Archive for May, 2012
For those who read yesterday’s post, you know that I recently baked up some graduation goodies for the Better Show using two of my favorite Sweet Home go-to recipes: Secret-Ingredient Vanilla Cupcakes and Super-Easy Sugar Cookies.
What the segment below didn’t show was a close-up of the finished graduation gown and mortar board cookies (of course those were the ones I’d labored over for hours, thinking they’d get their moment in the spotlight). Instead, they missed their cue and were quickly gobbled up by the show’s staff.
In hopes of reclaiming their well-deserved fifteen minutes…ahem, probably more like fifteen seconds…of fame, I’m giving them center stage today.
Ease rules in this recipe, which yields a not-too-sweet, not-too-thick, classic crisp-on-the-edges sugar cookie. I used to think cut-out cookies were a complete chore. I disliked the struggle of rolling out a hard, refrigerated lump of dough.
Then Robin Chess, who teaches kids’ cooking classes at our local elementary school, showed me how she effortlessly makes hundreds of cut-out cookies every holiday season with her students, ages five to eight. Straight from the mixing bowl, she places small handfuls of dough between two sheets of wax paper and has the kids roll it out, no sticking, no struggle.
When she makes these cookies, they go right into the oven—no chilling necessary—to avoid waiting time. For a slightly crisper cookie, I refrigerate them for 20 minutes on the baking sheets after they’ve been cut. If you’re in a rush, though, this step is not essential to a tasty cookie.
This dependable dough should not be reserved for holiday cookies, but used year round with celebration-specific cookie cutters.
As their name implies, the cookies are super simple to make. I will not lie though about the ease of the decorating process. Unlike the Secret-Ingredient Cupcakes, which can be frosted with a quick squeeze of the decorating bag, icing these babies takes a little more time and effort, okay, A LOT more time and effort.
Yesterday I bragged that the Secret-Ingredient Vanilla Cupcakes cost less than half of what bakery-made ones would. I can’t, however, say the same for these cookies. While the ingredients cost very little, your decorating time may add up—and you just may say screw it, it’s worth paying three bucks a cookie. There’s undoubtedly something extremely satisfying about creating your own Eleni-like creation though.
I’ve been obsessed with Eleni Gianopulos’ cookies since she opened her shop in New York’s Chelsea Market some 15 years ago. Her business, Eleni’s New York, was one of the originator’s of the custom-decorated cookie. Their charming and whimsical hand-iced confections may be special-ordered for any occasion.
By following the steps below, you too, can learn to make playful cookies.
These are both from FancyFlours. I also have a Wilton Mortar Board cookie cutter that I like a lot too.
Super-Easy Sugar Cookies
Forty 3-inch cookies
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.
2. Place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium for 2 minutes. Add the sugar and beat on medium another 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
3. Add the egg and the vanilla extract to the bowl and continue to beat on medium for another 30 seconds. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt to the bowl and beat on low to medium for 11/2 to 2 minutes or until the dough comes together to form a ball.
4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into two even parts. Working with one section at a time, roll the dough out to ¼-inch thickness. Cut the dough using cookie cutters and gently lift the shapes with a spatula and place on the prepared cookie sheet.
5. Refrigerate the cut cookies on the sheets for 20 minutes.
6. Remove the cookies from the refrigerator and bake for 8 minutes or until golden brown on the edges. Let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Decorate as desired with Royal Icing.
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 large egg whites (or the prepared powdered egg white equivalent, meaning mixed with water)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Food coloring (optional)
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
2. Sift the confectioners’ sugar into the bowl. Beat for another minute or two. The icing should be somewhat stiff (spreadable but not so thin it will run off the edges of the cookie). Stir in the vanilla extract and lemon juice.
3. If desired, divide the icing among several bowls and color as desired using food coloring. Cover the top of the icing with a damp paper towel to prevent it from drying out until using.
4. Decorate the cooled cookies with the royal icing, colored sugars, sprinkles, and/or dragees.
Cookie decorating primer
To achieve a professional look when decorating cookies, use a Wilton #2 or #3 tip and disposable decorating bag. Place the tip in the point of the bag. Trim the plastic so the tip protrudes from the bag at least a ½ inch.
To fill the bag with icing, fold down the upper sides of the bag to create a cuff. Using a spatula, spoon 1 to 2 cups icing in the bag. Pull up the sides of the bag and twist the top to force the icing down into the tip, eliminating any air bubbles. Secure the top of the bag with rubber band or binder clip. See Part 1: Sweet Graduation Celebration for photos.
Squeezing from the top of the bag, outline each cookie.
There is no need to make one continuous outline around the cookie. For example, looking at the cookie above, outline the top of the sleeve, outline the bottom of the sleeve, below. Then connect the two. It’ll keep your outline from falling off the cookie.
Continue to outline all your cookies and let them dry for one hour.
After your outlines are completely dry, go back and fill in the outlines with “flooding” method. To flood the cookies, add a few tablespoons water to the unused icing to thin it out. Put the thinned icing in a new decorating bag with a Wilton #3 tip. Squeeze enough icing into the outline to partially fill the cookie. (You can use a #2 tip but it will take longer.) The dry outline will act as a dam to the thinned icing, preventing it from running off the cookie.
Use a small knife or spatula to spread the icing over the entire cookie, filling in the outline you created.
Again, flood all the cookies one at a time and let that icing dry. (If you try to flood several then spread them you’ll end up with icing that is slightly set and hard to spread. Just work one cookie at a time.)
Lastly, using other colors, decorate the cookie as desired.
Hats are flying, diplomas are being dispersed, and graduates are partying. It’s commencement time and last week the folks at the nationally syndicated Better Show asked me to share some ideas for making a sweet graduation celebration. The segment airs today, Tuesday, May 29. For your local listing, please go to Better TV or watch the segment here.
Since grads can be five or fifty (let’s not forget preschool moving-up ceremonies), I decided to bake up some student-inspired sweets from my new cookbook with universal appeal: Secret-Ingredient Vanilla Cupcakes and Super-Easy Sugar Cookies.
The recipes may sound boring, vanilla and vanilla, but they’re anything but. The beauty is in the simplicity.
The cupcakes take all of ten minutes to whip up, ten more minutes to frost, and they look like they’re straight from a bakery (at less than half the cost).
To give them a graduation spin, I baked them in colorful baking cups (one of may favorite sources is fancyflours) and added diploma and mortar board cupcake toppers.
Of course these cupcakes may also be decorated with paper printables for Father’s Day (click here for free download from paperglitter), flags for the Fourth, or theme-appropriate toppers for any occasion—make them yours!
The secret to these cupcakes is coconut milk. While there is no distinct coconut flavor (as I know many dislike coconut), the milk gives the cupcakes a particularly moist and pleasing crumb.
Following is the cupcake recipe with a frosting primer. Look for the Super-Easy Sugar Cookie Recipe in Part 2 of the Sweet Graduation Celebration tomorrow.
Secret-Ingredient Vanilla Cupcakes from the Sweet Home Cookbook (Kyle Books, 2012)
Makes 24 standard cupcakes
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
2. Stir together the flour and baking powder in a small bowl.
3. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream for 3 minutes on high until light and fluffy, stopping and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the coconut milk and flour mixture alternately, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat well after each addition, for about 20 seconds, making sure the ingredients are thoroughly combined, again stopping and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Stir in the vanilla extract.
5. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans, filling each cupcake liner with about 1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons of batter. Bake for 15 or 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. The edges of the cupcakes will begin to turn a pale golden but the tops of the cupcakes will be pale. Do not over bake. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack.
6. Frost with Secret Ingredient Frosting.
Secret Ingredient Frosting from the Sweet Home Cookbook (Kyle Books, 2012)
12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
6 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Place the softened butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 2 minutes. Add the confectioner’s sugar and continue to mix until thoroughly combined. Next pour in the coconut milk and vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy.
Frosting Primer: Using a tip and decorator bag to frost cupcakes
Decorating bags can be intimidating if you’ve never used them. I promise though, once you try, you’ll never go back to the knife again. The gorgeous finish is worth the extra step or two, and really, once the bag is filled, it’s much easier to use than a knife or spatula.
Purchase 16-inch diposable decoratoring bags (about $5.50 for 12) available from craft stores or online at Amazon and a large tip (Wilton 2A round tip, shown above top; Ateco 845 closed star, shown above bottom). If you’d like, purchase a coupler (a two-part threaded device that allows you to change tips without changing the bag) too, but it is not necessary if you’ll only be using one tip. However, they’re very inexpensive so worth their price.
Push the tip down into the bag.
Once you have the tip pushed in as far as it’ll go, trim the excess plastic bag overhanging the tip with scissors to about a 1/4- to 1/2-inch space above the tip’s opening.
To fill the bag, stand it in a large glass or pitcher, pulling the sides of the bag down around the outside of the glass or pitcher.
Using a spatula, scoop the frosting into the bag.
Once the bag is filled, use your hand to squeeze from the top, pushing the frosting down into the tip.
Next, twist the top of the bag and secure with a rubber band.
Now begin frosting. keeping the bag at a slight angle and working from the outside of the cupcake toward the center.
For more tips, refer to this very helpful video from Glorious Treats.
Top frosted cupcakes with miniature diplomas made from store-bought cookies tied with silk cord.
Purchase rolled wafer cookies from your local market or specialty grocer. There are many French and Belgian brands. Pepperidge Farm’s Pirouette cookies work well too.
Using a serrated knife, trim the cookies to the desired length and tie with colored cord or, for a completely edible topper, use thin shoelace licorice.
Molded mortar board decorations
Another option is to top cupcakes with homemade molded chocolate graduation caps or diplomas, chocolate lollipops make adorable decorations too.
To make the chocolates you will need:
One 8-oz block good quality chocolate (white, milk, or dark)
Graduation lollipop or chocolate molds, such as CK graduation caps and diplomas mold from Amazon
1. If making lollipops, place the lollipop sticks into the molds.
2. Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Melt half of it in a double boiler over very gently simmering, not boiling, water. Stir constantly while the chocolate melts. Be careful to not let one drop of water touch the chocolate. Using a candy thermometer, check the temperature, which should be between 110 and 115°F. Do not let the chocolate exceed 115°F.
3. Remove the chocolate from the heat, again being careful to not let any moisture into the chocolate. Add the remaining half of chocolate, a little at a time, into the melted chocolate,stirring vigorously. This will help make the chocolate shine. The goal is to cool the chocolate to 90°F. It may take up to 15 minutes.
4. When the chocolate has cooled to 90°F, test it by spreading a small amount on a piece of wax paper and putting it in the refrigerator. If, after a few minutes, the chocolate is shiny, you’re good to go. If it’s streaky or dull, you may want to start over with new chocolate. (Perhaps the chocolate was overheated or came in contact with water.) While this chocolate can’t be re-tempered, you can use it for baking.
5. There are many ways to fill the molds: 1) Simply use a spoon to fill the molds, 2) Place the tempered chocolate in a sealable plastic baggie, cut off a corner, and squeeze it out into the mold, or 3) Place the chocolate in a plastic squeeze bottle and use it to fill the molds (a great option for young children).
6. Tap the mold gently on the counter to remove any air bubbles. Place the molds in the refrigerator to harden. Chill until firm, about 10 minutes.
7. Remove the molds from the refrigerator and gently unmold (if the chocolate sticks, place the mold in the freezer for 1 hour and try to unmold again).
Last year when I was eight I didn’t like brownies. I thought they were too fudgy. Then I discovered Fat Witch Brownies. My mom was making brownies and she said I should try them. I did. They were so good.
They aren’t too chocolatey and the texture is perfect. I like how there is a crispy layer on top – thinner than paper – that melts in your mouth. I prefer the original brownie recipe from the cookbook. I recommend that you try the brownies. I still don’t like any other brownie than Fat Witch. The recipe is really easy. I have made it many times by myself. I encourage you to make them too.
Here are a few tips. An easy trick is that when it says to grease the brownie pan you grease it and then you add parchment paper with two sides hanging out so that once they are out of the oven you can just pull them up and out. To hold down the parchment paper you can use binder clips which can go in the oven with your brownies.
I hope you enjoy making and eating these brownies! Please let me know what your favorite brownies are!
Fat Witch Brownies (recipe from page 26 of Fat Witch Brownies: Brownies, Blondies, and Bars from New York’s Legendary Fat Witch Bakery (Rodale, 2010) by Patricia Helding
14 tablespoons (1-3/4 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons bittersweet chocolate chips
1-1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup plus 2 tablepoons unbleached flour
pinch of salt
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9×9-inch baking pan with baking spray paper and line with parchment, leaving an overhang on two of the four sides.
3. Cream the sugar, eggs, and vanilla together; add in the cooled chocolate mixture; mix until well blended.
4. Measure the flour and salt; then sift together directly into the chocolate mixture.
5. Mix batter gently until well combined and no trace of dry ingredients remains.
6. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.
7. Bake 33 minutes or until toothpick tests done (clean or with only crumbs, no batter).
8. Remove from oven and cool on a rack for 1 hour; cut just before serving.
My husband Jim and I had no understanding of our good fortune when we bought our 100-something-year-old house in the heart of the Catskills. We lusted after a rustic, rural getaway—and stumbled by chance upon an area 120 miles northwest of New York City—rich with many assets: Fresh streams, remote hiking trails, artistic communities…and ramps (like many good things in the region, we didn’t know about ramps until a year or so after living there!).
One spring, a neighbor animatedly talked up the appeal of fresh, scallion-like wild onions that could be picked in abundance nearby. He explained where they grew and how to find them. A Midwestern gal whose grandmother thinks garlic is spicy, I had no previous experience with ramps. My interest was piqued.
Ramps, cousins of leeks, have broad leaves that are tender and edible in spring, while the slender bulb can be eaten year round. This perennial plant grows from Canada to the Carolinas—and its season spans the weeks anywhere from March to June, depending on the region. Ramps may be eaten raw or cooked
I never made it that spring eleven years ago to harvest ramps though, nor any spring after that.
With the rising trend of locavores and favorable terms like locally foraged, the popularity of ramps has grown significantly. For the first time this year, I noticed the shapely wild onions at both our local produce stand and food market, where they’re selling for $6.50 a bunch, or $13 a pound.
This spring, I was lucky enough to receive a large bunch from friends who had been out hiking (another benefit to our area—generous friends who deliver!) and could finally try ramps.
I was filled with curious anticipation. Jim, on the other hand, had eaten them many times and knew the goodness that was to come. NY Post columnist Steve Cuozzo would tend to disagree. He doesn’t buy into the “ramp religion” and wrote, “When I tweeted last spring that I’d rather eat wild grasses on the High Line, like-minded ramp-haters outnumbered ramp-likers 6-to-1 in Twitter responses. But right now there’s no avoiding the damn things.”
I’m curious as to your thoughts on ramps because I contracted the fever.
After some research, it seemed ramp pesto was the best route. I adapted my traditional pesto recipe slightly, processing the ingredients less to create a crunchier texture. I used pine nuts, but I imagine using walnuts would be equally tasty. (Have you seen the price of pine nuts lately? Outrageous!).
I only pulsed the pesto, never allowing the food processor to run at full throttle. I also added extra olive oil to help balance the strong garlicky flavor.
Once the pesto was made, I had to stop myself from eating the whole bowl by the spoonful. I pointedly put it away in the fridge to save it for the weekend when I had time to make a tart.
A riff on Ina Garten’s goat cheese tart that I’d made before from the Barefoot in Paris cookbook, I replaced her basil with ramp pesto. I also like to make the tart in a long, rectangular tart pan for a dramatic presentation. A slice of the tart topped with a dab of pesto makes a sublime spring hors d’oeuvre—perfect for a Memorial Day grill party.
I may have arrived little late to the ramp scene, but I’m sure glad I made it. Next year there will be no stopping me as I run, not walk, up the trail for those ramps! I hope you, too, add them to your list of seasonal must-haves this spring. (And if you’re not up for tart-making, just toss the pesto with your favorite pasta.) Hurry before the season’s over.
Wild Ramp Pesto
A disclaimer about this pesto: Because ramps have such strong flavor, the oil and Parmesan in this recipe should be increased and decreased according to preference.
1/2 pound wild ramps, washed, ends trimmed, and leaves and bulbs coarsely chopped
2/3 cup lightly toasted pine nuts
2/3 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1. Put the ramps, pine nuts, and Parmesan in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse 6 to 8 times or until coarsely ground.
2. Move the ramp mixture to a bowl and stir in the olive oil, lemon juice and zest. Add the salt and pepper to taste.
3. Store refrigerated in a glass jar for up to 5 days.
Goat Cheese and Ramp Pesto Tart
1 partially-baked tart crust, see below
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/3 cup slice shallots
4 ounces goat cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons ramp pesto, see above
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Melt the butter in a small saute pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute until softened, stirring continuously, about 5 to 8 minutes.
2. Spread the shallots over the bottom of the partially-baked tart crust, set aside.
3. Put the goat cheese in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse 3 to 4 times. Add the cream, egg, salt and pepper and run until smooth.
4. Remove the blade from the bowl and stir in the pesto with a wooden spoon.
5. Pour the mixture over the shallots in the prepared tart shell.
6. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until the filling is firm.
7. Allow to cool slightly and top with dollops of pesto.
Buttery Tart Crust
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
4 tablespoons ice water
1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour and salt and pulse several times.
2. Sprinkle the butter over the flour mixture and pulse 8 to 10 times until butter clumps are the size of peas.
3. With the processor running, pour the water into the feed tube. Stop the processor immediately and see if the dough sticks together when pressed between your thumb and forefinger. If it does, using your hands, shape the dough into a long rectangle shape and wrap in wax paper. If it doesn’t, pulse a few more times or add another teaspoon or two of water. Do not allow the dough to come together in the food processor bowl. Place the wrapped dough in the refrigerator to chill 30 minutes before using.
4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle 1-inch larger than the pan. The dough should be about 1/8″ thick. Move the dough to the tart pan and fit it into the sides using your fingers. Cut off the excess dough.
5. Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with dried beans or pie weights. (If you don’t have one of those very cool pie chains, check them out on Amazon. They also make great gifts for pie makers. Prevents those weights from spilling all over the place!).
6. Bake the crust for 20 minutes. Remove it from the oven and take out the parchment and weights. Using a fork, prick the bottom of the crust in a uniform pattern and return the crust to the oven for another 10 minutes or until it just begins to turn golden.
7. Fill the crust as desired.
*I love the fluted tart pan with removable bottom from Williams-Sonoma for $18.
Looking for an alternative to bakery-bought cupcakes for kids’ birthday parties? Head over to my post at Babycenter.com for some simple how-to inspiration. What shapes have you created with cakes? Please comment, I’d love to hear.
It was 20 years ago this exact date, May 16th, that I learned to make Norwegian boller (rolls or buns). I remember the occasion clearly because it was the day prior to Norway’s Constitution Day.
I had been invited to a Syttende Mai frokost (17th of May breakfast) by several classmates—I was studying in Bergen, Norway, at the time. This part gets somewhat fuzzy, but I imagine being a 20-something lassie, I was interested in impressing these strapping young Norwegian lads, no?
In a panic, I rang my friend Charlotte, affectionately called Chotti, an accomplished baker. How was I going to turn out a basket of buns that would sufficiently awe? Within hours, my devoted chum Chotti arrived at the door with yeast and flour in hand. After much kneading, waiting, forming, and baking, we had an impressive pile of 30-plus large, perfectly round, golden rolls for me to take to the party. Even better than those buns though, was the gift I received from Chotti that day, something I’ve carried with me since: the Norwegian know-how of boller making. Standing by Chotti’s side, I learned the lengthy process first hand.
While I still appreciate classic yeast buns like those we made, skoleboller, or school buns, are truly my favorite. Some will argue that skillingsboller (cinnamon buns) are better, but of course there are also sommerboller (summer buns), prinsesseboller (princess buns—don’t even go there!), and rosinboller (raisin buns) to name but a few more.
In my opinion though, skoleboller, large, sweet yeast buns with crunchy coconut-covered edges surrounding big bright-yellow circles of luscious custard, are the ultimate Norwegian baked good.
So while Norwegians are parading the streets tomorrow in their bunader (national costumes), waving flags, and donning ribbons, why not bake up some buns in honor of this festive Norsk day?
Makes sixteen 4-inch buns
1/4 cup warm water
½ cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast (2-
-1/4 cups whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
½ teaspoon salt
4 cups all-purpose flour
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup confectioners’
2 tablespoons whole milk
¾ cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
1. If using a bread maker, place all the doughingredients in a 1-
1/2- to 2- pound bread maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions with the following two changes: Melt the butter and add with the liquid ingredients and replace the ¼ cup water with milk. Run the bread maker on the dough setting and when it has finished its cycle, turn the doughout on
2. If you don’t have a bread maker: Butter a large glass or ceramic bowl.
Pour the water in a bowl and add 1 teaspoon sugar. Stir to dissolve. Sprinkle the yeast over , stir again to dissolve, and let stand five minutes or until frothy.
4. Place the milk in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until it begins to steam and bubble slightly on the edges. Lower the heat and add the butter, the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, cardamom, and salt. Stir until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool.
5. When the milk mixture has cooled, add the proofed yeast and stir. A
dd the flour and continue to stir until smooth.
6. Turn the dough out on
to a floured surface and knead several times to form a soft dough. Sprinkle flour over the dough if it’s sticky and knead a few more times. Place the dough in the prepared bowl and cover with a dish towel. Set in a warm place to rise until double in size, about 1 hour.
7. Line two 11 x 17-inch
baking sheets with parchment paper. 8. After the dough has risen, punch it down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 16 equal portions: Begin by dividing the entire dough ball in two halves. Then divide one of the portions in half again, and continue to divide each portion into four more equal portions. Repeat with the second half of the dough. 9. Form each of the 16 dough portions into round, flat buns (about 4 inches in diameter) and place 1- 1/2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. 10. Cover the buns with a dishtowel, and let rise a second time, about 30 minutes.
11. Meanwhile make the custard: In a heat-proof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch.
12. Put the milk in a saucepan over medium-high heat and cook until the milk starts steaming and bubbling. Remove from heat and slowly pour 1 cup of the heated milk in a thin stream into the egg mixture while constantly whisking. When that is smooth, gradually add the rest of the milk.
13. Pour the egg-milk mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes, stirring
constantly. Remove from the heat and let cool.
14. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
15. After the rolls have risen, use the bottom of a glass (about 2 inches in diameter) dipped in flour to make a depression in the center of each bun. Fill each indentation with 1/8 cup of the cooked custard.
16. Bake 17. While the buns are cooling, stir together the confectioners’ sugar and milk, whisking until smooth. Using a pastry brush, cover the sides of buns with the glaze and then sprinkle generously with coconut to cover the edges surrounding the custard. Continue glazing and sprinkling the buns with coconut one at a time to ensure the coconut adheres.
Hi! This is my first post and I hope you like it!
When I was five I went to London. Of course I wanted to go to Hamleys, a popular toy store in London. We were looking around when I saw a lady at a booth showing a few people something. We went over and she had something really cool. She took a special pen and wrote or drew whatever we wanted. Then she let it sit until it was clear. Once it was clear, you picked a foil with any design or color. She then placed it on top of the design and rubbed it with her finger and voilà! The design had the foil color on it. Today, I am going to show you how to do it! To buy the supplies you can go to Gigi Enterprises. You can also go to Tonertex for useful videos and tips.
Here’s one foil design that I made:
Here’s how you can make one:
1. Lay out your supplies
2. Take a scrap of paper and push down on the pen until a small blob of ink appears.
4. Wait until there isn’t any blue left and everything is clear. If the room is cold it can take up to a half hour. If you want to quicken the drying put it underneath a lamp. You can let it sit for days, so there’s no rush.
Here (below) there is a tiny bit of light blue left on the “a” so wait until everything dries clear.
5. Place a sheet of foil on the clear design and rub it with your finger.
6. Slowly and carefully peel off the foil.
Then you should have a beautiful start! If the color or design doesn’t show up well you can just place another foil on top and it covers it up nicely.
I like to do parts of the first letter in different colors to add a nice effect.
Continue with the rest.
It should turn out nicely. (sorry about the lighting. The colors are much better in person).
For the heart I’m going to use glitter.
1. Dab your finger in the glitter and cover a small area. Repeat to cover the whole area.
2. For a blended effect, pick some other colors from the tube (several glitters come in a stacked tube).
3. I am using three colors, blue, turquoise and green.
4. Cover a third (or however many colors you are using) of the shape with blue glitter.
Tip: To pick up the glitter, just wipe the glitter as if you had a paper towel but just with your hand because it sticks to skin. Then you can wash it off with soap and water.
5. Then overlap colors a tiny bit when you add the second color. It should look like the colors are blending and melting.
6. Repeat step five. Then remove all access glitter and spread it back on the shape to fully blend it.
It should look something like this:
What could be more appropriate than a heavenly cake for your mother the angel? (“Yeah, right,” says my teenage daughter as she rolls her eyes!)
Well, like my daughter, I may not have always thought my mother was an angel, but after I made it through those awkward years and realized the strength of unconditional love (oh Mom, thanks for not giving up on me) I could think nothing less of my mother. Angel? How about saint?
This ethereally light cake, which is my mother’s favorite, is the perfect Mom dessert. It’s essentially fat free (the cake that is, not the cream!), is even better with loads of berries, and takes just a few minutes to make—separating the eggs consumes the most time.
Two important things to remember when making angel food are 1) don’t grease the pan
2) invert the pan while allowing the cake to cool (you can place the center of the tube pan on a long-neck bottle). Turning the pan upside down during the cooling process helps maintain the cake’s delicate structure, ensuring the cake doesn’t collapse or compress.
The cake can be served plain, but I like to spread thick cream over the entire cake (I whip up about a pint and add several tablespoons of powdered sugar and a teaspoon of pure vanilla extract) and top with strawberries.
I also cut up about a quart of strawberries, gently mash up half of them, add in a few teaspoons dark brown sugar dissolved in several teaspoons lemon juice, add back in the berries that weren’t mashed, and allow them to sit for an hour or so before serving. The berry-cake-cream combo is divine.
I hope you find this recipe from my great-grandmother just heavenly.
Heavenly angel food cake
1 cup cake flour
1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1-1/2 cup egg whites (about 12 large eggs), at room temperature
1-1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
¼ teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Sift together the cake flour and the confectioners’ sugar into a small bowl.
3. Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high for 1 minute until slightly foamy. Add the cream of tartar and salt. Continue beating on high until soft peaks form. Add the granulated sugar and beat another 30 seconds until stiff peaks form. Then using a rubber spatula, very gently fold in the flour-confectioners’ sugar mixture 1 cup at a time. Add the vanilla extract and continue to fold the batter ensuring that all the dry ingredients are fully incorporated.
4. Spoon the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan and bake for 40 minutes.
5. Remove the pan from the oven and invert it upside down onto a bottle to cool, about 1 hour. When completely cool, loosen the sides of the cake from the pan with a knife and unmold. Serve with berries and whipped cream.
To find out more about these playful, affordable favors, please click here to read my most recent Babycenter post. (You can put each one together for about $2.50 per guest.)
I felt utterly spoiled and simultaneously delighted when Roscoe (food stylist extraordinaire) handed me these breathtaking blossoms. He’d brought them to a Saturday night dinner celebrating the Sweet Home cookbook crew—and I was the one who was supposed to be thanking them.
The large pink garden roses that anchor this arrangement are accented with gooseneck loosestrife, blue thistle and other equally extraordinary floral blooms and leaves. The composition was so perfectly natural—a little wild yet balanced, loose but still lush.
Some of you in the Hudson Valley area may already be familiar with The Green Cottage (1204 Route 213, High Falls, NY). If you’re not, the shop, in an adorable Hudson Valley hamlet, is more than just flowers. You’ll find an array of goods including jewelry and decorative home and gift items. It’s most definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area.
For those without access to a sweet store like Green Cottage, don’t underestimate the value of pretty packaging. A simple bouquet of daffodils bought from the grocery or corner market can be aggrandized with a sheet of parchment and piece of ribbon.
A hand-wrapped bouquet has much greater impact than flowers secured with a rubber band and wrapped in cellophane with the remains of a price sticker. It’s akin to decanting syrup into a pretty pitcher before serving at breakfast. It elevates the ordinary and makes the recipient feel special.
Whether florist-designed or home-spun, flowers are a feel-good gift!