Soft Gingerbread Cookies

{the essence of Christmas foods}
Sometimes when the outside world, looks like this:
  This is for real... probably shouldn't be taking pictures and driving at the same time in 6 inches of snow, but whatever... I lived.

... the first thing that comes to my mind is Christmas. And with Christmas, comes baking. Specifically gingerbread cookies. This was my first time making them from scratch. I was pretty impressed- me and cookies usually don't get along very well, but these were easy and relatively fool proof. Me likey! They were absolutely delish and super soft. My husby took them to work, and everyone requested more. I'll allow it!
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 1/2 cups flour

In a large mixing bowl beat shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, and cloves. Beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. 
Beat in molasses, egg and vinegar [enter elementary school memories of your science fair volcano explosion here] [get it... baking soda and vinegar...] beat until combined and note the the bubbly-ness that occurs. Beat in as much of the flour as you can, and stir in the remainder until combined.
Cover and chill dough in the fridge for 3 hours or until firm and easy to handle.
Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a cookie sheet, set aside.  
On a lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough at a time to 1/8 inch thick. Using cookie cutters, cut into shapes and place on cookie sheet.

Bake for 5-6 minutes or until bottoms are light brown. Cool on cookie sheet, then transfer to wire wrack. 
Here's the best part... DECORATING! Use basic powdered sugar icing to pipe and color (if desired) to decorate however you want! Go nuts!
A little Red Sox pride here... I couldn't help it!
Happy Holiday Baking!

The World's Best Dinner Rolls

{nuff said}
I've been meaning to try these for the longest time, but the phrase 'making bread' has the up most negative connotation I can think of. Bread is yummy, yet labor intensive. Anyways, these truly do live up to their name. I've never tasted heaven before... until these babies came into my life. 
These were a part of our Thanksgiving dinner, maybe if you are looking for something to complete your Christmas dinner, yes?... But you don't really need a reason to make them, let's just be honest!

2 cup whole milk (if you’re in a pinch, you can use 2%, but whole is best. Don’t use 1% or skim)
½ cup + 1 Tbsp. sugar, divided
1/3 c. (5 1/3 Tbsp.) butter
2 tsp. Kosher salt
2 pkgs. active dry yeast (or 4 1/2 tsp.)
2/3 cup warm (105-115-degree) water
8-9 cups all-purpose flour
3 beaten eggs


Combine milk, 1/2 cup sugar, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until butter melts.
Remove from heat. Allow to cool to lukewarm. I filled my sink full of ice cubs and set the pan in the sink. This step is really important because if the mixture is too hot, it will kill the yeast.
While the milk mixture is cooling, dissolve the yeast and 1 Tbsp. sugar in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes. If the yeast hasn’t bubbled, you’ll need to repeat this step.
In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 cups flour and milk mixture. Beat on low for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Add yeast mixture and beat on high for 3 minutes.

Add beaten eggs. Beat again until combined. Stir in as much remaining flour as needed to make a soft dough. This dough should be very soft–it will be coming away from the sides of the bowl, but it will still stick to your finger when you touch it. Don’t worry, it will firm up during the rising process. Part of what makes these rolls so good is that they’re so soft and light; if you add too much flour, they will be heavy and dense. Place the bowl in a warm place and cover with a clean towel; allow to rise 1 hour.

Punch down dough. Lightly flour your work surface and turn dough out onto surface. Divide in half.
Spray 2 9×13 glass pans with cooking spray. Roll first portion of dough into a rectangle and then cut it into 12 equal-sized pieces. This dough should be very easy to work with, almost like play-dough. Shape each piece into a ball and place in prepared pan. Repeat with remaining dough in the second pan.

Cover with a clean cloth and allow to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes. When dough has about 15-20 minutes to go (depending on your oven), preheat oven to 375.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden-brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. These are absolutely fantastic... ask my FIL. He ate them all!

Source: Our Best Bites - World's Best Dinner Rolls


Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

thanks everyone who entered to win  my first ever giveaway! I'm so excited, I almost can't contain myself!

the winner of the Scentsy Plug-In warmer is....

Allison Checketts!

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And Congrats!

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