Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Bake Sales, Cookies, and Mother's Day


I baked these yummy peanut-butter brownies for the bake sale tomorrow. I also baked some sugar cookies.

The rest of the sugar cookies that I make are going to be for Career Day on Tuesday. I met with the counselors today who asked me to make the cookies. They were extremely nice. =D

However, the round cookie cutter that I have is only 2 3/4", no 3" so I'm going to need to buy a new cookie cutter this weekend. Hopefully, we'll have time to go to Wal-Mart, because I need to buy ribbons, bags, and the cookie cutter (3"!). I'm not sure when we'll have time, because I'm taking the SAT on Saturday (that'll be a fun way to spend the morning...) but maybe in the afternoon...

I also decided that I'm going to make a cheese cake to celebrate Mother's Day. My own mother loves cheese cake, and we have this huge package of cream cheese from Costo that's just screaming to be made into a delicious dessert.

Life is busy right now for me. But as I told Mom and Dad earlier, making cookies is a stress releaser. And so is eating cookies. So I'm going to see if the Reese's Pieces chocolate cookies that Dad made are available for eating....

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What's Been Going On In My Kitchen Lately

Honestly?

Not much.

But in the future...

It'll be busy.

For example, the blood drive at my school is Thursday. Not only am I volunteering (not to give blood. I have tiny veins.), but I'm baking sugar cookies, and browies, and cupcakes if I have the time.

My brother has a project on Puerto Rico due in the middle of May. He's going to make a model of the territory... out of cake! How cool? And I'll be assisting. So I won't have to do all the hard stuff, I just tell him "use shredding coconut and green food coloring mixed together in a plastic bag for the grass" and "mold the mountains out of Rice Krispie Treats then cover them with fondant." It'll be fun! :)

More recently, next week is Career Day at the middle school, and I'm either making chocolate chip cookies or sugar cookies and I need to decide how much to charge some time within... the next 2 hours. So I should get to work on that...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Dr. Pepper Cake

So, if you click here and watch this cool video about Dr. Pepper cake, then you'll know what I'm talking about over here...

I had forgotten that there are a plethora of recipes out there for cake involving soda, so when I chanced across this Youtube video (literally, chanced. I was totally looking for something unrelated), I had one of those AH-HA moments! Ah, fate, thank you.

Actually, it wasn't a true AH-HA moment, because I've had this idea before. I just forgot it.

I'm getting ahead of myself.

Cakes made with Coke (as in Coca-Cola) have been pretty popular for years. I know, because I have an old cookbook that my Grandma gave me. It's older than I am, so I know that Coca-Cola cake, and it's friends Dr. Pepper and Fanta cakes, has been around for a while.

So I came to the conclusion that if cake can be make with Coke, Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew, Fanta, and more, why not... TaB? You know what I'm talking about. That delicious, beautiful, low-cal, original diet Coke, soda in a pink can from the 80s. Guess what? It's still around, and I love the stuff! (On an aside, what ever happened to black cherry TaB? Or Lemon-Lime? Or the 2 liter bottles?)

I decided to make a cake made with TaB. Then I promptly forgot for a few months until now when fate lead me to the Dr. Pepper cake video. So now I'm a girl on a mission.

First, find a Coke cake recipe that doesn't use chocolate (I LOVE chocolate, but what if the chocolate is too much flavor?). I guess I could just leave the chocolate out, but what if that changes the chemical composition of the cake? Cake baking is an exact science after all. I have some research to do.

Next, borrow my aunt's 6" cake pans again. Or buy my own. Because I know how I'm decorating this baby...

Finally, find some time. Now that is going to be the hard part. So I'll probably have to wait until school is over to implement my plan :( No matter, my idea has been forever immortalized on the internet so one day I will make a TaB cake.

Until then, I can dream about owning one of these really cool Coca-Cola products:
Back to the cake part of it all. I'm going to make a cake with TaB in it, and it will be sweet.

Stay tuned. I'm making cookies for career day later!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

"It's not just lemon with lime"


Here for your cookie enjoyment today is my recipe for my lemon-lime icebox cookies... "Sprites" (with an "S" No copyright infringement... right?) The original recipe can be found here at about.com (Thank you, Diana Rattray!)

LEMON-LIME ICEBOX COOKIES A.K.A. SPRITES

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • dash of salt
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup (12 ounces) butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated lime peel
  • Yellow food coloring
  • Green food coloring

PREPARATION:

1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the half of the flour, baking soda and salt.
2.In a separate bowl, beat together 1 cup of the sugar with the butter until light and fluffy.
3. Beat in the 1 egg, lemon juice and zest, then gradually blend in the flour mixture. 4. Add a few drops of yellow food coloring and mix it in.
5. Repeat first 2 steps. For step #3, use lime, not lemon, juice and zest. For step #4, use green food coloring.
6. Take some of the green dough, and some of the yellow dough, and squish it together so that the colors mix-- but not too much, because you still want to see the difference in colors.
7. Form the dough into 4 rolls about 2 inches wide and 7 inches long. Wrap the rolls in waxed paper and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
8. Preheat the oven to 375°.
9. Unwrap the cookie dough and cut into slices about 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle slices lightly with remaining sugar and place on an ungreased baking sheet.
10. Bake until lightly browned around the edges, about 12 minutes.
11. Cool the cookies on a rack and store in an airtight container.
12. EAT THEM!! :-)

(The original recipe made about 5 to 6 dozen cookies, so this recipe will supposedly make about 12 dozen cookies, but I didn't cut my dough to 1/4 ", my cookies were much thicker than that. My mom would've liked them thinner, so it's really a personal preference. The thinner you make them, though, the more you will have, and the more you can eat without feeling guilty... :) )


Well, there you have it. My doctored recipe for lemon-lime icebox cookies. And as my friend Hillary said: "And how you managed to make your cookie taste like sprite, I will never know. That commercial about "It's not just lemon with lime"...you must have cracked that secret." :)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Cupcakes! ...Or Cookies?


Done! Three days of hard, grueling labor, and my cute cookies are done! Alright, alright, so the labor was one of love, and no gruel was involved. But the process certainly wasn't easy as pie!

I know that cupcake cookie cutters exist, but I had to make due with my usual method: wax paper cut out into shapes and a knife to cut out the dough. That is why the cookies are slightly lopsided and certainly not bisymmetrical!

After the 2 dozen cookies were baked and cooled, I made some royal icing (yes! using the awesome Meringue Powder!), tinted it appropriately (pastel!), and piped the RI on the bottom half of the cookies.

Bottom half?! But the whole cookie is decorated! Kelsie, you're crazy!
Well, maybe, but I did go back to ice the top half of the cookie... after the bottom half dried!

You see, I did this so that when I put the sprinkles on the top half of the cookie (representing the icing on a cupcake), they wouldn't stick to the bottom half of the cookie (representing the cupcake liner) because the bottom's icing would be dry and hard. I know, I'm genius, right? :)

Right, so I iced the bottom part of the cookies, then let it dry [overnight], then iced the top part of the cookie in varying pastel! colors, and sprinkled jimmies, dulcecitos, nonpareils, crystals, yellow chicks, and/or sprinkles on top. Beautiful!

After letting the cute cupcakes, I mean cookies, dry, I proceeded to take about 50 pictures of them, all in different poses. Now I have the difficult task of deciding which picture to send along with my entry into the Cute Cookie Contest! So I am off to select a photo and finish writing my entry so that I can go to bed tonight in peace! [=

Update! I have officially sent off my entry to the Cute Cookies Contest. Well, entries, actually. I also submitted my Webkinz cookies, although I don't know if they are eligible because of any copyright restrictions. Better to cover all the bases, I suppose. I also sent in my lemon-lime icebox cookies in the "Refrigerator Cookies" category; again, just to cover all my bases. They may not be "cute" per say, but I entered them anyway. Nothing to lose by trying, right? So now that the deed is done, there is nothing to do but hope and pray that my cookies are cute enough for $300 (or at least $100... or at least for an honorable mention).
Let me tell you; these cookies are delicious!
I'll most certainly post the recipe later.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Cookie Procrastination

The Cute Cookie Contest from Taste of Home ends April 15th (which is, by the way, also tax day). I made some lemon-lime icebox cookies for the contest, for the "refrigerator cookies" category, but I recently had an idea for the "sugar cookies" category, and I'm going to bake those today.

I can't believe that I waited 2 days until the contest deadline to bake these cookies! Actually... I can believe it. I'm a huge, horrible procrastinator, and I'm not proud of it. But, that's the way I am, and I haven't changed for 16 1/2 years, so I doubt I'll stop procrastinating now (sorry, mom). Anyway, I think that I still have a shot at making it before the deadline.

My idea is so cute! Which is good, because the point of this contest is to find the cutest cookie. The $300 top prize isn't so bad either. I'll keep the design a secret until I actually make the cookies, that way it'll be more fun! :)

Hopefully you'll see me in a Taste of Home magazine soon! (Keep your fingers crossed!)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

What I learned from making petit fours

  1. A 7" x 7" cake pan is not the best pan to use. (I believe 11" x15" jelly roll is the preferred pan of petit four makers)
  2. Poured fondant is extremely sweet. (Note to self: find a new recipe)
  3. They are very crumbly. I know that freezing them will stop the crumblies, and I did that, but I did not put a layer of buttercream on the top on the petit four to create a smooth surface. Also, I did not use a glaze. Should I use a glaze next time? I could try covering them in fondant while they are still frozen. Because they did have time to thaw out...
  4. Poured fondant should not be boiled. Seriously. Do not do what I did. Do not forget that you have a pot on the stove set to medium filled with poured fondant that shouldn't boil. And if you do accidentally boil the poured fondant because you got distracted by an episode of Drake & Josh that you haven't seen yet, then just throw that stuff out. It won't do you any good to try and pour it over the petit fours at this point.
  5. Rolled fondant looks pretty, but poured fondant makes a better petit four.
  6. Raspberry jelly is yummy.
  7. I used a box mix to make them, and I read online that a denser cake, like a pound cake, should be use. So I shall file that little informational tidbit away for later. (Almond?)
  8. My mom actually liked them, despite the excruciatingly sweet icing.
  9. Next time I will follow Lisa's instructions.
  10. Oh, yes, there will be a next time. Sure, this go around, it was messy, it was bad, it was no where close to perfect. But look at everything that I've learned! I'll do so much better next time. I will learn from these mistakes.
  11. Use a squirt bottle next time? I used a spoon this go-round
  12. And I will use chocolate ganache. Because it just look sooooooo good!!
  13. Maybe white chocolate. (Or not. Because the chocolate is superior!!)


And here are some different tutorials that I will reference in the future

Recipes
And there you have it. My first experience with petit fours, although by no means my last. Oh! The picture! I almost forgot... Well, they're not pretty, but here they are:


The really white ones have rolled fondant, the others have poured fondant.