Thursday, August 12, 2010

Christmas Cookies!

Ok - so Christmas is over but I made these cookies a while back and the technique is what is important here: Royal Icing. That is how you get those smooth, beautiful designs on cookies. It dries quite hard so the designs stay, but it is still soft enough to eat. A quick google search will bring up many recipes. Look for ones that use pasteurized egg whites vs. meringue powder, such as Alton Brown's. You can use different extracts for flavor. Also, powdered or gel food coloring is best.

Adjust the thickness of the recipe with water. Add more for an even spread such as in the solid green cookies above. Leave out water for a thicker consistency and more control for detailed work, such as the dots on the cookie on the far right. The one on the bottom with the blue dot right in the middle of the cookie had too much water in the blue icing and the dot became more of a blob.
It was really fun and easy to work with. The icing is very forgiving. I also used silver edible beads to decorate.

I think I will be making some heart-shaped cookies come February!

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Chocolate-covered Marshmallow Cookies

I made these tonight and they made my husband really happy. The recipe is very simple, only makes about 15 cookies, and is rather quick to make. It is a sort of s'more meets moon pie. I also think they would be fun to tamper with. For example, they look so mysterious its hard to tell exactly what's in there. I might try to add a dollop of peanut butter, perhaps a few drops of peppermint axtract in the chocolate, or use marshmallow cream next time.

It is also fun to do a google image search and see others' creative take on this crowd-pleasin' cookie. Recipe is from the Sept 2010 Everyday Food by Martha Stewart. And it is also below for you. :)
1/4 cup plus 2 T e/ flour, whole-wheat flour
1/4 t e/ baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon
3 T unsalted butter at room temp.
3 T light-brown sugar
1 large egg
9 large marshmallows, halved
9 oz (2 c) semisweet chocolate chopped (or choc. chips)

350 degrees. Whisk dry ingredients in a bowl. in another bowl beat butter and sugar for about 4 min or until light. Add egg and beat to combine. Gradually add flour mix. Drop dough tablespoonfuls onto parchment lined cookie sheet 3" apart. Dip bottom of a measuring cup in flour and flatten cookies to about 2" in diameter. Bake until dry and set, about 7 minutes. Remove from oven, top each cookie with a marshmallow half and bake until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Flatten the marshmallows with a spatula. Let cool completely on sheet on cooling rack. Melt the chocolate in a deep bowl. Coat the cookie, using a fork to lift it out and tap on the edge of the bowl to remove excess chocolate. Place back on parchment lined cookie sheet and refrigerate for 10 minutes. YUM!
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Strawberries and Cream

Inspired by Jen's recipe for berry sorbet (which is quite delicious and I have some in my freezer right now) I found this recipe for a strawberry version that uses sweetened condensed milk . . . and let me tell you this is so good. Period. I was just eating it out of the bowl before I ever put it in the freezer. I mean this is lip-smackin' strawberry heaven. So easy and is simply a must try. The recipe can be found here. And I can be found in the corner of my house, the spoon in bowl, dollop in my mouth, and crushing anyone with a mad stare who dares to feign a bite. Is that a bit strong? Just make your own and we can all be happy.

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Hand-stamped Muslin Ribbon

I finally got my ribbon in the mail yesterday from French Country 1908 and they are gorgeous! I will use them to wrap up Christmas gifts this year, and I might add the top, gown one to a dress project . . . we will see.

Looking at them in person made me think I might be able to make more myself. I did a bit of a google search and found this tutorial. There were others as well.

Now I just need to find out what type of glue she uses to attach the bling and then I'm all set to make more of my own. Any suggestions?

In the French Country 1908 shop she also makes gift bags, candles, and other goodies. You should check it out. Apparently she even has a deal with a NY shop to sell her items.
FYI, because they are being shipped from Canada they take a bit longer to get here. I got mine just over 2 weeks from when I ordered them and she quoted me 2-3 weeks.

If any of you have ideas on embellishing on this craft I'd love to hear them!
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