Saturday, December 20, 2008

Making for the Taking

It has been non-stop baking, sewing, and shopping around here. We decided on some MUST MAKE Christmas recipes last year, and have loved making them again this year. GamMommy came from Georgia for Kai's birthday and decided to stay and help. It got seriously messy. And no--Kai did not put his feet in the dough. But I also wouldn't tell you if he did:)

The Perfect Sugar Cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar; add dry ingredients, and mix until incorporated. With mixer running, add egg, milk, and vanilla; mix until incorporated.
Transfer dough to a work surface. Shape into 2 discs, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with nonstick baking mats or parchment paper; set aside.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes, and transfer to prepared baking sheets, leaving an inch in between. Leftover dough can be rolled and cut once more. Bake until lightly golden, about 10 minutes; do not allow to brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool.
Trick: To make them seriously perfect--roll them out in powdered sugar instead of flour. Extra flour makes them yucky and not perfect.
We Love This Icing
1 box confectioners' sugar (1 pound)
2 large egg whites

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine sugar and meringue powder. Mixing on low speed, add a scant 1/2 cup water. For a thinner consistency, usually used for flooding, add more water. A thicker consistency is generally used for outlining and adding details. Mix until icing holds a ribbonlike trail on the surface of the mixture for 5 seconds when you raise the paddle

This is like a thick glaze, which is not a regular frosting. You just glaze it on, and then it ends up all shiny and pretty and you can sprinkle it up or leave it plain like my picture shows. It will also harden like a candy coat.

Peppermint Marshmallows
Makes sixteen 2-inch squares
Vegetable-oil cooking spray
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
4 packages (1/4 ounce each) unflavored gelatin
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 large egg whites
2 teaspoons red food coloring

Coat an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray; line bottom with parchment paper. Coat the parchment with cooking spray, and set pan aside. Put sugar, corn syrup, and 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring; let mixture come to a boil. Raise heat to medium-high; cook until mixture registers 260 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatin over 3/4 cup water in a heatproof bowl; let stand 5 minutes to soften. Set the bowl with the gelatin mixture over a pan of simmering water; whisk constantly until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat, and stir in extract; set aside.
Beat egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Whisk gelatin mixture into sugar mixture; with mixer running, gradually add to egg whites. Mix on high speed until very thick, 12 to 15 minutes.
Pour mixture into lined pan. Working quickly, drop dots of red food coloring across surface of marshmallow. Using a toothpick, swirl food coloring into marshmallow to create a marbleized effect. Let marshmallow stand, uncovered, at room temperature until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight. Cut into squares.

These are a bit time consuming, but once immersed in yummy hot chocolate, oh my gosh they are worth it.

And then here's an apron I made for my niece. I realized I can't show all the sewing I have done until after Christmas on the chance that some family members actually look at my blog:<

I had to make this pattern up because after I got everything out, I realized I didn't have a pattern. However, I did learn what not to do by my lack of preparation!
alrighty, back to work.


Angie said...

I will have to try your sugar cookie recipe. Mine never keep their shape very well!

Snider Sixpack said...

okay, I love this apron! I have been making some for my sisters too! Arent they fun. And also, I am gonna try your sugar cookie recipe becasue I have yet to find one that actually lets you use the cutouts without making a mess! wish me luck!

wilkinson_fam said...

I am trying your sugar cookie recipe. This week. For. Sure.

Your card is off today! Somehow I didn't get your address on my list! Did you get mine (you KNOW I want a card, girl!)

255 W. Sunset View Drive
Centerville, UT 84014

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