Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Royal Icing 1 0 1 . . . .Works For Me Wednesday

For cookie decorating, I use Royal Icing. I've seen cookies decorated with fondant and just recently heard of rolled buttercream, but Royal Icing works for me.

Royal Icing is an icing that dries hard and opaque, so cookies can be stacked and icing stays pretty when cookies are packaged. It's easy, too...it only takes 3 ingredients: meringue powder, water and sugar (flavoring is optional).
To start, you'll need meringue powder. Ateco and Williams-Sonoma are my favorites...I think I've tried them all. :) Ateco is a little hard to find, so any meringue powder will work. Follow the instructions for Royal Icing that come with your meringue powder. Here's a recipe to try with any meringue powder:

Royal Icing
(this will cover approximately 3 dozen 3.5 inch cookies)

1 pound powdered sugar
5 TBSP meringue powder
scant 1/2 c. water
a few drops of extract (optional)

Combine the meringue powder and water with a whisk attachment using an electric mixer. Beat until peaks begin to form. Sift in the powdered sugar and beat on low to combine. Increase speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form. (You should be able to remove the beater from the mixer and hold up and jiggle without the peak falling.) If using an extract, add it then beat for a few more seconds to incorporate.
Cover with plastic wrap touching the icing or divide and color using gel paste food colorings.

{The most important step: sift the powdered sugar! Believe me, I've tried to shortcut this step...it doesn't work. My favorite powdered sugars are Domino and C & H, but as you can see from the picture, any will do. Imperial is easier to find in the 1 pound boxes.}

This "stiff" icing is perfect for outlining and even for building gingerbread houses and monogramming. To fill in your cookies, add water to your icing a little at a time until it is the consistency of syrup. This technique of filling a cookie with thinned icing is called "flooding." Click here for more details.
Happy cookie decorating!

Be sure to check out all of the Works for Me Wednesday ideas at We are THAT Family.

♥♥♥Don't forget the CHOCOLATE GIVEAWAY going on right now!!! TWO Bake at 350 readers will win!♥♥♥

More WFMW posts:

Monday, April 27, 2009

Chocolates for Mom...a giveaway for TWO!!!

{Update: the winners are: Sarah {SCS: Sairabee} and Dessert Obsessed. Congratulations, ladies!}

Just in time for Mother's Day... See's Candies is offering TWO Bake at 350 readers $25 gift cards!!! Woo-hoo!!!
Why I think chocolate is the perfect Mother's Day gift...
  1. It's never the wrong size,
  2. It's already wrapped,
  3. If you give it in person, mom has to share!
To enter...pop on over to See's Mother's Day Gifts and tell me...what would you pick for mom (or for yourself)? Let me know in a comment and be sure to link to a blog or leave an email.

I'm thinking....Cafe Latte Pops and Travel Mug...

...the Keepsake Collection...

...of course, you can never go wrong with Nuts & Chews!

Drawing will be held Saturday, May 2nd at 5pm central. Good luck! :)

Once Upon a Lime...

I'm a chocolate girl at heart, but sometimes a citrus-y dessert is just the ticket!

Have you tried Lime Oil or Natural Lime Powder? King Arthur Flour carries both of them in their online shop and I am so happy to have tried them.
lime cookies
First up....Luscious Lime cookies! The recipe can be found on the King Arthur website and they are exactly as described. Luscious little bites of lime. They're made with both the lime powder and lime oil. The cookies are tart and sweet and covered in a generous dusting of lime powdered sugar.

Don't wear black while eating them! ;)

Second...Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

This is the creamiest ice cream I've ever made! The lime flavor is kicked up a notch with the addition of a little lime oil. I can't wait to make this again...it was a hit!
key lime
Both of these recipes would be perfect for Cinco de Mayo parties and warm weather cookouts!

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream
(inspired by Bruce Weinstein)

1 & 1/2 c. heavy cream
6 large egg yolks
1 (15 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c. key lime juice (or regular lime juice)
1/4 tsp. lime oil
4 full sheets graham crackers, crumbled
2/3 c. marshmallow creme

Bring the cream to a simmer. Place egg yolks in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk the hot cream into the yolks. Pour the mixture back into the pan and heat over low heat, whisking or stirring constantly. Heat until the custard has thickened slightly. (Don't boil.)

Remove from heat and pour custard through a strainer into a large bowl. Cool slightly and then whisk in the sweetened condensed milk, juice and lime oil. Cover and refrigerate overnight or 8-12 hours.

Stir the custard and add to your ice cream machine. About 2 minutes before the ice cream is finished, add the graham crackers. Spoon into freezer safe containers, adding the marshmallow creme in large dollops throughout. Press plastic wrap onto the ice cream, cover and freeze for a few hours to harden.

Want more?
I scream, you scream. We all scream for ice cream:
....Turtle Ice Cream Pie!....

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: Modernizing Mom's Mediterranean Meal

Do not panic....there is dessert at the end of this post!!!

I am really excited to be part of Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 this month. Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 is an event where 24 food bloggers host 24 meals in 24 hours. The date just happened to fall when my sister was coming for a visit, so I thought I'd try updating a couple of my mom's recipes.

Coming from a family that was extremely proud of our Irish roots, it may seem a little strange that one of my mom's "company dishes" was cabbage rolls and tabbouleh. According to my dad, this stems from a few steakhouses in Tulsa where they (and my grandparents and aunts and uncles) would eat. I remember growing up thinking these restaurants....Eddy's and Jamil's...must be so exotic. The children were never brought along and they served mysterious sounding dishes like tabbouleh, hummus and cabbage rolls.
h and h
My meal adventure started at Hubbell & Hudson. It's a wonderful new-ish market in The Woodlands. If you are anywhere in north Houston, I strongly recommend making a trip. Even their produce section is drool-worthy...and I don't usually drool over veggies!
So, we started our evening with hummus. This is a great recipe from Martha Stewart. I've made it several times and one wonderful thing about it is that you can make it ahead of time. We ate this with veggies and homemade pita bread. This recipe is from King Arthur Flour and is so easy and SO much better than store bought!
pita dough
{We were so busy eating it, I only got a picture of the dough!}

To go with the cabbage rolls, there was tabbouleh. I don't know why I don't make this more, it's so fresh tasting and there's no heating up of the kitchen. Unfortunately, I don't have my mom's recipe for tabbouleh, so the recipe is another goodie from Martha. I use curly parsley in mine because that's the way I remember it. :) My only tip is, make it several hours before serving to let the bulgar soak up the olive oil and lemon juice.
The cabbage rolls...just the smell of them make me think of my mom. Mom's recipe is really good, but it needed a little tweaking...here's why...
Every time I see this recipe card, I crack up: MSG!!! Can you even buy it these days?
cabbage rolls
Here's the tweaked recipe:
Mom's Cabbage Rolls

For the rolls:
12 large cabbage leaves
1 & 1/2 lbs. ground beef (round)
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 c. green bell pepper, minced
1/3 c. onion, finely chopped
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/2 c. cooked long grain rice
dash cinnamon

For the sauce:
2 and 1/4 c. tomato juice
2 TBSP. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3 TBSP. picante sauce
1 tsp. cinnamon

Cook the cabbage leaves in boiling salted water for 5 minutes (add a few more leaves than you need in case of tearing). Drain. Rinse lightly under cold water.

Mix the ground beef, salt/pepper, cinnamon, bell pepper, onion and rice with your hands in a mixing bowl.

Fill each cabbage leaf with the meat mixture. Fold in edges and roll. Secure with a toothpick.

In a large skillet, combine the sauce ingredients. Place the cabbage rolls in the sauce. Cover. Bring to a steaming point on med-high heat. Reduce to low and cook for 45 minutes.
cabbage rolls drop
They were delicious! My dad went back for seconds and my husband had thirds! Even my 10-year-old who was a little hesitant about "cabbage rolls" liked them! I will make these more often!

OK....dessert! Are you still with me? I made this Honeyed Yogurt and Blueberry Tart with Ginger Crust. It was really the perfect ending to the Mediterranean meal! The yogurt was rich and tangy and the ginger crust was amazing! (The only changes I made were using 2% yogurt instead of non-fat and baking the crust for only 15 minutes.)
blueberry tart
The evening was a success! Fun was had by all...lots of food, wine and even a little American Idol video game playing! :)

Thank you, Foodbuzz for letting me be a part of this month's 24, 24, 24! It was a treat! And thanks to my mom, for the great recipes and the inspiration!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bowl me over

My sister and nephew are coming for a visit tomorrow! :) My nephew is 2...here he is...
....go ahead. Awwwww!

His great love....bowling! Santa even brought him a bowling ball for Christmas. So, I made some bowling cookies for him.
bowling side
I used a vintage-y cutter that I found on eBay. It was fun to finally use it, although it is one of those cutters that is closed on the top. You know what I mean? It wouldn't cut all the way through the dough...it wasn't deep enough, so I had to go around the shape with a paring knife.
Other than the cookie cutter issue, these are really easy cookies to make. I just outlined and filled the shapes with black/white icing and added the pin stripes using a #4 tip and the finger holes with a #3. Easy Peasy!
bowling side close
I hope he likes them!!!
bowling bowl
More sports cookies:

Monday, April 20, 2009

Good Morning, Sunshine!

Oh, happy day!
english muffins 1
I love English muffins. I could eat them every morning for breakfast...a little butter, maybe a little strawberry jam. For summer lunches, I love them with veggie cream cheese, big tomato slices and cucumbers.

What I don't love? That English muffins from the store have 25 ingredients! I find myself buying them less and less. Every recipe I've seen for them calls for special equipment...and I'm lazy...and cheap! :) But NOW....I found this wonderful recipe from The Knead for Bread (an amazing, drool-worthy bread blog).

Chuck's recipe calls for cookie cutters! Those, I have!
english muffin rolling pin
Here they are just cut out and getting ready to be covered for a 2nd rise.

english muffin griddle
And...on the griddle....

muffins w butter and jelly
I couldn't decide...butter or butter with jelly. I went for one of each.

english muffin split
Anyone else own an English muffin splitter? This was a gift from my in-laws; it's wonderful. Although, the picture on the left makes me think of Hannibal Lector...yikes!
english muffin sand top
english muffin sammy
You know how store-bought English muffins are terrible unless they are toasted? These are delicious! I made a little turkey sandwich on one for lunch.

english muffins
I kept thinking to myself...I made these!...they made me proud. :) Trust me, you'll want to make them, too! Happy eating!

Hungry for more? Check these posts: