Easter Recipes

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By Collier Curran

Though not everyone celebrates Easter, I am always excited when the holiday approaches. Usually taking place in those tedious weeks between midterms and finals, Easter offers a one-day reprieve from ruminating about papers and exams. Also, since I love all things food, Easter provides an opportunity to repeat that big meal usually reserved for Thanksgiving and winter holidays.

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Giving Thanks: A Reflection on Thanksgiving for Three

 

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By Collier Curran

Even as my desk is piled high with papers and textbooks and my laptop has seventeen tabs open, my mind wanders to thoughts of mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and family. As the semester–and midterm season–trudges on, my excitement for Thanksgiving only builds; I open my eyes every morning and immediately grab for my phone to check the number of days left until the 23rd. In this age of only seeing family and hometown friends every few months, I can’t help but reflect on how my relationship to this holiday, and to my home, has changed.Read More »

Beat Midterms Stress: Easy Study Treats!

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By Collier Curran

I will admit, the title of this article can be slightly misleading. All college students–especially upperclassmen–know that the stress of midterms never truly fades until reading week, when it is replaced by equally suffocating finals stress. However, activities like cooking and baking can provide a temporary reprieve from hours in the library, with the added bonus of a delicious snack to boost morale. I have found three tasty and indulgent dorm-friendly recipes for when you need a sugary, buttery pick-me-up.Read More »

Russian Tea Cakes: The Best Cookies for Any Occasion

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By Collier Curran

I distinctly remember my first interaction with these mildly sweet, perfectly crunchy, and admittedly messy cookies. My family and I were on vacation in the beautiful Cayman Islands in the winter of 2016, and our hotel had placed a display of these cookies out for guests to enjoy. Never one to turn down free food, I tried one, unsure of what to expect underneath the thick powdered sugar coating. Immediately, I was hooked.

I went back for more cookies repeatedly throughout my stay, and began scouring Pinterest for a recipe as soon as I was on the plane home. I am delighted to announce that this easy homemade version may even be better than the ones at the hotel (but don’t tell them I said that). These cookies have a mild buttery and nutty flavor that pairs perfectly with a cup of coffee or a glass of cold milk.

Full disclaimer: I found this recipe from the blog Crazy for Crust over a year ago, and have loved it ever since. I use a mix of pecans and walnuts that I blend up finely before adding to the cookies. As the recipe notes, there are many options for the nutty component, though I love the subtle but delicious taste I get from both pecans and walnuts.

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These cookies are so simple to make, and rolling them in powdered sugar is one of the most satisfying moments a baker can experience, in my humble opinion. 

They are great to bring to parties or to make for guests, because they can easily be made the night before the big event (if you can manage to resist them for that long!). I have made these many times both for my friends and for friends of my mother’s, and I am always asked for the recipe.

Russian Tea Cakes

Makes 48 Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup butter, softened

½ cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 ¼ cups flour

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ cup finely chopped nuts (I use walnuts and pecans)

Powdered sugar for rolling

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375º F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Mix butter, ½ cup powdered sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add flour and salt and mix until the dough comes together. Stir in the nuts. If the dough is too soft, chill it until you can work it easily with your hands.
  3. Scoop 1 tablespoon balls of dough and place on prepared cookie sheet.
  4. Bake cookies for 7-8 minutes or until bottoms are just slightly brown. Remove from oven and cool for just a minute until you can handle them. Fill a small bowl with powdered sugar and roll each cookie in sugar until coated. (My tip: definitely take this time to make sure the cookies are not only cool enough for you to handle, but also firm enough that they will not crumble when rolled in the powdered sugar. The first time I made these cookies, a few of them fell apart because I did not allow them enough time to sit before rolling in sugar.)
  5. Place on a rack to cool. (You may want to re-roll them after they’ve cooled for the maximum powdered sugar content, which is highly recommended.)

And there you have it: delicious, easy, and crowd-pleasing cookies for your next event or for a relaxing weekend with friends. Physically resembling snowballs, they are perfect for the cooler months ahead and are a great way to impress friends and family when returning home for the holidays!

I made this batch for a holiday party and they were a hit!

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Holidays in NYC: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Our day of feast has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean we have to give up the warmth of the holidays just yet! Although you may be back at school, enjoy Thanksgiving NYC-style with our photos of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Check after the break for more photos.

Wheeee!! 

Photos by Sarah Lipkis. Sarah is a senior at Barnard and Photography Editor for The Nine Ways of Knowing.

Watching a Dream Unfold: The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center

By Molly Scott

Every holiday season, my family would go to see our town’s local production of The Nutcracker. Each time, I would fall in love with the ballet’s unmistakable music, beautiful costumes, and exquisite dancing. However, it has always been a dream of mine to see the world-famous Nutcracker at Lincoln Center and upon coming to Barnard, that dream came true.

Simply walking inside of the David H. Koch Theater of Lincoln Center was magnificent. We were seated in the third ring of the theater and even though we were pretty high up, we could see the stage perfectly. As the lights dimmed and the live orchestra began playing the infamous melody of the overture, I knew this was going to be the most incredible production of The Nutcracker I had ever seen.

As the curtain rose, little Clara and her brother Fritz waited for their family Christmas party to start. The costumes of both the adults and children at the party were bright, colorful, and very merry. Each dancer at the party wore a different colored dress with elaborate designs. The plot’s action truly began when the frightening Godfather Drosselmeyer gave Clara a beautiful nutcracker doll. When Clara falls asleep with the nutcracker under her arm, the godfather comes back, puts a spell on the nutcracker doll, and Clara begins to dream.

Mice and little soldiers start battling and the nutcracker comes to life to save Clara, and leads her into the snowy pine forest. This part of the production astounded me. There were huge pine trees and white snow fell from the ceiling as the “Waltz of the Snowflakes” began. This snow seemed more realistic and beautiful than I have seen in other productions. Also, these “snowflake” ballerinas were absolutely impeccable dancers, and their costumes were nothing but gorgeous. Each ballerina wore a white dress with sparkling silver outlines.

The second act was truly spectacular. Clara continued to watch her dream develop and different groups of dancers performed for her and the nutcracker. The star of all the dancers, however, was the sugar plum fairy and her partner. The dancers hit every mark perfectly and their costumes were so incredibly colorful and perfectly fit to their perfect bodies. This specific production at Lincoln Center includes the world’s best ballerinas, so the grace and control capable of their bodies is really something incredible. The orchestra was pitch perfect and the sound throughout the entire theater (which is huge) was magnificent. I had never seen The Nutcracker with a live orchestra before, and it truly made a difference and the whole production more special.

I would highly recommend anyone who hasn’t seen The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center to go this holiday season before the semester ends. Call it a study break. Clara does have to be the only one to watch a dream unfold—this production was truly a dream come true.

Molly is a first-year at Barnard and a staff writer for The Nine Ways of Knowing.

Photos courtesy of Arts Journal and Naples News.