And another late post. Since I’ve gotten home I’ve been working and it’s been hot. I’ve been watching Doctor Who and not doing much else at all. Like a holiday from my holiday. It’s been much more difficult to get up early now that I’m back in Melbourne (and I have to say that the work Christmas dinner didn’t help with that AT ALL.)
But time moves on (quickly, quickly!) and so must we, and although it’s holidays for some, others of us still have to work. But we make time for play, too, and our house is having a Christmas party this weekend.
Cue massive freak out.
Cookies, cupcakes, mini quiches. Vodka, bourbon, gin. Dishes, dishes, dishes. Party party party!
And there’s still the project, of course. Give us a prayer, will you?
The holiday party season is not something I have to say I’ve had all that much experience in. Previously, there’s been work Christmas dos, which I’ve either avoided or avoided drinking at. Sometimes a New Year’s Eve party but definitely low key.
Hosting a party is fantastic because you get to hang out with a bunch of cool people (you’ll know most of them because you invited them. Or at least I hope you did.) and drink as much as you want (because you’re not driving anywhere) but you don’t have to leave the house or worry about transport or anything pesky like that. Unfortunately, you also have to do the preparation and cleaning up. Not so much fun.
Ah well. You win some, you lose some.
It’s the same with these checkerboard cookies. They’re difficult to make – rather fiddly and prone to break apart – but when you get it together and bake them up, they’re delicious and impressive to boot.
300 g butter, unsalted, cubed and at room temperature
150 g icing sugar
scraped contents of 1/2 vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla extract
400 g plain flour
40 g cocoa powder
1 tbsp milk
1 egg yolk
Sift the icing sugar onto a countertop or other work surface. Add the butter, salt and vanilla and knead together with one hand. Sift the flour on top and knead into a dough quickly.
Split the dough into two and wrap one half in cling wrap to refrigerate. Sift cocoa powder over the other half and knead into the dough. Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate both discs for 1-2 hours or up to a week.
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F and line two baking trays with baking paper. Set aside.
Split each disc in two. Roll out one half of each colour to 1 cm thick rectangles. Slice into strips one centimetre wide.
Whisk the egg yolk and milk together.
Arrange the strips into a checkerboard pattern, using the egg yolk and milk mixture as a glue. Roll out the other halves of the discs and wrap them around the checkerboard strips.
Slice each log into half centimetre wide squares. Arrange on the baking trays and bake 10-12 minutes. Make sure you don’t bake them too long though, or else the pale bits become too brown and they’re not as pretty.
Let cool on trays. Take to holiday parties and impress your friends and family.