Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Thirsty Guests

Super servers Mary and Carol in today's busy dining room. Both Mary and Carol are longtime and dedicated volunteers. Today they helped serve 360 meals during our two hour service from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

With the hot and sunny weather today in Portland, the guests at the Wednesday Community Meal were extra thirsty.

The high 80-degree weather came on rather suddenly after weeks of rain and caused us to go through double the usual amount of lemonade today — 20 gallons.

We of course were happy to oblige and just pour more since we wanted to satisfy our guests and help keep them cool and comfortable.

Besides a place to eat, the weekly meal in Kempton Hall at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral is a place for respite and we always aim to please if we can.

We served 360 meals today of mostly roasted chicken, rice and veggies. Once the chicken was gone we moved onto entrees gleaned from Good Samaritan Hospital — chicken skewers, meatloaf and fish.

As usual, there was also soup, salad and dessert. For dessert we served instant pudding whipped up by volunteer Cindy and slices of assorted cakes that were donated by Trader Joe's.

The cakes, with names like Rockin Chocolate Chip Fudge, Lemon Zinger and Chocolate Macaroon, were very popular. Thank you Trader Joe's for the generous donation!
Cindy slicing into the Rockin Chocolate Chip Fudge cake.

The cakes from Trader Joe's that we served today. What a wonderful selection and treat for our guests!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Double Decker Daisy Cookie

I just thought I'd show you these double-decker daisy cookies that are another option if you don't want to make a cookie bouquet. The pink colored base cookie against the bright white of the daisy looks so fresh and pretty. These would be perfect for a wedding or tea party.

I used a plaque-shaped cookie for the base but you could use any shape you want as long as it's bigger than the daisy cookie.

Here's how:

Cut and bake base cookies.

And, cut and bake the same number of daisy cookies.
Decorate the daisy cookies just like in the previous Daisy Bouquet post. For details click here.

Outline and flood the base cookie with pink royal icing and a #2 tip.

Use a skewer or scribe tool to evenly distribute the icing and give the cookie a gentle shake.

Let the base cookies and daisies dry completely before moving onto the next step.

With piping consistency royal icing, add tiny dots around the entire base cookie.

It will look like this.

Use the same piping consistency royal icing to add a blob to the back of the daisy.

Gently press the daisy onto the cookie. Let the cookies dry completely before serving or packaging.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Daisy Cookie Bouquet

No garden is necessary to grow a sweet bouquet of daisies because you can bake one.

These cookies come together quickly and would make a pretty centerpiece for a Spring gathering. Wrapped in cellophane and tied with a bow they also make a nice gift.

Here's how:
I have a daisy cutter but it's one of those frustrating ones that's hard to get the dough out of so I instead chose to use the cutter on the right. A plain round cutter would also work. When you bake cookies on a stick you want to make smaller sized cookies that won't be too top heavy.
You can buy lollipop sticks but I didn't have any so I cut the sharp end off of some bamboo skewers.

Roll your cookie dough 1/4 inch thick. Don't roll it too thin or you won't have room to push the stick in.

Cut your cookies.

Gently press a stick nearly all the way through the cookie. You can see where the stick shows through a bit but don't worry, you can patch that.

Roll a little piece of dough and place it over the thin area where the stick shows.

Use your fingers to spread the patch out and get it to adhere to the cookie.

Lay the cookies, patch side down and bake.

Let the cookies cool completely on the sheetpan before attempting to move them.

Make your royal icing. You'll need just two colors, white and yellow.  I even used white gel paste food coloring which makes the white extra extra bright.

With white piping consistency royal icing and a #2 tip add icing around the stick. This is just extra insurance that you will have a sturdy cookie on a stick.

With the same icing, pipe petals.

Keep adding petals until you've worked your way around the cookie.

Let the cookies dry before moving onto the next step.

With flood consistency royal icing and a #1 tip, fill in the petals. Let the cookies dry until moving onto the final step.
With piping consistency yellow icing and a #2 tip, add a center to the daisy. Use a brush to dab the center and add texture. You don't want the center to be perfectly smooth.

Let the cookie dry completely before displaying or packaging.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Using A Cookie Press To Decorate Cookies

I have a small cookie press with a bird design that I purchased last year to make cookies that I used to decorate a wedding cake.

The press has since been just sitting a drawer and I've been thinking for a while that I'd like to incorporate it somehow in a cookie design.

And that's how these double-decker bird cookies came about. The design is simple which I like and why I decided to leave the area around the bird plain. To me,  the cookies give off a summery beach vibe with seagull like bird and the sand-colored icing on the main cookie. I used the smallest touch of three colorings to make it — yellow, brown and blue.

Here's how:

Roll the cookie dough into 1.5 inch balls and pat into even-sized rounds large enough for the bird cookie press.

Center the press on the round and press just enough to leave the design marked in the dough. Don't press all the way through the dough.

It will look like this. Don't worry about mistakes because you can re-roll the dough and start over as much as you need to.

Also cut out the same number of larger base cookies. I used a large plaque-shaped cutter.

Bake the cookies and let them cool.

Outline and flood the base cookies with royal icing using a #2 pastry tip.

Use a blue edible ink marker to highlight the lines on the bird's wings and tail.

Also use the pen to outline the bird.

Add a thin coat of white color to the bird using thinned royal icing and a square tip paint brush.

Adhere the bird cookie to the base cookie using a few drops of stiff royal icing.

Lastly, outline the base cookie using a #2 tip and a complimentary color of piping consistency royal icing. Click here for more detailed information about royal icing consistencies.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Tracing Method For Decorated Cookies

I recently made this pretty batch of bee and butterfly cookies using the method of tracing a design onto an already filled and dried base cookie.

I used bee and butterfly cookie cutters as my guides for tracing but you are not limited to just cookie cutters for your design. You could make your own template by drawing or printing a design onto paper and then cutting it out. To trace the designs onto the base cookie,  I used a black food safe pen.

I love the double-decker effect his technique gives without using a second cookie. I also love that the tracing method means no special artistic ability is needed to pull this off.

Here's how I made them:
Bake a batch of base cookies that are large enough for your design. Outline a cookie using a #2 pastry tip and flood consistency royal icing.

Using the same icing immediately fill in the cookie and use a scribe tool or skewer to move the icing to fill in the gaps.

Let the cookies dry completely before moving onto the next step. This takes about 8 hours.

Place your cookie cutter or paper template onto the cookie. Outline the design with a food safe pen.

I added butterfly and bee designs.

For the butterfly, outline the design with medium consistency black royal icing and a #1 tip.

Using the same icing, outline the body of the butterfly.

Fill the inside of the body with icing and also add lines to divide the wings.

Set this aside to dry for at least 30 minutes.

Keep working until all the cookies are completed up to this point.
Fill the bottom wings with flood consistency royal icing using a #1 tip. I use the small tip because I am filling compact areas and want to have good control of the icing.

Using the same outlining black icing, add two lines on each bottom wing.

Use a skewer or scribe tool to draw through the lines toward the center of the butterfly.

Draw through the lines three times on each wing, being sure to wipe of your skewer or scribe tool after each swipe.

Add another color of icing to the top two wings.

Add three lines of royal icing onto each wing.

Draw through the lines four times on each side again being certain to clean off your tool after each swipe.

Add two dots.

Add a tiny drop of black to the center of the dots.

It's fun to experiment with different color combinations. Let the cookies dry completely before serving or packaging. This takes about 8 hours.

For the bee, outline the body with black royal icing and add two dots for eyes. Let the outline dry for at least 30 minutes.

Fill in the body with bright yellow royal icing. I used medium consistency icing and a #1 tip.

Immediately add black stripes and lines between the body and wings.

Fill in the wings.

Use a skewer or scribe tool to fill in the gaps and give the cookie a gentle shake to help the icing even out.

Add two black dots of icing on top of the eye areas.

Add a tiny drop of the wing icing on top of the black dots. Let the cookies dry completely before packaging or serving.