Today’s Cookie article on Huffington Post

 

 

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Have I mentioned that I love cookies.

 What’s not to love.  The separating of ingredients, the sound of the mixer which makes your family come alive, and lets not forget the aroma that sticks to the walls of your soul and makes your house smell like a slice of heaven.  

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/28/cookie-recipes_n_1528190.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000037&ir=Parents

I was going to eat healthy today; and then they posted this!

 

Candy Melt Animals

I’m not sure how much you’ve played with candy melts but there are endless possibilities to create things.  This was my son’s 1st Birthday cake.  I recall how I spent time prepping the cake only to have him end up with chickenpox and having it sit in the garage fridge for a week until he was well enough to have some.  We plan and God laughs.

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These candy melt images are super easy.  All you need is candy melts, waxed paper and images shrunk down the size you want.

Just place your image under the waxed paper and start making the outline with your candy melts that you have warmed in the microwave for approximately 45 seconds and placed in a wilton bag with a small tip cut off of the opening.

Although Garrett had been sick and the cake sat for a week we did get that “this is my cake” shot that all parents want.

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Super Simple Pickled Ginger

 

Why do we often let such simple things intimidate us?  Pickled ginger is so easy to make and taste wonderful.  

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  • 1 lb ginger
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups rice vinegar
  • 2 tbs salt

Peel ginger with back of spoon and run through processor. Lay ginger flat and sprinkle with salt. Cover with paper towel for one hour to absorb moisture. Boil sugar and vinegar and pour over ginger in non reactive boil.  It’s best after it sits for a few hours or overnight.  I can keep it in the fridge for several weeks.  

Cinnamon Rolls

 

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I’m guilty of making many varieties of cinnamon rolls.  This is one of my recipes.

DOUGH

  • 
¾ cup buttermilk, warm (110 degrees)
  • 
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

  • 3 large eggs
  • 
4¼ cups (21¼ ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 
¼ cup (1¾ ounces) sugar

  • 1 envelope (2¼ teaspoons) instant or rapid-rise yeast

  • 1¼ teaspoons salt

ROLLS

  • 
¾ cup packed (5¼ ounces) light brown sugar

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves

  • Pinch salt

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter,
  • melted and cooled


GLAZE


  • ½ cups (6 ounces) confectioners’ sugar

  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese,
  • softened
3 tablespoons buttermilk or milk
  • 
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Dough: Whisk the buttermilk, melted butter, and eggs together in a large liquid measuring cup. Remember to always mix your eggs before adding sugar.  Sugar and eggs cause a chemical reaction and can effect your overall product.  Combine 4 cups of the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt together in a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. With the mixer on low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and mix until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes.

Increase the mixer speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If after 5 minutes more flour is needed, add the remaining ¼ cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough clears the side of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.

Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and knead by hand to form a smooth, round ball. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, 2 to 2½ hours.  My oven has a proof setting if yours does learn how to use it and cut your proofing time in half.

For the Rolls: Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and salt together in a small bowl.  turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured counter and press it into a 16 by 12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the melted butter, then sprinkle the brown sugar mixture over it, leaving a ¾-inch border along the top edge. Press on the filling to adhere it to the dough.

Roll the dough into a tight log. Pinch the seam closed and roll the log seam side down. Gently stretch the log to be 18 inches in length with an even diameter and pat the ends to even them.

We use dental floss to cut our cinnamon rolls and sticky buns.   Just slide your dental floss under the roll and criss cross your roll they slice perfectly every time. Arrange the rolls cut side down in the prepared baking pan and wrap tightly with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until the rolls have nearly doubled in size and are pressed against one another, 1 to 1½ hours. Again if you have a proof option on your oven these rolls could be in your belly.

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the rolls until golden and puffed, 25 to 30 minutes.

For the Glaze: Flip the rolls out onto a wire rack set over a sheet of parchment paper (for easy cleanup) and let cool for 5 minutes. Whisk the confectioners’ sugar, softened cream cheese, buttermilk, and vanilla together in a medium bowl until smooth. Flip the rolls upright, drizzle with the glaze, and serve.

Yes baking is a science but don’t be afraid to add more spices, nuts or raisins if you want them.  I also use apple butter and pumpkin butter as the filling at times.  What are you craving? go ahead you can do this.

Helpful Tip:  If you don’t want to purchase buttermilk due to not using the rest you are missing out.  You can freeze buttermilk and use it in future baking and cooking.  I measure out 1/2 cup servings and place in zip-loc bags to freeze.  I also do this with heavy cream it is rare that I have to run to the store for these items.  When they go on sale pick them up!

Crab Cookies

Garrett finished off the decorating today.

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The Color I used was Amerimist Color which you can purchase from Karenscookies.net.  I mixed the red and orange and came up with this vibrant orange shade.  IMG_0576

Perfect for Crabs.

I do not sell my cookies.  I am always amazed at how many people want pretty cookies but they want to pay grocery store prices.  My fellow cookie crafters deserve every single cent they charge.

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Children’s Superhero Party

If you have a boy at some point you will have to throw a Super Hero party.  This is what we did for Garrett’s #5 Bash.

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These Super Hero Capes were very easy.  There is no sewing required, all you do is cut out the shape you desire.  Use your child as a template to ensure your length is in the ball park and then pull some images of the web for the Super Hero Logo’s and start cutting.  I used fabric glue to add the logo’s.  These can and should be made way in advance and make sure you have a couple extra’s for those moms that don’t rsvp.  Note to all modern day moms.  None of the little girls knew who Wonder Woman was.  Let’s hope the up and coming Movie changes that!

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The city scape was very easy.  Just purchase some poster paper at any walgreens or target and start cutting shapes that you like.  Now for the hard part….Grab some sticky papers in different colors and add them for windows.  HAHA!  Yes it was that simple.  The Red and black building were those cardboard building blocks that tons of children have.  A neighbor was tossing them and I said toss them my way.

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These cups I picked up and Target and simply printed out some Super Hero sound effects.  Very easy and everyone loved them.

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You know hose 99 cent pastic table covers..  Yep they can be made into huge Super Hero Capes to hang in the hallways.  The Super Hero Logo was made out of felt and simply glued to the plastic.

 

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These we had hanging around from dress up and halloween, we simply used some 3m and made a showcase of them.

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Keep it simple!  This cake was 20.00 from Dairy Queen.  Look at the detail.

Last but not least the costumes.

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Remember at the end out the day your little Super Hero is going say his favorite part was “when the bird flew by” Thank goodness you will have the photos.

 

 

Canned Applesauce

I cannot express to you just how easy canning is, AGAIN..  Here is our homemade applesauce.  I use Honeycrisp apples, yes most people do not however we love the taste of them.

  • 10 Apples peeled and sliced as large or small as you wish
  • Sugar to your taste
  • Cinnamon
  • Cardamom
  • Cloves
  • 1 cup of water

All spices and sugars are simply to what you like.  Be aware that the flavor will get richer as they simmer in the  pan.  Throw everything in a pot and simmer for thirty minutes.  Once the apples start to soften pull out your immersion blender.  I do hope you have one of these.. They are a must for making the best soups and sauces.

Puree to your desired thickness. Garrett likes his silky.

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Once the sauce is ready just ladle into your sterilized jars and place in a water bath for 15 minutes.  Remember to leave one inch head space in the cans and to not tighten the lid too much.  Also you want the lids to be covered by water at a boil for 15 minutes.  Pull and place on a dish towel.  Once their sealed they will make a “pop” and that pop is success.  Enjoy chemical free delicious apple sauce year around.

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Magic Party Cookies

One of Garrett’s cousins was having a magic party.  I had looked around at different inspirational cookies and just didn’t see exactly what I was looking for.   I did however have these great cookie cutters from www.karenscookies.net and thought what if I just freehand some rabbit ears and hats.

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This was the end result.  This is was my basic orange cookie recipe with royal icing.

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Napa Cabbage and Apple Salad with Pumpkin Butter

  • 2 cup Napa Cabbage
  • 1 honeycrisp apple
  • ½ cup blue cheese
  • ¼ cup toasted sugared pecans
  • ¼ cup champagne vinegar
  • ¼ cup walnut oil
  • 3 tbsp. pumpkin butter
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Shred cabbage and apple in processor. Toss blue cheese and pecans with cabbage and apples. For dressing mix champagne vinegar with walnut oil, and pumpkin butter and pour over salad. So simple!IMG_1864