Friday, November 30, 2007

Something warm for the cold weather.

How about some hot chocolate?

The new Clubman MINI is named Hot Chocolate. Maybe I could give up chocolate if I owned this baby! Nah, probably not. But I'd certainly try if you want to get me one.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

What a month!

I signed up to do NaBloPoMo again this year and it has been great! I also joined Daring Bakers. What a fun group! I look forward to the challenges in the coming months, honing baking skillz is never a bad thing.

One thing I haven't talked about here is the other life I lead. I am a glass artist. I use a kiln to form glass into jewelry, dishware, home accessories and tile for back splashes to use in kitchens and bathrooms. Well, in order to get the attention of the world I have a website where I sell some of those items. I also have invited my sisters to participate in selling items they hand make. In the near future I will entertain the idea of adding additional artisans and crafters to the site.

The design of the site was almost overwhelming. I had never before designed a website or used Dreamweaver. I struggled, threw my hands in the air, almost cried a couple of times. I lost patience and then found I could do this. I have completed the website. Yay!!!

I hope you will all go take a look at it. 3hipsisters!

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

#27 Instant Treats

Okay so for all you non-bakers out there or those of you trying to create new websites from scratch... there's always the doughboy! Refrigerated cookies kind of give me the creeps but they do work in a hurry. Buy a couple of rolls, pop them in the oven and twelve or so minutes later you have your treat.

Dig out the Hagen-Daas and yes, you guessed it - instant eggnog too!

The best eggnog during the holidays is Hagen-Dass Vanilla ice cream. Take it out of the freezer the night before you want to serve it. Put it in the refrigerator and let it thaw out. Remove the lid, stir with a spoon. Pour it into a punch bowl or ready to use cups add a spoonful of whipped cream a dash of nutmeg and you've got the best eggnog available. That's what I've been told. It's not my favorite drink, I'm a mulled cider fan instead.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

#26 Snickerdoodles

These are a family favorite. Except for one daughter. She's allergic to cinnamon and it makes her feel really bad that we all love them so much and she can't eat them. She can't eat a lot of other things we like either, so it is not so fun being her at times. But for the rest of us I give you Snickerdoodles!

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 400ºF. Mix 1 1/2 cups sugar, the butter, shortening and eggs in large bowl. Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Shape dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Mix 1/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

I must've made 400 dozen or so Snickerdoodles whiel managing the bakery. Yes, they're a popular cookie!

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Monday, November 26, 2007

We have a winner!

Well, someone has a lucky star following them! Katie is our big winner! Katie wins the David Lebovitz' book! And to think she just discovered Food Chronicles. The other winners, who get lovely parting gifts from me are: Pea, Melissa, Buffy, Grommie and Nicolette!

Yes, if your name is listed above send an email to foodchronicles at gmail dot com. Include your address and I'll send you your prize!

Thank you all for playing. Look forward to more books in the future!

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Daring Bakers! November Challenge Potato Bread

Wahoo! This is my first month of participating in Daring Bakers. Daring Bakers is a group of bakers who get together each month with a challenge to bake. This month's challenge came from Tanna at MyKitchen in Half Cups. And what a wonderful challenge it was. Tanna chose to have us make a Potato bread. Perfect! I have baked yeast rolls for Thanksgiving in years and this was the perfect do it.

I have never made a potato(e) ;-) bread and was looking forward to the task, yet I still kept thinking "I wonder if I should wait until the last minute to do this?" Yes. It'll be fine. So I downloaded the recipe and Thursday morning after the turkey was in the roaster I began peeling potatoes. That was the big discussion this month. How many potatoes equal what we need (8oz for beginners, 16 for experienced breadmakers)? I decided to weigh them out and not take any chances.

I boiled up the potatoes and reserved the liquid needed, mashed my potatoes and began.
Mashed potatoes and reserved liquid

Then I added the requisite 2 cups of King Arthur Flour. This was not a must for the recipe, but as you all know by now, King Arthur is the best flour to use when baking bread. It has a high protein level and that's what makes bread great! So choose King Arthur when you're bread baking.

Adding flours

Once the white and whole wheat flours were in, it was time to turn out the dough and give it a good kneading. So I floured up the board and dumped it out. The board by the way was made by my grandfather for my grandmother probably fifty years ago. It is still in excellent shape and I use it almost every day.

Begin kneading

The kneading takes about 10 minutes of good kneading to make a good loaf. Adding flour as you go along. The recipe called for 8 cups of flour. I used 7 and a half and felt it was time to put in the bowl for rising. I buttered up my bowl, as I hate the dough to stick to the bowl, added my shower cap to the bowl and the waiting begins.

Ready to rise

Begin rising

A what? Yes a shower cap. I learned that trick at the bread class I went to given by King Arthur flour. I go around collecting the shower caps at hotels we stay at in our travels. I have quite a collection. It is funny to see people's expressions when they find them in the kitchen.

Shower cap

Two hours has flown by! The dough looks great! You know that weird feeling you get in your stomach when you go by the bowl after about thirty minutes and nothing seems to be happening... yep I had it Thursday. Aaack. Will it rise? Take a look:

2 hours later

Yay! I rolled it out of the bowl and let it rest for five minutes. Then gave it a few good turns on the board and then divided the dough into 2/3 - 1/3 portions. The larger portion for the loaf and the smaller for the rolls. Tanna told us at this point we could get creative. Do whatever we wished to do with the dough. Well, I kept it pretty standard as I wanted rolls for Thanksgiving dinner and a small loaf for sandwiches through the weekend. Small loaf meaning small around and longer than a standard bread pan.

Rolls in the pan

Small loaf

Now another 35 minutes to rise again and then into the oven! And wow did they bake off nicely.

Baked off

Baked off

Potato Bread

We had a small gathering who loved the rolls. During this weekend the bread was just the right size for a quick bite in between tasks around the house.

Thank you Tanna, for such a great recipe. And thank you Daring Bakers for allowing me to join the group! I look forward to many months of baking challenges with each of you!

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#25 Waffle Brownies

Not a cookie per se but still a great addition to the goody tray for friends and neighbors. I've posted on these before and everyone who tried them loved them.

Waffle Brownies!
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
Okay this is the simplest of treats! One sauce pan is all you'll need, and a spoon. So I mixed up all the ingredients and spooned them on the waffle iron.

Took a pic so you could see and then closed the lids for about four minutes:

Ready to Eat Look how good these turn out! Lift them, with a fork, off the iron and do it again. I made a dozen brownies with my recipe.

Warm with buttercream Here they are with icing. A little chocolate buttercream this time. Mmmmm.

After tasting them, I would add a bit more cocoa possibly a third of a cup or instead of water, maybe use chocolate syrup. Or I could always use chocolate chips in the mix. Oh and I'd add a bit of vanilla too!

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

#24 Chocolate Mint Marvels

Okay this cookie is a cheat. I googled Cookies for Santa and came up with this recipe. I have a show today (in the wind, aaack!) So without further rambling I give you:

Cookies for Santa

Ranger Cookies

2 cups shortening
2 cups sugar
2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups flour
4 teaspoons soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups coconut
4 cups oatmeal
4 cups corn flakes

Preheat oven to 375°. Cream shortening and sugars; add eggs, vanilla, and then dry ingredients. Beat well. Add coconut and oatmeal, and beat well. Lightly fold in corn flakes. Drop onto baking sheet, and bake till golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Makes 9 dozen. This recipe can be halved if you're only feeding the family and Santa.

Chocolate Mınt Marvels

¾ cup butter
1½ cups brown sugar
2 cups chocolate chips
2 eggs
2½ cups flour
1¼ teaspoons baking soda
3 or 4 packages of Andes mints

Preheat oven to 350°. Melt butter and brown sugar in saucepan over low heat. Add chocolate chips and stir to melt; put mixture into a bowl and let cool. Add eggs, and then mix in flour and baking soda. Chill dough for 1 hour. Roll into balls and place on baking sheet. Bake for 9 minutes. Remove cookies from oven and place an Andes mint on each one. As the candy melts, swirl it across the top of the cookie with a butter knife. Makes 3 dozen.

Update: Some screwball at American Way magazine tells me I'm violating their copyright. Well, guess what American. Do some fact checking of your own. Both of these recipes are in the public domain. And the text that was here, is gone now. Don't want American Airlines coming after the little guy using their magazine. Check the comments, for more info. Yeah big business, big bother!

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Friday, November 23, 2007

#23 Ribbon or swirl Cookies

Picture and recipe from the Food Network.

Vanilla Dough:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 large egg
1 to 1 1/4 teaspoons mint extract
1 cup unsalted butter, (2 sticks), room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour

Chocolate Dough:
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup natural cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 cup unsalted butter, (2 sticks) room temperature
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

For the vanilla dough: Mix the 2 sugars and the salt together in a medium bowl. In another small bowl, whisk the egg and mint extract and set aside. With a hand held mixer beat the butter until smooth in a large bowl. While mixing, gradually add the sugar mixture, and continue beating until lightly colored and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stop mixing and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg mixture and beat until smooth. Gradually add the flour, mixing slowly until blended.

Turn the dough out of the bowl, divide in half. Place the halves between 2 pieces of lightly floured parchment or waxed paper. Roll into a 10 by 12 by 1/4 inch rectangle. Slide the sheets of dough/parchment sheets onto a baking sheet, and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.

For the chocolate dough: Whisk the sugar, cocoa, salt in a medium bowl. With a hand held mixer beat the butter until smooth in a large bowl. While mixing, add the cocoa mixture, and continue beating until lightly colored and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Stop mixing and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and beat until smooth. Gradually add the flour, mixing slowly until blended.

Turn the dough out of the bowl, divide in half. Place the halves between 2 pieces of lightly floured parchment or waxed paper. Roll into a 10 by 12 by 1/4 inch rectangle. Slide the sheets of dough/parchment sheets onto a baking sheet, and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.

For a spiral cookie: Put 1 of the chocolate doughs on the workspace and remove the top sheet of parchment. Brush dough lightly with cold water. Place a sheet of vanilla dough on the workspace, and remove top sheet of paper. Using the bottom piece of the paper to lift the dough, place the vanilla dough on top of the chocolate dough. Take care to line up the edges of the 2 doughs and trim as needed. Lightly press to smooth and seal the doughs together. Remove the top piece of paper. Brush the surface of the dough lightly with cold water. Position the sandwiched doughs with the long edge facing you. Using the edge of the paper as a guide, roll the doughs into a tight cylinder, 2 inches wide. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour. Repeat with remaining 2 sheets of dough.

Evenly position racks in the oven, and preheat to 325 degrees F.

Slice the dough crosswise into 1/4-inch thick cookies. Lay about 1/2-inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until just golden - not too dark you'll lose the definition of the spiral, about 14 to 16 minutes.

For a ribbon cookie:
Roll and layer the two doughs into 15 by 18-inch rectangles, and 1/4-inch thick in the same way as the Spiral Cookies. Put 1 of the chocolate doughs on the work space and remove the top sheet of parchment. Brush lightly with a little cold water. Place 1 of vanilla doughs on the work space. Remove top sheet of paper, and use the bottom piece of the paper to lift the dough onto the chocolate dough. Take care to lining up the edges of the dough. Lightly press to smooth and seal the doughs together. Remove the top parchment.

Trim the edges on the layered doughs with a pizza cutter using a ruler or other straight edge as a guide. Working with the short edge facing you, cut the layered dough in half vertically. Set 1 piece on top of the other and then turn the dough, to have the long side facing you. Cut the dough in half again and set 1 piece on top of the other. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours before slicing.

Trim any uneven edges with a sharp knife. Slice blocks into 1/8-inch thick rectangles and bake until the white dough is just beginning to brown, about 16 to 18 minutes.

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

#22 Something different

I already gave you a gingerbread cookie recipe. Now I want you to make it but rather than roll it out and cut it into boys and girls I want you to cut it into rounds. Make them thin. You can roll the dough into a log and slice 1/4 inch slices and bake them off. Once you have your round coolies, I want you to whip some fresh whipping cream. Yes. Fresh. It is very simple. Whip it good and stiff, almost to the point of making butter. Then make this:

I've made this with those really thin chocolate cookies. Now I'm going to make this! It is in this month's Martha Stewart Living magazine (where I got the picture, Thank you) and knew this had to be part of the Christmas celebration this month. I think you'll like it as much as me. All you need to do is put a layer of cookies on a plate and then a layer of whipped cream; do that again; and again until you run out of each. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. This is a must! Then garnish it (if you wish) and slice and serve. It's a cookie! It's a cake! It's two desserts in one!

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

#21 Citrus Squares

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks), unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
6 tablespoons red currant jelly

2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch fine salt
1 cup freshly squeezed tangerineine juice, squeeze them fresh
1 lemon juiced (4 to 5 tablespoons)
2 teaspoons tangerine zest, finely grated
2 teaspoons lemon zest, finely grated
2 blood oranges, sliced and cut into small triangular pieces, for serving, optional

Butter a 9 by 12 1/2-inch baking pan. Line pan with foil and leave about 2 inches extra on all sides. Butter the foil.

Whisk the flour, cornstarch, and salt together in a bowl.

Beat the butter with the sugar on medium, until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. With mixer on low, add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Try not to over work the dough.
Press dough evenly in prepared pan. It should be about 1/4 of an inch thick. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Poke the dough with a fork or a wooden skewer. Bake the crust until just golden, about 30 minutes.

Melt the jelly in the microwave until soft enough to spread, about 1 minute. Pour over dough and spread even with a pastry brush. Return to the oven and cook another 10 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Whisk the eggs, yolks, sugar, sweetened condensed milk, flour, and salt together in a medium bowl. Beat until thick and light yellow. Stir in the citrus juices and zest, and whisk gently to blend well.

Pour the filling onto the cooled crust and bake until the filling is firm but still loose and wobbly in the center, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight before cutting.

Remove bars from refrigerator and dip the bottom of it in warm water to soften the butter and release the foil from the sides of the pan. Use foil to lift pastry out of the baking pan and transfer to a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut into about 50 1 1/2-inch squares, wiping down the knife with a hot moist towel between cuts. Top each square with a tiny triangular segment of blood orange and serve.

Recipe and Picture from the FoodNetwork 12 days of cookies 2005.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

#20 Danish Cherry Balls

Wow, these look really good. I am going to try them tomorrow. If they turn out well, I'll take a picture and post it.

Cherry Balls - Kirsebærkugler

* ½ cup soft butter
* ¼ cup powdered sugar
* 1½ cups flour -- sifted
* 1 pinch salt
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* Maraschino cherries

Mix butter and sugar to a creamy consistency. Add flour, salt and vanilla. Mix with the fingers.

Take a maraschino cherry and fold dough around it, making a small ball - the smaller the better. Put on ungreased cookie sheets and bake 12 to 15 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven. Cool.


* 1 cup powdered sugar -- sifted
* 2 tablespoons heavy cream
* 1 teaspoon vanilla

Blend well and coat cookie in icing.

Update: Bleh. I did not like these cookies at all. They seemed flour heavy and the flavors were off.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

#19 Cinnamon Pecan Twists

These cookies are the easiest of the group. You begin with frozen puff pastry dough and add a few spices and nuts. Easy peasy!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup pecan pieces
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (9 1/4 by 10-inch) sheet puff pastry, thawed (about 9 ounces)
1 large egg, beaten

Combine sugar, pecans, and cinnamon in a mini-chopper and process until sandy. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Unfold pastry and brush with egg. Spread sugar mixture over pastry. Cut in half, then cut into 8 (1/2-inch-wide) strips. Twist strips. Lay on pans, pushing ends down with your thumb. Freeze 10 to 15 minutes, until firm. Take out of freezer and put directly in the oven. Half way through the baking cycle, turn pan 180 degrees. Bake 18-20 minutes until golden brown. Wrap in foil tightly to store.

I don't recommend baking a bunch and storing them. They are much better baked the same day.

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

#17 and #18 Christmas Cookies

So as promised yesterday Here are the two new recipes. First off holiday biscotti. There is always someone around who doesn't eat cookies. Biscotti is a good alternative for someone who is not a cookie eater per se.

#17 Holiday Biscotti

It is a bit labor intensive to make biscotti but well worth the effort. Begin with these ingredients:

1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons anise seed*
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed*
1 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup pistachios, shelled
1/2 cup dried apricots, cut into small pieces
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees when dough is ready.

In a large mixing bowl beat butter until fluffy. Add sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt; beat until combined. Beat in the 3 eggs, vanilla, and almond extract until combined. Beat in the flour. Stir in the anise and fennel seeds; add the dried fruits and pistachios. Chill for 2 hours.

Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a 12 inch long log. Place the logs on a light greased cookie sheet at least 3 inches apart. Flatten the logs to 3/4 inches thick. Combine the remaining egg and 1 tablespoon of water. Brush top of logs with egg wash.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly brown. Cool loaves on cookie sheet for on hour. When cooled lower oven temp to 325 degrees. Cut loaves diagonally in 1/2 inch slices lay slices cut sides down on baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes. Turn slices over and return to oven for an additional 5 minutes or until the biscotti is dry and crisp. Cool on wire rack. Place in layers separated by waxed paper. Store airtight for up to three days or in the freezer for three months. Makes 48.

*I do not like anise or fennel. I use spices to my liking to spice up these biscotti. You can change the spices to meet your needs.

#18 Candy Cane Cookies

1/3 cup shortening, all vegetable
1/3 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
4 ounces white chocolate
1/2 to 2/3 cup crushed peppermint sticks

In a medium bowl cream together shortening, butter and sugar. Add baking powder, mix in. Add egg, milk and vanilla. Beat in cocoa powder, mix well. Add in flour in 2 portions. Cover dough and chill for an hour and a half.

Divide dough in half. On a well floured board, roll out dough to a 1/4 inch thickness. Use a candy cane shaped cookie cutter, cut out candy canes using as much dough as possible. Repeat using all dough; placing all canes on ungreased cookie sheets and bake at 375 degrees F for 7-9 minutes until the cookies are firm and slightly browned. Cool for 5 minutes and then transfer to wire rack. Cool.

Melt chocolate to a drizzle consistency. lay cookies out on rack. Drizzle white chocolate over cookies. Sprinkle peppermint over chocolate before chocolate sets up.

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Eleni's Cookies

I know I said I'd post a recipe a day until the end of November but today I went to a baby shower and it took up a lot of the day. So What I will do is give the link and a few pictures of my favorite cookie purveyor. Eleni's is the best cookie decorator out there! She got the ball rolling for a bunch of other people and I think it has done everyone good to have her become one of Oprah's favorites (2004, I believe). There is a coupon code for Thanksgiving of STUFFING07 to receive 25% off Thanksgiving Cookies. Here are a few pics to give you pause as you consider your cookies for the season.

Who inspires you? Share your favorite cookie designer if you will. I'll post two recipes tomorrow to make up for today.

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Gratitude week

Yes, this is the week leading up to the U.S. version of Thanksgiving. My favorite holiday. So I would like to take the time to thank all of you readers out there! You really make my keeping this blog thing going. Writing a blog is for myself, however, I'd be a fool to think I do it just for me. I enjoy the comments and hope you all keep coming back day after day to see what I'm up to.

So with that said it's time for a bit of gratitude! I have an extra copy of David Lebovitz' book:

I've decided to share with one lucky commenter! There will be some random thank you gifts also! So one person will win the book, but there will be a little something for some others who play along! Here's what you need to do. Make a comment. That's it. that simple. Leave a comment and on November 25th (Sunday) I'll randomly generate a number and pick a winner. Then I'll pick five other names of people to win other small items from me too!

Thank you all for being here and let's hope you win!

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Friday, November 16, 2007

#16 Swedish Shortbreads

These have a favorite spice of mine. Cardamom is not only fun to say but it tastes good too! If you don't have colored sprinkles, just use the clear ones, they look great on the table with a pretty dish!

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 cup unsalted butter, (2 sticks), at room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Colored sanding sugars or chopped toasted pecans

Sift together the flour, cardamom, and salt into a bowl.

Put the butter and confectioners' sugar in a food processor, and process until smooth. Mix the the egg, vanilla, and lemon zest together and add to processor bowl. Pulse processor until combined. Add the flour mixture and process to make a soft buttery dough. Divide dough in half; roll into logs and place in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough logs for 30 minutes until just firm enough to shape into uniform logs, 8-inches long by 2-inches in diameter. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Scatter either the sanding sugars or toasted nuts on a work surface and roll the logs until completely coated, press down on nuts to embed them into the dough. Cut into 1/4-inch thick cookies and space about 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until golden around the edges, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool cookies on the pan on wire racks. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

#15 Whoopie Pies

And I'm not talking about Ms. Goldberg! These are really like little cakes, but fun for the holidays none the less.

Photo courtesy of the FoodNetwork!

Go ahead, make them, they'll be a family favorite!

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup natural cocoa powder, such as Hershey's or Scharffen Berger
1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons fine salt
18 large marshmallows, (not minis)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking sheet.

Put the unsweetened and semisweet chocolates and butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl; heat at 75 percent power until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir, and continue to microwave until completely melted, about 2 minutes more. (Alternatively, put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with an inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over, but not touching the water, and stir occasionally until melted and smooth.)

Whisk the sugar, eggs and vanilla into the chocolate mixture until smooth.

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt into another bowl. Gradually whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until moistened. Switch to a rubber spatula and finish folding the batter together; take care not to over-mix.

Use a small cookie scoop or spoon to drop a heaping tablespoon of batter onto the prepared pan. Repeat to make 36 cookies, spacing them about 1-inch apart. Bake until the cookies spring back when lightly touched, about 6 minutes.

Cool the cookies slightly. Transfer half of the cookies to a rack. Turn the remaining cookies on the pan over, so they lay flat side up. Place a marshmallow on top of each flipped cookie and return pan to the oven. Cook just until the marshmallow begins to soften and puff, about 3 minutes. Cool marshmallow topped cookies slightly, about 2 minutes. Top with the remaining cookies, pressing lightly to make sandwiches. Cool whoopee pies completely on wire racks. Serve.

Store in tightly sealed container for up to 1 week.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

#14 Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Usually I don't like a heavy heavy chocolate chunk cookie. But these ones are pretty good. I recommend them for an addition to the holiday treats plate you give out!

chocolate chocolate

Begin with 11 ounces of semisweet chocolate, the darker the better, chopped

Melt 8 ounces of it in the microwave. Have ready to use.

Other ingredients:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup chopped and toasted hazlenuts (filberts)

Beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla on medium speed until smooth. Add eggs and combine. Stir in the melted chocolate. Sift dry ingredients together and add to the chocolate mixture. Add in nuts and remaining chopped chocolate.

Drop batter using a scant 1/4 cup on baking sheet that has been buttered. Bake one sheet at a time at 350 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes or until the tops of the cookies have a dull sheen. Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes and the transfer cookies to a wire rack to completely cool. Makes 15 cookies.

I double this recipe when I make it and halve the size of the cookies. I like small chocolate-y bites!

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

#13 Chocolate Crinkles

Chocolate Crinkles

I made these cookies for the first time last year. They are crunchy but more chewy. The powdered sugar on the outer layer softens and gives the cookie a nice light frosting.

5 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar ( iused light and it didn't seem to matter)
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Melt chocolate in the microwave for 30 seconds, stir to get lumps smooth. If needed put back in microwave but not for more than 15 seconds as microwaves burn chocolate quickly! Mix together dry ingredients, excluding powdered sugar, and set aside. Beat butter on medium speed in mixing bowl until fluffy. Add sugars and beat until smooth. Add chocolate and blend until smooth. Add egg and vanilla and mix well. Add in dry ingredient mix in three batches, beat until just blended. Refrigerate dough until firm - about 2 hours.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Oven should be preheated to 375 degrees F. Shape dough into 1 inch balls and roll in powdered sugar to cover entire ball. Place on baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes and cool on wire racks for 2 minutes. Remove from baking sheet and all to finish cooling on wire racks. Store tightly covered for up to a week.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Fresh and Easy

Fresh and Easy opened their very first store right here in the valley! It made the international news as this is Tesco's first foray into the states.

After enduring years and years of low quality grocers here I am very glad to see Fresh and Easy. Not so glad that they are Europe's Walmart, but glad just the same. To my best understanding they pay a fair wage, provide good health benefits and treat their employees honestly. The union is up in arms. Of course they are,Fresh and Easy is a non-union shop in a union state. The union will picket. They have not been picketing in our town, just at the distribution centers I've heard.

I have been to the store three times in about a week. I was pleasantly surprised on my first visit. I can now purchase Pancetta in town!!!! Yay. There were a couple of other items I noticed that have never been available from a retail grocer in town. It is a good sign for all of us "gourmet" buyers.

The store is well laid out, the aisles are not too tall. It seems they kept women in mind when designing the store as the shelves are not higher than five feet in height. The floors are a painted concrete and have a texture to them so there won't be slip and fall accidents. The first store I worked in with concrete floors was Central Market in Texas. I think they set the stage for other grocers to embrace the design. It gives the store a clean feeling and I am sure it is easier to keep up than tile or vinyl flooring. It is well lit and the colors are pleasing.

One thing that surprised me was the produce - in all in bags. Not bags as you would expect like oranges or potatoes are packaged, but form fill and seal bags. I am wishing out loud that I could see this being packaged. After running a food production facility for 6 years, using forming and sealing equipment for 80 percent of everything we sold, I would really like to see how they do it with vegetables and fruit. Our fillers were vertical, the food would go up and elevator and get weighed out then dropped into the bag through a chute, a drop of about four feet. This can't be done with fruit. It will bruise it up too much. So I am guessing that the filler is horizontal much like baked goods are packaged. Now that you know more than you ever wanted to know about packing fruit... I mention it because you don't get to touch your produce and pick it out individually. It is packaged up and you "choose" through the package. Hmmmmm. Not sure this is going to be well received, but you never know.

They have a grab and go section and then move to the fresh meats. The meat is expensive and will confuse the older set here in town. It gives the price per pound on the shelf tag, then each packaged is priced by weight. So there will be a few retirees upset that their $6.88 a pound beef purchase is suddenly $12. It will confuse them and they won't be happy, I am certain of that. The meat section and deli sections are the tallest shelves in the store. A bit too tall for the older ladies.

Then you move through dry grocery and bread. Good selection of both. Mostly Fresh and Easy brand however. Those people looking for national brands are going to be disappointed by the lack thereof. Still I will give the F&E brand a try and see how it goes. I do not purchase a lot of pre-packaged foods any longer so this may take some time to evaluate.

At the very back of the store is the frozen section and the wall opposite bread and cakes is where the non-foods are located. It is a good choice in layout to keep all these soaps and non-food items away from the food. I like the concept a lot.

The checkout is self serve. Yay! I love being able to check out my own stuff and bag it and then get the heck out of there. It makes it quick and easy. However, one of the registers doesn't have a shelf to place the tote on and it is frustrating as you have to bend over and pick stuff out of the tote from the floor. Bad design there! Hopefully they'll fix that soon. Also you can pay with cash, credit cards, or debit cards, (not sure about checks) however, you cannot get cash back with a debit card. They have an ATM in store if you need cash (weird).

They also have security in the parking lot and at the entrance of the store - 2 people. Is this really necessary???!!! It gives a feeling of "whoa, am I in the wrong neighborhood here?" and I wasn't sure I wanted to risk being accosted. I believe it is a bit of overkill as the parking lot is well lit at night and shares the area with a bank and other stores.

I was disappointed the two other times I went in. I visited the store after 4 p.m. and the store was gutted. Not a lot of product to choose from and it was a bit frustrating. You could purchase plenty of frozen foods, but that isn't why I went to Fresh and Easy. I went to get fresh foods. I hope, hope, hope, they will figure this part out. I spoke with one gentleman, he explained that they had talked to the district manager and had gotten the message to him that they needed more product and if I would be patient they would have the problem solved. Are they drop shipping their orders and not allowing the store to order their needs??? The store manager was a short distance away and the guy I was talking to pointed him out, he noticed we were talking about him and he quickly turned and walked away. Not a good sign to me. The store manager should be talking to his guests and helping to meet their needs, or explaining why they can't. Maybe he was having a bad day but... so much for paying attention dude. There are times when I wish everyone could work for John Campbell (manager of the first Central Market) for just a bit. The man understood meeting customer need better than anyone I ever worked for in my career. I really respect the guy.

Trader Joe's has been named as Fresh and Easy's biggest competitor. Maybe. The store is filled with items TJ's doesn't carry and probably never will. TJs also allows you to pick through the produce and choose your own. Their shelves are stocked, too. Hopefully Fresh and Easy will get this dialed in and move forward in a positive way or they will just become the world's most expensive 7-11. I understand the model they are attempting to use. Expediency is the name of the game. However, expediency for expediency's sake doesn't always work. There has to be the human element and they aren't there just to stock shelves or instruct someone how to use the cash register.

I say good luck Fresh and Easy.

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#12 Russian Tea Cakes, Mexican Wedding Cookies

These are a favorite of mine. So small you could eat a million in no time, so you have to be careful! They melt in your mmouth with a bit of crunch! And very easy to make!

1 cup Butter
1/2 cup Powdered sugar
Pinch Salt
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped fine
1 tsp Vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups Flour

1/2 cup Powdered sugar, sifted.

Put butter and powdered sugar in a mixer with a paddle attachment, and cream them together until smooth. Add the pinch of salt and vanilla extract and mix.

Slowly add the flour until the dough comes together. Now fold in the toasted pecans mixing well. Let dough chill for 1/2 hour in fridge.

Roll the dough into small balls and place on a parchment lined or sprayed baking sheet. Bake at 350 F until cookies are golden brown about 12 minutes. When done remove from oven and let cool. After the cookies are cool roll them in sifted powdered sugar to completely cover each cookie. Enjoy.

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

#11 How about some Lemon????

This time of year you can find Meyer Lemons almost everywhere. Now is the time to eat til you pop those little lemon bars we all secretly desire all year long! It makes my mouth water and my mouth pucker just thinking about these super cookies! Let's get started!

2 sticks (8 ounces) butter
2 cups flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
4 beaten eggs
2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
sifted confectioners' sugar

Heat oven to 325°. Blend butter, 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar. Pat into ungreased 13x9x2-inch pan. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. For filling, blend together eggs, sugar, 4 tablespoons flour, lemon juice, and lemon peel.

Pour over first layer. Return to oven and bake at 325° for 20 minutes. Loosen around edges, cut into bars and sift confectioners' sugar over the top while warm. Be careful eating these! You don't want to choke on the powdered sugar by inhaling when you take your first bite!

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

#10 Gingerbread Boys and Girls

A lady came in this afternoon. She had spent the last twos hours with short people. Ages 2-6. Her job was to read them a story. Being that Christmas is just around the corner she chose to read the story of the Gingerbread Man. She brought us a few leftovers and I was quickly drawn back to the year in school we read the story and baked a gingerbread man. This is her recipe she shared with us today.

2/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup molasses
1 egg
3 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon

Cream together the shortening and sugar. Beat in molasses and egg. Sift together dry ingredients. Add to creamed ingredients. Chill for at least an hour, it's best if you hold it over night in the fridge. Roll out the dough on a floured board 3/8 inch thick slab. Cut Gingerbread boys and girls. Back on ungreased cookie sheet for 8 minutes at 375 degrees. For a crisper cookie roll dough thinner. Cool and decorate with confectioners icing. Store in air tight container.

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Friday, November 09, 2007

#9 Coconut Raspberry Ribbon Squares

Okay this one has been a favorite of mine since I was a little girl. There is nothing better than coconut in a cookie. Then you combine a bit of raspberry jam in there and you've got heaven in a bar!

Begin with:

1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup raspberry jam
1 (300 ml) can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1 tablespoon butter

Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Stir together sugar and flour. Cut in 1/2 cup butter until mixture is crumbly. Stir in egg yolk. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9x9-inch baking pan. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until crust starts to turn golden. Spread jam over the hot crust. In a bowl, mix condensed milk and coconut. Spread gently on top of jam. Return to oven and bake another 25 minutes or until the surface is golden and firm. Remove from oven and set on a wire rack to cool completely. In the top of a double boiler over hot (not boiling) water, melt semi-sweet chocolate and 1 tablespoon butter; stir. Spread melted chocolate over coconut layer. Refrigerate to allow chocolate to harden. Remove from refrigerator 15 minutes before cutting into squares.

You should have about 36 bars when you're done. I usually will slice these smaller to give just a bite as they are quite sweet!

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

#8 Polka Dots!

These are a favorite because they too have jam! This time it's red currant. Mmmm.

So we begin again with 10 ounces of unsalted butter, softened. Add 2/3 cup of granulated sugar and beat until the butter and sugar are well incorporated and the mixture is light and fluffy. Mix together 2 and 1/3 cups of flour, 3 ounces of finely ground unblanched almonds, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Add this to the butter/sugar mixture. Divide the dough and roll out three logs about 1 1/2 inches around. Chill until set. Slice into 1/8 inch slices arrange on cookie sheet. With half of your circles you want to cut three holes in the dough using a round decorators tip #3 Ateco.When the dough is cold it has a tendency to crack when you are cutting the small dots, allow the dough to warm up a bit if this happens to you. Bake the cookies for 13 to 15 minutes at 325 degrees.

Once cooled, you will sandwich the cookies together with the currant jam. Take a solid bottom, add jam and place punched top onto jam. Once you have all the cookies assembled dust tops with powdered sugar. Store in an airtight container for up to three weeks.

These cookies are also bite sized. Bite sized is good, they don't add a lot to your waistline and if you are worrying about your intake, no one will ever notice how many you ate! You should have 36 cookies when completed.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

#7 Little Gems

This one is super easy. You take the recipe from the Log Jams (cookie #6) and instead of making logs, you make 1 inch balls of dough. Then you take the end of a wooden spoon, dab a bit of flour on it and then poke it into the cookie to make a well. Don't smash the cookie down, just make a well in the cookie. Like this:

Make a well

Now comes the hardest part of the cookie. You're going to fill that well with strawberry jam. I usually stir the jam up very well, then fill a pastry tube with the jam, using a #12 Ateco round tip, and fill the well with jam. Like this:

Filled with jam

Now place a pecan half on top of the cookie covering up the jam.

Ready to bake

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 - 12 minutes. Let cool before removing from cookie sheet.

Ready to eat

These cookies are bite size and the recipe makes a bunch. I usually will make 1/2 recipe of Log Jams and 1/2 recipe of Little Gems.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

#6 Log Jams

Yes, I've blogged about these in the past. They are the most popular cookie I make. So I will just copy a post I made last year about them and you get the repeat. They are that good!

Log Jams. Easy peasy!
Begin with 12 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1 cup of granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons of vanilla
3 cups of flour

As usual, cream together the butter and sugar. Add in the egg yolks and vanilla. Mix in flour a cup at a time. Roll dough into 3 logs about an inch in diameter. Press a well into the center of the logs. Fill with your favorite jam, I always use seedless raspberry jam. Be careful! These cookies spread out, only put two logs on a cookie sheet at a time. Bake for 15 minutes at 325 degrees. Allow to cool completely. Drizzle a lemon glaze over the top when they're cool. Slice diagonally into 1 inch slices. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Log Jams

The glaze is easy to make. 1 cup of powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, mix together add milk to get to a drizzle consistency. Drizzle over logs.

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Monday, November 05, 2007

#5 Almond Bars

Not really a "bar" cookie yet they look like bars when they're cut out and baked! This is another cookie that can use a different nut if you don't have sliced almonds on hand. Use regular vanilla extract instead of almond extract if you do change out the nuts.

1 3/4 cup All purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup sliced almonds, chopped up a bit

icing, recipe to follow

sift together dry ingredients and set aside. Cream together sugar and butter. Beat in egg and extract. Add flour mixture and beat together. Quarter dough roll dough into 12 inch logs. Place two of the logs on a cookie sheet five inches apart. Press dough with your hands to flatten into a 3 inch wide column. Brush the flattened dough with milk and sprinkle with almonds. Bake at 325 degrees for 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. while still warm, slice diagonally into 1 inch wide bars. Transfer to wire rack to finish cooling. Drizzle with icing. Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days. These cookies can be frozen prior to decorating for up to 3 months. Thaw cookie and add drizzle at that point.

Almond Drizzle icing

1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3-4 teaspoons milk
Stir together sugar and extract, adding milk until you have a drizzle consistency.

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A byte of cookies

Cookies have been around since the 1500s. There is some evidence of a flour spices water mixture in Roman times that could qualify, but it wasn't until the 1600s France that the cookie really began to gain favor and prominence.

French chefs began incorporating egg whites into their cookie and the Macaron was born. It wasn't until late in the 18th century that creaming butter and sugar togther to form a base for a cookies was put into practice.

What I am getting at is the evolution of the cookie. As you begin baking, you choose a tried and true recipe from a known source, whether it be mom, grandma, or Betty Crocker, you've tasted it, liked it and will venture forth to bake your own. As you gain confidence in the kitchen you look for other sources, try some new things and enjoy more exotic forms of cookies. Then comes that day, the day you are expected to bring a cookie for an event, and you are short on time. You quickly mix up that tried and true recipe only to find a signature ingredient is missing. You don't have time to run to the market, what do you do? You improvise! No walnuts on hand? Use pecans instead. Or macadamias, or peanuts.

Let me explain what I mean by signature ingredient. Say you're making pecan swirls. Well, the signature ingredient is pecans obviously.You don't have any on hand. As previously stated, you can substitute a different nut. same with dried fruits and candies. Jams can be used interchangeably. Cocoa and chocolate can be exchanged out with some special considerations. When using cocoa,when chocolate is called for, make sure you understand how to make that alteration. So next time you don't have the item on hand, try something else. Once I didn't have any of the things the recipe called for, I simply used what I had on hand and had three people ask me for the recipe. Problem with that was I wasn't quite sure what I had done.

Key ingredients. Now there's a different issue. When a recipe specifies baking soda, baking powder is not a replacement. There is a difference between brown sugar and granulated sugar. Butter and margarine can usually be switched out and one or the other used. However, be careful with that, as they do act differently in certain recipes. Using lite margarines are not recommended as they have quite a bit of water in them and they can be disastrous to a recipe. Using them without knowing what it will do can make you lose confidence in your skills and you mistakenly think you can't cook. When a recipe calls for unsalted butter use it. It is very important for the flavor to be right and added salt can change that when using regular butter. Colorado State has a good substitutions list for cooking.

Always try to use fresh ingredients. Keeping your pantry full and rotated is important to produce foods you'll enjoy and you family will love eating.

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Sunday, November 04, 2007

#4 - Best Cookie from the side of a bag

Too many years ago to count I found the perfect cookie recipe on the side of a chocolate chips bag. It was a bag of Guittard chocolate chips. I had never tried Guittard as a cookie chip so I thought why not? The recipe is truly the best alternative to a chocolate chip cookie I've ever found. Here are Sierra Nuggets:

Ingredients and directions:

Cream together until smooth,

* 1 cup of butter, softened
* 1 cup brown sugar
* 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

Add in,

* 1 Tablespoon of milk
* 2 teaspoons vanilla

Beat and add,

* 2 eggs

Stir in,

* 1 cup corn flakes (crumbled up)
* 3 cups oatmeal

Sift together and add in, mixing thoroughly:

* 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (King Arthur brand if you can get it)
* 1 1.4 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon mace
* 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
* 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Stir in:

* 4 ounces of coconut
* 1 package of Guittard Chocolate Chips
* 1 cup walnuts (I use pecans because I like then better)

Now that you have it all mixed together, drop by rounded teaspoons onto greased baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

This will yield 8 dozen cookies. Don't worry they won't last long!

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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Cookie number three

One of my favorite things to do during the holidays is start with a great basic dough and then turn it into all kinds of different cookies. A simple flavor addition can change the entire cookie experience.

This is one such recipe. You begin with a basic dough and make additions as you wish.

* 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
* 1 1/2 cups white sugar
* 1 egg
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg and extract; mix well, not too much beating though, just until mixed up good. Add dry ingredients a cup at a time blend together. When combined, wrap in waxed paper or plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Roll out and cut with cookie cutters or shape into one inch balls. These cookies will spread when baked leave room for this on your sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Yes it looks a lot like a sugar cookie recipe. That's because it is. Now for the variations:

The recipe makes 4 dozen cookies so split the dough in to sections before adding the flavor changes to get a variety of flavors with one recipe. Just make sure if you're choosing to add an extract leave out the vanilla when mixing it together.

Want a lemon-y dough? add 2 tablespoons of lemon zest.
Orange-y? add 2 tablespoons of orange zest.
Cinnamon? 1 teaspoon the dry ingredients.
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg if you want a really homey tasting cookie.
You can roll the dough into 1 inch a ball, poke a well into the center of the ball, add a bit of your favorite jam prior to baking.
Change the extract to almond for a different flavor completely. Be careful when serving these that people with nut allergies know it's in there though.
Other extracts can be used as well, praline is a favorite!
Save the chocolate for another cookie, I've got some great chocolate cookie recipes coming up soon!

The dough can be colored with food coloring for cut out cookies.
You can add red hots to the finished dough.
Sprinkle with colored sugar or ice with a simple icing.

This recipe is so versatile. Try your favorite flavors and candies to give it your "signature".

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Friday, November 02, 2007

Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies

Not the crunchy ones. These are the kind you see for sale in all the grocery stores now days. They're round, and have a big slab of frosting on them then sprinkles. Yeah, them.

I've had this recipe for a long time. I seldom make it. But they are popular it seems. What you'll need:

3/4 cup butter 1 cup sugar
2 eggs 1/4 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cup flour 1 tsp baking soda

Cream the butter and sugar together. Sift the other ingredients together and add to butter/sugar mixture. Roll in a log and chill. Slice off rounds of cookies 1/4 inch thick. (Or you can roll out the dough and use cutters to shape the dough, just remember the dough must be 1/4 inch thick. Baked on ungreased cookie sheet for 6 minutes at 400 degrees. Makes 2 dozen.

Let cool. Frost with accompanying frosting recipe:

1/2 cup butter 1/2 cup shortening
1 tsp vanilla 1/8 tsp salt
4 cups powdered sugar 3 Tbs milk

Cream butter and shortening, add vanilla and salt. Beat in sugar 1 cup at a time, scraping sides of bowl. Add milk and beat until light and fluffy. Keep frosting covered when not in use. Store excess in refrigerator.

I'm not sure I ever used the shortening. I use all butter and it turns out the same. If you want to use the shortening, it'll be fine. I just don't like it.

Try them, you'll find out why we call these evil cookies. You just can't quit eating them!

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

And we're off! First Cookie?

Well, we need to start off slowly. We'll start with a few ingredients and then build to the real fancy stuff at the end of the month. SO let's begin with my favorite!


Yes, the simple Spritz. My favorite. It is so easy to make and the taste! Oh the taste! I love that you can color them any color you want and add sprinkles or any other kind of decoration to suit your needs.


1 cup unsalted butter, softened 1/2 cup sugar
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour (I recommend King Arthur brand)
1/2 tsp salt 1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Cream together butter and sugar. Add remaining ingredients. Color as desired. I usually pick two colors plus leave a third of the dough as is. Red, green, and butter dough colors. Using a cookie press, choose your desired shape and press onto aluminum cookie sheet. Bake 9 to 10 minutes until dough is just turning golden brown around edges. Store in an airtight container. These freeze well, but don't freeze the dough, it's better baked prior to freezing.

The first time I made these, the cookies kept sticking to the press and not the cookie sheet, I hated them! Then I figured out that the dough and the pan worked best if they are the same temperature. I use parchment paper, some will tell you not to for these cookies, but I am a creature of habit and always use it and have good results. The press does have a learning curve, but I cheat because I use and electric press. It assures good results!

If you want chocolate spritz, you can blend in 2 ounces of melted chocolate (cooled) into the butter sugar mixture. Add your decorations like sugar sprinkles prior to baking them. Once they come out of the oven you can also dip them in melted chocolate and then roll them in chopped nuts or sprinkles. Once you're done, you have a gazillion cookies and you'll love your results!

Lots of Spritz

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