Archive for March, 2011

March 15, 2011

Glee Cookies

Glee Cookies…for all my fellow Gleeks! I had a little fun this afternoon making these sugar cookies.

A few months ago, I decided to watch one episode of Glee to see what all the fuss was about. It only took one episode to get me hooked! I’m embarassed to admit that within one week, I watched the entire first seasons of Glee, and scoured the internet until I found a way to catch up on season 2.

These cookies were a great excuse to practice my piping. My hand was very unsteady today, but I still think they turned out okay if you close one eye and squint a little while looking at them.

I used a basic Sugar Cookie Recipe, and regriferated my dough overnight to make sure that the cookies would keep their shape while baking.

Once again, I didn’t have cookie cutters for a few of the designs (the cheerleader outfit, slushie cup or the music notes), so I drew my own shapes out of parchment paper and traced/cut them out of the rolled cookie dough.

For the slushie cup, I bought some hard red candies, placed them in a ziplock bag and whacked the crum out of them with my rolling pin until they were crushed but not powdered. I piped a bit of red icing on the top of the slushie cup, then dipped it in the candy pieces.

The music note is a good example of what happens when you water down the royal icing to flood the cookies, and the colour seperates and creates annoying swirls after the icing settles on the cookie. I didn’t stir the icing enough before using it.

Happy Glee Tuesday! If you don’t watch Glee, you need to start!

Crystal

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March 12, 2011

Pot of Gold Cookie Bouquet

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, so I thought I would celebrate by making another cookie bouquet with a Pot of Gold theme this time.  Looking back now, I wish I had placed some gold chocolate coins or something funky in there with the cookies…meh, next time!

I used a Sugar Cookie recipe and it made enough to bake 2 batches of Cookie Bouquets. Because I was working on an Easter Bouquet too, this worked out well, but feel free to make a half recipe if you don’t want leftovers.

Also, 1 batch of Royal Icing was plenty!

The only cookie cutter I had was for the rainbow/shooting star. For the other cookies, I made my own stencils out of parchment paper and tracedcut out the cookies myself. **Tip: It’s important to refrigerate your dough before rolling it out. Keeping the cookies cool before baking them will ensure that they keep their shape while they bake. While I have one sheet of cookies baking in the oven, I like to prepare the next one and pop it in the fridge to chill the cookie dough cut-outs until needed.

Happy St Patty Day!

Crystal

March 7, 2011

Lemon Meringue Pie

With Spring right around the corner, I figured it was time to bake something fruity and light. This pie is the perfect balance of  sweet, tart and lemony, and the meringue just melts in your mouth! For the crust, I used my Lemon Bar base rather than a traditional pie crust, so it was more of a cookie base – my kind of pie!  Take a peek at the ‘mini pies’ posted below, they were divine…

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 extra deep pie plate

Lemon Filling

  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 5 eggs yolks

Meringue:

  • 5 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. To prepare the crust, use an electric mixer to blend together the softened butter, vanilla, sugar, and flour.
  3. Press it into the bottom of an extra-deep pie pan
  4. Bake the crust for 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown.

While you’re waiting for the base to bake, start preparing the lemon filling:

  1. Crack your eggs, seperate the yolks from the whites. Place the egg whites in the refrigerator, you will need them later. Set the egg yolks aside on the counter, you will need them in step #6
  2. Zest one lemon into a small bowl. Cut both lemons in half and juice them, using a strainer to catch the seeds and pulp. Add the 1 1/2 cup of water to this bowl and set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan, whisk the sifted flour, sugar, cornstarch and salt together.
  4. Add the lemon mixture to the saucepan and stir until combined.
  5. Turn the stove on med/high heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.
  6. Add a few tablespoons of hot lemon mixture to the bowl of egg yolks, whisking it in quickly. (You are tempering, so you don’t cook the eggs). Then, add the yolk mixture back into the saucepan with the lemon mixture, still stirring continually.
  7. Turn off the burner, remove the pot from the heat and add the 2 tbsp of butter, stirring until combined.
  8. Pour the filling into the baked pie crust and set aside while you prepare the Meringue.

To prepare the Meringue Topping:

  1. Grab those egg whites you set aside earlier. Place them in a mixing bowl and beat them until they are foamy.
  2. Add the granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat until stiff peaks form, scraping the sides of the bowl to ensure the sugar is properly incorporated. Use the meringue immediately, do not let it sit out on the counter.
  3. Use a spatula to spread the meringue on top of the lemon pie filling, covering the pie so you don’t see any filling peeking out. If you work quickly and add the meringue to the pie while the lemon filling is still hot, it helps to cook the meringue from the bottom too.
  4. Use a spatula to form peaks on the pie. When you bake, these peaks will brown lightly.
  5. Place the pie back into the oven for 9-11 minutes. Watch it closely, or your oven may burn the meringue if the temp is too hot.
  6. Cool the pie on a wire rack for 3-6 hours. DO NOT place the pie in the refrigerator while it’s warm or it creates condensation and the bottom of the pie will fill with fluid and make the crust soggy.
  7. Wait until the pie has cooled completely before cutting into it. (You need to give the lemon filling time to settle so it doesn’t ooze when you cut into the pie.)

**I also baked a batch of these cute miniature lemon pies in tart shells pans. To bake the mini tart shells using the crust mentioned above, bake the crusts for 12-14 minutes @ 350°F.  For 20 tart shells, you will need the 5 egg whites and 1/2 cup sugar for the meringue. To bake them with the meringue topping, place in the oven for about 7-9 minutes or until lightly browned and the tips are a bit darker that the wrest of the meringue. WATCH THEM CLOSELY so they don’t burn!

 Enjoy!

Crystal

March 6, 2011

Black Forest Dessert Cups

These little Black Forest Cakes in Chocolate Dessert Cups, have been lingering around in my mind lately. I couldn’t make them until I came across something to form the chocolate cups with. These silicone cupcake cups worked perfectly. They are SUPER easy and flexible, so when you’re ready to pop the chocolate out, you simply peel them off. Even better – no need to grease them if you’re using then to bake, because they’re non-stick!

  

**I have a few tips if you plan on making these dessert cups.  1) This is very important…keep these refrigerated at all times, between steps – if your kitchen is warm, the cups will melt quickly.  2) Refrigerate your bowl and beater before mixing the whipped cream. 3)  Pre-bake and cool the chocolate cake hours before beginning this recipe, so you have time to freeze or chill the cake.

Ingredients:

  • 1 chocolate cake, 9″, sliced thinly into approx 4 x 1cm thick layers.
  • 1 container of cherry filling, I used less than 1/2 cup
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, or use 70% chocolate if you want something less sweet.
  • 1 tbsp vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 cup Kirsche, with 1 tbsp sugar or simple syrup mixed in for sweetening
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream, 1/2 cup chocolate chunks – (Half of a Chocolate Ganache recipe)
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp chocolate shavings, for topping, optional.
  • 6 maraschino cherries, for topping, optional.

Gadjets:

  • 6 silicone cupcake baking cups (or any chocolate mould of your choice that are the same size as a cupcake liner.)
  • 5 1/2 cm cookie cutter
  • 6 1/2 cm cookie cutter
  • Piping Bag and Star Tip

 Directions:

  1. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until melted. Add the shortening, mix well.
  2. Using a pastry brush to coat the silicone cups with chocolate. Refrigerate, and when hardened, add a second coat, refrigerate again.
  3. Pre-bake a 9″ chocolate cake. (If you’re using a boxed cake, it usually makes two 8 or 9″ cakes. Let the cakes cool on a wire rack, then refrigerate one and freeze the other.)
  4. Slice the cake into 4 layers, each layer should be no thicker than 1cm thick.
  5. Using a 5 1/2 cm and 6 1/2 cm round biscuit/cookie cutters, cut 6 circles of each size. (Each cup with need one of each size cake round.)
  6. Pour 1/4 cup of Kirsche into a small bowl, add 1 tbsp sugar or simple syrup and stir until dissolved. You don’t have to add the sugar, but I think it tastes better sweetened.
  7. Place the small chocolate cake circles into each chocolate cup and brush the Kirsche mixture onto them. Not too much, or they’ll be soggy.
  8. Use a cookie scoop or a 1 heaping tablespoon to add the next layer, cherry filling.
  9. Place the second layer of cake on top of the cherry layer and brush Kirsche mixture on this cake layer too.
  10. Place the chocolate cups back in the refrigerator or freezer while preparing the chocolate ganache.
  11. In a small saucepan, add the 1/3 cup whipping cream and bring it to a simmer on medium/high heat. Don’t let it come to a complete boil, you just want to steam it.
  12. Remove the cream from the stove and slowly add the chocolate to the cream, stirring well after each addition. Allow the mixture to cool to about room temperature or until slightly warm, and then you can start working with it.
  13. Scoop the ganace onto the dessert cups and use a spatula or the back of a spoon to spread it out evenly.
  14. Place the cups back in the refrigerator while you prepare the last topping, whipped cream!
  15. In a [cold] mixing bowl, add the whipping cream and beat until the cream thickens and forms soft peaks; add 2 tbsp sugar and whip until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl to ensure the sugar is incorporated.
  16. Scoop the cream into a piping bag and apply to the tops of the dessert cups, or use a spoon and add dollops.
  17. Sprinkle some chocolate shavings onto the whipped cream and finally top if all off with a maraschino cherry!

Serves: 6 cups.

Viola!

I had this chocolate cake in my freezer, waiting for an opportunity to use it. My new thing is to have cakes pre-baked, frozen and waiting on hand in case I need them. In this case, it was great that the cake was frozen, it was much easier to slice into layers with less crumbs making a mess on the counter.



Enjoy!

Crystal

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