Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Misson Creek 2012 announcement

Earlier this week, the coordinators of the Iowa City Mission Creek Festival announced the dates of the 2012 event.

When: March 27-April 1, 2012
Where: venues and art spaces in downtown Iowa City
Featuring: The Magnetic Fields, David Cross, Sharon Van Etten, & Bowerbirds

The DI Arts staff talked with Mission Creek's founder Andre Perry about what visitors can expect at the 2012 festival.

Perry said the upcoming festival will include some new additions including food appreciation and an artist-in-residency series.

The artist in residence series was started by Mission Creek producer Christopher Wiersema in an effort to get visiting acts more involved with the community and the culture of Iowa City. Perry said that some of the performing artists with collaborate with local, Luke Tweedy to record music in Iowa City during their visits. They will record in Tweedy's Flat Black studios. Perry confirmed that at least three of the acts coming this spring will record music in Iowa City while they are here. One of these bands is Dirty Beaches who will complete a split release with local band, Wet Hair. Perry said this is a way for musicians to commemorate their experience in Iowa City for the Mission Creek Festival.

Perry said that Mission Creek is a special event in the Iowa City arts scene because it runs a wide spectrum of performances, appeals to various demographics of festival-goers from students to residents, and takes advantage of local geography to engage artists with the community.

All-Access Passes ($115) can be purchased online at Midwestix and the Englert Theatre Box Office.

More information about performing acts and venues will be available in January 2012. Check back with the Daily Iowan at for festival updates.

-by Hannah Kramer

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Santa likes gingerbread, I swear!

When I was a little girl, I used to set out cookies and milk for Santa on Christmas Eve. As usual, we would have tins upon tins upon tins filled with homemade cookies that my mother so lovingly baked with her four little monsters, or Christmas elves as I liked to think.

Choosing what to leave out for Santa was always a struggle! Does he like sugar? gingerbread? almond crescents? or my Dad's famous "birds nests"...

Well one year I left out Gingerbread boys and when I came down in the middle of the night to see if Santa arrived...he had! and he left a note! There was hay all over my front walkway from the reindeer, a note from the Jolly old fella and a BRAND NEW BIKE under the tree.

So, in my experience Santa loves gingerbread! Leave him a taste and you might be extra surprised this holiday!

Here are the two most scrumptious cookie recipes for the holidays to share with your family and friends.



  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly milled black pepper
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 large egg

  • Royal Icing (recipe follows)
    • 1 pound (4 1/2 cups) confectioners' sugar
    • 2 tablespoons dried egg-white powder
    • 6 tablespoons water
    • Position the racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.

Sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, salt and pepper through a wire sieve into a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using a hand-held electric mixer at high speed, beat the butter and vegetable shorteninguntil well-combined, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and beat until the mixture is light in texture and color, about 2 minutes. Beat in the molasses and egg. Using a wooden spoon, gradually mix in the flour mixture to make a stiff dough. Divide the dough into two thick disks and wrap each disk in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled, about 3 hours. (The dough can be prepared up to 2 days ahead.)

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature until just warm enough to roll out without cracking, about 10 minutes. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and sprinkle the top of the dough with flour. Using cookie cutters, cut out the cookies and transfer to nonstick cookie sheets, placing the cookies 1 inch apart. Gently knead the scraps together and form into another disk. Wrap and chill for 5 minutes before rolling out again to cut out more cookies.

Bake, switching the positions of the cookies from top to bottom and back to front halfway through baking, until the edges of the cookies are set and crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on the sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire cake racks to cool completely. Decorate with Royal Icing. (The cookies can be prepared up to 1 week ahead, stored in airtight containers at room temperature.)

Have a safe and happy holiday season and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!