23/12/2013

Baking | Whipped Shortbread


Where did December go? Tomorrow is already Christmas Eve, this month has really flown by! I'm sharing with you the recipe for one of my favourite Christmas cookies - whipped shortbread! They really are quick and easy to make so if you have left all of your Christmas baking to the last minute these will be perfect for you!

Whipped Shortbread:

Ingredients:
2 Cups Butter
1 Cup Sugar
3 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Cornstarch
Sprinkles to Decorate

Instructions:
1 - Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie trays with parchment paper.
2 - In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3 - In a small separate bowl, combine flour and cornstarch. Slowly add to butter and sugar mixer. Mix until well combined. 
4 - Drop cookie dough onto lined cookie trays. I used a 1.5 inch ice cream scoop. You could make them smaller or larger if you like.
5 - Decorate the tops of your cookies with sprinkles or crushed candy cane. 
6 - Bake in the oven for 12 minutes. Be sure to adjust the time if you are making larger or smaller cookies.

These cookies are best served the next day.

Thanks for reading everyone! Happy Holidays!




18/12/2013

Manhattan Photo Diary | Part Two


{ View part one of my Manhattan photo diary here }

Once our wallets were significantly lighter from visiting Bendel's, we bundled back up and made our way towards Rockefeller Center. It was incredibly crowded in this area, but we did manage to see the big Christmas tree and lots of people ice skating. Next, we passed by Radio City and plenty more Christmas displays. My favourite was definitely the gigantic Christmas lights! On nearly every street corner there was a vendor selling huge pretzels and chestnuts! I really wish I had grabbed some chestnuts to warm me up!

We walked through Times Square, which was amazing! My head was turning from side to side just trying to take in all the bright lights and billboards. It was a little overwhelming! After stopping in a few stores (M&M world was my personal favourite) we decided it was time to stop for dinner. We planned to eat at the Shake Shack but unfortunately there were no available tables. We backtracked a bit and decided to try Guy's American Kitchen + Bar, owned by Guy Fieri from Diners, Drive-Ins and Drives. I was really impressed with my food, I ordered the crispy shrimp po'boy sandwich that came alongside french fries. Pulled pork sliders, bacon and chicken mac and cheese and salad with roasted chicken were also ordered. Everything looked incredibly delicious and the portions were all perfect.

Once dinner was done and dusted, we walked over to the Bryant Park Christmas market and looked around for a bit before stopping for coffee and dessert at a small bakery. Unfortunately, after we finished dinner my camera ran out of battery so I wasn't able to photograph the remainder of our night. After a long day of walking, shopping and eating we headed back to our hotel for an early night.

The next morning was incredible snowy and cold. We got into a cab and drove to the Upper East Side. The one place I most wanted to visit while we were in New York was Ladurée. It was such a beautiful little shop and smelled deliciously of almonds. We spent a considerable amount of time in here, looking at all the beautiful items for sale and of course drooling over the selection of macarons. I've had quite a few macarons but none were quite as tasty as the ones I bought from Ladurée. 

Next on the agenda was a trip to Bloomingdales. My mother wanted to buy some Christmas ornaments to replace her favourite Santa ornament from New York that broke a few years ago. We bought quite a few and they're now hanging on our tree. Bloomingdales was full of eager shoppers, so it was quite hard to move around. We made our way to a less crowded area and found the drum that Ringo Starr used during the Beatles' Shea Stadium show. I was also happy to find that there was a Magnolia bakery inside Bloomingdales, I grabbed a caramel latte and watched as the girls behind the counter iced their cupcakes. We sat and enjoyed our coffees for a while and braved the cold once more to run across the street to Dylan's Candy Bar.

Much like F.A.O Schwarz and M&M World, Dylan's Candy Bar was packed full of people and plenty of screaming children. We looked around for a while at all the candies and chocolates and I displayed very impressive self control and didn't buy myself anything. We left the store and popped into a few more shops to waste away some time before we headed to the Pierre for afternoon tea.

The Pierre Hotel was so beautiful it was such a treat to walk through the hallways and admire all the pretty Christmas decorations. We sat down and picked our teas from the menu. I chose Strawberry-Kiwi which was very delicious and perfect to warm me up after walking outside in the snow. We were next served a three-tiered serving tray of small sandwiches (my favourites were the smoked salmon on rye, caviar and buckwheat blinis and Boursin cheese and asparagus crostini), cranberry scones with devonshire cream, lemon curd and raspberry preserves and a selection of pastries including macarons, fruit tarts and madeleines. Everything tasted great and I felt satisfied after eating. It was such a nice experience and it all felt very luxurious.

We ended the evening with a blizzardy walk back to the hotel and a late dinner at the hotels diner. We had to leave for the airport at nine the next morning so we had another early night. I absolutely loved the city and I hope to go back one day soon. I had such an amazing time and was a bit sad to return back home so soon. 

16/12/2013

Manhattan Photo Diary | Part One


This past Thursday I packed up my bags and headed to Manhattan for a few days with my mother, my sister, my best friend and her mother. After a quick flight we arrived at La Guardia airport and took a taxi to our hotel. I have never been to New York City so I was incredibly excited to be there. My eyes were probably the size of dinner plates looking out the windows of our cab at all of the bright lights. We made plans for a late dinner that night so once we got to our hotel we relaxed for a bit and got ready to head back out.

One of our main priorities while visiting was to head over to the restaurant Serendipity 3 for dinner. Serendipity is one of my favourite movies, so it was such a treat to visit the actual restaurant they used for filming. Luckily we made a reservation ahead of time as the entire place was bursting with people. I ordered the Alamo Burger, a spicy black bean burger, it was very delicious. My sister Laura and my friend Stephanie's food looked really great as well. Laura ordered a burger, while Stephanie opted for shrimp fettuccine. For dessert we ordered the famous Frrrozen Hot Chocolate to share. It was amazing! Once we finished up our hot chocolate we headed back to our hotel to get some sleep as we needed to get up early for the next morning. This dinner was definitely one of the highlights of our trip.

The next morning after breakfast we bundled up and got on the subway to lower Manhattan to visit the 9/11 Memorial. It was so cold walking from the subway down to where the memorial was located, but there were so many festive displays and lights it wasn't too bad. We also saw the nearly complete One World Trade Center, which was very tall and impressive. The memorial itself was incredibly beautiful and touching. I thought it was very well done as well as quite heartbreaking. 

On a much more lighter note, we got back on the subway and headed back up towards Fifth Avenue. Our first stop was at the Lindt store which was amazing! There were so many flavours that I have never even seen. I really regret not buying a whole bag full. Ah, oh well. We did quite a bit of walking and eventually made our way to the famous F.A.O  Schwarz. It was a bit of a nightmare of screaming children and busy shoppers inside, but I'm happy we stopped by. My favourite part was all of the candy displays and gigantic gummy bears and all of the super adorable Hello Kitty merchandise. We pushed and squeezed our way out of the store and walked across the street towards the Plaza hotel where we stopped to take a quick peek inside. It was decorated so beautifully for the holidays and the interior was so extravagant and lovely. As expensive as it may be I really hope to go back to New York one day and actually stay there! 

After leaving the Plaza we walked back up Fifth Avenue, passing plenty of high end stores that were immaculately decorated for Christmas. We went into Bergdorfs for a quick browse but it was much to crowded to stay for too long. We visited Henri Bendel next and I immediately fell in love. We spent quite a few hours browsing through the makeup counters and accessories, I even got my makeup done which was quite nice. Shopping worked up quite an appetite so we walked up to the third floor cafe and sat down for a cappuccino and delicious vanilla macarons. 

I figured I would split up my time in Manhattan in two or three separate posts as I took quite a lot of photos. I hope you've enjoyed my first photo diary and look forward to part two tomorrow!

{ View part two of my Manhattan photo diary here }