Gingerbread Dudes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Gingerbread Dudes

Gingerbread Dudes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Presumably, most of you spent yesterday overeating and napping to your heart’s content. Now that we’ve got all that turkey and thankfulness out of the way, we can start talking about the C word.

I’m getting the most outrageous birthday/Christmas present ever this year, our very own apartment. With us moving at Christmas, I doubt we’ll get to have a tree and all the decorations that make Christmas feel so special this year. Things could be much, much worse, I know. But there’s just something about the way the whole world seems to change at Christmas that makes it so magical. 

Gingerbread Dudes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

To kick of our Christmas cheer, I made us some fun and tasty Gingerbread Dudes. Often times, I don’t like gingerbread cookies because they’re made with molasses which I just can’t get into. These are made with brown sugar and golden syrup. 

Golden syrup is impossibly sweet and quite possibly the stickiest substance in the universe. I’ve just come to accept it as unavoidable, especially as it’s sold in a container similar to a paint can. If anybody knows any tips for measuring this stuff without making a huge mess, please share it in the comments. If you can’t get your hands on golden syrup, light corn syrup will work, too.

I like to let each person decorate their gingerbread dudes themselves. No matter your age, it’s impossible to decorate a cookie without getting a huge smile on your face. It’s instant happiness. I brought a tin full of these and some store bought tubes of writing icing to work, and I loved seeing everyone’s cookies. They loved making them. The joy was much needed.

Gingerbread Dudes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Bring a smile to everyone’s face. Make some Gingerbread Dudes and share them with friends, family, and coworkers. Be merry.

Gingerbread Dudes
Yields 20
Gingerbread Dudes made with golden syrup are delicious and bring a smile to everyone's face.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
12 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
12 min
Ingredients
  1. 350 grams all-purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  3. 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  4. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  5. 125 grams butter
  6. 175 grams light brown sugar
  7. 1 egg, lightly beaten
  8. 1/4 cup golden syrup
Instructions
  1. Add the flour, baking soda, ginger, and cinnamon to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine.
  2. Add the butter and process to mix. You should have a mixture resembling wet sand. Add the sugar and pulse to combine.
  3. Add the beaten egg and golden syrup and process until the dough starts to clump together.
  4. Turn your dough out onto a clean surface and knead it two or three times just to bring everything together. Flatten your dough into a disc and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough about 15 minutes.
  5. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. On a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll out your dough t about 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out your dough using a cookie cutter in your favorite shape and transfer the cut cookies to a cookie sheet. Give them a little space. They will spread a bit.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. These are crisp cookies, so you don't want them underbaked. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Once the cookies have totally cooled to room temperature, you can use writing icing and other decorations to create the gingerbread dude of your dreams.
Notes
  1. If your dough starts to get too soft and sticky as you're rolling and cutting, wrap it up and stash it back in the fridge for 10 minutes.
  2. If you're baking your cookies in batches, store the cut cookies in the fridge until they're ready to go into the oven. This will help keep them from spreading too much.
Adapted from BBC Food
Adapted from BBC Food
http://awesomeon20.com/
Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

In the UK, there’s no Thanksgiving, so that means the moment Halloween is over, it’s all Christmas all the time. I’m still a hard core Thanksgiving junkie, so I’m not quite ready for trees and lights and snow. I am, however, always ready for cookies.

I don’t know if they do Christmas cookies here. I think they’re more into mince pies and fruit cake. I’m definitely sticking with cookies.  And I think there should be mountains of them. My mom used to make chocolate chip cookies, snickerdoodles, chocolate-dipped peanut butter cookies, and more fudge than humans should eat every year at Christmas. I’ve never had the time or the space to be quite so zealous, but cookies for Santa are still a requirement at my house. Even on years when there are no kids around. 

Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I’ve made the chewy cookies of your dreams. Smashed up toffee bits and chocolate chips come together in a thin, buttery cookie for optimal crispy chewy awesomeness. Toffee Chocolate Chip cookies are where it’s at.

This is a basic cookie dough. Nothing too tricky. If you can’t get already busted up toffee bits, dump your larger toffee pieces into the food processor to get them into smaller, crunchable pieces. You’ll also need to be patient with the cooling, or you’ll end up with busted cookies because the toffee has glued them to your parchment. Just wait for them to cool completely, then you can peel the paper off and never stop eating.

Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Who cares what holiday is coming down the pipe. It’s time to eat Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yields 36
Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies are a sweet chewy dream.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup butter, softened
  2. 1/2 cup shortening, softened
  3. 1 cup brown sugar
  4. 1/4 granulated sugar
  5. 1 egg
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  8. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  9. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  10. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  11. 2 cups chocolate chips
  12. 6 ounces toffee bits
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter, shortening, and both sugars with an electric mixer for about 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in your egg and vanilla until combined.
  3. In a separate container, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. With your mixer on low, slowly add your dry ingredients and beat until incorporated.
  4. Fold in in your chocolate and toffee.
  5. Scoop your cookie dough onto your baking sheet leaving about two inches in between. These cookies will spread quite a lot, so give them ample room. Bake for 9-10 minutes or until they just start to brown around the edges.
  6. Let the cookies cool on the pan for about five minutes, and then remove the cookies, still on the parchment paper, to a cooling rack. The toffee will be very sticky, so it's easier to remove them from the paper once they're completely cooled.
Notes
  1. To be honest, I didn't really measure the chocolate chips and toffee bits. Follow your heart.
Adapted from Circle of Friends Cookbook - 25 Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes
http://awesomeon20.com/
Chocolate Pound Cake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Chocolate Pound Cake

Chocolate Pound Cake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I like to believe that I’m a relatively self-aware person who has a good grasp on reality. Every now and then I get reminded that I really have no idea what’s going on. I made this cake because I thought it was pretty solid, a good, not-too-sweet chocolate cake to have in your profile to go with tea or coffee in the afternoon. Good, but not mind-blowing.

Chocolate Pound Cake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I made this cake and brought the leftovers to work as usual. I haven’t worked at my current location for terribly long, and a lot of people don’t know me and aren’t familiar with my baking repertoire. By the end of the day I had people coming up to me telling me this was the best cake they’d ever eaten. Really? Okay. Somebody even asked me how I got it in that neat shape. Friends, it’s called a bundt pan, and you need one.

This cake comes together quickly and easily. It’s a classic. No tricks. I topped mine with some white chocolate ganache, but any flavor of glaze or even a dash of powdered sugar would be just as excellent.

Chocolate Pound Cake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Sometimes you never know when a new star will break through. Keep it classic with Chocolate Pound Cake and everyone will think you’re awesome.

Chocolate Pound Cake
Serves 10
A classic chocolate pound cake that might be the best cake they've ever eaten.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr 20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr 20 min
Ingredients
  1. 227 grams unsalted butter, softened
  2. 595 grams sugar
  3. 5 eggs
  4. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  5. 404 grams all-purpose flour
  6. 18 grams cocoa powder
  7. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  8. 1/8 teaspoon salt
  9. 1 cup milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 325 and butter and flour your 10-inch bundt pan. Set aside
  2. Cream together your butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat the eggs in one at a time and then mix in the vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of your bowl and give it another mix to make sure everything's blended.
  3. Sift together your flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Add a third of your dry ingredients, half of your milk, another third of the dry ingredients, the rest of the milk, and then the last of the dry ingredients, mixing each addition in completely before adding the next.
  4. Give your batter one last mix with a rubber spatula to make sure everything is evenly incorporated. Transfer your batter to your waiting bundt pan and make sure the batter is spread evenly.
  5. Bake for about an hour and 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, then hold your breath while you turn your cake out onto your favorite cake plate. Top however you like and get out there and make an impression.
Adapted from I'm Just Here for More Food by Alton Brown
http://awesomeon20.com/
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