Almond buttercrunch toffee– a great last-minute gift!

I am at the end of the second year of a 3-year postdoc, and one of my colleagues recently lamented that I was going to leave soon, and she suddenly smiled, finding the bright side of my remaining year: “we still have TWO seasons of your Christmas cookies!”

As I have spent more time in my postdoc, I’ve made more friends and I now have a core group of colleagues with whom I socialize– which is fantastic– but that means an additional 4-5 people for whom I need to make holiday treats. This year, I decided to make candy. I have made caramels in the past, although they are temperamental and time-consuming to wrap. I’ve also made chocolate truffles, which are also messy and time consuming. I decided to branch out and make fudge, and this delicious toffee.

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I went straight to our baking guru, David Lebovitz, and decided not to toy with his recipe, as experiments with candy can often be disastrous. It is simple, and the only special equipment you need is a candy thermometer. Otherwise, it’s a super easy and quick recipe, and the results are delicious.

As a bonus, when you chop the toffee into pieces, you get little shards of toffee, nuts, and chocolate. Don’t let them go to waste! They would be awesome as an ice cream topping or sprinkled on top of your morning yogurt.

Next year, I may substitute the almonds for pistachios. Or I’ll cut back on the almonds and add chopped dried cherries to the top. The possibilities are endless!

Peppermint & cookie ice cream

I don’t miss a lot about college. But one thing that I was introduced to in college (do you hear me, fellow Wellesley alums?) was peppermint stick pie, a peppermint ice cream pie that was served at “Holiday Dinner”– who knows what it’s called now… probably Holiday Dinner is now not inclusive enough, so it’s just called Winter Festival or End of Semester Dinner, or something like that.

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While I am not a big eater of candy canes, the use of peppermint around Christmas is appealing (okay, I know I am a hypocrite, as many of you who are friends of mine on Facebook know of my vendetta against all things Pumpkin Spice), so I have to say that I appreciate a good peppermint ice cream at the holidays. We also had leftover Thin Mints in the freezer that we had purchased from a sweet little Girl Scout in the summer. I’ve been waiting to find a great use for these cookies, and this was definitely a great mix-in for the peppermint ice cream.

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A match made in heaven: Fajita pizza

Once again, we have lagged on the posting front. Not on the cooking or baking front, and certainly not–heaven forbid–on the eating front. Just the actual taking pictures, writing down ingredients, putting everything into (semi-)coherent sentences, and posting front. This is what happens when you have two lazy bloggers.IMG_1109

Also, take pity on us: the holiday season is fast approaching, which means some long days and nights of kitchen work ahead. We’re tapering for the marathon, as it were.

In any case, please accept our humblest apologies, AND a twofer post: fajita pizza involves not just a pizza recipe, but also one of our lovely guacamole recipes. There is something wonderfully iconoclastic about adding guacamole to pizza, don’t you think?IMG_1123
Warm pizza + cool guac = perfection. Continue reading