Easter Recipes

01-homemade-easter-egg-dye-eggs

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.

Read More »

Advertisements

Russian Tea Cakes: The Best Cookies for Any Occasion

DSC_0103-1_710

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.

giphy

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!

a9af97c32d63dd5a25e72ee4919f2be1--cake-blog-illustration.jpg

How to Get in the Holiday Spirit (and Procrastinate for Finals)

Holiday shopping = the best procrastination method ever

by Clara Butler

1. Plan all your holiday shopping!

Curl up with a nice, warm drink from Liz’s and bask in the glow of your computer screen while you scour Amazon and Pinterest for gifts ideas for everyone from your dog to your roommate! And then when you find a really cool gift that you actually think might be better on your own list, forward it to your parents or primary gift-givers. In all seriousness though, websites like Etsy and ModCloth are great for finding gifts in your budget and ones that no one else will think of.

2. Scour the holiday markets

If you prefer IRL shopping, stop by one of the many winter markets going on now at Bryant Park, Union Square, and Columbus Circle. Even though some of the shops are typical NYC booths selling things like lockets or winter hats, there are some great finds and you can support small business owners and NYC residents! There’s also a handy FedEx right on 116th for when you realize that the gifts you bought can’t fit into the one suitcase you are bringing home for break.

3. Find the best hot chocolate in NYC

This is something that could transpire over a number of weeks since it is no easy task. Sure, you
could go on Yelp or Timeout and see what OTHER people think is the best hot chocolate in the city but why not just start at the Hungarian Pastry Shop and work your way downtown? Extra points for cool flavors like peppermint, white chocolate, or other holiday flavors.

4. Do some charity work

It’s no secret that people are more generous during the holidays so take advantage of other people’s kindness to create some of your own! Hold a clothing drive or food drive for a worthy charity or even just volunteer at a soup kitchen, charity run, or blood drive! Getting in the holiday spirit is about much more than just buying gifts and being materialistic, it’s also about helping others, especially those who may not have a home to go to over the holidays or who are just feeling down.

These classic movies are a must this holiday season

5. Hold a holiday movie binge watch

Remember those movies from your childhood like Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer or The Year Without a Santa Claus that constantly played on ABC Family during their 25 Days of Christmas? Watch those and every terrible LifeTime movie you can find while eating candy canes and maybe some latkes too!

6. Go on a holiday scavenger hunt

As someone who oftentimes has a tough time leaving campus (because of lack of ideas and because it requires to much effort), this is a great idea to visit some of NYC’s most prominent landmarks and take some great Christmas tree selfies. Make sure to visit the giant tree at Rockefeller Plaza, 5th Avenue for the holiday windows, and the Plaza Hotel for the world’s largest Menorah (after Dec. 16)! Extra points if you see more than 10 people in Santa costumes or if you see anyone wearing anything Hanukah related.

7. Go to Santa Con!

So many Santas

So, as a recent NYC transplant last year, I was naively riding the subway one day when all of a sudden, about 30 people came on in either Santa or Elf getups. I knew that some kind of event must have been happening because this was a little too bizarre even for New York. I figured out later that it was called Santa Con and according to the website, “Santa Con is a charitable, non-commercial, non-political, nonsensical Santa Claus convention that happens once a year for absolutely no reason”. This year, it’s on December 13th, which means it’s the perfect way to forget finals exist and pretend you live at the North Pole instead of at a stress-filled school.

Clara Butler is a junior at Barnard and the Girl Talk and Opinions editor for The Nine Ways of Knowing.

Images courtesy of TimeInc, DenofGeek, and NYCSantaCon.

Got Holiday Markets? Three Holiday Markets to Visit in NYC this Winter

by Jessica Gregory

Winter Village at Bryant Park is ridiculously pretty!

We’re almost to exam season, and we’re almost to the point of heading our separate ways for winter break. Between your studying and packing, however, take an afternoon or evening to visit one of New York City’s amazing holiday markets. You can eat (obviously the best part), buy gifts from a wide range of vendors, or just walk around in the midst of a bright holiday mood. For your convenience, I’ve compiled a list of the ones I think are most worth your time.

Union Square Holiday Market
Open: now through December 24th
Location: 14th to 17th Streets and Broadway to Park Avenue South
Bonus: It’s very large.

I think the best part about this holiday market is the ambiance. The white and red striped stalls are packed closely together, creating a cozy and festive atmosphere.

Winter Village at Bryant Park
Open: now through January 5th
Location: Between 40th and 42nd Streets and Sixth Avenue
Bonus: Ice skating rink open through March 1st.

Though this village is on the fringe of Times Square, it’s not quite as crazy. Visit the Village, see the Christmas tree, and go ice-skating!

Columbus Circle Holiday Market
Open: now through December 24th
Location: 59th Street and Central Park West
Bonus: Central Park.

The same striped stalls as Union Square, with the bonus of Central Park and Columbus Circle as a backdrop. Take a walk through the park then shop, or shop then walk through the park. Your choice!

There are many more holiday markets to try out! Consult Time Out New York‘s guide to all the holiday markets in the city to learn more.

Jessica Gregory is a sophomore at Barnard College and a staff writer for The Nine Ways of Knowing

Image courtesy of thestylishcity.com

A Very Barnard Thanksgiving

by Molly Scott

Go see Hello Kitty up close!

Barnard and Columbia’s Thanksgiving Break is short, so it’s not uncommon for people to stay on campus. While the campus may seem a little deserted while people celebrate at home with our families, there’s no need for those stranded in Morningside Heights to feel like we’re stuck! Check out these fun things to do around Thanksgiving in New York City:

Thanksgiving Day

Go to the 86th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
If you are in NYC on Thursday, this is a must-see event. The parade route runs along Central Park West between 77th and 59th Streets, 7th Avenue between 59th and 42nd Streets, and 6th Avenue between 42nd and 34th Streets, ending at Macy’s in Herald Square. Along with awesome balloons, there will be many performances by celebrities (it’s a surprise who will perform though)!

Gather your friends and EAT!
There are tons of people staying here for the break, so find some friends (or maybe make a few new ones) and invite them for a mini-feast. Pitch in to buy all the essentials – pre-cut turkey meat, cranberry sauce, string beans, microwavable stuffing, etc. – at Westside Market or Morton Williams. Decorate your floor lounge or suite with festive place settings and a table centerpiece. When everyone’s together, share your traditions that you practice at home on Thanksgiving night.

Spend the day on Skype
Go wild on Skype with your family and friends. It will make you feel much better to not just talk to, but also to see your relatives on this meaningful family holiday. Keep in mind that friends at colleges all over the country have the day off too, so take this opportunity to catch up with them!

Think you have what it takes to compete?

Black Friday

Go shopping!
Since you’re in the fashion capital of the world, you’ll find virtually every store imaginable here. Get up super early to be there when the stores open or spend the day in bed with your laptop to score some major deals online. Warning: online shopping is highly addictive, so be careful you don’t empty your bank account.

Get a head start on your holiday shopping
Many major gift-giving holidays are quickly approaching, so use this free time to buy gifts for your family and friends (and take advantage of the Black Friday deals)!

The Weekend

Explore all the museums you’ve been meaning to visit
Let’s face it: none of us take advantage of the city as often as we’d like. This weekend is the perfect opportunity to go to New York’s outstanding museums. With your student ID, you can get into many museums for free or a discounted rate. Another bonus: the museums shouldn’t be as crowded as they are on other weekends. Check out the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, the Frick Collection, the MoMA, the Guggenheim Museum, the New York Historical Society, and the Museum of the City of New York.

Check out the city below 110th Street
There’s no shame in being a little touristy with your weekend off! Grab a few friends and explore SoHo, Greenwich Village, Little Italy, China Town, Brooklyn – the possibilities are endless. Consider visiting the to the top of the Empire State Building or Rockefeller Center before it gets too cold. Or go thrift shopping in the Village and then grab a cannoli at the famous Ferrara Bakery in Little Italy.

Molly Scott is a sophomore at Barnard and Girl Talk editor for The Nine Ways of Knowing.

Images courtesy of The New York Times and American Public Media.

Handling the Holidays

By Molly Scott

The holiday season is filled with joyful family celebrations, delicious food, wonderful gifts, and a much-deserved break from the rigorous academic life here at Barnard. However, for many people, the holidays can be a time of high anxiety, depression, or stress. Here are a few reasons why you may be feeling certain emotions and what you can do to bash those holiday blues.

Not feeling the holiday cheer?

Limited amount of time and money for gifts
 Let’s face it: we’re college students, therefore we are broke and have absolutely no time to go gift shopping (especially during finals). Many students feel guilty about not being able to purchase nice gifts for their friends and loved ones. Don’t punish yourself over this though. Your family and fellow students totally understand this. If you really feel strongly about gift giving, though, there are many options that are stress-free. Go shopping at your local mall when you get home after finals; you won’t have to deal with the stress of studying and you won’t be paying New York City prices (that is, if you don’t live in Manhattan). Another holiday shopping idea: online shopping! Shopping on Amazon is a great study break and Barnard students can qualify for Amazon Student Prime (free and fast shipping!). If you’re on a budget, just get simple things. Look for sales, and shopping online is probably a better idea than spending money in a store in Manhattan.

Missing a loved one
Losing a loved one is an extremely emotional event, and sometimes the holiday season can make that even harder. You may remember joyful holidays that you shared with them in the past. You don’t have to go through this grief alone, though. Talk about these memories and your feelings with a family member. Chances are, they too miss your loved one during this season. Allow yourself the time to grieve. Another great way to get through the loss is to honor them during the holiday season. Light a candle in their honor at a family meal or dedicate a certain holiday decoration in the house to them. If you are feeling sad while you’re still at Barnard, try a visit to Furman. They are experts at helping you through any type of grief that you’re experiencing.

The older you get, the less magical the holidays become
 This may seem silly, but it’s so true. Remember when you were younger and the anticipation for gifts, music, and food was so exciting? As we grow, we take on more responsibilities during the holiday season and the magic is lost. In order to make this season feel really special and exciting, I’ve come up with a few little tricks:

  • Dedicate about 30 minutes a few times a week to listening to your favorite holiday music. It’s a great study break and stress reliever too.
  • Decorate! Deck out your dorm room/suite with holiday decorations. This will make things festive and lighten everyone’s mood.
  • Try a gift exchange! If you and your friends have the time, set up a “secret Santa”. Put your names in a hat, pick a name, and pick the perfect present for that person. Dedicate a night where you guys can get together and exchange.

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

Image courtesy of All About 24