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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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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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[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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Thick and Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

Thick and Chewy Gingerbread Cookies (with title)

[Blogger’s note: The original post is taken from manggy.blogspot.com. The cookie title
above this picture is an active link and will take you to the original post with comments. Great Blog! Check it out!]

I’ll apologize in advance for appearing to be born from another planet, but I’ve never had an honest-to-goodness gingerbread cookie before. I had a glazed, slightly spicy cookie before, but it tasted more like a Dunkin Donuts’ Choco Honey Dipped, for some reason. Maybe it was. So after years of wondering, I was suddenly in the mood for something I thought maybe both kids and adults would like. Imagine my dismay when I learned that most gingerbread cookies were quite hard and only good for making houses and tree ornaments. I realize they’re not exactly the same, but I had a gingersnap made by Fibisco that almost took my diamond-like (in hardness, heh) teeth out. Next! But a gem somehow landed in my lap: Cook’s Illustrated recipe, which addressed these problems. Given that I hadn’t made dessert in a while (and cookies in an even longer while), it was a Godsend. It even has instructions for when you want thin cookies for ornaments. So happy holiday baking, everyone! Get to it! (Okay, Thanksgiving first for those of you who celebrate.) This is my contribution to Susan of Food Blogga’s Eat Christmas Cookies blogging event and Zlamushka’s Spicy Kitchen’s A Spoonful of Christmas blogging event.
Thick and Chewy Gingerbread Cookies
The problem was, there was only one supermarket in Manila that sold molasses. What the?!?! I went to Robinson’s, Megamall, Hi-Top, Landmark, and Rustan’s (several branches). Only Unimart had both local and imported brands. I chose an imported unsulphured brand (Grandma’s Mild), since it’s my first time and I wanted to be sure I got the unsulphured variety (the local brand didn’t specify). I hear they have tons of wholesale baking supplies at Quiapo, where the fruitcake-mass-producing types get their molasses by the liter. I wasn’t sold on that since generic fruitcake is not at all that enticing. (Recipe follows)
The recipe I wrote down here has 3 different methods: first by hand (which is what I used– what use is having arm muscles, heh), then by stand mixer with paddle, and by food processor. I’ve also included weight measurements for those so inclined. Enjoy!
Thick and Chewy Gingerbread Cookies (adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)

  • 3 cups (425g) all-purpose flour, preferably unbleached
  • 3/4 cup (150g) firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1-1/2 sticks (165g) unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and slightly softened
  • 3/4 cup (225g) molasses (mild or full/robust, your choice, but I found mild to be quite flavorful as it was)
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk

By hand: In a small bowl, combine the molasses and milk and stir together; set aside. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Add the sugar and whisk to combine thoroughly. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture and work it into the flour with a pastry blender (what I used), a fork, two knives, or a rubber spatula until it resembles very fine meal. Drizzle a third of the molasses mixture over the dough and combine with a rubber spatula (what you’re doing is essentially moistening the dough). Repeat with half of the remaining molasses, then use it all up. You’ll end up with a soft, cohesive dough that looks like coffee ice-cream.

By stand mixer with a paddle attachment: In a small bowl, combine the molasses and milk and stir together; set aside. In the bowl of the mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Mix at low speed until combined (about 30 seconds). Scatter the butter pieces over the top and mix at medium-low speed until it resembles very fine meal (about 90 seconds). Reduce the speed to low and drizzle in the molasses mixture with the mixer running and mix until the dough is moistened thoroughly (about 20 seconds), then increase the speed to medium and mix for 10 seconds more to combine.

By food processor: In a small bowl, combine the molasses and milk and stir together; set aside. Process the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves until combined (about 10 seconds). Scatter the butter pieces over the top and process until it resembles fine meal (about 15 seconds). With the machine running, drizzle in the molasses mixture and process until the dough is evenly moistened and forms a soft mass (about 10 seconds).

Continue here for all methods: Cut out at least 4 parchment rectangles to fit the bottom of your sheet pans. Scrape dough onto a work surface and divide into 2 (I used a scale to be accurate: I divided it into 2-502g masses). Place each dough half onto its own parchment rectangle and cover each with another parchment rectangle. Pat out each with your fingers through the parchment into a rough rectangle, then roll each into an even 1/4-inch thickness sandwiched in between the 2 parchment sheets (one way to get an even thickness is to use magazines of the appropriate thickness on both ends of your rolling pin as a guide– Bon Appetit is one such magazine). Stack the dough sheets (still intact in their parchment sandwiches) onto a sheet pan and freeze until firm, about 20 minutes, or refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.

Place a rack in the upper and lower-middle positions of your oven and preheat to 350°F (177°C). Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper (I just used the ones on my dough sheets, to conserve paper, no problem). Remove a dough sheet from the fridge and peel off the top parchment sheet, gently lay it back on the dough and put another sheet pan on top. Flip the whole set-up over and peel off then discard the other parchment sheet. Using a 3- or 5-inch gingerbread person cutter or a 3-inch cookie cutter, cut out shapes and transfer to the lined sheet pans, leaving 3/4 inch space in between. Bake the cookies for 8 minutes (for 3-inch people, which is what I used), or 8-11 minutes (for 5-inch people or 3-inch cookies), rotating the pans front to back and top to bottom halfway through. You’re looking for set centers and for the dough to barely retain an imprint when touched gently with a fingertip. Don’t overbake! They will set some more while cooling. Cool the cookies for 2 minutes on the pans then transfer with a wide metal spatula to a cooling rack.

Gather the scraps and repeat the rolling and cutting, chilling the dough again if it’s become too soft. I was able to juggle all my rolling and cutting in advance so I can bake them consecutively. The yield is 25 3-inch people, 20 5-inch people, or 30 3-inch cookies. Best if eaten within a week.

For thin, crisp cookies that can be used as ornaments:
Divide the dough into 4 and roll out into an even 1/8-inch thickness. Bake at 325°F (163°C) oven until slightly darkened and firm in the center when pressed, 15-20 minutes for 5-inch gingerbread people.

Royal Icing for Decoration:

  • 1 pasteurized egg white
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • (at least) 1-1/2 cups (165g) confectioner’s sugar

Using a mixer with a whisk attachment, beat together the egg white and lemon juice until frothy. Sift in all the confectioner’s sugar and beat until smooth. Lift the beaters and if a ribbon takes less than 5 seconds to disappear into the icing’s surface or runs down the sides when spread over a cookie’s edge, add more sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time. Use immediately. You can use a piping bag with a plain tip or load it into a zip-lock bag and snip off a little bit of the tip. The icing will dry and form a crust overnight. If uncomfortable with using a raw egg white due to health concerns, please consult the internet for recipes using meringue powder.

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