TWD: Coconut Butter Thins

I’m already a TWD failure.  It seems that the battery charger for my camera has disappeared.  It seems that the battery in my camera is dead.  It seems that someone didn’t charge the backup battery that is in the case either.  Shit. 

So, no photo unless I go home and magically find the charger that I have been looking for for four days.  My husband is going to be so pleased! 

On to the cookies.  The recipe for Coconut Butter Thins this week was chosen by Jayne of The Barefoot Kitchen Witch. I have to admit that I would have probably glazed past this recipe just because it seems like a light summer cookie and my husband claims to not like coconut.  I did have to buy the Macadamia nuts and since they were almost $4 a bag I need to find something else to make with them as the recipe only uses 1/2 cup. 

The method of chilling these cookies was a little interesting as Dorie suggests placing the cookie dough in a gallon plastic baggie and rolling to 1/4 inch thick.  I am anti plastic baggie so I used parchment paper and a ruler to get my 1/4 thick.  The trick was then that I didn’t have the nice square that Dorie wanted, so I used a fluted edged round cookie cutter to make my cookies.  On the TWD blog, there was lots of discussion about the cookies spreading a lot.  I actually had a variety of spreading in the batch I made, some seemed to melt all over the place and others seemed to maintain their rounded shape.  I did try to keep the dough as chilled as possible as I know that seems to affect the spreading of other cookies. 

I absolutely loved the batter of these cookies.  The recipe calls for coriander and since it was just a pinch that was to be added and didn’t have any on hand, I scrapped it.  I had also run out of vanilla the day before I made these so I decided to up the citrus and nut factor by adding lemon and almond extract for the vanilla extract.  I was nervous dumping it in there but it really didn’t affect the flavor.  If anything, I think it probably boosted the flavor. 

I gave one to my husband to taste after cooking and cooling but did not tell him what was in it because of his aversion to coconut.  Turns out he didn’t even realize that there was coconut in it.  Shocker.  He told me he liked the cookie but later after I had tasted it and commented that it seemed a little greasy he told me he had thought the same thing.  He drives me insane.  I do think that there was a little much butter in the recipe.  The cookies had a fantastic citrus flavor but actually left a grease mark on a napkin I sat it on.  Never a good sign!  I think that if you could reduce the butter a bit, the cookies would be fantastic.  This recipe would be a good one for a spring girls get together or even on a platter for Easter.  If you were serving them and wanted to pretty them up a little, you could easily use some lime juice, confectioners sugar and some green food coloring to drizzle over top. 

Overall, I am glad that I tried this recipe.  I only baked one dozen and have at least that many more in my freezer for another occasion, so these will make another appearance in the future.  Be prepared for the next couple of weeks as the recipes chosen are doozies.  We have Banana Creme Pie, 15 Minute Magic: Chocolate Amaretti Torte, Four Star Chocolate Bread Pudding, Chocolate Cream Tart. 

A little chocolate anyone?

 

I’ll update with a photo if I am able to find the battery charger!

Advertisements

Marshmallow Fondant

flickr-cookies

 

At work last Friday, we held a shower in honor of a work friend and the upcoming birth of  her baby boy.  Her and her husband found out the sex of the baby a while ago, hence the lovely blue color.  They are keeping the baby’s name a secret until the birth, which I think is precious.  We have spent many hours at work over the course of the last 8 months talking about baby names and where to find inspiration for a good one.  I can’t wait until late February when I meet this sweet baby and learn his name!

I like to use my favorite sugar cookie recipe for any sugar cookie I make. I think that a half batch of the dough would be sufficient but I like to make a full batch and freeze a portion for quick cookie making.   The dough can be made in advance, the cookies can be made in advance and when planning a party for an office full of people, anything done in advance is glorious. 

I have seen several places where they use fondant to ice the cookies, whether it be blogs or in bakeries.  I have never particularly thought fondant had a very good taste, so I was hesitant.  Until I realized that I could make it.  FROM MARSHMALLOWS!  Wowee.  Can you say sugar overload?  I wish I had done this at Christmas, but think about all the holidays that you can use this for.  Valentine’s Day, birthdays, St. Patrick’s Day, every dang holiday out there.  And you could color the sugar cookies, too!

This is a very pretty way to ice cookies.  I think using icing or frosting cookies usually falls in one of two categories. 1-The icing looks pretty but lacks in taste.  2- the icing has kick ass taste but doesn’t look pretty.  Solution?  Marshmallow fondant. 

Don’t be scared.  Yes, it does have a slightly messy start.  But it comes together quickly and cleans up well.  And look at those pretty cookies above! 

After using the cookie cutters on the sugar cookie dough, use the same cookie cutters to cut our your fondant.  This recipe is created for cakes I would imagine but I am not that brave yet.  Perhaps next time?

Marshmallow Fondant – source What’s Cooking America

16 ounces white mini-marshmallows – this is one and a half bags of the ones I usually buy
2 to 5 tablespoons water
2 pounds icing sugar
½ cup Crisco shortening – used on hands and counter (please don’t be grossed out!)

1.  Start by generously spraying a large bowl with cooking spray.  Place marshmallows and 2 tbsp water in bowl and microwave for 30 second increments until completely melted (typically one to two minutes)

2.  On top of melted marshmallows, poor in 3/4 of the powdered sugar on top of the melted marshmallows. 

3.  Grease your hands with the Crisco, sorry.  Yes, this is gross, but you will be grateful.  Take off all rings and grease the palms, backs of hands and in between your fingers.  I found it was also helpful to grease the counter as well. 

4.  Dump the entire messy gooey mixture out onto counter top and scrape remaining out with spatula.  Start kneading as though the mixture is bread dough.  Yes, it is everywhere.  Yes, it will thicken up and become much less runny within a few minutes.  Just stick it out.  Add the remaining powdered sugar as needed, depending on how humid the weather is outside.  You may also need to all more water as well.  But be cautious with the water, adding it in 1/2 tbsp increments.  If you are adding food coloring, consider this when adding water. 

5.  It should take about 5-10 minutes to form a smooth elastic ball that stretches well. 

6. The fondant is best to work with after being kept in the fridge overnite.  It can be wrapped overnite by coating the fondant disc into crisco and double wrap in plastic wrap to prevent the fondant from drying out. 

 

According to this recipe, it will hold well in the fridge for several weeks but do not freeze as it does not freeze well. 

 

 

Martha, did I fail you?

 

Martha Stewart.  Jail or no jail, the woman is amazing.  She is crafty, gardens, can cook everything from frugal to formal.  I love her.  I would love to be her, you know, minus the whole jail thing. 

This week, a friend at work is celebrating her 28th birthday.  In her 28th year, she will become a mother for the first time.  Last weekend was her second anniversary and she had said several times that she and her husband were celebrating over Labor Day weekend and weren’t doing anything to celebrate her birthday.  I get that.  I understand.  But a girl can’t have her birthday without a treat.  She loves peanut butter but isn’t eating it because of her pregnancy.  My standby chocolate cupcakes and peanut butter icing wouldn’t work.  I have been wanting to make a peanut butter cake with chocolate icing, but no luck there either.  She loves my chocolate chip cookies, but I couldn’t make those, they aren’t special enough. 

I began scouring the internet for a chocolate chip cupcake or muffin.  No luck. But Martha had a recipe for blondie cupcakes with toffee candy bar in them.  I decided why couldn’t I just use chocolate chips instead of toffee bar?

So I did. 

But I must have done something wrong because surely Martha did not intend for her recipe to look like this. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So I got creative and decided that they could be a little bird’s nest almost.  But with peanut m&m’s as the eggs.  Oh, how cute for a baby shower treat.  That is if you can successfully make them sag in the center.  I have deemed this recipe a success despite my saggy center.  They tasted like a cross between a cookie texture and a brownie texture, so the taste was not a problem.  Next time I will pay closer attention to the recipe. 

Blondie Cupcakes – Martha Stewart

Ingredients

Makes 12 (mine made 15)

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 chocolate-covered toffee bars (1 1/4 ounces each), finely chopped (about 1 cup) 
  • I used 1 cup of chocolate chips instead of toffee bars.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a standard 12-cup (each 2 1/2 inches wide) muffin pan; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  2. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined. Add flour mixture, and beat just until combined (do not overmix). Fold in chopped toffee.
  3. Divide batter among prepared cups, filling each about halfway. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes.
  4. Transfer to wire rack; cool 10 minutes in pan. Turn out blondies onto rack; cool completely, top side up.

Soft Sugar Cookies

 

These are perhaps the best sugar cookies that I have ever made.  I could have simply frozen the dough in small balls and tossed it in ice cream, it was that good.  There was several spoonfuls of dough that never even made it to the oven.  Last year I tried Pioneer Woman’s sugar cookies and I have to say that I thought they were a big old failure. The flavor was very good. But the texture and the brittleness of the cookie was so frustrating.

These, from Jenny over at Picky Palate, are perfect.  Soft, moist, easy to roll out and cut and they have stayed moist for four days already.  I should eat more to ensure that they are still moist. 

I made these for the sad and pitiful Tennessee Football party that we held on Monday and everyone kept asking where I bought them.  I think that is one of the biggest compliments that you could recieve.  Someone could think that they were good enough that you could never make them at home. 

I started with Jenny’s recipe and did not alter it a bit.  I debated adding some orange zest since I was making this an orange themed dessert.  Instead I made Paula Dean’s orange cream cheese icing.  I edited her recipe a bit by adding about one and a half more cups of powdered sugar and food coloring to make the icing orange colored.  I did have one person comment that they thought the icing was Easy Cheese because of the color, so perhaps next time I should make the icing even oranger.  I didn’t want to frighten anyone with florescent orange icing but next time I just might! 

 

Paula’s icing could be altered to any fruit flavor you might like, think grapefruit, lemon, lime or even strawberry.  But as is, these were a hit and I have finally found a sugar cookie recipe that I think could beat out any other out there.