Saturday, June 30, 2012

Three Ways To Decorate A Cookie

I wanted to make a quick batch of decorated sugar cookies and nothing is faster than these three wet on wet icing techniques.

To begin you need three complimentary royal icing colors that are flood consistency.

The best way to test your icing to see if it is flood consistency is to draw a line through the center of it with a table knife. The icing should settle back into place in 10 seconds. If your icing is too thick add water just a drop at a time until you get it right.

For all three of the ways to decorate you need to do this:

Bake a batch of sugar cookies.
After the cookies have baked and cooled, decorate just three at a time. These decorating techniques are wet on wet meaning wet icing is piped onto a wet base coat. So don't try to decorate too many at a time.
Outline the cookies.
Flood the cookies and use a skewer to move the icing.
Once the base coat is on the cookies you are ready to choose one of the following techniques.

Technique 1: Dots

Drop a few dots of icing onto each cookie.

Drop some more dots in another color and you are done.

Technique 2: Chevron

Draw two lines leaving space in the middle for a third.
Add your third line in another color.
Use a skewer to draw a line across the icing four times alternating the direction.

Technique 3: Marbling

Draw two circles around the cookie in different colors.
Use a skewer to drag the icing in circles around the edge of the cookie and through the two colored circles.
Maybe you want to try all three techniques. It's easy and the results are satisfying.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Pigs In A Blanket

Our meal choice today of old fashioned Pigs in a Blanket at the Wednesday Community Meal at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral was very popular and even brought back some childhood memories.

As soon as volunteer Brad saw what we were cooking he smiled and said, "I haven't seen these since grade school."

I think I know why they were a popular grade school cafeteria item. They are crowd pleasing, they cook fast and they are easy to serve.

We made our Pigs in a Blanket with 100-percent beef Costco hot dogs and homemade crescent dough and served 350 meals.

Just to give you an idea of how much food we go through — I multiplied my crescent dough recipe by 27 and there was just enough dough leftover to make a few rolls after wrapping the hot dogs.

Here's the recipe:

Pigs in a Blanket

Crescent Dough
4 3/4 cups flour
1 package yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
2 eggs

Combine 2 cups of the flour, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl.

Heat milk, butter and sugar in a saucepan until milk is warm and the butter is nearly melted. Let cool until warm.

Add milk to flour mixture and whisk until smooth. Add eggs and whisk again.

Add enough of the flour to form a soft dough and knead until smooth and elastic.

Cover and let rise one hour or until double in bulk.

 To Assemble you need:

100-percent beef hot dogs
Extra flour for rolling the dough

Punch the dough down and divide it in half. Let the dough balls rest for 10 minutes.

Roll one half of the dough at a time into a 7x12 inch rectangle.

Use a knife to cut 1-inch strips of dough.

Roll each of the strips around a hot dog and place on a baking sheet.

Let the Pigs in a Blanket rise for 30 minutes.

Let the Pigs in a Blanket rise for 30 minutes before baking.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Note: If you don't want to use all the dough for Pigs in a Blanket, make rolls with the remainder. Just shape them and let them rise for 30 minutes before baking.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Gumpaste Baby Carrot

I made a carrot cake to celebrate the one year anniversary of my God daughter's baptism.

The cake needed something cute and bright on top for the celebration so I made a baby carrot out of gumpaste.

Gumpaste can be purchased at baking supply stores and craft stores like Michael's. Most people use gumpaste to make flowers for cake decorating. I've made gumpaste flowers and making a baby carrot is easier.

No artistic ability is needed to pull this off.
Here's how you do it:
Break off a small piece of gumpaste.
Use gel paste colors to tint the gumpaste. I like the AmeriColor brand.
Put a few drops of orange gel paste on the gumpaste and mix it in with your hands. I prefer to wear disposable gloves when I do this.
Shape the colored gumpaste into a baby carrot.
Use a rolling wheel tool or knife to make short small slits to mimic a real carrot.
It's looking pretty real.
Color a smaller amount of gumpaste with green gel paste.
Use a shell gumpaste modeling tool or knife to score thin strips.
Cut through the strips to make long leaves. Use a rotary tool or a knife.
It should look like this.
Make a slit in the top of the carrot and insert the leaves.
Use a brown edible writing pen to add even more detail.
Draw over the slits with the brown edible pen and then use a damp cloth to gently remove excess ink.
After an hour or so of drying your gumpaste carrot is ready grace the top your cake.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Ice Cream Cone Cookies

My Ice Cream Cone Cookies are ready to share.

Honestly the decorating really wasn't too difficult. The hardest part was making the lines for the cone detail.

Here's how to decorate them, step by step:

Outline the cone.
Fill with flood consistency icing.

Use a skewer to move the icing to the edges.
Outline the bottom scoop of ice cream leaving a dip for the top scoop to set in.
Fill with icing and use a skewer to spread it to the edges.
Outline the top scoop.
Fill and again use a skewer to move the icing to the edges.

Add sprinkles.
Use a stiffer icing the same color as the cone to pipe diagonal lines.
Pipe more diagonal lines in the opposite direction.
Let the icing dry completely before packaging and sharing.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Ice Cream Cone Cookies Are Coming

Ice cream cone cookies are coming soon thanks to my friend Cindy who loaned me this cute cutter.

I'm anxious to get to work and share my results.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Filled Berry Scones

As a way to use my leftover berry filling from making Mini Berry Tarts (see my June 18th post), I've created this recipe for Filled Berry Scones.

There's no need to spread butter on top of these. They are ready to eat right out of the oven. Oh, but you might need to put the kettle on for a cup of tea.

Filled Berry Scones
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons shortening
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I use non-fat)
1 large egg
1/2 to 3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup berry filling (see my recipe posted on June 18, 2012) or substitute a reduced-sugar jam
Parchment paper for lining the sheetpan (the berries run out of the scones a bit so this is a must)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add shortening and use your fingers to work in the shortening until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.

In a small bowl, beat the egg and the yogurt together. Add this into the flour mixture until large dough clumps form. Gradually add enough milk to form a ball. Be careful not to over work the dough. Divide the dough in half.

To Assemble:

On a floured board, pat one half of the dough into an 8 to 10-inch round.

Spread berry filling onto dough, leaving a 2 inch border around the edge.

Pat the other half of the dough into a round a bit larger than the first one.
Set the second round on top of the first.
Round the edges of the top around and under the bottom layer. Prepare to cut.
Cut in half.
Cut in half again.
Finally cut each quarter in half.
Use a spatula to lift the scones onto a parchment lined sheetpan.
Bake at 400 degrees for 12 to 16 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. The berries will run out a bit but that's part of their charm.