Friday, December 3, 2010

Cookies, creme brulee and cockpits, oh my!

I know I've been writing about my family a lot lately. But my dad found something when I was home last that was just too cool not to write about. It was my grandpa's first flight log book. As in, records from when he learned to fly. In 1942. Pretty darn cool. That goofy guy in the helmet and goggles? That was him (I can see a lot of my dad's face in him too). The Army PT17 was a Stearman (check out this picture of one of those). It was a two-seater biplane used for training.

This is a picture of him in high school, and then some of the stuff he was doing while training in Florida. Spins, stalls, figure eights, all in a plane that doesn't have an enclosed cockpit! It's not surprising that I grew up in airplanes then. Grandpa went on to be a trainer in the Army Air Force, and my uncle and dad grew up around planes. Dad went on to be in the airplane business, and flying in small planes is one of my favorite things (I'm a total weirdo — I actually really like turbulence!). It also means someday I will have to get a pilot's license...make money first, then I will do that. Someday.

My last few desserts have been a sort of hodge-podge in between cupcakes for the cupcake challenge. I made this creme brulee from Joy of Cooking for a girls' dinner we had at my house. My friends Kelly, Brianne and Lauren came over and we had a big dinner together. It was so nice to just have time with's so needed. Brianne and Kelly had never had creme brulee, so I definitely had to introduce them. I thought I ruined it at first, because you have to cook them in a water bath, and let me tell you, getting water into the pan in the oven and later getting it out without getting it in the custard is tough. But it turned out perfectly.

I got to go home before Thanksgiving, but had to work on the actual day. I wanted to bring a treat in for everyone who was working, but didn't really feel like making the trip to the store for Thanksgiving-y ingredients. So I made chocolate cookies with peanut butter chips. Pretty simple, but still tasty.

I've started seeing a lot of Christmas recipes pop up, and my bookmark list is getting longer and longer. I've been wanting to make meringue cookies the last few days, but after a marathon of days at work, I wasn't getting up early enough to make them and let them dry out. So instead I went for these molasses cookies, which was definitely the right decision. They were SO good. They have some cinnamon and ginger in them, but they're not quite a gingersnap. A little red and green sanding sugar, and I've started my holiday baking! I handed them out to the whole newsroom, which I hadn't gotten to do in a while. They were all gone at the end of the day. I will definitely make them again. Now, I'm preparing for a baking day with Aunt Betty. It's December, so holiday music and holiday baking is fair game!


  1. You've been a busy baker! Love the molasses cookies! I like how you used the red and green sanding sugar:) That must have been fun to find your grandpa's photos/documents:) Good luck on getting your "wings" someday!

  2. What an amazing find. You must have been thrilled to find such a treasure. All your desserts sound delicious, but I think the molasses cookies would be my favorite.

  3. By the way, I'm holding a giveaway on my blog for Orglamix Organic makeup and you're welcome to come by and enter.

  4. Woah that's pretty cool! By the way, I think your grandpa's quite handsome hehe. And you're very brave...I'm not afraid of flying but small planes scare the bejesus out of me when they get shaky.

  5. Brenna, I personally love hearing about your family! What an interesting post! And, of course, your baking is phenomenal. Chocolate PB chip cookies, yum!

  6. I love the pictures of Uncle Laird!! I think he tried all those tricks on me, the roll, the stall and a few dives thrown in for good measure! All at my expense and his delight. lol Wonderful to see him again and to take a trip down memory lane. Love your blog!


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