Alicia and I drank our way through their holiday cocktail list. The blood orange pom fireball sangria tastes like Christmas in your mouth! It’s def going on the menu for any and all future holiday spreads.
I know so many people who are going through tough times right now (the death of a parent, the loss of their family home, and trouble conceiving, to name a few)… Besides LA traffic, my only other gripe is that I’ve been working long hours, and my postmates driver (that my work pays for) forgot to include utensils with my order last night, so I had to eat my calamari in my office with my bare hands like an animal. I feel like an asshole even mentioning it. All things considered, I have so much to be thankful for.
I baked my mom a pie, but her love for strawberry rhubarb doesn’t run as deep as mine. Good thing we got her sold-out Adele tickets as a back-up!
The highlight of my weekend was seeing my mom jump up and down and scream like a fangirl when she opened her gift. A very close second would have to be getting carded at the casino. Apparently, I look like I’m under 18 (#stillgotit). I was with my parents and Pammie who was not carded. And highly offended.
I spent my holiday vacation back home in San Diego making memories with family and old friends.
Just after Christmas, my cousin and her family were involved in a devastating house fire that took the life of her daughter and everything they owned. It has been a difficult year for my family in general, and this tragedy solidified 2015 as the worst year ever! Hopefully 2016 is kinder to us all. A friend of the family set up a GoFundMe account if you would like to make a donation to help.
My dear friend, Jay, also lost his mom over the holidays, and I met up with him and friends I haven’t seen in forever at her memorial. I love seeing these guys, because no matter how much time has passed, we can all still pick up right where we left off. The highlight of my day was when Pammie and I walked into the chapel and Jay’s brother greeted us with arms wide open and a simple, “Bitches.” Classic Rome. Jay trying to give me dating advice was a very close second. The lowlight of my day had to be when my ex-boyfriend brought his fiancé and his parents to the memorial, and all I brought was my extra holiday weight. LOL. Just kidding. (I brought my sister, too.)
My resolution this year is to be better about staying in touch with family and friends. I have a tendency to close myself off, and I’m trying to work on that. You really never know when you’re going to lose your loved ones…
FOR THE COOKIES:
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries
FOR THE FROSTING:
1 (8 oz.) bar cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted in the microwave or double-boiler
2 tsp. orange extract
3 cups powdered sugar
FOR THE TOPPING:
1 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
1/4 cup white chocolate chips, melted in the microwave or double-boiler
TO MAKE THE COOKIES:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt until well-blended. Set aside.
Using an an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla and the eggs one at a time, beating in between to incorporate. Then reduce the speed to low, and slowly add in the dry ingredients. Increase the speed to medium, and continue beating until well-combined. Fold in the white chocolate chips and cranberries, and mix until just-combined. (Do not overmix.)
Cover and refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour. Then place dough by rounded tablespoon-fulls onto a baking sheet that has been prepared with parchment paper, at least 2.5-inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly golden around the edges. Remove pan, and transfer the cookies to a cooling rack until cool. Repeat with remaining dough until all cookies are baked. Wait until cookies reach room temperature before adding frosting and toppings.
TO MAKE THE FROSTING:
Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the cream cheese and melted white chocolate until combined. (**Be sure that your cream cheese REALLY is at room temperature before adding the white chocolate. Otherwise the chocolate could seize up.) Add in the orange extract and mix until combined. Then reduce speed to low and add the powdered sugar. Mix until incorporated. Then use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl, and beat once more for 1 minute on medium speed until the frosting is smooth. You can add more powdered sugar for a thicker frosting.
Spread the frosting on the cooled cookies. Then immediately sprinkle the frosted cookies with the chopped dried cranberries. And use a fork to drizzle on the frosting, swishing it back and forth over the cookies.
For Friendsgiving this year, I made an oxtail ragu that would bring you to your knees. It took me five hours to cook, and I didn’t finish until three in the morning! It was worth it, but I’ll probably never make it again (just like the chocolate babka I made in 2012). I hope you enjoyed my tender meat, because that’s the last time you’re ever gonna eat it! Ha.
1 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup white sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 can (13.6 oz.) dulce de leche (you can find this at Target or most grocery stores next to the condensed milk in the baking aisle)
2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1 tbsp chocolate liqueur or heavy cream
Make the crust. Position an oven rack in the middle position and preheat oven to 325F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides. Spray parchment paper with non-stick spray.
Mix the graham crackers, sugar and butter. Press mixture evenly onto bottom of baking pan. Bake 10 minutes, then place on a cooling rack to cool for 5 minutes.
Make the filling. Spread the dulce de leche evenly over the graham crust, then place pan in refrigerator while you prepare the cream cheese layer.
Beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and continue to beat on medium-high for another 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Beat in the vanilla extract.
Pour the cream cheese mixture over the dulce de leche layer and spread evenly, and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the center only slightly jiggles. Remove from the oven and cool completely-about 2 hours.
Glaze the cake. Heat the chocolate, butter, liqueur and light corn syrup in a double boiler or in a microwave at 30-second intervals, stirring until smooth. Cool for about 10 minutes. Pour the glaze over the cheesecake, tilting the pan to ensure the top is coated evenly. Chill for several hours-or at least 30 minutes before serving.
Lift the cheesecake from the pan using the parchment handles and slice into squares using a sharp knife, wiping it clean after each cut. Let the pan sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before you lift the bars out and cut them. The chocolate glaze will crack if you cut them while they are still very cold.
Our Thanksgiving dinner consisted of enough chinese food to feed a small village plus a turkey (which a chinese restaurant deep fried for us for $25). Ha. Is it weird that I’ve never had stuffing before?
Bingo, bitches! Now I know where I get my competitiveness and foul mouth from… I’ve never heard my grandma curse so much in my life!
The Debutante @ The Haven. Good beer and good pizza with good friends.
I haven’t been home in a while, and Rocky clearly misses me! I found this cuddle bug in my old bed every night I was in town.