Movie Night Cookies

By Libbie Summers from Sweet and Vicious–baking with attitude, Rizzoli
Photography by Chia Chong and Jade + Matthew Take Pictures

I grew up eating from three food groups: chocolate, popcorn, and Coke. Movie night around the Patrick homestead involved my own bowl of heavily salted popcorn, half a Mr. Goodbar, and a small bottle of Coca-Cola. My parents clearly hoped for a diabetic instead of a doctor or lawyer. As an adult, on my days off from cooking fancy, healthy food and acting like I know more than I do about branzino and leafy greens, dinners alone often consist of the three food groups from my youth. These Movie Night Cookies with a gummy Coke-bottle chaser are the closest thing I can get to that childhood memory without my mom standing over me yelling for me to pull my skirt down.

Cookie Recipes, Chocolate Cookies, Chocolate Popcorn Cookies, Libbie Summers, A food-inspired life, Sweet and Vicious
Movie Night Cookies
(soft chocolate + buttery popcorn flavored cookies)
yields 2 dozen

What You Need:
1 2⁄3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1⁄2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla paste
1⁄4 teaspoon butter flavoring (found in the extracts section of your grocery store)
1 cup buttered popcorn Jelly Belly jelly beans, plus extra just for eating while you bake these cookies
1⁄2 cup confectioners’ sugar
Gummy Coke bottles (optional)

What To Do:
Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla paste and butter flavoring and beat until just combined. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture and beat until just blended. Fold in the jelly beans.

Scoop 1 tablespoon dough and roll it into a ball. Roll the ball in the confectioners’ sugar until well covered. Place on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cookies are crackled. Let cool completely before serving, with a side of gummy Coke bottles, if you like.
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Candy Cane Pom Pom Garland

By Libbie Summers
Assisted by David Dempsey
Production Assistant: Anthony Lunsmann
Photography by Teresa Earnest Photography

 

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Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Hula Hoop, Christmas Tree, Holiday Ideas, Tree Ideas, Holiday Decorating, Red and White, Candy Cane Tree,

Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Hula Hoop, Christmas Tree, Holiday Ideas, Tree Ideas, Holiday Decorating, Red and White, Candy Cane Tree,

Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Hula Hoop, Christmas Tree, Holiday Ideas, Tree Ideas, Holiday Decorating, Red and White, Candy Cane Tree,

 

DIY: Peppermint Candy Cookie Cutter Ornaments

By Libbie Summers
Assisted by David Dempsey
Production Assistant: Anthony Lunsmann
Photography by Teresa Earnest Photography

I remember making peppermint candy ornaments one year in vacation bible school. If only I had been cool enough to make one in a pig shape back then!

This holiday craft is perfect for a tree meant just for the littles! We added red and white pom pom garland and tied torn pieces of gingham fabric on the branches to complete the playful look.

Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Holiday Decorations, Peppermint, Candy, How To, DIY, Handmade Ornament, nostalgic, tradition
Peppermint Candy Cookie Cutter Ornaments
What you need: 
Festive metal cookie cutter(s)
1 bag of round peppermints
Non-stick cooking spray
1 chopstick or small stick
1 sheet tray
Parchment paper or silpat
Paring knife
Yarn
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What to do:
1. Coat Cookie Cutter: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lay a sheet of parchment paper or a silpat on your sheet try. Next, completely cover (both sides) your cookie cutter with cookie spray, you’ll thank me later!

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2. Place Your Peppermints: Arrange your cookie cutters on the baking paper and carefully place your peppermints inside one by one. You may need to crack a few to fit in tight spaces. Don’t worry about a few gaps, as the candies begin to melt the holes will fill in.

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3. Bake: Place tray on the middle rack of your oven and allow to bake until just melted together (about 3-6 minutes). Remove from oven immediately.

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4. Trim the Excess: Allow about 30 seconds for the candies to set up a bit before using a paring knife to cut away any of the candy that has seeped out the cookie cutter. Work quickly!!

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5. Create Hole for Hanging: Use a chopstick or other small stick to carefully make a 1/4-inch hole at the top for hanging later.

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6. Remove From Cutter: Using your hands, push the slightly cooled peppermint shape out of the cookie cutter. The candy must be still pliable for it to come out without breaking. If need be, you can pop back in the oven for 30 seconds.

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7. Make a Hanger: Cut a length of yarn and thread through the hole in the ornament and tie ends together.

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8. Decorate Your Tree: Hang ornaments from the yarn hangers onto the branches of your tree! Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Holiday Decorations, Peppermint, Candy, How To, DIY, Handmade Ornament, nostalgic, tradition
How stinkin’ cute is this!! Remember, you can eat your ornaments later…just not too much later.
Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Holiday Decorations, Peppermint, Candy, How To, DIY, Handmade Ornament, nostalgic, tradition

 

 

 

Jacked-up Ginger Cookies

By Libbie Summers from Sweet and Vicious–baking with attitude, Rizzoli
Photography by Chia Chong

God, I love these cookies! Take everything that is good and holy in this world and roll it in raw sugar and minced crystallized ginger and you’ll experience the magic of these Jacked-up Ginger Cookies. I can eat twenty in the middle of a crowded yoga class that’s twenty days into a thirty-day “clean program”—and still feel good about myself. You will too.

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Jacked-up Ginger Cookies
(three times the ginger)
yields 30 cookies

What You Need:
2 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
3⁄4 cup (1 1⁄2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed dark or light brown sugar (either works great)
1 large egg
1⁄4 cup molasses
1 1⁄2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1⁄2 cup turbinado sugar I use Sugar in the Raw—just lift an extra packet each time you visit a coffee shop . . . it will take 12 visits.
1⁄4 cup minced crystallized ginger

What To Do:
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, ground ginger, baking soda, and salt and set aside.

In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to cream together the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and molasses. Gradually mix in the flour mixture. Mix in the fresh ginger. Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, or overnight. (The dough is like gingerbread on steroids. Give it a taste. Trust me.)

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, stir together the turbinado sugar and crystallized ginger. Shape the dough using a small portion scoop into 1 1⁄2-inch balls and roll the balls in the turbinado sugar mixture. Place them 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool and serve.
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Libbie’s Table: Holiday Dinner

By Libbie Summers
Assisted by David Dempsey
Production Assistant: Anthony Lunsmann
Photography by Teresa Earnest Photography
On location at The Grant Hotel, available through Lucky Savannah Vacation Rentals

Sweet Persimmons and Black Licorice were the inspiration for this intimate and dramatic holiday dinner served at dusk. I’m ready for three of the coolest people I know to arrive. Read how simply it all came together.
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A bird’s eye view of the sweetest of tables.
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A lit pom pom and jute garland lay down the middle of the table and cascaded over the sides and onto the floor to lead the guests to the table.

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Candles upon candles upon candles in brass and mercury glass candlesticks were set in and out of the pom pom garland.Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Holiday, Holiday Decorating, Holiday Tablescape, Tablescape Idea, Holiday Dinner, Holiday Party Ideas,
Grey stoneware shallow bowls from Crate and Barrel were topped with a linen napkin from Fog Linen and flatware from Juliska. A persimmon at each place setting was a sly nod to the dessert that evening.

 

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Seats were covered in wrapping paper to give a nod to the holidays!

Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Holiday, Holiday Decorating, Holiday Tablescape, Tablescape Idea, Holiday Dinner, Holiday Party Ideas,
All is right with the world when I can wear this plaid maxi skirt from Shabby Apple. I topped it with a bird emblazoned sweater from J.Crew outlet and my favorite black ski hat from Moncler.  The fab faux fur jacket in the image prior is from French Connection and is TO DIE FOR!