Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Oreo Truffles!

In a food processor, mix one package Oreos and one package cream cheese. The mixture will come together in a firm, yet pliable dough-ish candy. Pipe with a pastry bag into quarter-sized rounds and freeze for about 10 minutes(first picture). Smooth out the truffle centers with your by rotating in the palm of your hands until smooth (picture 2). Dip in chocolate and leave at room temperature until firm. Decorate with royal icing flowers or white chocolate (the "H" is piped on with a tip #2 in white chocolate). Enjoy!

These were made for Danielle's music school, Harmony School of Music in Washburn, WI.

Trio Tapenade

Black Olive Tapenade, Green Olive Tapenade and Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade waiting to be spread onto Rustic Beer Bread! YUM-O The recipes were adapted from Dave Liberman's easy to follow creations...

Saturday, March 24, 2007

What a wonderful time we had making our cookies and presenting them in a bouquets! The Homeschooling Mom's Night Out was such a blast...these ladies are some of the most creative women I have ever met! One friend left before I had snapped pictures, so I am sorry that there aren't any of hers there, but this was a true fun night.

The "Artist" of the group painted most of her cookies with luster dust...what a wonderful affect on fondant! Isn't her cross incredible!

Once packaged the cookies were on their way home to their waiting families! YUMM-O

We went over rolled fondant, royal icing, color flow, buttercream, and the basics of baking cookies on sticks and assembly of the bouquets...what a fun class. Way to go girls!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Cookie Bouquet

Sample Cookie Bouquet for the Homeschool Mom's Night Out...This is going to be FUN!!!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Rolled Fondant and Royal Icing for Cookie Decorating

Royal Icing

Royal icing
makes wonderful candy decorations for cookies (and cakes for that matter) and with a bit of time, and a large work space you can make enough icing toppings to last 6 months or so! The icing recipe I use is found here
and the instructions are quite clear, the only thing to remember is when making decorations the icing should be firm and when "flowing" items it should disappear in itself within 10 seconds. Using basic icing tips you can easily make springtime decorations like the ones Danielle and I worked on this afternoon:

After making the decorations I thinned out the icing to "flow" consistency and put them in my squeeze bottles for easy-flow technique. I will post the actual cookie decorations when they get completed...ClIfHangEr...

Rolled Fondant

Rolled fondant is another wonderful tool for cookies and cakes, and as Danielle says, "by itself"! But, don't be fooled by the Wilton* Brand...it tastes like rubbery-plastic, no joke, DON'T waste your money on that stuff. Okay, now that the lecture is out of the way, I spent an entire class in Pastry School making fondant with items such as glucose, glycerin, specialty sugars and such...

but here it the true professionals trick of the trade...

Marshmallow Fondant!!!!!
Jah , jahbetcha! You heard right...no need for a trip to the specialty shops, no need to special order a bunch of items, this is the recipe you will find no wrong with! (and about 1/10 the price of my Pastry-school-fondant!

Marshmallow Fondant
13.5 oz mini marshmallows
3Tbs water
capfulls of almond flavoring (yes that un-professional CAPful)
almost 2lb. of confectioner's sugar

Melt the marshmallows and water in the microwave for 1minute 20seconds, stir and add flavoring. (if your whole batch will be colored do it now, to save precious kneading time later!)

Pour 1/2 a 2lb. (that is 1 lb.) bag of confectioner's sugar into a well crisco-ed stand mixing bowl. Make a well and add the marshmallow, water, flavoring mixture. Mix with the dough hook on low until combined adding sugar as needed until the ball pulls away from the sided of the bowl and is no longer sticky or crumbly. (if you made a boo-boo and added too much sugar at once just add teaspoons of water at a time to get the proper consistency)

Take fondant ball from mixing bowl, knead with well crisco-ed hands and counter until the texture is smooth and pliable. (and whatEVER you do...do NOT where a black sweater when making this icing!) This is the time you can separate into sections and knead in coloring too...see picture below.

Wrap generously in plastic wrap and well, do it again, just to make sure. I then seal in a zip lock, just to make sure, AGAIN. This will store at room temperature for 3-6months. Roll out and cut into shapes as needed, or form flowers and other decorations with.

Rolled Fondant log, and colored rolled fondant logs after kneading in gel colors. Oh, please, PUULeeeze put me on that cookie already!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Sugar Cookie Tutorial

I wanted to step by-step through the sugar cookie bouquet process, which is a "Moms' Night Out" event I will be hosting for a group of wonderfully hard working homeschool mothers who certainly deserve the night out, and well, ya know, the sweets too! So I am placing a tutorial with my very secret recipe (deep breathing) and the gentle way to construct these wonderful cookie creations...just in time for Easter!

First, make sure you follow the recipe and always cream the room temp butter (or butter flavored Crisco) until light (in color) and sort of fluffy. When you add the eggs and flavorings it will seem that the mixture may curdle a bit, but don't worry...it comes back together.

Okay, here is another secret...shhhh,shhhhh....oh boy, this goes against my culinary code....deep breathing....Every time I go to Starbucks I ask for their wooden stir sticks, and they usually let me take a handful....when I begin making cookies I soak them in water, like the picture shows. (and if there are any not used in that session, I stick them into a zipper bag into the freezer, then they are ready for the next baking session.) The soaking of the stick will prevent the burn smell of wood when baking the cookie and it adheres to the "inners" if the cookie better too. *take note, when ever you skewer something to grill soak the wooden skewers before hand, or keep some pre-soaked ones in the freezer.

Another tip is to roll out the dough onto your baking sheets and then chill...a tip from a foodie, but I usually go the "old fashioned" way and wrap with saran, chill, and then roll out on the counter with these wonderful cookie measures on the tip of my French rolling pin.

So once the dough is rolled out, take a soaked skewer and insert it gently into the cookie, angle some of the cookies for good presentation. When inserting the stick gently hold the cookie down with your left hand and insert with the right.

Bake the cookies on a Silpat, or a parchment lined inverted cookie sheet....until just a teeny-tiny bit of golden brown shows around the edge. Once removed from the oven use the bottom of a smooth spatula to smooth the cookie tops, especially if you are going to finish with rolled fondant. Cool for a few minutes and then using a spatula remove the cookie from the pan...DO NOT try to lift the cookie off the sheet tray with the stick, it will break! It must be cooled to lift with the stick.

To be continued...and to add recipes after Lenten Services....

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Quaker Summer...

I received the "Women of Faith" Novel of the Year: Quaker Summer from the author, Lisa Samson last week and well, I just wanted to say that there were times I caught myself taking a deep breath, or giggling out loud, or just examining my own Christian "walk" on earth. So BRAVO to you Lisa, and thank you for the opportunity to read your precious work. I feel like going out and buying a bunch of color coded dots for my home now. Of course I related to Heather, because I think I can change the world one cake at a time, as you can see by my blog! This is my first Lisa Samson read, and I am going to search for more of your writing, what a pleasant way you have with words.