Thursday, February 14, 2013

Best Break-Up Songs

Happy Valentine's Day! How about some good break-up songs, eh? If you agree with Peter Wolf and think love stinks, then this list is for you. recently published a list of the best break-up songs. You can check out the list and reasons why here, or you can simply listen to (most of) them below.

What say you? Got a good break-up/I hate you/love is for morons song you'd like to include, let me know in the comments and I'll try to get them added to the mix (Gotye has got to be on there, fo' sho). And if you are in a more lovey-dovey mood, don't forget to go enter the giveaway for a combo gift pack from Tate's Bake Shop!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Valentine's Day Giveaway!

I kind of have this love/hate thing going on with Valentine's Day. I love love... I'm a bon vivant for love, no doubts about it. But I never seem to give/receive Valentine's Day gifts that are true to my heart. This bothers me, people!

You know what's always true to my heart (and my belly)? Homemade cookies. Take a look at my professional website... it says it right there. Today, Tate's Bake Shop was kind enough to share a Valentine's Day-perfect cookie recipe with us - Linzer Heart Cookies from the new Baking For Friends cookbook. And not only that, they are also offering up a copy of the cookbook along with a Valentine's Cookie Cube to one lucky reader!

Below is the recipe for Linzer Heart Cookies (I'm totally making these this week... hopefully I can avoid temptation, not eat them, and give them to my Valentines). To enter the drawing for the cookie/book giveaway, leave me your email address in the comments and tell me what your favorite Valentine's Day gift is to give or receive by 5pm on Thursday, February 14. A winner will be chosen at random. Thanks for playing a long and a super gigantic thank you to Tate's for the awesome gift (go say thanks yourself by liking Tate's on Facebook or following on Twitter)! PS - If you feel so inclined, go purchase the gift combo for your favorite Valentine on the Tate's website and enter the promo code BLOG213 to receive 20% off and webstore purchase!

UPDATE! The contest is now closed - congrats to Suburban Prep for winning the Tate's Bake Shop giveaway!

Makes 20 sandwich cookies

These decorative cookies make beautiful and tasty gifts. 
An important tip: be sure to chop the nuts and chocolate very fine in a food processor (pulse to chop so the friction doesn’t warm them), or the dough will be too rough-textured to roll out smoothly. You need a graduated set of heart-shaped cookie cutters to make these.

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 
1 cup cornstarch 
¼ teaspoon salt 
¾ pound (3 sticks) salted butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
2 cups toasted, skinned and very finely chopped hazelnuts
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, very finely chopped 
½ cup seedless raspberry jam 
½ cup confectioners’ sugar for sifting 

1. Sift the flour, cornstarch, and salt into a medium bowl. In a large bowl, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar with an electric mixer set on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Beat in the egg and vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the flour mixture, just until combined. Mix in the hazelnuts and chocolate.

2. Gather up the dough and shape it into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours. (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 1 day. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes to soften slightly before rolling.) 

3. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a round about ¼-inch thick. Use a 3 ½-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out the cookies as close as possible to avoid excess scraps. Arrange the hearts about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Gather up the dough scraps and gently knead together, and cut out more cookies. If the dough becomes too soft to roll out, refrigerate until chilled. You should have 40 cookies. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. 

4. Position the oven racks in the top third and center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. 

5. Use a 1-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out the centers of 20 cookies. These will be the cookie tops. (You can bake the mini hearts to nibble on later! Don’t throw away or re-roll.) Bake, switching the position of the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking, until the cookies begin to brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Sift some of the ½ cup of confectioners’ sugar over the hot cut-out cookies Let cool completely on the baking sheets. 

6. Spread the jam on the cookie bottoms, leaving an 1/8-inch border around the edges. Add the tops, sugared sides up, and press together gently. Just before serving, sift the remaining confectioners’ sugar over the cookies.