Monday, December 16, 2013

Spicy Gingerbread Cookies

Do you have the Christmas Spirit yet?  I definitely caught it this past week.  We did so many Christmas/Advent things it was crazy!

I went caroling at an old folks home with some friends and it was amazing.  We went right when the residents were all getting into bed so it was soothing and magical to be walking through the halls as they prepared to go to sleep - almost seemed as if we were singing lullabies to them.  I was fortunate to be surrounded by really good singers and the acoustics were incredible in the hallways.  We stopped in a few rooms and wished them Merry Christmas and took song requests - glad to see Silent Night is still the most popular carol and not Jingle bells.  They all smiled so sweetly as we sang to them, and many of them shed a few tears.  It was truly beautiful!  I love old people!!!

You know what old people love?  GINGER COOKIES!!  

Ginger is a new flavor to me.  Most of my life I tried avoiding it - really though it was super nasty.  Then one day my brother in law gave me a ginger people ginger chew candy...I almost spit it out in disgust but kept chewing hoping it would get better.  It didn't.  So I ate another one hoping this ginger flavor would grow on me - and guess what?  It worked!  I just kept eating ginger chews, then added it to my meals, drank ginger tea when I was sick, and now we have a very loving and supportive relationship.

We had a cookie decorating party this weekend and I decided to make some gingerbread men since those were my most favorite cookies to decorate when I worked at the bakery - they were just so cute and so darn simple!  I have tried many gingerbread cookie recipes but hadn't found the one yet - until now!  I should have know better and checked with Martha Stewart in the first place, but I didn't...shame on me...I know she is probably crazy, and she committed a crime - but hey - she did her time, and she really is insanely talented if you ask me.  Anywho - this recipe is a winner because it is spicy!  I feel like many of the gingerbread cookies I have tried are just weak in flavor - it is as if they are trying not to go overboard so instead they aim way under and don't add enough ginger or molasses.  These guys are different - they are dark, they are crisp, they are perfectly Christmasy in the way they should be.

I think my Scandinavian ancestors would be proud knowing that I now love gingerbread...I am really tempted to braid my hair now and wear clogs...I realize this is combining many cultures that I may or may not be a descendant of but it doesn't matter - it is Christmas - anything goes!

Ready to decorate cookies!
Do you like how our table is wrapped with wrapping paper - a great way to add color to your Christmas party - this was my Mom's idea and we do it for lots of our parties!

Look I made a little demo video for rolling out gingerbread cookies!

Spicy Gingerbread Cookies
Barely adapted from Martha Stewart and Smitten Kitchen

6 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 teaspoons ground ginger
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon finely ground pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 1/2 pound) unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup unsulfured molasses

Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt in a large bowl and set aside. Beat butter and brown sugar together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Mix in eggs and molasses. Add flour mixture, mixing on low until just combined. Divide dough into thirds and wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until cold and firm, about one hour or up to two days.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface to a 1/4-inch thick. Cut into shapes of your choice, such as snowflakes* or gingerbread men. Spread two inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Bake cookies until crisp but not dark, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.
When cool, you can decorate the cookies with icing and sprinkles.

Make these cookies, go visit an elderly person and bring them these cookies, and then make sure you take the time to find and see the Christmas spirit this year!

Eat your heart out,


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Fieldings Wood Grill, The Woodlands, TX

Last night was absolutely dreary.  It was cold, it was wet, it was dark.  Oh how we just wanted to 

call it a night in, but our stomachs disagreed and we decided to venture out and get some 

grub.  I kept hearing about this new place in the Woodlands a lot recently and decided it was 

time we checked it out.

It was so dang good!  Fielding's uses super high quality ingredients and they make everything 

in house and from scratch - including the pickles and buns!  This is their description from their 


"We use only 100% Black Angus natural beef from 44 Farms, grind our meat twice daily, and make our own bacon, sauces, sides, and buns - yes, we even have a gluten free bun from our in-house bakery. We make milk shakes from scratch, using milk from Mill King Dairy. Virtually all our stuff is local, natural, hormone and antibiotic free."
The restaurant itself is hip with the nice wood tones meets metal urban look.  It also had a sweet Ipad bar with a whole row of Ipads for their customers to use.  The bar looked pretty awesome too, but we sat on the opposite end of the restaurant.  I also really liked how their kitchen was totally open and had windows all around so the customers could see how their food was prepared.  Added bonus for a foodie like myself!  They also had a locker or meat dry aging - it looked awesome.  

The service was very accommodating.  We were greeted promptly - actually more than promptly - there was a hostess who saw us even before we entered the restaurant and she grabbed 2 menus and was ready to go even before we walked through the door.  Our server was very sweet and took the time to tell us about the restaurant and all the specials they had.  
We were both super impressed with our food and are planning to go back soon for brunch!  Andrew got their bison chili with a house made biscuit - it was super meaty and the perfect amount of spice, and the biscuit was tender and delicious!  I got the Wood Grill was sublime!  The milk bun was so soft and the perfect size - I can't stand when the bun over powers the meat in size - drives me bananas.  The bread and butter pickles were nice and light, perfectly seasoned.  The meat was cooked to medium degree and it was so moist.  They also topped the burger with a stack of grilled onions which really added that extra layer of flavor that put this burger over the top for me.  One of the best burgers I have ever eaten!  Andrew loved it too!  We also got their Baked potato french fries - it was a baked potato that they cut up into wedges and fried, then coated them in a nice layer of crunchy salt.  They were uber good.  They also had a whole list of sauce options to go with the fries but we stuck with the ketchup - next time I will try one of their house made sauces.  We were really quite satisfied after the meal, but our sweet teeth couldn't walk away from their broken pecan jar dessert with house made ice cream.  It was basically warm pecan pie in a jar.  The only thing wrong with this dessert was that their wasn't more of it!  We are not ashamed to say we licked our spoons clean on this one. 
We went home with full and happy bellies and are happy to have found a new restaurant to add to our rotation.  
Welcome to The Woodlands - Fieldings Wood Grill! 
Happy eating!