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* Prep Time: 10 min.
* Bake Time: 45 min.
* Difficulty: Moderate
* Yield: Makes 18 cookies.

ingredients

* 4 cups M&M’S® Brand Minis Chocolate Candies
* 1 18 oz. roll refrigerated sugar cookie dough
* 2/3 cup flour
* 1 16 oz. can vanilla frosting
* 1 14 oz. package red licorice laces
* Resealable plastic bags
* Drinking straw
* Christmas light shaped cookie cutter

directions

* 1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
* 2. Knead the flour into the cookie dough until smooth.
* 3. Roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thickness. By hand, or using a Christmas light cookie cutter, cut out shapes.
* 4. With a spatula, gently transfer the cookies to a baking sheet. Using a drinking straw, press a hole at the top of each cookie.
* 5. Bake for 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
* 6. Separate different colors of M&M’S® Brand Minis Chocolate Candies, and set aside.
* 7. Spread vanilla frosting on top of each cookie. Arrange a solid color of M&M’S® Brand Minis Chocolate Candies on top of each cookie.
* 8. Let the cookies dry for 30 minutes. Run licorice laces through each hole, connecting the cookies into one continuous strand.

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Black Forest Cakes

Prep: 45 min.
Bake: 20 min.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup snipped dried cherries
  • 3 tablespoons cherry-flavored brandy (kirsch) or cherry juice
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup chocolate-flavored syrup
  • Truffle Frosting
  • Powdered Sugar Icing (optional)
  • Powdered sugar and/or cocoa powder
  • Fresh Bing cherries with stems (optional)

Directions

1. In a small bowl, combine dried cherries and brandy or cherry juice. Let stand for 30 minutes. Generously grease and flour six popover pans;* set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In another small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat until combined. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat just until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Stir in chocolate-flavored syrup. Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture, stirring just until combined. Stir in brandy-soaked cherries and any liquid.

3. Spoon batter into prepared popover pans, filling each half full (a scant 1/2 cup each). Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the centers comes out clean (centers may dip slightly). Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from popover pans and cool completely on wire rack. If necessary, trim cake top edges so they are even with the sides.

4. Place one cake (smallest end up) on a large slotted spoon. Hold the spoon over the bowl of Truffle Frosting. Spoon frosting over the cake, letting it drip down the sides, until the cake is coated. Let cake stand on rack over waxed paper until frosting is set. Repeat with remaining cakes. If desired, place Powdered Sugar Icing in a sturdy resealable plastic bag. Snip off a tiny portion of one corner. Pipe small dots of icing on cake tops.

5. Sift powdered sugar and/or cocoa powder over dessert plates. Place cakes on plates. If desired, garnish each one with a Bing cherry.

6. Makes 6 servings

7. *Test Kitchen Tips: Nonstick cooking spray for baking really helps these cakes unmold easily. This product is designed to grease and flour baking pans in one step. Look for it with other nonstick cooking sprays in your supermarket.

You can use six 6-ounce straight-sided ramekins instead of the popover pans. Grease and flour the ramekins. Cut three 15×12-inch pieces of foil; cut each piece in half lengthwise to make a 15×6-inch piece. Fold each into thirds lengthwise and place around top of a ramekin; secure with tape. Set aside. If you use ramekins, increase the baking time to about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the centers comes out clean.

8. Powdered Sugar Icing: In a small bowl, combine 1 cup sifted powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until icing reaches piping consistency.

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories 697,
  • Total Fat (g) 36,
  • Saturated Fat (g) 22,
  • Cholesterol (mg) 146,
  • Sodium (mg) 215,
  • Carbohydrate (g) 88,
  • Fiber (g) 4,
  • Protein (g) 7,
  • Vitamin C (DV%) 1,
  • Calcium (DV%) 7,
  • Iron (DV%) 18,
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

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Sugar Cookie Recipe

October 10th, 2007 by RG in Dessert Recipes, Ask A Chef

How to Make Perfect Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookie Recipe

I received an email from Kathy about preparing the “perfect” sugar cookie. She told me she made two batches of sugar cookie dough using the same recipe and one batch turned out perfect while the other “was puffy and lost shape.”

Kathy wanted to know why this happened so I contacted my friend Chef Jennifer Field, a graduate from the Orlando Culinary Academy, for some help since I’m not much of a baker. Jennifer had a bunch of questions that were answered in Kathy’s next email. Here is what she said,

“The batches were made and cooked on different days. The second batch was refrigerated for a couple days (at least). The recipe was the same, however, I may have beat my shortening, sugar and egg mixture longer the second time. Temp the same.”

Kathy’s Definition of the Perfect Sugar Cookie

“My definition of a perfect sugar cookie is one that is light and a little crisp with the buttery icing softening it just slightly. I’m not into a fluffy cakey sugar cookie. I definitely want one that will hold the shape and design of my cutter. I want to make snowflake shaped cookies at Christmas and my cutter has little cut outs you can add for more detail.

This is the recipe I used:

1 cup sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 cup butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cup flour

I’m not sure exactly if my mixing was different either time usually I mix in this order: sugar and fats together till creamy, add eggs till fluffy, add dry ingredients that have been combined beforehand, and end with vanilla.
Bake at 325 degrees in a convection oven.

I’m anxious to hear from you and what your suggestions will be for my success.
Thanks again – Kathy”

Chef Jennifer Field’s Recommendations

With these facts in hand, Chef Jennifer was able to point out why the second batch did not turn out “perfect” plus offer some changes to Kathy’s recipe for future cookies.  Here is what she said,

“What immediately jumps out at me is the refrigeration time for the second batch of cookies.  I see that your leavener was baking soda.  Baking soda in a baked good only has one chemical reaction:  it fizzes and bubbles when it gets wet.This, of course, happened when you first mixed your ingredients together.  Since you baked your first batch immediately, the soda did its job correctly.

As your dough for the second batch chilled in the fridge, the chemical reaction ceased. Your rise was probably uneven because you beat more air into the dough (you said your mixing time was longer the second time) so, even though the soda had fizzled by the time you baked, you still had lots of little air bubbles that were probably not evenly distributed in your dough, causing a wonky rise.

I see that the recipe called for 1 teaspoon each of soda and cream of tartar.  It sounds like an old recipe.  Try substituting double acting baking powder next time.  Double acting powder has two chemical reactions:  one when it gets wet and a second one when it gets hot.  So, even if you let your dough hang out in the fridge and lose the first reaction over time, you’ll still get a fairly even second boost of leavening when you put your dough in the oven.

Since you’re also interested in your cookie holding a fairly detailed shape after baking, I’d also consider using shortening in place of the oil.  Since oil is liquid at room temperature and when heated, cookies will tend to spread a bit.  Shortening, being a solid at room temperature and a fairly slow melter, will yield a cookie with less spread.

I hope this helped!  Good luck with your baking.

Chef Jenni Field
Pastry Sous Chef
The Ravenous Pig

P.S.  Your idea of a perfect sugar cookie made me drool.  Just a little:-)”
Me too! – RG

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from COOKS.COM

2 1/2 c. sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. or 1 1/2 sticks butter
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla
Sift flour and salt and set aside. Beat butter, sugar and egg at high speed for 3 minutes or until fluffy. Blend in vanilla. Stir in flour mixture to make a stiff dough. Wrap in wax paper and chill 3 hours or until firm enough to roll.

[icing recipe from Sugarcraft, also a great place to find cutters!!]
My Favorite Cookie Icing
The best part of it is that you can stack these cookies but the icing doesn’t get rock hard like royal icing would to suck all the moisture from the cookie. Royal icing ruins cookies. It sucks out all the moisture.

I made some big Gingerbread boys with this icing. They had to have a yellow hard hat with a logo on the tummy. I used frosting sheet to make 200 logos, stuck them on with this icing, spread yellow hard hat with knife, then put it in a bag to make the brim. I also put it in a bag to outline. These cookies (200) went to Port of Trinidad…2 got broken! That isn’t bad at all. They emailed me back that they loved them.

This icing is like that used on petite fours. It will crust so you can stack your cookies. But it won’t get rock hard like royal icing does. I find it easier and more fun to work with too. This icing (as opposed to royal icing) is very tasty!

Firm Cookie Frosting: Try this, its very easy and you’ll get raves!
Fondant Cookie Icing…For icing cookies (and for decorating):
(links go to the products needed)
10 parts Dry candy Fondant *
to
1 part water
Flavoring or this
Food Coloring

You can make it thicker by adding more dry c. fondant. Or thinner by adding more water. Color or flavor as desired. I usually just add a little almond flavoring or vanilla extract. No beating necessary. Just stir until no lumps remain. This can be as thin as color flow and still won’t run off the side of the cake.

I ice the cookies with this. You should have it thin, but not so thin that it readily runs off the  cookie.
For decorations, I put some icing in a dec. bag with a tip #2 for drawing lines and detail. Or you can paint icing on to decorate too, using a medium soft paint-brush.
This icing is like that used on petite fours. It will crust so you can stack your cookies. But it won’t get rock hard like royal icing does. I find it easier and more fun to work with too. This icing (as opposed to royal icing) is very tasty!

* Dry Candy Fondant, available via mail order HERE
Dry candy fondant is simply another sugar. It is not ‘granulated, not brown, but fondant. It will keep like any other sugar.

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CUTE!! EGGNOG CAKE Recipe!

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[These are probably my all time favorite cookies. The trick to these tasting scrumptious is to use REAL butter and good quality vanilla]

Makes about 3 1/2 dozen.

ingredients

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
Powdered sugar

preparation

Sift flour and salt together. Using electric mixer, cream butter in large bowl until light. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar and beat until fluffy. Add vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients in 3 batches. Mix in nuts. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours.Preheat oven to 400°F. Form dough into 1-inch balls. Space 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until just firm to touch, about 15 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool slightly. Roll in powdered sugar. Cool completely. Roll cookies in powdered sugar again. Store in airtight container.

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How to Make Gingerbread CookiesHow to Make Gingerbread Cookies

Introduction

Gingerbread has become synonymous with Christmas. This year, try baking your own gingerbread cookies.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Steps

Step One

Gather ingredients. You will need 5 c. sifted all-purpose flour, 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1 1/2 tsp. each ground ginger and ground cloves, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. ground nutmeg, 1 tsp. salt, 2 sticks unsalted butter, 1 c. sugar, 2 eggs, 1 c. molasses, and 2 tbsp. water.

Step Two

Mix butter and sugar until creamy.

Step Three

Add eggs, molasses and water. Mix well.

Step Four

Mix the dry ingredients together.

Step Five

Blend the dry ingredients into the butter mixture.

Step Six

Chill for at least three hours or overnight.

Step Seven

Roll out dough onto lightly floured cookie sheet.

Step Eight

Using cookie cutters, cut out shapes.

Step Nine

Place cookies about an inch apart on the cookie sheet and bake for five minutes at 375 degrees.

Step Ten

Cool on rack and then decorate cookies.

Tips & Warnings

  • There are many variations on the gingerbread recipe. This one is a basic way to get started. Add more ginger and cinnamon for spicier cookies, more sugar for sweeter cookies, or more butter or shortening for moister cookies.

Overall Things You’ll Need

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