My desire to match things exactly had expired by the time I got to this cookie. but the resemblance is there...
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
I mentioned these guys last week, and really intended to get them all decorated last week, but sometimes life just gets in the way! So its now 7 days after I baked the cookies (thank goodness they freeze really well), and they are finally decorated!!! I am (shockingly) really happy with all of them. Sadly, today is the fist time I've been less impressed with the pictures than I am with the cookies. they just do not do them justice :(
And I really liked those scrolls, so I did a few others...First I stayed pretty traditional except with blue and black.
And then I added some accent dots.
And then I went all traditional with some white on white...
More copy cats coming tomorrow.
NOT! Apparently royal icing can loose is stiffness when sitting for long periods of time. When I went to use them 7 hours after making them they kind of spilled out of the piping tip and were essentially useless. So last night when I got distracted from decorating cookies I stuck the icing in the freezer and we'll see how it goes tonight.
UPDATE: took the piping bags out of the freezer, let them sit about 20 mins and piped away quite sucessfully. I had quite a bit of icing left over so I threw them all back in the freezer to hopefully use on another day.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
And hopefully you can kind of get an idea of what the bean paste looks like. Its literally thousands of tiny vanilla seeds suspended in a vanilla syrup. It really is the consistency of maple syrup. And I did dive in, and lick the back of that measuring spoon. It definitely tastes a little better than straight up extract... lower alcohol content, higher sugar content and what not. But there are obvious limitations, I don't think royal icing would look very appealing with tiny vanilla seeds in it. And I suspect that the actual flavor effects are a bit stronger with the extract.
And here's a cute little wedding cake, wait you can't see the gourmet vanilla bean seeds in the baked cookie either? I think you'd need a LOT of the paste to really see the gourmet seed goodness in there, but that's not at all what I was going for. Anyway, these puppies are gonna get covered in luscious coat of royal icing tomorrow.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Also, I realized yesterday that you might be interested in reading about the 10 top Vanillas I read about, and that it was very selfish of me to only highlight the ones available in my small town. I mean chances are YOU might have access to more wonderful varieties of vanilla than me, and will want to make an informed decision too.
PS- The vanilla I bought was considerably cheaper than the article suggests... maybe thats a plus for my little city.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
When I started to take pictures, I realized that I had several pairs of matched onsies and duckies
These are actually orange and blue (its reading a lot bit brown on my screen right now).
And these are a much more limey springy green than camo green.
same green as above. i guess the blue makes them appear lighter.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
I think there were about 35 cookies and I only had to make 2 colors of icing... which is AWESOME. Half started out blue with brown outlines. For the blue I used wiltons cornflower blue with a tiny bit of teal to brighten it up.
The other half started out brown (made using standard royal icing plus coco powder) with blue outlines.
And then they got all dolled up with some spots, stripes, and paisleys.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
These are the naked ones before they get their chocolate coating. I could eat them just like this.... and might have sampled a few. The more of these I do, the less frosting I actually use. In fact, I tasted some where I had WAY over done the frosting and they were super gooey and almost gross. I think this might be why some people have trouble dipping them in chocolate. I would say, for each 9x13 cake I use about 1/2 can of frosting. (that means they're better for you right??) It takes some time to get it mixed in and consistent, but if you made sure your cake was well cooled and crumbled before you add frosting, you can get a really good consistency with less frosting.
Mmmm, nice and smooth melted milk chocolate with some paramount flakes to thin it out some. I am nervous to melt chocolate in the microwave so I do it over the stove, but the steam can cause real problems if you let any water sneak in. I think for the next go round I might test the microwave method. I am pretty sure I got some water in my white chocolate and it wasn't nearly as smooth as the milk chocolate.
These are said paramount flakes. I have no idea if you can get these in stores, they were definitely an online purchase for me, but I had never heard of them before I started shopping online. I never even looked in the store for this stuff. They are pure shortening that help thin the chocolate out without interfering with the overall consistency or the set up.
This is what they look like, there's obviously not a lot of perspective here... that pile is about the size of a quarter. I only add about 1/3 or 1/2 that amount to my chocolate.
Monday, April 13, 2009
This is a recipe I adapted to make perfect for us.
1 loaf white bread (I use hearty white or country white)
2.5 cups whole milk (I substituted 1 cup skim)
1 stick salted butter
4 0z Cream Cheese
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbls cinnamon.
Remove the crust and roughly cube the bread. Cream the butter and cream cheese well then add sugar, eggs, milk, and cinnamon (it helps if all the ingredients are room temp). Should be a thick creamy liquid. Pour liquid over cubed bread and let it soak in for a few minutes. Spray an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish and add the soaked bread and spread evenly. Bake at 350 for 45 mins to an hour. It will rise as it bakes and should be firm, not soupy in the middle when its done. Let cool at least an hour before serving.
We usually cut slices and reheat in the microwave and pour a sauce over it. This weekend I made a chocolate sauce from allrecipes.com, but neither of us were 100% thrilled. I think we both prefer a vanilla cream sauce, I just haven't found a favorite yet.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Back to food coloring... THIS is where i store all my food coloring, sprinkles, and piping tips. The big containers are sprinkles and sanding sugar that rarely get used. And since I think I'm about to outgrow the container with colors alone, they will probably get booted. But for now... this is where my supplies are kept.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
- Cookie dough -- these instructions work for any dough but you can find my recipe here.
- Flour -- You will want plenty of flour. I put a pile directly on my rolling surface, but keep the canister close by as well.
- Rolling Pin -- Any old pin will do, but the type you use will dictate the amount of flour you use. I use a nonstick rolling pin, and don't really need to flour it at all.
- Cookie Cutter -- Well this is the fun part isn't it. For the eggs I bought a round cookie cutter and just kind of bent it into an egg shape.
- Cookie Sheet -- I definitely prefer air bake cookie sheets, but I always line them with something so I don't have preference on whether is non-stick or not. In fact I have a whopping 2 sheets and one is and one isn't.
- Silpat/Roulpat -- These are possibly the BEST cookie tools I ever invested in. Cookies will NEVER stick. i also own a roulpat which I use to roll my cookies out on. Its just a big silpat
- but has the same amazing non-stick qualities. I still use flour, but not nearly as much.
- Helper Monkey -- This is only beneficial for hiding Milky Ways in our house, but he sure is cute!
- Stacey and Clinton -- Husband got me a TV for the kitchen and I love it. I almost always have that on or an audio book playing on my ipod. Its the next best thing to baking WITH someone, which is really still the best in my book.
Then just cut away, but try to transfer them to the cookie sheet pretty quickly because when they are this thin they get HOT really quickly and tend to rip. A lot of times I transfer them as I cut them, but since the egg is a pretty large cookie cutter and very simple I didn't have any problem transferring them.
There they are all lined up and ready to go in the oven. You can see some "freckles" in these guys... that's just molasses from the brown sugar. Nothing to worry about.
Then I bake. I always start with 7 minutes on the first batch and increase the time from there. They shouldn't take more than 9 minutes to get just a little bit brown on the edges. If you never achieve browning, up your temperature a tiny bit. I have a VERY unreliable oven... this helps me make sure they don't burn. You can see that they actually get lighter as they bake. (near: baked, far: unbaked)
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Note: I halved the original recipe and was able to sufficiently fill 5 of my 6 tiny bunt pans. I also used Pam for baking... which is awesome to spray the tiny bunt. I've never had a cake stick to it, and its so much easier than greasing and flouring pans.
They all looked pretty well swirled and balanced from the top. But looks can be decieving.
the brown edges on these cakes are my FAVORITE.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
3 sticks butter
80z. Cream Cheese
3 cups sugar
3 cups flour
Cream butter, cream cheese and sugar. Add eggs one at a time and then add flour and mix until just combined. Pour into well floured or pam'ed bunt pan and bake at 325 for and hour and 15 mins or so.
For tar heel cake I tinted half of the batter carolina blue. Even though I'm a Deacon through and through I LOVE this color.
And Voila, Tar heel swirls
Now I realize that dying food for no particular reason offends some peoples sensibilities, and I honestly felt a little bit guilty about it, but it was for a good cause. I like it so much I halved the recipe and made tiny pink and white ones the next day. Didn't love them as much. The pink was a bit intense, and I the ratio of white to pink batter was off, but I got a chance to try out my tiny bunt pans (baked about 30 mins). Pictures tomorrow I think.