Archive for December, 2010

Published by Patianne on 29 Dec 2010

Peace In A Cookie?

While pondering my last post of the year, I decided to explore the “Peace” cookie. Oh, if only baking would make it so. But, what if we ALL made Peace cookies around holiday time?

After a busy holiday season when we are all through with this:

(Cooking and baking in The Cardboard Kitchen!)

and this:

(Painting ‘Seafood” in The Cardboard Kitchen!)

let’s say we all bake for Peace.

The Peace cookie has many variations. As I began to research all the recipes that came up during my web searches, I reduced it down to four distinct recipe themes.  These range from a Croatian filled pastry; the Dorie Greenspan Chocolate version including a vegan recipe of this now famous cookie; a cookie that uses healthy ingredients; and a sugar cookie with a lovely royal icing Peace decoration.

But really, Peace cookies do not have to be any one of these ‘sanctioned’ cookies. I believe if you think Peace while baking, than whatever you are baking magically becomes an ambassador of Peace. I shall try one of the following recipes in the coming month, and let you all know how it went! Until then, here are the links to the cookies described above.

Croatian Peace Cookies

Dorie Greenspan’s World Peace Cookies

World Peace Cookies For Vegans by Cinnamon Quill

Healthy Ingredients Peace Cookies

Decorated Sugar Cookie

So choose a recipe, and bake for Peace!

Wishing you a Peaceful 2011!

Published by Patianne on 14 Dec 2010

Have A Happy Red, White And Chocolate Holiday!

At Art On The Menu it’s been holiday baking time for the past 6 weeks. My approach is eclectic a best.  I look through my books, cookie magazines, and recipes. What jumps out, goes on the list.

This year it was 2 bar cookies; one sliced cookie; one rolled  cut out cookie, and the peppermint and chocolate graham cracker cookie bar my niece and nephew love. Because I make this cookie every year for them, it almost defines my holiday baking.

I am also crazy about the way this cookie looks. Dark chocolate is the perfect backdrop for red and white peppermint. And since I love everything vintage, to my eye these bars are reminiscent of a 40’s cocktail dress: dark brown velvet worn with red and white rhinestones that sparkle against the velvety chocolate color!

This cookie is easy, elegant, and everybody loves them. If you don’t already have a version of this recipe, it’s my holiday gift to you!

Happy Holidays!

Chocolate Peppermint Cookie Bars

Makes 48

Preheat oven to 350°

Line a regular cookie sheet (11″ wide, not a  1/2 sheet), with foil and coat lightly with cooking spray.

12-16 graham crackers
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 package chocolate chips
1 package Peppermint Star Lights, unwrapped, crushed

Line  baking sheet with Graham crackers, breaking as needed to fill gaps. Approx 12 – 16 graham crackers.

Boil butter and brown sugar, stirring constantly, for 2 min.

Add 1/2 tsp salt.

Stir in salt.

Immediately pour over graham crackers, spread to cover.

Bake for 7 min. only.

Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with chocolate chips.

Wait 5 min until chips soften.

Spread chocolate.

Sprinkle with crushed peppermint.

Cut into bars.

Freezes well.

Published by Patianne on 04 Dec 2010

An Artful Tradition

Look at this gorgeous Tree!

Most of us have a seasonal decorating tradition, but let me introduce you to Danielle. She is not only an accomplished artist, but also a dedicated art collector.

Since 2003 Danielle has been collecting art for her 12′ Tree, and she spends months carefully  placing and arranging the art on the branches. I think you’ll agree, this creative conifer really is an ever changing work of art!

Danielle graciously told me about the process of creating this visionary Tree in the interview that follows.

aotm: I see your spectacular Tree as an ongoing work of art! How long have you been creating your ” Tree Of Art”?

D: “I’ve been putting up a Christmas tree with the most interesting store bought ornaments I could find since I was sixteen.  Even then, arranging the ornaments always felt like an Art project to me.  I started the “Artist” tree in 2003 when I first learned to use the computer at age thirty-eight (I KNOW!!!!) and discovered Ebay and it’s Artists, followed by Etsy and it’s Artists in 2005.”

aotm: What inspired this vision?

D: “I LOVE ART!!!!  Especially sculpture of any medium. But I like to live in simple, clean lines without a lot of stuff ( think gallery space).  So I thought “how can I enjoy hordes of art at once within my simple space?” And I came up with using our 12′ Christmas tree where there’s plenty of space for art and it stays up for 3 or 4 months for everyones enjoyment:):)”

aotm: Tell us how you choose the pieces in your collection.

D: “I choose what I feel are the most interesting and well made of every medium ( glass, paper, wood, clay, fabric etc.). I have a thing for kooky expressions, creepy/cute & I’m currently obsessed with food sculpture.  Also, if I see a larger piece of Artwork that I like, I’ll ask the Artist if they’d like to recreate it smaller for the tree.”

aotm: I know you are an artist yourself, and create Art Dolls. Are any of your own pieces on your tree?

D: “I’ve been working on a series of “sideshow” figures since 2003.  Since I do them in my spare time, they may never be complete, LOL, so until then I’ve displayed a couple of the finished pieces on the tree.  So far, the “large” lady, the “little” lady, the “upper torso only” lady, the armless lady, the pinhead guy and the gender confused “half man, half woman” have all made an appearance on the tree.”

aotm: You have told me it takes months of careful arranging and modifying before your Tree is ready for viewing. Can you describe this process?

D: “Hmm, do I want people to know how crazy and anal I really am (LOL!)??  In a nutshell, it takes four days to assemble the 12′ artificial tree, spread the branches and lift each branch into place with a small piece of plastic.  Fifteen minutes to move the living room furniture to the perimeter of the room.  Three hours to set up two 8′, two 6′ and two 4′ tables, tape cardboard around the edges ( so the Art can’t fall off ), and cover with acid free tissue paper.  One hour to bring out the 15 boxes of Art.  Two days to unpack all the art & place on the tables according to medium.  And six to eight weeks (depending on the amount of time I can devote to it per day) to stand 3 to 5′ away from the tree holding a piece of art at arms length, deciding where it would look the best.  I try to mix up the mediums and colors to make the overall effect fun and pleasing to the eye!!!”

aotm: Wow! That really is dedication to art! As one of the many artists represented on this creative Tree Of Art, I can only say I am very honored to be a part of this fantastic and beautiful vision Danielle! Thank You!

All photographs courtesy of Danielle S.