Archive for the ‘Baking’ Category

#Betterbreakfastmonth Round Two: The Vegan Cranberry Orange Breakfast Loaf

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

 

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Fall is upon us! Well sort of- I want to believe it’s fall, but it’s still 100+ degrees here in Southern California so I’m fabricating fall smells in my kitchen while I pretend to be back on the East Coast with all its cool weather and changing leaves.

There’s something about fall that always inspires me to spend more time in the kitchen. I think it brings back a lot of nostalgic feelings surrounding my Mom, and my parents’ home back on the East Coast. I remember being young and having zero interest in learning to cook, but there was something magical about watching my mom in the kitchen. Some might call it observing her in her element, but knowing what I know now- it was more than that. My Mother is an amazing cook and baker, and spent most of my younger years cooking for an entire neighborhood (you laugh, but there were at least 15 extra kids at my house every night). Baking for my Mom was her way of showing those around her she loved and cared for them, and that act of service is something that has always stuck with me. Now don’t get me wrong- she cooked her butt off year round, but fall was really when she pulled out the big guns. Every day after school my friends would express their jealousy at the delicious smell of home baked cookies wafting from our little apartment (I’m talking oatmeal cookies, chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies…this is just one afternoon y’all). People would randomly drop by during that time, as it was pretty well known in the area that if you came by Janie’s house you were leaving with a huge bag of baked goods, a hug, and likely some extra groceries to tie you over until payday (yea my Mom and Dad are the bee’s knees). So when I started putting together a recipe for this week I thought about a breakfast dish that you could easily share with loved ones, or co-workers, or friends that was comforting but still healthy. I decided I would borrow an old fall favorite, Vegan Cranberry Orange Loaf from Jennifer at the NeuroticMommy blog. She took out the eggs, the processed sugar, and milk, really knocking the calorie count down (and made it more restrictive diet friendly (I’m looking at my fellow lactose intolerant friends!) The recipe is incredibly simple and easy to share! I encourage you readers to whip up your own breakfast loaf and share it with the people you love, and in this case I got to share it with my super sweet co-workers!

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I whipped up this super tasty recipe using Pacific Merchants’ French wood utensils, which are fabulous not just because each utensil is unique (each utensil is hand crafted and therefore each one is like a little snowflake), but since they are made of wood you don’t get any plastic-y taste from the kitchenware. Plus since we have numerous cancer survivors in my family, we don’t have to worry about any plastic based carcinogens that may contaminate the food. I’ve plated the loaf on Pacific Merchants’ responsibly forested 16” x 7” acacia serving tray (so my wonderful coworkers don’t have to fight to get a “slice” of the action), and decorated our table with the Red Tone Fall Deco Parchment leaves so my co-worker’s get the full Fall experience (they may think I’m slightly insane in this 100 degree weather, but oh well- haha!)

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Vegan Cranberry Orange Breakfast Loaf
(Many thank yous to www.neuroticmommy.com)

Ingredients
1 ½ cups cake flour or GF whole wheat flour
1 tsp of Baking Powder
1 cup of organic sugar or ¾ cup of honey (Grade B)  (if you use the honey decrease the liquid in the recipe by 3 tbsp)
Zest of ½ an orange
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
¾ cup unsweetened Almond Milk (or any nut milk)
½ cup organic safflower oil
1 tbsp orange juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup fresh cranberries

Orange Glaze (optional)
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp orange juice

Method

1. Preheat oven to 350F and lightly spray standard loaf pan with coconut oil or nonstick cooking spray
2. In a large bowl sift together dry ingredients, flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and orange zest. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients, almond milk, safflower oil, applesauce, orange juice, and vanilla extract.
4. Slowly mix in wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir until just combined then fold in the fresh cranberries.
5.  Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. The original recipe calls for 70-75 minutes but because of the ingredient switches, the time varies. Mine loaves were done at an hour and 20 minutes. 6. At the hour mark, just keep an eye on it from there. If you want to keep it in longer but don’t want the top to brown too much, lower the heat and keep it in longer. And of course do the whole tooth pick inserted check.Once done remove from oven and let cool in pan 15 minutes. After that transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before icing (if using).
7. Make the glaze by whisking both juice and sugar together until completely smooth and no sugar clumps are left.
8. Drizzle that yumminess like crazy on top of your loaf cake. Cut, serve and Enjoy!


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Healthy Pancake Variations for #BetterBreakfastMonth

Friday, September 16th, 2016

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One thing I look forward to every weekend is the ability to actually cook a real meal for breakfast instead of my usual instant oatmeal or cereal during the week. Due to the monotonous nature of my workweek eating habits, when Saturday morning rolls around I try my best to test out new exciting recipes (often to my husband’s dismay). One morning in particular we were trying to decide what kind of pancakes we wanted, and after a very rousing 15 minutes of ‘No you choose!’ I had a brilliant idea. Why not just make a healthy base and then we could divide it and add all the fun ingredients after? That way each person could have exactly what they want, or at the very least we would have a multitude of pancake options (what a sweet predicament to be in!) Not only was this a great option for us (no more WHAT DO YOU WANT TO EAT pep talks before coffee-hah!), but I thought about how great this would be for families with picky eaters (or with multiple kids who all want different things). What’s also great is that both variations I’m sharing are gluten-free and low calorie, AND you can refrigerate the batter and use it to make a quick healthy breakfast during the week!
Presentation is also big for me on weekends, since during the week my breakfasts are generally of the ‘to-go’ variety. I like each meal to feel as though we just stepped into the fanciest boutique brunch restaurant (minus the hefty price tag!) These acacia plates from Pacific Merchants are always a great touch, and since there is sticky syrup involved I love using our poly vinyl placemats (super great for not only protecting your table, but also are incredibly easy to clean). It seems like a little overkill, but after 15 years together with my husband, I love every opportunity I can find to create a special date experience for both of us. Plus when you’re on a budget, eating out every weekend is just not an option. And thanks to Pacific Merchant’s products, I’m able to really give my spouse the ‘fine dining’ experience at home (which is not only cute, but practical). Check out the gear I used for this post:
The Acacia Serving tray
The Acacia Round Plates
Our Laguna Linen Placemat
The Into the Woods Deco Parchment Leaves
…and try hosting your own fancy brunch-date at home with the people you love!
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Healthy Pancake Batter

2 cups Oat flour (or you can ground your own oats!)
2 tsp Baking Powder
½ cup organic unsweetened applesauce
1 cup unsweetened Almond Milk
1 egg
Coconut oil for pan

Method

1. Combine all dry ingredients in one bowl, and wet ingredients in another. Slowly add the combined wet ingredients to the dry mixing as you go.
2. Decide how you want to customize them! Today I’m making Lemon Poppy Seed for myself, and mixed berry cereal pancakes for the husband!

Lemon Poppy Seed Variation

1 tbsp Organic Poppy seeds
3 tsp Lemon Juice (Fresh or pre-bottled)
1. Half the batter you just made and set one half aside.
2. Add the organic poppy seeds and the lemon juice, and stir into batter until combined.
3. Add a spoonful of coconut oil to pan (do so before pouring each pancake)
4. Ladle a small amount of batter onto the pan and let cook for roughly 2-3 minutes each side (or until brown). Repeat until you finish batter.
5. Add some organic maple syrup and these bad boys are ready to eat!

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The Arnold’s Mixed Berry and Cereal Variation

½ cup organic blackberries
1 cup of any cereal (today we are using Honey Bunches of Oats)

1. Add a spoonful of coconut oil to skillet (do so before pouring each pancake)
2. Take the other half of the untouched batter and ladle it onto your pan.
3. Sprinkle a couple berries and a pinch of cereal on top of the pancake. Ladle more batter on top (lightly- you still want to see bits of berry and cereal poking through)
4. Once the pancake begins to bubble, flip it over. (Each side should take roughly 2-3 minutes to cook through). Repeat until you finish batter.
5. Add some organic maple syrup and voila!

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Side notes if you’ve never made pancakes before!
*keep pancakes relatively thin and small when you pour them onto the skillet. It allows them to cook more evenly, and you don’t have to worry about an uncooked middle section.
* If you feel like your pancake batter is too thick you can always add more almond milk. BUT if you do add some to it, add it in small increments or the batter will become too runny. You do want the batter to be relatively thick, and if it becomes too runny you’ll have something more akin to crepes!
* The best way to tell if your pancake is ready to flip is to watch the top of the pancake for bubbles. These usually come after 2-3 min on medium heat.
* Don’t crank your burner up to full blast! It’s always better to cook at a lower heat as it will save you from burning your pancakes.
* Fun fact- if you just add the berries and cereal to the batter, the ingredients will come out soggy! Be sure to follow the steps for some delicious crunchy pancakes!

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A Trip to the Past: Pacific Merchants Visits Historical French Factory

Friday, September 9th, 2016

A Trip To The Past: Pacific Merchants visits 150 year old olive wood factory in France.  Hand made and artisan techniques handed down generation to generation.

Bonjour mes amis! — That’s French for “Hey there, my friends!” Why are we speaking French, you might ask?  Well, Pacific Merchants just got back from one heck of a factory visit in the South of France! We went right to the source and saw for ourselves where our beautiful olivewood and beechwood utensils are handcrafted: to experience this craftsmanship of our products firsthand was quite an experience!

We landed in Paris in the morning, and decided to grab a late breakfast at the famous Champs Elysses. From our first croissant and double espresso, we were hooked, and immerse ourselves fully in the French cuisine and culture

We had just begun to adjust to the time change, when we were whisked away by our friend and business associate, Alain. Together, we set off on a six-hour journey to the South of France near the Switzerland border where we would visit the factory and really get to know our products and the people who create them.
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En route to the factory, we made a pit stop for lunch in Saint-Nazaire-En-Royan at the Hotel Restaurant Rome where we enjoyed a local delicacy, “ravioles aux champignons,” a French verison of small, delicate raviolis with gorgeous morel mushrooms. The portions were much larger than the delicate servings we had just began to get accustomed to in Paris. When we mentioned this to Alain, he merely chuckled.
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Nestled in the lush greenery and rolling hills of the beautiful French countryside was our destination.  The factory’s owner Henri was there to greet us with a smile, and he graciously took us on a tour of the factory that’s been in his family for several generations. Henri informed us that while there was once a time where 50-60 cottage wood industries existed in France, today Henri’s factory is among a handful left that produces olivewood and beechwood utensils in France. We feel truly honored to be the factory’s exclusive importer to the United States—especially knowing these were the same tools used by legendary chefs such as Julia Child!

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During the tour, Henri took us to a small room behind the factory, and showed us a collection of wooden mechanical factory parts. These parts were over a hundred years old, impeccably preserved, and had been passed down from generation to generation. You could really feel the heart of the factory come to life when looking at these antiques, and as a visitor from a country which idolizes what is new and trendy, it was incredibly moving to be in the presence of something so timeless and historical. The more we saw, the more we understood the rich history behind our products, and the extensive amount of handcraftsmanship that goes towards their production.
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While at the factory, we observed the production of our olive wood spoons from start to finish. First, the raw materials come into the factory and are cut down into individual blocks of wood. The blocks are then loaded into a hand-run wood router to create shaped pieces which are turned to create a handle and the shape of the head of the spoon. From there, the spoons are individually hand finished, which includes creating the spoon bowl by hand in a press-like machine. After that, the finished spoon is hand polished and covered with a signature oil and wax. Voila!
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Click here to see a 90 second video on the process I just described!  It’s worth seeing.
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It was a long and exciting day at the factory learning about our French woodenware utensils, so we spent the night in a cozy little country inn where we got a much needed night’s rest. We woke up early the next morning and set off for the factory for morning meetings to discuss product development with our business partner and the factory owners.

We were led up a narrow flight of stairs into the meeting room which overlooked the entire factory. We were so excited to see all that the company had to offer, but even more thrilled to develop new ideas with Henri, and see how we could work together to improve our products for our customers. The meeting was very successful, and we shook hands with Henri and parted, feeling optimistic about what was in store for the future of our two companies!  Merci’!

Bruce Mannis & Samantha Mannis

Buying & Video Team

 

Labor Day Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip

Friday, September 2nd, 2016


Summer is finally coming to a close this weekend, which is no surprise for anyone- what with grocery stores and coffee shops already pushing pumpkin – flavored everything in our faces. But before we jump onto the ‘I heart fall’ bandwagon, let’s pump the breaks and get you ready for your Labor Day BBQ.

Labor Day is actually one of the best holidays in the US if for nothing else than the country takes a single day to honor all of its hard workers. The idea being that we are supposed to take the holiday and treat ourselves to some relaxation and fun, whether it is extra family time or a cookout (or heck a mid-day nap!). Now if there’s anything we love at Pacific Merchants it’s a good BBQ, and if there is anything we love more than that it would likely be guilt free snacking. BBQ fare is notorious for junk-food items and over-indulgence, but it doesn’t have to be! You can still over-indulge (now sans guilt) with this Vegan Gluten-Free Spinach Artichoke dip. Not only is it creamy and delicious, but a normal order of spinach artichoke dip comes in at a whopping 1,600 calories per order – whereas its vegan counterpart clocks in at roughly 83 calories per cup (WHICH IS A LOT OF DANG DIP FOR UNDER 100 calories). Plus (and this is from experience here) if you don’t tell anyone it’s vegan…NO ONE WILL KNOW- Which is especially helpful if you come from a family like mine, who thinks the word vegan is a synonym for bland.

Now aside from the fact that this recipe is incredibly healthy, it’s also super easy to make! And if you’ve been vegan for long you know how rare it is for those two things to go together. So here we go.

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Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip

Ingredients:

1 Jar marinated artichoke hearts
3 cups of frozen chopped spinach (you’re welcome to use fresh)
1 cup frozen chopped onions
1 brick of Jalapeño Havarti Almond Cheese
1 brick of Soy Mozzarella
1 cup Almond milk
2 tsp of Olive Oil (or coconut)
1 tsp of garlic powder
Salt & pepper to taste
Assorted Veggies & multigrain whole wheat pita chips (for dipping)

Method

– Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
– Prep a medium sized casserole dish (I spray mine with coconut oil for easy cleanup)
– Cube the 2 bricks of cheese and set in a large bowl
– Dice the artichoke hearts and set in the same bowl as the cheese
– Pour in the spinach and onions
– Add spices and oil to the bowl (I also toss in about 2 tsp of whatever the artichoke hearts were marinating in)
– Toss all ingredients together to mix everything up
– Pour bowl continents into your casserole dish
– Pour the cup of almond milk over the spread evenly (can add more later if you feel like your dip is too thick)
– Set casserole dish in the oven, cook for ten minutes, stir dip, and then cook for another ten minutes (so 20 min total). This is also the point to add more milk to the mixture if you want a runnier consistency.
– Once fully cooked, you can brown the top of the dip by switching the oven to broil for 2-3 minutes. Be sure to check on it frequently so it doesn’t burn (it browns up super quick!)
-Let cool for 5 minutes, and then plate the dip in your beautiful acacia 7 part flower tray from Pacific Merchants! I chose to use an assortment of veggies and whole grain pita for dipping (to keep this dish as healthy as possible). However, I will occasionally serve this with a nice bread (whole wheat challah or sourdough is my favorite).

Get your own Pacific Merchants Acaciaware serving tray here.

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Hangover Breakfast Pie

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

Hangover Breakfast Pie on Acaciaware serving platter

Party poppers, top hats, confetti and champagne—the glamour and joy of New Year’s celebrations are a thrill. Some pay the price on the first of January, however. When all you want is to share a warming, home-cooked meal with your loved ones, you wake up to a splitting headache… How can you cure that hangover?

Good news! You can still enjoy a scrumptious brunch and impress New Year’s guests with minimal effort. Pre-prepare this Hangover Breakfast Pie recipe, refrigerate up to two days, and bake!  It is hangover-friendly and ready in minutes.  Serve your breakfast pie on gorgeous, Hawaiian-made Acaciaware® wood products for a simply elegant presentation.  Harvested and hand-crafted from non-endangered acacia wood, this fine set of specialty items creates an extraordinary New Year’s brunch without the hassle.  

After all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day and this pie is the ultimate cure. It warms the heart and strengthens the body.  Rich nutrients from the spinach, carbohydrates and vitamin C from the potatoes, as well as protein from the eggs help rejuvenate the body to start the New Year right.  For gluten-free guests, use a potato-based or a gluten-free pie crust.  Enjoy this wholesome recipe for years to come.

May you have a blessed (and hangover-free) New Year!

Cheers to 2016

 

Preheat: 400°F             | |              Prep Time: 30 minutes            | |             Bake Time: 25-30 minutes

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 premade piecrust (frozen aisle of most markets)
  • 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 3 fresh sage leaves
  • 1/3 c onion, chopped
  • 1 small red potato, skinned and diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¾ c chicken sausage with coriander
  • 1 ball of fresh burrata cheese
  • ¼ c butter, melted
  • 4 eggs + 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 c whole milk (lactose-free substitutes are okay, but may taste off)
  • 1 handful of spinach

 

5 SIMPLE STEPS:

  1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Toss onion, thyme, sage and potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper on the sheet. Roast in the oven at 400°F for 18 minutes.
  2. Unwrap and thaw the piecrust for 10 minutes. Pop in the oven with the vegetables for 3 minutes to soften. Using a fork, crimp the piecrust edge diagonally for the desired shape. Wave-like strokes create the most impressive look.

Hint: place the piecrust on another baking sheet for easier removal of the pie and use oven gloves!

  1. Heat sausage links in the microwave for 2 minutes uncovered or in the oven as directed.
  2. Whisk eggs, egg whites, milk, melted butter, and a hint of salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the bits of sausage.
  3. Line the bottom of the crust with the potato/onion/herb mixture, layer with a handful of spinach, and pour over the egg mixture. Cover the crust edges with tinfoil to reduce cracking of the piecrust.

Cover and refrigerate up to two days and/or bake in the center of the oven for 25-30 minutes.

 

Fall Into the Woods: Trail Mix Recipe

Monday, August 31st, 2015

National Eat Outside Day falls on the last day of August. And speaking of fall, autumn is rapidly approaching. If you want to get specific, the fall equinox this year lands on September 23rd at precisely 4:21 a.m.
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Double Trouble Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

“Double, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn and caldron bubble.”
Macbeth (or Harry Potter if you’re so inclined)

Now that I’ve planted this earworm in your head, let’s talk about The Great British Bake Off (GBBO). GBBO is a show on BBC One where the UK’s best amateur bakers compete to be dubbed the best amateur baker. Season 6 recently began, and in celebration I present thee with a new recipe that will make you the best baker of your clan.

Seriously, this recipe checks off all the boxes.
Chocolate? √
Minimal clean-up? √
Delicious? √
Healthy? √
Chocolate? √
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The History of the Wooden Spoon

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

“I’m brilliant at cooking my stepmother’s scrambled egg recipe. The secret is to put eggs, butter, milk, and seasoning together in the saucepan, and to keep stirring with a wooden spoon under a low heat until the preferred consistency is reached.”
– Ian McKellen

If imagining Gandalf whipping up a dish of scrambled eggs, armed with not a staff but a wooden spoon, doesn’t make you want to jump into the kitchen, then I don’t know what will.

France stamp

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Happy Holidays! Here’s Our Favorite Sugar Cookie Recipe.

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

With just a week until Christmas, isn’t it time that you have a foolproof sugar cookie recipe?  This recipe makes fantastic cutout sugar cookies that hold their shape and don’t need to chill first – a huge bonus if you’ve got impatient kids, or if you’re just busy. ‘Tis the season of busy, after all.  Read on for a fantastic Christmas cookie recipe that we hear Santa loves! We’re also going to link you to some of our favorite cookie baking and decorating tips from around the web. Huge bonus – even if you’ve got ZERO time to go Christmas shopping, everyone loves a box (or Kilner jar) of cookies. And these are not only super easy to make and highly delicious, but they’re inexpensive – a great way to save some money during this expensive time.

How to make Christmas Cookies, How to make sugar cookies

Items Shown: Acacia Wood Plate

Of course, if you want to buy a gift, we’ve got options, and as long as you place your order by December 23rd, there’s a way to get it to you for Christmas (Call us or Live Chat us for details – Ground shipping WILL NOT necessarily do the trick, depending on where you’re located.)  Check out our Odds-and-Ends section for really cool one-off pieces up to 50% off, or take a look at our Holiday section for gifts and table decor. Or, you know, feel free to browse our entire site. We’ve got some INCREDIBLE gift ideas. Got a baker on the list? We’ve got cake stands.  A holiday junkie? Consider a Mason Cash Christmas bowl. A tea drinker?  Give them a beautiful new teapot!

But enough talk. Let’s bake instead! What makes these cookies extra special? You don’t have to chill the dough before baking. You can freeze the cookies OR the dough. They hold their shape without being too hard. They bake quickly. But most importantly, they’re super-tasty.

Our signature christmas cookie recipe

Items Shown: Holly Leaves, Wood Plate

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 egg
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • zest of one tangerine or small orange
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 (unless you’re making and freezing the dough.)
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a mixer (or with a hand mixer if you want)  cream together the butter, lemon zest, tangerine zest and sugar until the mixture is well combined.
  4. Add the egg, scrape the bowl, and then add the vanilla extract.
  5. Add flour mixture and beat until just combined. Don’t over mix or you’ll ruin the texture,  but scrape bowl to make sure everything is incorporated.
  6. Once dough is barely incorporated (It’ll still be crumbly, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead it lightly with your hands to combine, then roll to about 1/4 inch thick.
  7. Cut into shapes and put on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  8. Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown, or freeze flat with parchment between cookies.
  9. Decorate as you see fit! I use a quick royal icing (powdered sugar, lemon juice, egg white) to ice my cookies. Sometimes I go crazy with the sprinkles.

See below for more cookie baking, decorating and gifting tips!

decorated christmas cookie ideas, PLUS christmas cookie decorating tips, tricks, and recipes

Photo Credit: Bake at 350. Check it out – she’s ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE!

Need some cookie decorating inspiration?  The Brilliant Bridget over at Bake at 350 (hello, alliteration!) has a killer holiday cooking guide – everything from recipes to tips to decorating ideas all in one place. Click here to be absolutely wowed!

Invisible Outline with Royal Icing_3

Photo Credit: Sweet Sugar Belle!

How about some flawless icing?  This post (and hello, video tutorial) over at Sweet Sugar Belle will have you making professional looking iced cookies in no time!

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Photo Credit: We are Not Martha

Need a pretty cookie that packs? We are Not Martha suggests these sandwich cookies – Check them out at the end of the post, packed in cute holiday gift boxes!

Photo Credit: The Purl Bee via The Kitchn

Need more cookie-wrapping inspiration? Check out this post over on The Kitchn. Everything from jars (hello, Kilner) to take out containers to brown lunch bags can be made into beautiful gift containers with a little ingenuity.

So there you have it, folks. It’s not too late to make (and give) a fabulous holiday gift – I mean really, can you think of anyone who doesn’t like cookies? Whether you’re making our cookies or favorite recipes of yours, whoever is on the receiving end is going to be one lucky friend! And, since it’s a week away, Merry Christmas. If that’s not your thing, Happy Holidays, happy winter, happy day!

 

 

Potato Pancakes – Our Hanukkah Latke Recipe

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

Here at Pacific Merchants we love the holidays, and we’re pretty equal opportunity when it comes to celebrating. Why? Because we’re a pretty diverse group and learning about each others’ customs is a blast. So we figured, before we dig in on Christmas-mania, early December would be a good time to share our favorite Hanukkah recipe: a simple recipe for latkes that is beyond delicious.  Plus, we’ve scoured the net for some other delicious variations on  potato pancakes. Because nothing says good times like fried carbs, fascinating traditions, bright lights, miraculously efficient oil lamps, and great friends.

I’m sure you know that latkes are traditionally served at Hanukkah, but I’ve served them at parties all year long. When made on the smaller side and topped with a bit of sour cream and a slice of smoked salmon, you’ve got a beautiful, and totally crowd-pleasing appetizer. Some other favorite toppings include: Traditional sour cream and applesauce, brie and cranberry sauce, sour cream and bacon (clearly not for those who keep kosher,) fried eggs and chives, and even peanut butter and jelly. I’ve occasionally even used hem in place of an English muffin in eggs Benedict. SO good. But suppose you want to keep it traditional and serve latkes for Hanukkah? Well, first, when is Hannukah? Unlike Christmas, it changes every year. Hanukkah 2014 is December 16-December 24. Now that you know the dates, it’s as easy as whipping up a batch of these tasty treats.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Pounds of Russet potatoes
  • 1 small white or yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 2+ Tablespoons of flour (you can sub out matzoh meal for Passover or coconut flour to make it gluten free.)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Oil, chicken fat, or butter for frying. I’d suggest bacon fat, but that’s not kosher.

Instructions

  1. Peel your potatoes and your onion. Either in a food processor or by hand with a box grater, grate your potatoes. If you’re using a box grater, be wary of your knuckles.  I wasn’t, and I regretted it.
  2. Line a wire mesh strainer with cheesecloth or a clean dishtowel. Put all your potato and onion mixture into the dishtowel.
  3. Twist the cloth to squeeze moisture from the potato mixture, and let sit for 15 minutes to drain.
  4. Transfer the drained potatoes into a bowl and add the garlic, eggs, 2 Tablespoons of flour, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.  If the mixture seems too wet, add more flour (you can always do this after cooking a test latke.)
  5. Latkes are best when eaten fresh, so about 14 mintues before you’re ready to eat, pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees, and heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add about 1/4 inch of oil to your skillet.
  6. Drop heaping spoonfuls of the mixture into the oil.  It should spread out, so  leave room between latkes.
  7. Cook the potato pancakes 3-4 minutes on each side. Both sides should be golden and crisp.
  8. Eat right away or keep warm in the oven.

There you have it – a delicious treat for the eight nights of Hanukkah in eight easy steps. Now that you know how to make potato pancakes from scratch, something tells me you’re going to be doing it all year. It’s super-easy, after all, and incredibly delicious.  But let’s just say you wanna try a different recipe. . .

 

These sweet potato latkes are from our blog – we posted them last year when looking for a sweet potato recipe for Thanksgiving, which just happened to fall on the first night of Hanukkah.

These rainbow latkes from What Jew Wanna Eat – Not only are they incredibly fun to look at, but they’re a great way to get an extra serving of veggies in. Each one is made from different produce, and is naturally colorful.

These Gluten Free Carrot Scallion Latkes from Elana’s Pantry. We love that Elana thought to make a paleo-friendly version of a latke, and we love the way the scallions and carrots taste together. A perfect combination!

These super-flavorful Zucchini and Green Garlic Latkes from Sassy Radish – I’m a little obsessed with green garlic, and I always seem to have a surplus of zucchini, so to me, this is the perfect latke recipe.

 

Apple Latkes - Photo Credit: Smitten Kitchen

Apple Latkes – Photo Credit: Smitten Kitchen

If you want to make it sweet, these Apple Latkes from Smitten Kitchen are AMAZING, especially with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. What a nice way to end a meal.

Have a happy Hannukah, Friends. I hope you enjoy it!


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