Cookery Maven Blog

A Dougherty Snow Day

It turned out to be a splendid day. We were all looking forward to a snowy Sunday but as the hours marched on towards Monday, I started to lose hope. The weather people had been downgrading the storm all day and by 8:30, I d resigned myself to a measly dusting of snow (while my family in Minneapolis was literally rolling in it).

An hour later, we were celebrating. Jack came downstairs with the most marvelous news— a new winter storm warning had been issued and there were 5 to 9 inches of snow on the way.  I love a snow day like a George loves his Chuck-it and judging from Charlie's happy dance, I think he does as well. I couldn't wait to wake up on Monday morning to a world of white.

The kids technically had school but we live 12 miles away, the roads were bad and it was still snowing when we woke up; I decided a Dougherty Day was in order (a Dougherty day is an unplanned day off to lounge around the house and play hooky). Last week was a blur— between ski team, volleyball and Christmas Carol, we were running around constantly. Today was a much-needed break from the treadmill of commitments the kids have each week. We played with the dogs outside, went for a walk downtown, baked cookies, played cards and assembled Christmas treats. It was a perfect Dougherty snow day.

Bayfield loves a fresh coat of snow, it looked like a Norman Rockwell painting today.

My two girls in the snow. We went for our walk before we spent the afternoon in the kitchen. I'm not much of a baker but we decided to tackle some Christmas cookies and treats. Overall, it went well. We have about 2 million mints, I misread the directions and ended up quadrupling the recipe. Thank God the kids like butter mints.

George was acting horridly on the way down to the dock so I decided to let him loose rather than fall flat on my face because he refused to stop tugging me along. He took off and didn't look back, that dog knows how to have a good time.

George prefers to handle the leash himself.

This may be kind of a lame Christmas treat but it's totally within my skill set and it's a big hit around here. Who doesn't like pretzels dipped in almond bark and rolled in crushed candy canes?

Butter mints are going to be the name of the game around here for a while, we have a lot of them. The combination of my utter disregard for reading recipes and lack of reading glasses resulted in a miscalculation with the powdered sugar.  We have a lot of mints to eat, give away, vacuum pack, pave the driveway get the idea. The good news is that it's a super easy recipe and they remind me of the mints my Grandmas Duffy always had at her house.

Butter Mints(From Williams Sonoma Holiday Cooking With Kids)

2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
2 tbsp butter, softened
1 1/2 tbsp warm water
1/2 tsp peppermint extract, plus extra as needed
red and green food coloring

Put one cup of the sugar, butter and 1 tbsp of water in the bowl of a mixer. Beat on medium speed until the mixture is smooth and well blended. Slowly add the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/2 tsp water, continuing to beat at medium speed until the mixture is smooth. The sugar mixture should be soft and not sticky. Add more water if it's crumbly and if it's too sticky, add more sugar. It should have the consistency of pie crust dough.

Remove dough from the mixer, separate it into 1 to 4 smaller balls, and add one ball back into the mixer. Add the food coloring of your choice to the ball by squirting the droplets on top of the dough (careful when you turn on the mixer), and paddle on low-speed until coloring is well-blended. Coloring will not blend completely into each and every speck of dough if examined extremely closely, but overall, mix until color is uniform.

Wash the mixing bowl and the paddle in between each color change and repeat until all the balls are colored. After the dough has been colored, either wrap it with plastic wrap and place it in an airtight container in the refrigerator to be rolled out later or roll it immediately.

Place a golf-ball sized amount of dough in your hands and roll dough into long thin cylinders about 1 centimeter wide. Place cylinders on countertop and with a pizza cutter slice cylinder into bite size pieces. You can make any size or shape of mint that strikes your fancy— go crazy! Store mints in an airtight container in the refrigerator where they will keep for many weeks.