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Sugar Cookie Hearts

Heart Shaped Cookies2Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching and you might be on the search for a treat to bring to work, school, church, the neighbors, etc.  If you’re looking to impress, these are the choice for you!  Would you believe me if I told you that these cookies are extremely easy to decorate?  It only takes 3 colors of royal icing (red, white and pink) in 3 squeeze bottles and a handful of toothpicks.  An off-set spatula to spread the icing is also helpful.

Royal Icing Squeeze Bottles

I saw these cute hearts originally on Karen’s Cookie blog.  Karen’s Cookies is my latest favorite discovery.  I’ve bought a few baking items from her store and plan to purchase more in the future.  She recently started a blog to share photos of her delicious creations, including these cookies.

To create the marble hearts, you simply flood the cookie with the royal icing and then quickly dot the background with another color.  While it’s still wet, run a toothpick through the dots and they magically become hearts!  Below is a quick photo tutorial on how to create the marble hearts on the cookies…

Heart Cookies Steps

…and then a few photos on how to create the tie-dyed look.

Heart Cookie Swirl

Again, just make sure you are working one or two cookies at a time so that the icing is still wet.  This causes the different colors to set into each other for flat results.  A few more helpful hints?  It helps to keep the bottles tipped upside down in glasses so they are ready to go.  Additionally, keep paper towels nearby to wipe your toothpick(s) after each use. For more detailed instructions, visit Karen’s Cookie blog.

Heart Shaped Cookies3I am now a fan of the royal icing recipe provided by Karen’s Cookies and her sugar cookie recipe.  Although, I do still like the original royal icing I used and will continue to use both.  You’ll be very proud of yourself after making these cookies.  And, you’ll have a hard time eating them since they’re so pretty!

Sugar Cookies

Printable Recipe

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup superfine sugar (or granulated sugar processed in food processor for 30 seconds)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract, optional
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar and salt at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the egg yolk and beat until fully incorporated.  Mix in the whole egg, vanilla and optional almond extract.  Beat until full mixed.  Add the flour, then beat at low speed just until combined.  Be careful to not over-mix.  Divide the dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap.  Store in fridge until firm, at least one hour and up to 2 days.

Preheat oven to 375˚F.  On a floured work surface, roll the dough to 1/4-inch thick, sprinkling with additional flour as needed to prevent sticking.  Use cookies cutters to cut into shapes and place on parchment or silicone-lined pans.  Bake until cookies appear dry on the surface and are light golden brown on the edges, about 10 minutes (or a few more for larger cookies).   Let sit for 2 minutes before removing from cookie sheets.  Allow to cool completely on cooling racks before decorating.

Source:  Karen’s Cookies

Royal Icing 2

Printable Recipe

3 tablespoons meringue powder
4 cups (1 lb) powdered sugar
6+ tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract, optional

Beat all ingredients together until stiff peaks form (about 10 minutes).  Divide into separate containers, depending on how many colors you plan to use.  Mix in food coloring.  Add water to thin each color out so that when it runs off the spoon it quickly dissolves back into the remaining icing within 10 seconds.  Add powdered sugar if need to thicken.  Pour into squeeze bottles and decorate cookies.

Source:  Karen’s Cookies

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Snickerdoodle Pumpkin Ice Cream Sandwiches

Pumpkin Ice Cream SandwichSnickerdoodle Pumpkin Ice Cream Sandwiches might be too long of a title, but I wanted to capture its every essence.  🙂  Earlier this week when I posted the recipe for the Pumpkin Ice Cream, I promised to share how I used it with another favorite treat.  Here it is!  This was in my mind all along when I decided to make pumpkin ice cream.  The combination of this and the Snickerdoodles just made sense!

Pumpkin Ice Cream SandwichTo make these, you could just sandwich some ice cream between two cookies with an ice cream scoop, but I have found a much nicer approach.  Below is a photo tutorial of how you can make a cleaner sandwich using a round cookie cutter.  For the sake of the tutorial, I used homemade vanilla ice cream because I didn’t think to take photos when I made the pumpkin ones.  So, please, don’t be confused! 😉

*This tutorial is for using homemade ice cream.

Ice Cream SandwichLine a deep dish with plastic wrap.

Ice Cream SandwichAfter making the ice cream in your ice cream maker, immediately pour it into the lined dish and spread evenly with a spatula.

Ice Cream SandwichCover with another sheet of plastic wrap and freeze overnight.

Ice Cream SandwichThe next day, observe your collection of cookie cutters.

Ice Cream SandwichNow go back to kindergarten and choose the shape of cookie cutter that most closely fits the size of your cookies.

Ice Cream SandwichMatch up two cookies based on size.

Ice Cream SandwichCut round ice cream patties out of the pan by pushing the cookie cutter into the ice cream to create the circle impression.

Ice Cream SandwichRun a knife around the impression to thoroughly cut the circle shape.

Ice Cream SandwichLift the plastic wrap and slide your hand underneath to push out the ice cream circle.

Ice Cream SandwichGrab the ice cream patty.

Ice Cream SandwichAdmire it for a second, but no longer as it will melt in your hand.

Ice Cream SandwichSandwich between two cookies. Repeat with additional ice cream and cookies.  Wrap individually in plastic wrap and store in freezer until ready to consume!

How to Cut a Mango

Mango

After taking the plunge to finally learn how to cut up a pineapple, I decided I should take my new confidence and learn how to work with other fruit I may have been intimidated with.  The first one that came to mind was was the mango.  I figured it was a good time to learn, so I could also feed it to Judah.

Mango

First, take the mango and use your knife to find the flat pit.

Mango

Cut through the mango lengthwise down both sides of the pit.

Mango

Use a paring knife to create criss-cross incisions without slicing through the peel.

Mango

Invert the diced peels with your thumbs.

Mango

You can now either pull the pieces off with your fingers, or use the knife to cut them away from the peel.