Category Archives: Cookies

Too Late for Easter

This post is a little late, but I haven’t had time to post until tonight. I made these cute little sugar cookies the other day, just in time for Easter. I don’t really celebrate Easter at all, but ever since Halloween I’ve been looking for an excuse to decorate sugar cookies again. After I had made the dough, rolled it out, and placed it in the fridge to chill, I went out for a run. My plan was to pick up some egg-shaped cookie cutters on my way back, but the store was all sold out. I decided to cut the egg shapes myself, which took so much time I ended up staying up till way after midnight decorating the cookies. But it was worth it in the end, just look how pretty they turned out!

I followed the same recipes that I used for my Halloween cookies, but I forgot to chill the cookies for 15 min after I had cut them. As far as I can tell, the only difference was that the cookies weren’t as flat as they should have been. I thought my cookies looked pretty good… until I headed over to Annie’s Eats, she is so talented and everything she makes always turns out so pretty.

It’s time to go back to studying now. Lately it feels like I have so much work at school that it’s never going to end. The weather has been gorgeous in New York these past few days, which makes it even sadder that I have to stay inside studying all day. But, it’s not all work and no play. My dad and my sister came over to visit and we’ve had so much fun. We have had so much amazing food, and we rented bikes one day which was such a fun and different way to see Manhattan.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great week!

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Halloween

I guess you can call this post long over-due, but I have had my boyfriend over from Norway this week so I didn’t really want to spend my time blogging. But here goes the story of my first Halloween in USA.

My first Halloween in the US is over, and what a day it was! I was looking forward to this day for a long time and I was really enjoying planning out my costume and what treats to make. All the food blogs I follow have been filled with Halloween-inspired recipes, mostly involving pumpkin and candy corn. It was really hard to decide on what to make, but I think what I settled on turned out pretty good. Despite the rain in New York on Halloween night, we had a really fun celebration. We had good food, good drinks and good friends…everything you need for a memorable night. It was so much fun just walking around our neighbourhood, seeing all the little kids dressed up to go trick or treating.

Here we are all dressed up and ready to go out. We each represent one drink you would often find in a liquor cabinet. From top left: Myself as Jameson Irish Whisky, Grey Goose Vodka, Johnnie Walker, Southern Comfort, Sake, and Jose Cuervo. I don’t really like whisky, but it was fun to dress up like a leprechaun and walk around with a pot of gold!

Halloween was a good excuse for me to really go all out in the kitchen, as I knew I would have a lot of friends to share everything with. I settled on making caramel apples, sugar cookies and of course a batch of cupcakes. For the cupcakes I used this recipe with the chocolate frosting and half a batch of the vanilla frosting from this post. Since I have tried that recipe before I knew the cupcakes would turn out great, but I wanted to do something more fun so I decided to try and make a two-tone frosting. I filled one side of the pastry bag with chocolate and the other side with vanilla. This being my first try I was pretty happy with the result, but I know it will look better after a few more tries.

I have never made caramel apples before so I decided to “cheat” a little. Instead of spending money on a candy thermometer and going to the trouble of making my own caramel, I bought a couple of bags of Werther’s Original Chewy Caramel and melted them in a pan with a little heavy cream. This really worked wonderfully and the apples were so good! I really like how shiny and nice they turned out, this is definitely something I will make again.

Caramel Apple Recipe

6 apples of your choice (I used McIntosh)

3 150 g (5.5 oz) bags of chewy caramels

3 tbsp heavy cream

Directions:

  1. Remove the stem from the apples and press a craft stick or chop stick into the top, about half way into the apples.
  2. Find a tray that will fit all the apples and line it with wax paper or parchment paper sprayed with oil.
  3. Heat the caramels slowly in a pan over low heat. As the caramels start to melt, add the cream.
  4. Continue to stir until the caramels are melted and allow to cool briefly.
  5. Roll each apple in the caramel and place on the tray. Put in the fridge immediately so the caramel sets.

Source: Cooking Dunkin style

The sugar cookies were my biggest project for this Halloween. I have never tried sugar cookies, let alone made them. Many blogs, including some of my favourites have featured these types of cookies, all decorated beautifully. Since this was my first attempt I didn’t expect them to be perfect, but I was really surprised by how well they turned out. I’m actually pretty pleased with the result. I think I will try to make these cookies again before Christmas, using different shapes and colours. For Halloween, I settled on ghosts, pumpkins, and spider web cookies. Decorating with royal icing was so much fun, but it does require a lot of time and patience.

Sugar Cookie Recipe

1 cup (2 sticks/ 230 g) butter, softened at room temperature

1 cup (225 g) sugar

1 egg

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract (or 3 tsp vanilla sugar)

3 cups (375 g) all purpose flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add in the egg and the vanilla extract, and beat to incorporate.
  3. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt (and vanilla sugar, if using).
  4. Slowly add the flour to the butter mixture and beat until combined.
  5. Divide the dough into 2-4 portions (depending on the size of your baking sheet), and roll to just under 1 cm (3/8 inch) thickness.
  6. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours. Before you remove the dough from the fridge, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  7. Remove dough from fridge and cut your desired shapes. Remove the scraps and place sheet back in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. Repeat steps 5 through 7 with the scraps.
  8. Bake in the oven for 8-12 minutes depending on the thickness of your cookies (mine were a little thin, so 8 minutes was enough).
  9. Cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Source: Adapted from The Hungry Housewife

Royal Icing Recipe

4 cups (500 g) powdered sugar

2 tbsp meringue powder

5 tbsp water

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a hand mixer. Mix on low speed until the sheen has disappeared and the icing has a matte appearance (about 7-10 minutes).
  2. Transfer the contents of the mixing bowl to an air-tight container. This will be the stiffest consistency of the icing, and at this point it is still too stiff to use for decorating. Add water a very small amount at a time and stir by hand until fully incorporated. Continue until the icing has reached a consistency appropriate for piping. Portion out the icing in different containers and add the colourings you are using.
  3. Using a pastry bag, pipe around the edges of each cookie. Let stand so the icing will set. Make sure to keep the leftover icing covered at all times when not in use so that it does not begin to harden.
  4. Once all the cookies have been edged, transfer some of the remaining icing to a separate air-tight container. Thin out by incorporating a small amount of water at a time, until the icing drips off the spoon easily when lifted and then smoothes in with that still in the bowl. If you go too far and the icing is too thin, add more sifted powdered sugar to thicken it again.
  5. Once the icing has reached the desired consistency, transfer it to a squeeze bottle (or a plastic bag with a hole in one corner), and flood the area surrounded by the piping on each cookie. If it does not completely spread to the edges, use a toothpick to help it along.
  6. Allow the cookies to dry and set overnight before putting them in containers.

Source: Annie’s Eats

For the ghosts I edged the cookies with white icing and used the thick black icing to pipe the eyes and the mouth. I then flooded the ghosts with thin white icing. For the pumpkins I used the thick black icing to make the “stems”, and edged the pumpkin with the thick white and then flooded with the thin white. I then immediately sprinkled on a thick layer of orange sprinkles. For the spider web cookies, I did the edges in thick black, and then flooded with thin black. I then used the thin white and piped three concentric circles over the black. Using a tooth pick, I made a line going from the centre of the cookie and out to the edge. Be sure to wipe off the tooth pick between each line you make.

Before you make sugar cookies I would recommend checking out these posts by Annie, Leslie, and Bridget

Good luck with these cookies, and thanks for stopping by!

Daring Bakers Challenge Macaroons

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macaroons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

So, what does this mean? It means I have joined the Daring Bakers. Once a month we get a challenge which is secret to the public, we all bake something using the recipe from the challenge and then publish our posts on the same day (today). Hence, you can now expect me to blog about something truly wonderful and slightly advanced once a month. I was glad that this was my first challenge, I have made macaroons twice before (once successfully and once not so successfully…ok it was actually a disaster). The type of macaroons I’m talking about is of course not the chewy coconut kind, but the French kind – the amazingly cute and tasty kind. I have been to Ladurée in London, a very small pastry shop with a good selection of macaroons. When I was in Paris for my birthday this year my boyfriend bought me a cake and macaroons from their big store on the Champs-Élysées. Their macaroons are world famous and I can definitely understand why, they look too good to eat and they have a great selection of flavours. If anyone is ever in Paris, Ladurée is THE place to go for a treat.

I can say without hesitation that my macaroons did not turn out like they should have. My oven is very unreliable and it is impossible to know what the temperature is, so I think that is where it went wrong. At least, that’s what I like to think, for all I know it might have been a mistake I made that caused these macaroons to turn out the way they did. First of all, they did not look like proper macaroons should. I didn’t manage to get the trademark “feet” on my macaroons, instead they looked like plain old flat cookies. Secondly, they did not feel like macaroons. They were really chewy (which I actually liked), but they should have had a slightly hard outer shell and be soft in the middle. BUT, they did taste like macaroons! Yay! I filled mine with a simple chocolate ganache which I made by heating one part heavy cream to a simmer, and then adding that to one part 70% chocolate to melt the chocolate. I let it cool until the consistency was thick enough to pipe a nice thick layer on the macaroons, and then sandwiched them together. I really enjoyed the taste of these macaroons and I brought them with me to the dinner party I mentioned in my previous post. The girls all seemed to enjoy my failed macaroons, I don’t think they cared too much that they weren’t exactly perfect!

I think macaroons are really fun to make, so I will probably try them again some time. Next time, I will use a different recipe that I have had success with in the past. I think this recipe was a little too complicated, but you can find it on the Daring Bakers website if you feel like trying. I will recommend that if you decide to make macaroons you should find some other recipe, take a look on other websites and choose one that you think would work best for you. Good Luck!

Snickerdoodles

I knew I was going to like these cookies when I saw them on The Brown Eyed Baker. I love, love, love cinnamon! The smell, the colour, the taste… all perfect. I think this cookie must be something very American, I have never heard of them in Norway or in the UK. There used to be a little bakery in the seaside town of Brevik, near my family’s summer house in Norway. They had these amazing things that we called cinnamon sticks which we used to get every time we were down there. They were based on a yeast dough which was rolled out very thin and spread with a mixture of butter, cinnamon and sugar. How great does that sound? Unfortunately the bakery is now closed down, so no more cinnamon sticks for me 😦 The snickerdoodles are a very good replacement, but sometime in the future I definitely want to try to recreate the cinnamon sticks that I have loved for so long (watch this space).

The original recipe yields about 4 dozen cookies. I don’t know what I would ever do with that many cookies (probably eat them) but I halved the recipe and I still have a lot left in the freezer. I followed the recipe exactly as it was laid out, and the cookies turned out perfect. It’s a very simple recipe, but it requires some space in the fridge for chilling the dough and the cookie sheets. The recipe calls for cream of tartar which is something we don’t normally use in Norway, so I decided to use baking powder instead. I have adjusted the recipe below, but the original recipe with cream of tartar can be found here. For Norwegians who use vanilla sugar instead of vanilla extract, use 2 tsp and add them with the flour. Just writing about them these cookies me want one so now I am eating one right out the freezer (they’re actually very good frozen)… I think this is my new favourite cookie, and it could be yours too! So get cooking and let the scent of cinnamon fill your kitchen.

Recipe (makes about 4 dozen cookies)

6.5 dl (2¾ cups) flour

4 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

230 g (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3.5 dl (1½ cups) sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a baking mat and put in refrigerator to chill.
  2. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
  4. Gradually stir in the flour mixture, beating on low speed just until the flour is blended.
  5. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.
  6. In the meantime, mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  7. Scoop 1-inch balls of dough and roll in the cinnamon and sugar mixture to coat.
  8. Place on chilled cookie sheet about 2 inches apart and bake for 10 minutes.
  9. Chill the dough and cookie sheets between batches.
  10. Let cookies set on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack. Store cookies in an airtight container.

Source: Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker, originally from RecipeZaar.