Cookie-Puss: Swedish Almond Butter Cookies

Swedish Almond Butter Cookies, cooling.

It’s no secret that I love to cook and bake. The holiday season requires a lot of butter in my house. This year, cookies alone, I’m going through 3 POUNDS of butter. Since I won’t be seeing anyone, and I need to mail all my cookies, I’m baking fewer varieties than usual. This year I’m only making 6 to mail. That’s still over 12 dozen cookies. We will be keeping some, because who doesn’t love a holiday cookie and a cup of tea?

While I sometimes switch up the variety, I have been making these “Swedish Almond Butter Cookies” as part of my holiday baking for almost 10 years. The original recipe was in some holiday season “weekend magazine” insert in the local paper. Alas, I have searched the internet high and low for the same recipe, but have not been able to find it. Many are similar, but use a LOT less extract; this leads me to believe they are not as good.

Afternoon Tea with Swedish Almond Butter Cookies


These cookies look innocent enough, not particularly festive, visually outshined by the frosted varieties on the cookie plate. But one bite, and you may wonder why there are any other cookie varieties on the plate. They are literally TOO GOOD. Add them to your holiday cookie plate, and don’t forget to bring the recipe. Because you will get a LOT of requests for the recipe!

Swedish Almond Butter Cookies

  • Servings: 70
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Swedish Almond Butter Cookies


Perhaps the most memorable cookie in my recipe box. So buttery, so almondy, so chewy.

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 C. granulated sugar
  • 3 C. flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 oz. almond extract
  • 3 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 egg, beaten (for brushing on top before baking)
  • large grain sugar (for sprinkling on top before baking)

Directions

  1. Beat butter and granulated sugar in until fluffy. (I use a stand mixer for efficiency)
  2. Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix to combined, mixture will be crumbly.
  3. Add almond extract and cream. Mix until a soft dough forms.
  4. Turn out the dough and shape into a ball. Quarter. Shape each piece into a disk roughly 4-5″ in diameter and 3/4″ high.
  5. Place dough rounds roughly 1.5″ apart onto baking sheet lined with parchment.
  6. Refrigerate the disks (on the baking sheet) for at least 10 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  8. Brush the tops of the disks with the beaten egg. Sprinkle generously with large grain sugar.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  10. Decrease oven temperature to 300 degrees.
  11. Cut each disk into slices approximately 5/8″ wide, cut each slice in half, except the short ends. Flip cookies onto their side, The pieces will be close, but should not be touching.
  12. Return to the oven and bake for 10 minutes.

Year of Projects: Week 16

Lots of Words, All in Print.

Winning with a finish this week! I completed my Cardi B on Friday, and blogged about it here. I love it, I have just a little bit of yarn left, but am counting all 5 balls as being gone from stash. My only wish: it was chilly enough to wear around the house! Yes, I believe blocking WILL fix the button band not laying flat. Also, eventually buttons (LOL).

My awful mirror selfie! I was too lazy to get the tripod.

Over the summer I released a pattern called the Unassuming Hat (Ravelry Link), I knit 4 of them in the span of a month. Honestly, I REALLY love this pattern. Its unisex and works up quickly. The cable keeps it from being too boring. My spouse’s niece mentioned liking the cream with the yellow pom-pom one quite a bit. Which led to me telling her I was going to knit her and her husband matching hats for Christmas. Which brings us to December (today), when I’m finally knitting the hats to put in the mail for Christmas. While not officially on my YOP list, it was on my to-knit list. And I love the pattern and wanted to put it out there a little more.

Lawd!! I LOVE me some provisional cast-on!!

I started the hat Friday evening. Honestly, I LOVE provisional cast on. It’s a little bit of extra work, but it makes a huge difference! I finished the brim Saturday, and today I worked just over 1.5 repeats in the body (18 rows ea). Hopefully I can finish this hat by Tuesday and start the 2nd (identical except the pom-pom) on Wednesday. I want to have all my gifts in the mail by 12/14 for the holidays.

Progress.

This weekend was also spent making cookies. I did Brownie Biscotti, Glazed Maple Shortbread, and Sugar Cookies. I also purchased the kids a “Ninjabread”cookie set from Target, we made those yesterday and decorated them today. The kids were excited to make their own Ninjabread Man, just like in the book (the Ninjabread Man). I am weirded out by they HONEY the instructions had us add to the cookie mix instead of molasses. I will be making my favorite recipe later this week (that has molasses- so dreamy), after I buy more BUTTER (we’ve been using so. much. butter.). Have I ever mentioned my love of molasses? Yeah, it runs HOT. When I only have a tiny bit left in the jar, I put it in my coffee. *SWOON* I don’t think I’m going to run out of molasses this year though. *Sad Face*

Run, run, as fast as you can. You can’t catch me, I’m the Ninjabread Man!

The cutters are only plastic, but they should last us a few years. For the $5 I paid for the kit, I think it was worth it.

If you are in the States, Target will ship this to you for cheap. Comes with cookie AND icing mix.

Have a great week, next week I hope to have 2 finished hats to share!

Fridays are for FINISHING

So ROOMY!!

The day is finally here, the day Cardi B is off the needles. The ends are woven in and the whole thing is ready for a quick bath to get all the schmutz off that manage to find their way onto large projects. You know what I’m talking about: leaves, hair, crumbs, and maybe a little bit of dust! What?? Your home is dust free? Please come over and assist with mine.

Before ripping out the second button band bind-off. HUGE DIFFERENCE.

This morning I undid the bind-off on my button bands and used a stretchy bind-off. I initially just did a pass-over bind-off “loosely” which made the whole thing pucker and look bad. Happy I went through the extra effort. As you can see, I had enough yarn to finish the project! In retrospect, I could have added a couple more rounds to the sleeves making them “long” as opposed to “bracelet” length. Knowing me, I will wear them pushed up, so the length is irrelevant.

The remainders: two VERY loose balls! I’m guessing 50m.

Now is the fun part of making my notes make sense for a pattern. It will be available in the large/X-large size I made, grading this would be a nightmare. I have a couple of unconventional finishing techniques I employed, partially because I didn’t know if I would have enough. I did like how I handled bringing up the back, no wrap and turns.

No short rows, but a provisional cast-on would make the pick-up edge less noticeable.

Other information: Queensland Collection: Rustic Tweed. DID NOT blend balls. Some spots are different colors, I am unrepentant in my choices regarding this decision. Button holes on both bands so my button placement matches. This sweater is currently unblocked, I’ll get there. I decided not to add pockets; I love pockets, I didn’t feel they would be usefully placed based on the final length of the sweater.

Blurry picture showcasing the sleeve length and the wide-neckline.

Thank you everyone for following the development of my Cardi B, it has been a MONTH of updates about her. There will only be one or two more posts about THIS specific sweater, the buttons I use and then when the pattern is published (it will be a free pattern since it will only be one size). You have all been so encouraging during this process! It was very helpful in getting it finished. This brings me to 84 balls of stash yarn used in 2020. Once I finish a huge WIP from 2019, I should be at or near 100. Totally within my GRASP!!

Tubular!! Excuse my dry fingers. Winter and frequent handwashing are not a match made in heaven.

I cast-on the first for a gift pair of Unassuming Hats today. Lucky for me, I’ve knit it 4 times already, so the 5th and 6th shouldn’t yield any new surprises. I am using the waste-yarn tubular cast on, which is pretty easy to accomplish!

That New Project Itch

I’m super close to completion with my Cardi B. Which means I kinda want to stop working on it and immediately cast-on a NEW PROJECT.

While I love designing my own projects/patterns, I don’t always love deciding what finishing to include. My Cardi B button bands are causing me some consternation. It took me multiple tries to get the first one (a fold-over) to a place I thought I liked. But then I started tacking it together. And now I don’t like it, partially because its TEDIOUS. Which brings me to the 2nd button band which I’m going to try 2×2 ribbing on, fast lays better. I still haven’t decided what kind of button holes. YO or cast-off button holes? Likely the cast-off because the most likely buttons are 7/8″. Designer decisions!!

My cast-on projects are actually Christmas 2020 gifts! I have a couple of hats to make (I’ll be using my Unassuming Hat pattern available for FREE on Ravelry). I also want to make my kids’ teachers little gifts. I’m thinking fingerless mitts or convertible mitts. Once school is back in sessions, winter recesses will exist in the future. And both have dogs- which need walking even in winter. The hats NEED to be finished, the mitts are wishful thinking. Practical, but easily replaceable with a gift card.

I’m still plugging away on the Kyyyyle Blanket. I’m on Row 3. I think this puts me at halfway. No deadline, so I can work on this whenever.

The kids are in bed. Now is time to watch a movie or a show with the spouse and work on Cardi B some more!

Year of Projects: Week 15

Late, ON PURPOSE.

Its Monday. I know. But I wanted a serious project update on my Cardi B project. I finished the ribbing on both the sleeves today! I am in the homestretch on the project and will finish before the end of the week! If I don’t get too sidetracked, I could finish tomorrow or Wednesday! I even wove all my ends in this morning. Here’s some pictures.

Our Thanksgiving was just the 4 of us. I made, as always, a plethora of side dishes. This year I made my first Sweet Potato Pie (long time fan) and a Challah (which I haven’t made since before my daughter was born). We decorated our tree this weekend. The kids did a good job. I haven’t taken any pictures of it, but the spouse did.

My daughter and I put together an epic pom-pom wreath. I still need to get some wired ribbon before I hang it up, here’s the post.

Lastly, I’ve made a couple hats to send to a friend’s baby. A little crochet Baby Zissou hat (ala the Life Aquatic), and an Elmo topped hat! The Elmo hat is a Lion Brand Sesame Street One Hat Wonder “kit”. I made my in the round, but followed (more or less) the instructions on the ball band. The yarn is really SLIPPERY. After a wash, it is slightly less slippery. I plan on getting these in the mail this week. Not as a Christmas gift, but as a just because it’s getting cold gift.

Baby Zissou and Elmo.

Almost forgot, I delivered the stockers to my friend. She loved them.

That’s everything I worked on this week. Next week I will have a finished Cardi B to share and at least something new started!!

Pom-Pom Wreath

Finished. Just needs accessorizing.

As a knitter, crocheter, and spinner, I constantly find myself with odds and ends of yarn. I guess I could throw out all those little pieces, but my pragmatic side doesn’t want it to just go into a landfill.

Constructing the pom-poms.

As a parent, I’m always looking for ideas to occupy the kids: without screens. My son made one pom-pom and was DONE. My daughter, she was HOOKED on making pom-poms after the second one! Last weekend, her and I constructed 39 pom-poms together. I had a few that I made on my own that were floating around in my scrap bin, bringing our total up to 45 pom-poms. I used A LOT of extra odds and ends, in the ballpark of 1000-1200 yards! Don’t worry, I still have PLENTY of scrap yarn to find homes for.

Our pile of pom-poms and a metal wreath frame. After the first half-dozen I was abandoned by my daughter and finished the project by myself.

How we constructed our project:

Materials
Pom-pom makers: We used the med/ lrg Clover pom-pom makers from this set.
Yarn: I used a bunch of worsted weight leftovers. You will need 1000-1200 yards.
Scissors
A 14″ Wire Wreath Frame: We ordered this one.
Floral wire
Battery-powered mini LED lights: We used these.
Fleece fabric (so the wires don’t scratch the wall or door or whatever)
Hot Glue
Optional: Large ribbon bow, other accessories.

Instructions
Start by making 40-50 pom-poms. Leave REALLY long tails when you tie them in finishing. I didn’t bother to trim the pom-poms when finished to make them symetrical.
To assemble:
Tie the pom-poms onto the wire frame. Be sure to pack them in tight.
Wrap tightly with floral wire to keep the pom-poms from moving around.
Hot glue the yarn knots, just in case.
Cut a circle of fleece fabric, hot glue onto the back on the wreath. Trim as necessary.
Cut a fabric rectangle that will accomodate the battery pack for your lights, besure to add an inch all the way around for “seam allowance”
Glue 3 sides of the pocket to the fleece backing. Leave the top side open for access.
Wrap the lights around the project evenly. I wrapped the lights on the outside of the fleece just in case my very inexpensive lights stop working.
I used a small bread tie to affix the end of my lights. You could also use the floral wire.
Construct a hanger out of floral wire, attach to the top of the frame.


We have no idea where in the house we are going to put this yet. Before I can call this DONE, I want to get some wide ribbon to make a majestic bow. But I couldn’t wait to share my stash-busting project with you! With the holidays and vacation time and chilly days ahead, this is the perfect project. You could construct it in a weekend (with very tired hands) or over the course of a couple weeks. The pom-poms are somewhat more labor intensive than you would first assume.

As an aside: You can use any method of making your pom-poms. I decided to use the Clover set because they stay together well during the construction process, making it VERY kid-friendly!

Thankful: Holiday

Kitchen Magic
Challah Bread for Thanksgiving. One for today, the other in the freezer for the future.

The American day of Thanksgiving is here. I find the narrative of the peaceful Pilgrims to be problematic and wrought with falsehood: so I do not ascribe to it. For me thanksgiving is just that: A culmination of a year of joys. Usually I spend today with some of my immediate extended family, and occasionally friends who didn’t have plans. This year is different, as it’s just our household. We’ll do some video calls today,but we aren’t leaving the house (also, we are still quarentinging from our trip out of town, even though our COVID tests came back negative). That has not stopped me from making too many sides with ingredients obtained via contactless curbside grocery pick-up.

I keep a copy of each year’s menu in my recipe box.
  • Turkey Breast with Gravy
  • Challah Bread
  • Garlic Sauteed Mushroom with Caramelized Onions
  • Cranberry Sauce (see below)
  • Mac-n-Chz (for the kids, we have leftovers we might just use)
  • Stuffing (threw a bunch of stuff into the bowl)
  • Crispy Potato Stacks
  • Green Beans (just normal)
  • Sweet Potato Pie (roasted instead of boiled potatoes) with Whipped Cream (this crust)

Honestly, the turkey is my LEAST favorite part of the meal. We are making a breast this year. Although, I wish we were also doing a vegetarian faux-meat turkey-ish loaf too: I like those better. Usually I make green bean casserole, a favorite of my parents and my brother (it reminds us of holidays with my Grandmother), but the kids won’t try it. I love it,but I don’t need THAT MUCH green bean casserole for 2 people. But my favorite, I mean ABSOLUTE FAVORITE side is cranberry sauce. Yeah. I make mine from scratch. I usually make a double recipe, but this year I’m only doing one bag of cranberries. It’s super simple:

  • 12 oz fresh cranberries washed
  • 1 cup orange juice/water (a juiced orange topped up with water)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • some cinnamon (optional)
  • Put everything in a pan, stirring periodically, boil mixture until most of the berries burst and the whole mixture is super thick, like a jam. (20-30 minutes)
  • Put into a container and cool. Refrigerate before serving

I put “leftover” cranberry sauce in plain yogurt, into oatmeal, on sandwiches, sneak spoonfuls as a quick snack. Seriously. It’s my favorite holiday food.

This was my grandmother’s. I have no idea how old it is, but it works better than any other rolling pin I’ve ever owned.

While food plays a HUGE part of today, being thankful is the central theme. I have so much to be thankful for. Some of these things are superficial and some are much deeper. I’m thankful for my brain- buzzing full of ideas and always making connections. I’m thankful for my body, it may not perfect, but it’s mine. I’m thankful for my strength, physical and emotional. I’m thankful for so many ways to express myself creatively. I’m thankful for the strong women of history that make my independence possible: my ability to vote, wear pants, have an opinion, be autonomous. I’m thankful for having more than I need, and being able to share my abundance with others. I’m obviously thankful for my family, we are a team. I’m thankful for being able to see beauty and joy in mundane situations, the way the light filters through the trees, tiny violets in the grass, seeing strangers enjoy themselves without restraint. I’m thankful for nature and Earth. I’m thankful for useful kitchen tools. I’m thankful useful objects that belonged to previous generations of my family. I’m thankful for books, physical, digital, and even audio. I’m thankful for my enjoyment of solitude.

I’m thankful for the ability to be thankful.

My pie crust game needs improvement, but GOLLY that’s a beautiful pie. It smells AMAZING.

Time to start the turkey, then go for a WALK! I have knitting to talk about tomorrow (or Saturday).

Lazy Problems

Stupid snarly bits.

More on the Cardi B saga! As I’ve been lamenting for weeks, I wish I had just ONE MORE SKEIN. But the yarn is old and discontinued and blah blah blah. Some of my problems could have been solved if I blocked my swatch, and I am not about to do that now. Alpaca and alpaca blends are notorious for growing in length. But its not a fixed percentage across the board. I’m going to hope that will give my project a tad more length in the arms and body, so their shortness will be somewhat less noticable.

Which brings us to me working from both ends of the ball. The yarn tangle looks AWFUL. I decreased the sleeves to do the ribbing, but need my DPNs to finish. I speculate that I will need less yarn to do the plackets and finish up the neck line than I will need to do the bottom ribbing. I currently have a little over an inch of bottom ribbing, with a desired ribbing length of 3-4″. I’m not ready to cut the sleeve yarn and reattach it later. So I’m working from both ends of the yarn as I attempt to make the most of my materials.

Which brings me to buttons. I forgot all about closures until the other day! Today I rummaged through my button box. It is pretty wiped out. I don’t really know how many buttons I want. But it is significantly more than 4 (maybe 8??). Which is what I have for most of my appropriate buttons. I saw some really nice ones when I was at the Flying Needles in Williamsburg…. But $60 for 9 buttons seemed unreasonable to me. This isn’t the type of project that, I believe, needs stunning handcrafted buttons. Perhaps I’m just being overly frugal.

I don’t know how much knitting I’m going to get accomplished over the next couple days with Thanksgiving. We have opted to stay home, so we are going to put together a smaller meal for the four of us. I think I’m going to make Brioche or Challah bread this year, it’s been a long time since I’ve made either. And my daughter wants to do a sweet potato pie, so we’ve got that on our plate tomorrow too!

Year of Projects: Week 14

Back on Skull Crusher Mountain

This week I’m back on my usual machine. I had my iPad last week, but the keyboard case decided it wasn’t going to work and my son was using it for school from 8:40-2:00 daily. Which means I will RESPOND to the other YOP posts instead of just reading them. Yippie!

Today I decided to wear my pjs all day, with my jeans. No make-up. No filter selfie. Weird lighting.

I am still plugging away on Cardi B. I have decided against the pockets. Mainly because this cardigan will likely fall to high hip as opposed to lower hip making pocket placement weird to actually use. I didn’t work on it every day last week, so I’ve only just started the sleeve. Without actually getting up to measure my sleeve, I guesstimate that I have 8.5″ worked out of the possible 17″. I want the sleeves a bit on the oversized side until the cuff. So I’ll just keep the 80 stitches (I did reduce the underarm cast-on) until I reach 13 inches, sharp reduction to 40 or 60 stitches, then rib for 4″.

Progress hits about to my elbow.

One of my YOP goals overlaps with a Stashdown Challenge: use 100 balls of stash yarn. I have some arbitrary rules, but if I use almost a whole ball of stash yarn in a hat, but have 30 yards of “scrap” I still count the ball as used. The scrap yardage goes into my scrap bin, where it can potentially be counted as part of another used quantity. I’ve decided 4oz of scrap gets counted as a ball. This weekend, I decided to try a new craft with my kids. I broke out my pom-pom makers! The nice clover ones that stay together really well. My son wrapped 1 and decided he didn’t want to make anymore. My daughter and I made 14 pom-poms yesterday, using 8.1 oz of yarn. Today we completed 25 and used up 13.8 oz of yarn. Brining our destash total to 5 for pom-poms, and 77 for the year. Its going to be a tight finish. But I REALLY think I can pull this one off! Only 23 more balls of stash yarn to go!

Addition and Subtraction

I’m not TRYING to grow my stash. I swear! It’s just… I can spend money faster than I can knit or crochet. And the pretties… they CALL to me!

We stayed in Williamsburg last week, we had an outdoor wedding to attend last weekend, and my in-laws had a bunch of timeshare they needed to use. Most of the week was spent doing what we usually do, just in a different location. The condo property had outdoor mini-golf and heated indoor and outdoor pools (by reservation only). The kids loved getting to play mini-golf almost every day and they got to swim twice. I swam with them once. I can swim, but since I’m not olympic level good, I don’t do it. We were the only ones at the pool, so I swam a TON of laps. And I wasn’t as bad at it as I remember. When I feel comfortable swimming indoors with other again, I think I’m going to take up lap swimming. The kids got to see their grandparents for the ONLY time this year (we all wore our masks and spent as much time outdoors as weather would permit).

One of my frivolous outings was to the Flying Needles in Williamsburg. I needed to pick up a couple pom-poms (they are super nice and REALLY affordable) and I wanted “travel” yarn. They shop is absolutely abiding by the state safety guidelines, and I was the only shopper in the store. I wanted 2 yellow pom-poms, but they only had one. Blue is nice too. I’m going to make myself a pair of socks out of the Queensland Perth. The special purchase was the Robin’s Promise Yarn. Its locally dyed. The multi color braid is 8 fingering weight mini-skeins at 90-something yards each. I’m pairing it with the not-actually-black fingering weight in a yet to be designed project. Vest? Giant shawl? Dunno, I’ve about 1300 yards to work with.

A pile of cash later.


I also picked-up lunch and stopped at the grocery store, so we didn’t need to go out an additional time. This makes me feel slightly less irresponsible about shopping for non-food in person during a pandemic. But only slightly.

Now that we are home, we are hardcore quarentinging. Even though we are feeling fine, spouse and I are going to get Covid tested for peace of mind. Different place, people we don’t see normally. If either of us get hot tests, we’ll get the kids tested. Making the conscientious decision to stay home has been a bit relaxing. I crocheted a baby size beanie with some leftover yarn (stash bust 2 partial skeins, I’m counting as 1). I already have a home planned for it! My daughter and I also spent at LEAST 2 hours making pom-poms today. It was EXHAUSTING. By the end, my thumb was numb from the cutting step. Together we made 14 pom-poms, using 8.1 oz of scrap yarn! We decided we are going to make a Christmas project together, once we make a bunch more pom-poms.

Also today, a yarn order I placed a week and a half ago arrived. Kid sweater quantity of Cascade 220 Sport Superwash (a DK in the colorway “Punk”) and a skein of Cascade Heritage Wave Sock yarn. My girlchild needs a sweater replacement, all of her’s are becoming crop tops! And OF COURSE I need more socks…. I’m home a lot and require pretty handknit socks.

My new internet haul.

So the score for the week is 3 skeins out and 10 skeins in. For the record, this is more skeins out (only counted in finished projects) than usual.

%d bloggers like this: