December 18th, 2005

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Sugar Cookies & Icing

Sugar Cookies

1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup shortening or butter*
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/4 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Early in the day or the day before:
In a large bowl cream the shortening and the sugar. Add the eggs, extract, and milk. In a medium bowl mix the dry ingredients with a wire whisk. Add the dry ingredients to the large bowl. Mix with mixer until well combined. With hands, shape dough into a ball. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease cookie sheets. Roll** half or 1/3 dough at a time, keep the rest refrigerated. For crisp cookies, roll dough, paper thin. For softer cookies, roll 1/8 " to 1/4" thick.

With floured cookie cutter, cut into shapes. Re-roll trimmings and cut.
Place cookies 1/2 inch apart on cookie sheets. Decorate*** Bake 8 minutes or until very light brown. With pancake turner, remove cookies to racks; cool. Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

*I've found that if you want "sturdy and tasty" cookies you should use 1/2 shortening and 1/2 butter. Shortening makes cookies sturdy and butter makes them tasty.

** Rolling Hints: Roll the dough out BEFORE chilling and then chill. I roll out my sugar cookie dough right after it is mixed up between 2 sheets of waxed paper, place it on to a flat baking sheet and put it in the fridge. Continue until all the dough is rolled out, stacking the dough sheets on top of the first one. You will go through a lot of waxed paper, but the convenience is worth it for me. When you're ready to cut them out, take out one sheet at a time, peel off the top waxed paper, lightly rub some flour onto the dough, replace the waxed paper and flip the dough sheet over. Peel off the now top sheet of waxed paper and you're ready to cut out your cookies. Collect the dough scraps in a plastic baggie so they don't dry out, re-roll when you have enough for a large sheet. I reuse some of the waxed paper sheets for re-rolling the scraps. A couple tips..... If the waxed paper slips on the counter while rolling, wipe the counter with a damp cloth. And while rolling the dough, sometimes the bottom waxed paper wrinkles, flip over the dough and waxed paper, release waxed paper and re-roll. This method of rolling out cookie dough has been a real time and mess saver for me. I have found that it is difficult to roll if attempting to do so immediately after taking out of the refrigerator. Take a portion of the dough out and put the rest back in the refrigerator as you don't want the dough to get to room temperature. Let the piece you are working with, warm slightly but keeping beneath room temperature. Experiment with different lengths of time of warming until you find the temperature you find the easiest to work with.

***To decorate with colored sugars: Prepare cookies by brushing with heavy cream or an egg white slightly beaten with 1 tablespoon of water. Sprinkle with decorative toppings.

Icing:

1 cup (115 grams) confectioners' (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Food coloring

-the redhead-
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Peanut butter cookies & choc chip cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies

* 1 cup sugar (you can cut this down to 3/4 cup, if you prefer)
* 1 large egg
* 1 cup peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)

1. Combine sugar and egg in mixing bowl, stirring till smooth. Add peanut butter and mix in thoroughly.
2. Roll into walnut-sized balls.
3. Place the balls on ungreased cookie sheets at least 2" apart.
4. Flatten with the tines of a fork.
5. Turn 90 degrees and use fork again to create cross hatches.
6. Bake 10 minutes at 375F (or till done). Let cool in pan for 1 minute before removing to cooling rack.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Published: July 9, 2008

Adapted from Jacques Torres
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Time: 45 minutes (for 1 6-cookie batch), plus at least 24 hours’ chilling

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons

(8 1/2 ounces) cake flour

1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract

1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content (see note)

Sea salt.

1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.

Note: Disks are sold at Jacques Torres Chocolate; Valrhona fèves, oval-shaped chocolate pieces, are at Whole Foods.

-the redhead-
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Breakfast quiche basics & smack you mamma mac & cheese

6 eggs (5 eggs if more veggies)
2 cups of shredded cheese
salt & pepper
3/4 cup milk
meat or veggies
pie shell (can be done in 9" Pamed pan w/no crust)

While the pie shell is par-baking in the oven, beat eggs, milk, salt & pepper together thoroughly. Add cheese and mix. Pour the milk-egg mixture into the pie crust. Place meat & veggies on top - do not mix. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes. Ovens vary, so check quiche at about 30 minutes. Quiche should be golden brown on top & very puffy-(don't worry, it will settle as it cools). Let Quiche stand for about 10 minutes before cutting & serving. Or, cool completely, wrap & refrigerate for up to 10 days. This quiche re-heats very well in the microwave.


Princess Thompson’s Smack Yo Mamma Mac and Cheese

Ingredients:

* 2 cups of shredded mild cheddar
* 2 cups of shredded Colby jack blend
* 1 cup of medium cheddar
* 2 cups of shredded Velveeta or small box
* 1 box of elbow macaroni or noodle of choice (try cellentani or cavatappi — my kids love the fun shapes)
* 4 eggs
* 3 cups of whole milk
* 1 cup of heavy cream
* 1/2 a stick of butter
* Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation (This recipe is for a 13 x 9 pan at least 3 to 4 inches deep):

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, spray pan with non stick spray.
2. Boil noodles as per directions on box until just undercooked. Quick rinse, shake, drain and put to the side.
3. Mix eggs, milk, cream and salt and pepper, whisk until well blended. Pour 1/2 of milk mixture in bottom of the pan. Add a layer of noodles, then add salt and pepper. Take shredded cheese and combine in a bowl, give a quick toss. Top noodles with cheese, mix cheese up a little with noodles and repeat layers. If using box Velveeta, slice pieces over shredded mixture. (Don’t forget salt and pepper on each layer.)
4. When you get to top, the last of cheese heavy on top. Take the rest of milk mixture and pour the remaining over the noodles and cheese. Poke holes so milk mixture can get all the way through. Melt butter and pour over mixture. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.
5. Cover tightly with foil. Bake in oven for 45 minutes. Remove foil and cook 5-10 minutes more until golden. Let stand for at least 10-15 minutes before serving. Always even better the next day.



-the redhead-