READ THIS: VOLUME 16

Guys.

It’s the end of the year. I can barely function. So. I’m just gonna ask you to read this.

Wowza.

Came across Viva Luxury’s AMAZING Christmas party outfit post. Some thoughts: I would like  to A. Look like her. B. Have a fancy enough event to wear that dress to. C. Be able to afford that dress.

So this is how much a bungalow costs in Singapore. DAYAMN.

Can someone make these eggnog cinnamon rolls with rum icing for me this Christmas? Please?

Pretty impressive beauty routine that makes me want ALLTHEMAKE-UP.

‘Back of the Package’ recipes – I’ve been making the Quaker oatmeal cookie one to RAVE reviews for years.

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Cheap and Cheerful Christmas Tokens

They're ready for their close-up.
They’re ready for their close-up.

Here’s the thing about Christmas.

You have to buy a lot of presents.

90% of the people you buy presents for, you don’t actually want to be buying presents for because:

1. You’re buying them presents because you feel obligated to buy presents for them

OR

2. You can’t stand them BUT see above.

So, what do you do when confronted with the prospect of buying presents you just kind of don’t want to give?

You want it to be easy to find because ain’t nobody trekking to specialty store for these people.

You want it to be cheap because you want to save your money for the remaining 10% present recipients you like.

You need it to look thoughtful because shit – you don’t want people to actually know that you’re an ass.

Voila!

I present to you my solution.

Cheapo goodie bags, with a personalized tag.

Inside – a mini sized Toblerone, a Loacker wafer thingy, Ghirardelli peppermint bark squares, a 3 in 1 Old Town Coffee mix sachet and a Twinings peppermint tea bag. All the stuff an office drone can appreciate in the coming year.

Total cost including goodie bag and tag?

Less than SGD5 per person.

I bought the goodie bags at 80 cents each from Public Garden but you can make them with wrapping paper of your own.

The tags are from Typo and I stencilled the first letter of people’s names on while watching Sex and the City episodes.

Prepping all the bags took me 30 minutes.

Definitely worth it.

Orange Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Merry Christmas Eve!

People give people gifts for Christmas. BUT since I don’t celebrate I figured I didn’t have to think about it so much. OR DID I? As the pile of gifts from colleagues grew so did my level of panic.

The internal battle raged. I don’t want to give gifts. What the hell??? But it looks bad. But it doesn’t make sense if it’s not meaningful. OMG just go buy them some kueh tutu shaped erasers – AH!!! HYPERVENTILATION!!!! 

In the end I made these last night to give my colleagues for Christmas.

Forced or not, meaningful or not, these are the best cookies I’ve made ever.

Image

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsps cornstarch (original recipe calls for 2 tsps…hmm…)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup salted butter, softened
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp orange zest
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp orange essence (original recipe calls for orange extract but I couldn’t find it anywhere)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries (original recipe calls for chopped, I just couldn’t make myself do it)

Preheat oven to 180 C/350 F.

Whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

In another bowl rub the brown and white sugars together with the orange zest until completely combined. This is to bring out the orange flavor. Joy explains it here.

Stir (vigorously by hand)/whip (with a stand mixer if you have one) the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and orange zest until pale and fluffy. Or until your hand feels like you can’t take it no more.

Mix in the egg and egg yolk.

Stir in orange extract and vanilla extract.

Slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until its combined. Do not overmix.

Fold in the chocolate chips and cranberries.

Drop a heaping tablespoon of cookie at a time onto greased or lined cookie sheets spacing them 2 inches apart.

Bake in preheated oven for about 10 minutes.

Allow to cool on cookie sheet two minutes before transferring to another plate (wire rack if you have one) to cool.

Store in an airtight container/ in the fridge if you’re in a place with extreme humidity.

*Adapted from Cooking Classy.
** I actually doubled the recipe which is why it took 4 hours. It also makes a freakish amount of cookies, like one batch makes like 40 to 50 not 30 like the original recipe says.

Cranberry Orange and Pecan Coffee Cake

ccran cake

This Christmas one of my biggest issues (aside from going broke from buying presents) is not buying the cranberry pound cake at Starbucks. That thing calls my name every time I pass by. It’s all “Dini – I look so good. You know you want me. You know I’m worth a ridiculous $4 per slice.” The thing is. It’s not.

But two weekends ago, when the temptation was just proving to be too much I decided that I had to make a GODDAMN cranberry cake.

I followed Joy the Baker‘s recipe and can I just say WOW. It was actually amazing, even if my version (see below) looks a little burnt. Because it kinda was…

For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into medium chunks
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (It’s a little less than 3 oranges worth)
1 Tbsp orange zest
1/2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup fresh cranberries (Joy said to chop this – but I overlooked this and it was fine)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

For the Topping:
2 Tbsps unsalted butter, cold
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 Tbsps granulated sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans

For the glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp milk

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 175 C/350 F.

Grease a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan. Line pan with parchment paper, leaving a few inches of overhang on each side. Grease the parchment paper with butter and dust with flour on all sides. Set aside.

In a bowl, whisk together flour sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add chunks of butter and work the butter into the flour with your fingers. Blend the butter into each bit of the dry ingredients. The mixture will resemble a coarse meal.

In another bowl whisk together eggs, orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla extract.

Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients. Stir together to incorporate. Add the cranberries and pecans and fold into the batter.

To make the topping combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until crumbly.

Pour the cake better into the loaf pan and sprinkle with the topping. Place in the oven and bake for about 45 to 55 minutes. Insert a skewer into the center of the cake to ensure that it’s cooked through.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Use the parchment paper to lift the loaf from the pan and allow to cool further on a wire rack.

Make the glaze by whisking the powdered sugar and milk together. Drizzle over the cake.

whole cake

SERVE! EAT! ENJOY!

*Adapted from Joy the Baker.