Posted in z personal

My Family’s Ice Cream Kolackies Recipe

This time of year, I make my family’s Ice Cream Kolackies.  They are the opposite of fancy and they definitely aren’t pretty the way I make them, but they are quintessential comfort food and they mean holidays to me.  They are a pain to make unless you have a big mixer, so I get TONS of requests when I make them from my family who don’t want to make the cement-like dough.  Hope you enjoy!

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I America-Test-Kitchen’d this a while ago,  so trust me on this recipe:

ICE CREAM KOLACKIES

1 lb/4 stick of salted butter
4 cups of flour
1 pint of the cheapest vanilla ice cream you can get. [This is usually only purchasable in half gallons,  so use half of that container.  Good ice cream doesn’t make it turn out as well. I’ve tried.]
Jam of your choosing [Apricot is traditional, as is using Solo brand cans of poppyseed or prune filling.  You do you.]
Cream cheese
Sugar
Vanilla

1. Blend the cold butter in the kitchen aid mixer with the tulip shaped mixer piece to break it up.  Do not melt or room-temperature it.
2. Mix in frozen ice cream.  This will be like cement now. [Now, imagine what it was like learning this with Grandma when you had to make it by hand.  With my Grandma’s ‘sweet’ demeanor 😉 #memories ]
3. Mix in the flour one cup at a time. I usually switch to the dough hook at this point.  Don’t mix too much though, as you don’t want the dough to get gummy. End result should be tacky to the touch with visible tiny globs of butter.
4. Mix cream cheese,  sugar and vanilla to taste in a separate bowl.  Usually the whole brick of cream cheese, a teaspoon of vanilla and a few tablespoons of sugar.
5. Spoon sloppy cookie sized pieces onto a parchment lined tray.
6. Thumbprint each and fill with jam or cheese filling. Jam may run onto parchment during cooking,  jelly definitely will, so spoon accordingly.
7. Cook at 350 for about 10 min, or until the bottom of cookies are just browning. The cookies will seem not cooked all the way when you take them out. Carefully transfer them to a cooling rack.
8. Cool and reline each tray with parchment before using for the next batch.
9. Use wax paper or parchment if you wrap with cellophane or stack the cookies so the jam doesn’t stick.

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Posted in trends, z personal

My fav holiday tasks

I have had a crazy year, especially within the past couple months and I wasn’t really feeling up to decorating and embracing the holidays like I usually do.  My other Holiday fanatic friends were appalled and ganged up on me a bit.  Their peer pressure convinced me that I should rally and get in the spirit.

So I did.  Tree is up (almost done resting and ready to be trimmed) and the house is decorated.  I have already finished a quart of nog this month and I am thinking of what Christmas baking I will do for what party.  Mission accomplished, friends.

So in that vein, I thought I would share my favorite Holiday tasks that I do to get in the spirit.

1. Xmas Movies – Haven’t watched any yet this season, but just thinking of them makes me smile

  • Elf – I LOVE THIS MOVIE.  I get giddy thinking about it.
  • Scrooged – I know this is a bit sacrilege to say, but Bill Murray’s Scrooge is the only way I can consume this classic, the story has gotten old for me otherwise.
  • Christmas Story – One of my all time favorites.  Sweet yet mildly dark in it’s story.  This story, in contrast to Dickens’, never gets old for me.
  • Rudolph the Red nosed Reindeer – “I want to be a Dentist” and the island of misfit toys makes this my favorite Berl Ives classic
  • Frosty the Snowman – Not my #1 Ives animation, but up there.
  • As a side note: I did a search on Twitter the other day and accidentally found TONS of people lamenting and rejoicing in the sappy Christmas movies on Lifetime and Hallmark Channels 🙂

2. Xmas Music – I love it.  I prefer cheesy, funny, silly or fun takes on traditional.  And the more obscure the better.  My friends Tom Deja and Theo each always make great mixes. And I have been exploring Pandora’s Christmas mixing abilities (try asking for an Ella Fitzgerald Christmas tune – hours of goodness will follow)

2. The lights “Downtown” – I think this is universal to all “Downtowns,” nowadays, but the lights on the major street(s) (I am partial to my Chi-town) during the season are so pretty, especially with a new snow on a milder evening.

3. Holiday Parties – I know they stress people out, but I love them.  Probably because I rarely throw them.  Love getting together with different friends groups and all my crazy family members. Especially love the traditional foods and treats I get to have only this time each year.

4. My Holiday decorations – I inherited half of mine from my mother, when she decided to class up her decorations, so, like most of my aesthetic, I have a hodge-podge of old and new, gaudy and pretty, decorations throughout my house.  The best:

  • Hand crocheted stockings made by my late grandmother
  • 30+ years worth of hand made cartoon character wood ornaments from my grandfather and cross stitched ones from my mother.
  • Not one, but two, 4-foot long latch hook rugs. One by my mom from the 70’s and one by me that took 7 years to finish.
  • An altar’s worth of snowman figurines
  • An obnoxious monster toy that sings Mahna Mahna when you press his foot.

🙂 Happy, Merry, and all that jazz to everyone. 🙂