinnamon and baking soda.  Beattill thorough combined.  Beat or stir inremaining flour.  Stir in oats, nuts and apricots.
Drop by rounded teaspoon 2 inchesapart on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 375 for about 10 minutes.  Cool
Drizzle powdered sugar frostingover them when completely cool.
I just combine about a cup ofpowdered sugar with a little milk to get the consistency I want.
**Cherry chocolatevariation-Substitute dried cherries for apricots and add about ¾ cup minichocolate chips, drizzle with melted semi-sweet chocolate.


Christopher Hitchens, RIP 1949 – 2011

Christopher Hitchens is dead. Hitch was a very smart man, a great writer, and a bit of an enigma. He will be missed on all parts of the political spectrum, I suspect.

Back in 2005 I had my own brief “brush with greatness” with him. I was living in England, and had started my own blog, The American Expatriate, which was dedicated largely to critiquing the British media’s coverage of America. I had written a brief post about a debate on Iraq that Hitchens had with George Galloway (a truly loathsome MP who had had his own run-in with the US Congress over the oil-for-food program.) Anyway, unbeknownst to me, a radio personality in the UK named Charlie Wolf had become a bit of a fan of my blog, and when he saw my blog post he contacted me to appear on his radio show to comment on the debate, which I did. Unfortunately, my appearance was cut short when Wolf’s producer managed to get Hitchens himself on the phone in the middle of my comments.

So Hitchens managed to pre-empt my first and only radio appearance. At least he was kind enough not to remark about the bumbling, stuttering clown who preceded him on the show, for which I have forever been grateful.
————————————————————
QB referenced a New Yorker piece on Hitchens in a more recent thread and while I’m not sure if I found what he was referencing, here are a couple of pieces on Hitchens from The New Yorker:

A 2006 piece on Hitchens’ support for the Iraq War.

A Postscript by Christopher Buckley that I really enjoyed.

And for those who, like myself, aren’t particularly familiar with Hitchens, here is a list (with descriptions) of some of his work.

–Ashot—

Morning Report

Vital Statistics:

Last Change Percent
S&P Futures 1218.6 6.9 0.57%
Eurostoxx Index 2215.4 -9.490 -0.43%
Oil (WTI) 93.94 0.070 0.07%
US Dollar Index (DXY) 80.077 -0.158 -0.20%
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 1.88% -0.03%

It is Triple Witching Day, and the folks on business TV are excited. I have never understood why – I don’t think options expiry days are any more volatile than non-option expiry days. As an aside, am I the only one irritated by the CNBC / Bloomberg TV insistence on calling it Quadruple Witching Day (to include the expiry of single stock futures)? Does anybody trade single stock futures? Quadruple Witching just sounds more dramatic than Triple Witching.

The consumer price index was released this morning, and it shows that inflation is still behaving. The low inflation numbers were primarily attributed to a drop in the price of energy, as gasoline bounces around close to support and natural gas cannot get out of its own way.

As we close in on the holidays, the markets are only going to become more boring. Zynga priced last night at the top of its range at $10 a share. It is set to begin trading around 11:00 am.

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