When your baby needs a Christmas stocking where do you turn? Local artisan Katie Jean! I saw her Celebration Stockings on her new blog and knew I had to have one for Erin. So, I went over to Katie’s house and pawed through her fabrics, finally made a choice (she’s lucky I had a time limit and had to go pick up Kyle), and a few days later, voilà! Erin’s stocking!
I met Katie while she was vending at Kyle’s school’s Harvest Festival – where I saw this lap blanket: How could I resist?! I couldn’t. And Erin has been chewing on it – I mean loving it – ever since. And it turns out that Katie lives on the street behind me. Howdy neighbor! And she invited me to the open house she had in October, where I met more neighbors. And I scored an invitation to the neighborhood cookie exchange party. Have cookies will party. So I was suddenly faced with baking cookies. 6 dozen cookies. And it was Cook’s Illustrated’s Holiday Baking issue to the rescue. The weekend before the party we were in Santa Cruz so I enlisted P (mother-in-law most extraordinaire) to help me make some sample batches. So we baked.
We made Sugar Cookies: And Italian Almond Macaroons:
So I felt relatively prepared to tackle this whole baking thing solo the next Saturday. In fact, I felt so confident in my abilities (ok, all my bravado was hinged on my trust in Cook’s Illustrated to get me through it) that I decided to make a variation on the Italian Almond Macaroons. So without a net but with my apron on, I made 3 batches of Fudge Almond Macaroons!