Saturday, December 16, 2006

Catching Up

It has been an exhausting couple of days, between another snowstorm, the bringing home of the tree, and a flurry of baking for Sunday's cookie exchange. Last night, I went to Thrifty Foods and spent $140 on supplies, plus a few regular weekly items, and today I whipped together

1) Peanut Butter Marshmallow Krispee squares
2) Orange Almond Cranberry biscotti
3) Linzer cookies
4) Walnut Rugelach

Linzer cookies. Now these, these, are beautiful. Not only are they pretty, but a batch is supposed to make a dozen cookies... a DOZEN ... and there is an entire cup of unsalted butter in the dough. Then, once the cookies are baked singly, you dust the tops with icing sugar and sandwich them with raspberry jam. So, you get the doubtful felicity of feeling both your pancreas and your gallbladder cramp simultaneously. Good times.

I was supposed to do some other baking too, but I ended up spending too much time outside throwing snowballs at my foxy husband and fell behind schedule. (You'll be happy to hear I totally kicked his ass, by the way - I have quite an arm.)

On the crafting front, there has been some movement despite the Christmas preparations. I am over half finished the front (armholes to shoulders) of St Brigid. I should have the body done by Monday, and have started the sleeves. I needed a break from St B, so I started winding this:

Now, the story is as follows. After the Knitting Olympics, I was one of the lucky random winners of a knitterly prize for finishing my event. I was selected to receive 5 50g balls of hand-dyed laceweight mohair from fyberspates. However, there was a fair bit of confusion over addresses, shipping, et cetera; and between one thing and another I didn't receive my package of yarn until September (I had won it in February). The friendly girl behind fyberspates felt a bit bad about this and overcompensated madly by sending me a CRAPLOAD of yarn. Instead of the promised 5 balls of laceweight, I received 250 g of charcoal laceweight mohair, 50 g of beautiful ocean blue laceweight mohair, 3 50g skeins of handpainted silk boucle DK, a 50g skein of blue/chartreuse sock yarn, and a sockblocker keychain.


The problem is, the laceweight came like this:

Tears came to my eyes when I saw it: not because it was so beautiful (although, you know, it IS), but because I had a vision of myself at age 82, bent over the skein, hair white with age, skin wrinkled and dry, eyesight almost gone, STILL winding this freaking skein of yarn.

But, I wanted to use a smidgen of it for something I've been planning, so I decided to bite the bullet and wind a ball or two. It was surprisingly easy going, actually, although it did take me 40 minutes to find the yarn tail so I could start. Once I started, though, it took me about the same amount of time it takes to wind the same yardage of sock yarn. Reasonably, I should be able to wind the whole thing, by hand, in about 4 more hours.

I also have a sad piece of news. My Lacy Scallops socks, a recent FO, have a gigantic hole in the sole. It was the classic merino sock story - girl knits sock, girl loves sock with an illicit passion bordering on obsession, girl wears beloved sock constantly, sock is perfectly fine at 9:00 AM when she puts it on -- sock looks like swiss cheese at noon, for no apparent reason. So now I've got some darning to do, but I think I will do it in a wool/nylon blend for a bit more durability. I got some acidic remarks from Mr Halfsoled Boots when he saw that twonie-sized hole, along the lines of "Man, what a waste of the old hard-earned, $20 on sock yarn that lasts all of a few weeks." He's not wrong - I have been questioning my dedication to 100% merino sock yarn too. I think I might explore other pattern options, besides socks. You know - something for a less hard-worn part of the body.

I leave you today with a bit of eye candy, and a recipe for Walnut Rugelach. Quite a tasty cookie, unexpectedly addictive with tea or coffee. It's an unusual cookie - I tried it on impulse from an old-ish Christmas cookie magazine. You should try it too.

Walnut Rugelach

1 1/4 C flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 T unsalted butter
3 oz cream cheese
1/4 C white sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla

1 egg white
1 C ground walnuts
1/2 C white sugar
Beat egg white til frothy, stir in walnuts and sugar.

Icing sugar for dusting

Mix flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat butter, cream cheese and sugar until creamy. Beat in egg yolk and vanilla. Stir all into flour mixture. Divide into thirds. Shape into disks. Wrap in plastic, chill thoroughly. Roll each disk into 6 1/2 - 7 inch circle. Spread 1/3 of filling on each, leaving 1/4" border at edge. Cut into 12 wedges, roll up from edge to point.

Bake at 350 on ungreased baking sheet (parchment recommended) 12-14 minutes. Cool on racks. Dust with icing sugar.


Ames said...

Hmmm. . .how do I bring this up gingerly? What about the Manifeasto?

Kate said...

I just might have to try that recipe :)
The tree looks beautiful.
I threw snow at dog, as foxy husband had to work, alas. I seem to be shovelling the driveway a lot ...
And I will make no comment on the sock yarn. See me? (Hang it on the wall, we said.) This is me biting my tongue. Mwah.

Shan said...

Ames, notice I said "third annual cookie exchange"...who am I to break with tradition?

The ManiFeasto still stands - I have not bought any chips or pop, but I HAVE made some cookies with nice free range eggs and organic butter and such. I think I should have specified that I would not eschew homemade cookies entirely, just the storebought stuff.

Plus I got a craving.

Kate: I am laughing my head off over here, reading your comment.

Gwen said...

Oh, the Linzer cookies look so beautiful. LOVE the different shapes you used; well done for not saying, "Oh, heck, I'll just use all trees and be done with it." In Austria we called them "Linzeraugen" = "Linzer eyes," due to the little holes in the top.

Lovely tree.

Fun Knits said...

If you ever get a huge skein like that again and want to wind quick bring it over to the new store. I have a nice wooden swift and a ball winder to use in the store. We actually even have room to operate it. Hope you have a good Christmas - Your cookies and tree look great.