Blog - biscuits and such
southern food blog
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Roasted Chestnuts

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Merry Christmas! We are in Durham with family and friends, soaking up our first real Carolina Christmas together. We’ve had a wonderful week and it’s only looking up. Tomorrow we’re throwing my sister Lauren a bridal shower, which I’m so excited about and I’m sure we’ll see plenty more people before we head home Sunday. it’s good to be home.

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This month I discovered that winter is an ideal time to buy patio furniture and I picked up a few plastic adirondack chairs and a fire pit. We celebrated our newly equipped backyard by roasting chestnuts over an open fire (15-20 minutes until they crack open. Cut an “x” on each one before it goes on the flame), which I thought was fitting for the season.

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Sea Salt Snickerdoodles

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I know at times it can seem as though this blog’s central message is “I don’t like any dessert that isn’t pie,”  but that is only mostly true. I’ve been known to sort of like a cake or two and there are a handful of cookies I love. And don’t even get me started on croissants. Is it still dessert if you eat it for breakfast? Anyway, I love snickerdoodles. They’re simple, delicious, and so satisfying. And just a sprinkle of sea salt (or in this case Himalayan Salt that Dan got me a few years ago) kicks the cookie up just a notch to a new level of perfection. See? You thought I only waxed poetic like that about pie, didn’t you?

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Photos courtesy of my new tiltshift lens, which I’m having a lot of fun with. Just wait for the roasting chestnut photos.

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Sea Salt Snickerdoodles

Makes 6 dozen cookies

5 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

4 sticks salted butter, room temperature

3 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 tbsp cream of tartar

2 tsps baking soda

Topping:

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp coarse sea salt

2 tbsps cinnamon

Mix together flour, salt, sugar, cream of tartar, and baking soda.  In a mixer, cream the remaining butter and sugar.  Add eggs, one at a time.  Slowly add in dry ingredients.  Mix until well incorporated.

Refrigerate dough for one hour.

Grease a baking sheet and heat the oven to 400*.  Mix together cinnamon, sugar, and salt.  Using a small spoon, scoop balls of dough, roll them in the sugar mixture, and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until firm/golden brown.  Let cool for a minute, then move to a rack.

As you’re baking, if they start to come out looking too brown around the edges, drop the temperature to 375.

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Hibiscus Moon

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Continuing on our quest to bring you delicious and festive holiday cocktails I proudly present the Hibiscus Moon (the best part of this is picking names, right?). A combination of hibiscus tea, moonshine, honey, and bitters it is simple yet packs a powerful punch. And, beautiful. A perfectly wintery cocktail.

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When I was in college hibiscus tea was my favorite afternoon drink. During breaks in class I’d pop into the campus cafe for a cup of Tazo’s Passion, which is hibiscus, orange peel, rose hips, and passion fruit. I’ve never been a smoker and I didn’t start drinking coffee until after college, so a cup of tea was my favorite way to unwind or break the stress of a long studio class. When I was dreaming up mixers for these winter cocktails it struck me how perfectly this tea would compliment moonshine. It’s tart and full, strong enough that it can be paired with a strong alcohol yet full of subtle, nuanced flavor. Combined with a few tablespoons of local honey to sweeten it and it was done before I knew it.

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One of Dan’s Christmas presents this year (we opt for a 25 days of Christmas approach, exchanging gifts over the course of the month of December) was a mechanism for making large ice spheres. These giant pieces of  ice are ideal for cocktails where you don’t want your drink to be watered down (because they melt slowly) but might taste better served on the rock. Not to mention they’re quite the statement piece. Nothing makes turns a regular cocktail into a serious cocktail like a giant ice sphere.

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In a medium saucepan combine 6 cups water with 6-8 hibiscus teabags (we used Tazo Passion). Bring to a boil and then let cool. As it’s cooling stir in 3 tablespoons honey. Remove teabags and refrigerate the tea until chilled. Combine two fingers moonshine (or vodka), and three fingers tea. Add a splash of bitters and serve on the rock(s).

This post is not sponsored by Tazo, I just happen to love their tea. It’s also not sponsored by Midnight Moon. I just love their moonshine (made in NC).

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