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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Baker's Secrets

It's baking season again. ShopRite was open till 10 and I was there stocking my cart--until closing--with chopped pistachios and hazelnuts, flour, powdered sugar, bittersweet chocolate, raspberry preserves, eight lemons and more.

I'm hoping to make linzer cookies, lemon sandwich cookies, PISTACHIO PARMESAN BISCUITS [they look so buttery and rich] from my friend Lisa's great blog, Cheddar cocktail wafers and maybe turtle bars.

I was feeling pretty panicked earlier today, but I sat down and made a master list of everything left to do, and now I feel slightly better, checking things off as I go. I decorated my list with Lilly Pulitzer stickers, mini Christmas tree and ornament cutouts, and snips of pretty vintage Christmas ribbon.

One of the chores is to open, file and pay bills and I am going to do that for a bit now, before bed.

Three great baker's bargains in town right now:
  • NestlĂ© semisweet chocolate Toll House Morsels, two 12-ounce bags for $4 @ CVS, which is open till midnight this week. That tops even ShopRite, where they're $2.69 for the same size bag. I usually lean toward fancy Scharffen Berger, Green & Black's, Valrhona, Callebaut, Ghirardelli or even Lake Champlain Chocolates Dark Chocolate Chips [have bought when visiting Meg in Vermont] but the truth is, these time-honored classic morsels--the brand my mother used--are pretty good, especially in chocolate-chip cookies or melted on top of turtle bars. I bought four bags for emergency baking needs but still do have in my arsenal a big block of Scharffen Berger and some Green & Black's.
  • The Montclair Bread Company on Walnut Street makes an awesome Christmas stollen. Omigosh, they were selling them @ Olive That!, the olive oil store on Bellevue Avenue, and I bought one. It is so good, marzipan filling, sugar-dusted crust. Best stollen I ever had. True gold. I think it was about $16? @ Olive That! 
  • Nielsen-Massey pure vanilla extract [and other extracts], $2 off list price @ Kings. Still pricey, but precious and good. I swear you can taste the difference in Mexican wedding cakes.
  1. Boot camp in the park, but I was really dragging my butt.
  2. Walked Sug around block once.
  3. Made a big pot of brown rice and cooked and ate vegs twice today.
  4. Made my master Christmas list.

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