Tuesday, December 27, 2011

{Families} 19 People and Counting

Some childhood friends of mine asked me to come over to their parents' house the day before Christmas Eve and capture their growing family... and it worked out! 
I was so excited to see Maria and Olga and the rest of the gang.  It had been about seven or eight years since we'd been together, and the family has basically doubled in size since then.  And, in addition to us doing something meaningful with the money from the session fee, they also paid me in homemade tamales.  Who can beat that?!
On the surface, I can see about 100 woulda-shoulda-couldas in these photos, but if you just look past them all you'll see is a lot of love in a family which is also loved by me!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Andes Mint Cookies - Take 35

I made another batch of my award winning Andes Mint Cookies today and am very pleased with how they turned out!  Not like last time.

I got two spontaneous requests for this recipe this week, in addition to the fact that I was attempting them again, so I figured I'd rehash the how-to on the ol' bliggity blog.  Next time I can just send a link instead of texting a photo of my dirty, poorly abbreviated recipe card.  There are so many dos and don'ts with this thing that it's good to read through before attempting.

So, here goes.

3/4 c butter
1 1/2 c sugar
2 T. water
12 oz. chocolate chips
2 eggs
2 1/2 c flour
1 1/4 T. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 boxes Andes Mints

Melt the first four ingredients over medium-low heat, stirring frequently.  Don't let the chocolate get too hot.  Once it's smooth (it won't be glassy smooth because of the granulated sugar, but you'll be able to tell when the chips are fully melted), remove it from the heat and let it cool for a while.  Add the eggs.

Combine the remaining dry ingredients and then pour in the chocolate mixture.  Stir well.  Dough will be pasty but thick.  Cover and refrigerate for one hour.

Roll the chilled dough into 1-inch balls (don't go bigger -- you'll be sorry!) and place at least 2-3 inches apart on a well-greased cookie sheet.  I like to use Pam.  The only time I used butter was the time they turned out terrible.  I don't know if the two are related, but better safe than sorry.

Bake at 350 for 12 minutes.  The cookies will be puffy in the oven until the 11-12 minute mark.  After they flatten, that's your cue.

While they're in the oven, take this time to unwrap your Andes Mints.  After the cookies come out, leave them on the cookie sheet and drop one mint onto each.  After a couple of minutes the mint will be melted enough to spread around like icing.  Note -- these are meant to be thin, crispy cookies.  Don't hate if you were expecting something else.

Cool on a wire rack and enjoy!  You can also freeze them.  I haven't done that before, but this is my grandma's recipe and I know she always made them well before Christmas and kept them in the freezer.

And now, for those of you who think I'm way too wordy, here's a version you can select and print:

Melt together:
  • 3/4 c butter
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 T. water
  • 12 oz. chocolate chips
Chill for a while, then add:
  • 2 eggs
Sift together:
  • 2 1/2 c flour
  • 1 1/4 T. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Pour chocolate mix into dry ingredients, mix well and refrigerate one hour.  Roll chilled dough into 1-inch balls and place 2-3 inches apart on greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for 12 minutes.  Top with one Andes Mint while cookies are still hot.  Swirl with knife after the mint melts.  Transfer to wire rack.

Yields about 4.5 dozen cookies... exactly enough for 2 boxes of Andes Mints.