Friday, October 26, 2018

How to Make the Perfect Cookie Cutter Cookie






The holidays are almost upon us!  First Halloween, then Thanksgiving, and then my favorite Christmas!  All these holidays have one food in common.  A food that is made and served all during the holiday season.  


Cookies!

Everyone loves cookies.  There are so many different types there is something for every taste.  One of the most favored of all cookies is the sugar cookie.  The best thing about them is they can be decorated.  Decorating cookies is a tradition in many households during the holidays.  Some decorate fancy, some decorate wild, whichever way you decorate, I can guarantee you will have fun!

When making cookies to decorate, the dough has to be fairly stiff, so the cookie cutter can trace a clean image.  If the edges are not straight and cleanly cut, when the cookies are baked they can lose their shape, and your cookie cat will come out of the oven looking like a toad!  The main problem with this is that many times a dough that is stiff enough to make great cookies will have a hard consistency  and taste like sawdust.  This is not what you want!


Through trial and error, I have come up with the perfect recipe for sugar cookies to be made with cookie cutters.  It is stiff enough to make nice, crisp edges, but also tastes delicious and you won't break your teeth eating them.


The Perfect Cookie Cutter Cookie Recipe


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (two sticks) cold butter, cubed
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or nutmeg (this is optional, but I love it!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  2. Beat the sugar and butter until smooth
  3. Add the eggs one at a time and mix on medium,  then add the flour, salt and vanilla 
  4. Lower the mixer spead and add the cornstarch
  5. Mix about 4 or 5 minutes until the dough forms a ball. If it doesn’t form well, you may need to hand knead it.
  6. You can roll the dough out on a floured counter, but I have found that if too much flour is added to the dough, the cookies are kind of dry, so I lay out parchment or wax paper and lightly spray it with cooking spray and use that to roll out the dough. If the dough sticks to your rolling pin,  spray it lightly with cooking spray too!
  7. Roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thick and get out your cutters!
  8. Press the cutters down fully, all the way around for clean edges.
  9. Spray the cookie sheets with cooking spray and lay out the cookies at least a 1/4 inch apart Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, keep an eye on them so they don't get over done and the edges turn brown.
  10. Remove cookies from the oven and carefully place on a cooling rack
  11. Don't decorate until the cookies are completely cool, but do not refrigerate.
Icing is very easy to make.  The icing I use has only three ingredients, four if flavoring is added.  I usually make my icing a bit thicker because it is easier to handle.

Cookie Icing

Ingredients:


Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar and milk until smooth. 
  2. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup.
  3. Put the icing into separate bowls, add food colorings to each
  4. Dip cookies, paint them with a brush, or use an icing bag or condiment squirter.



One of my favorite cookies to decorate is a skeleton.  I found this cookie cutter and stamper on Amazon and I have had so much fun with it!  First you use it to cut out the shape, and then you can press the cutter into the dough and it stamps on a design to help you in decorating!




Don't you love these?



I hope you have fun this holiday season making and decorating cookies!

Have a great weekend,

Jade    :)
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Image Credits:
https://pixabay.com/en/cookies-skeletons-pastry-love-dead-2220291/
https://www.amazon.com/Fred-GINGERDEAD-Cookie-Cutter-Stamper/dp/B005LGUWUQ/
https://pixabay.com/en/spiderweb-cobweb-spider-s-web-152117/


Friday, October 12, 2018

Festive Crockpot Mexican Casserole





Who doesn't love crockpot meals?  Easy to make, and delicious to eat, I think you will find this is one of the best.  I really love Mexican food, but it usually takes a lot of effort to make and serve, so I decided to try making a crockpot Mexican casserole that I could toss together and just let it cook all afternoon, and be ready to serve at dinner.  This is what I came up with, and it was instantly loved by my husband, who loves Mexican as much as I do.  Give it a try!


Ingredients:


  • 1 pound lean hamburger
  • 1 3 1/2 ounce can green chiles
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans
  • 1 15 ounce can whole kernel corn
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium green bell pepper
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 14 ounce tomatoes
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cups 3 cheese Mexican blend  or cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups water


Directions:


Fry the hamburger until it is no longer pink (do not overcook!)
Pour uncooked rice and water into the crockpot
Add hamburger in an even layer
Add black beans, corn, chilies, garlic, pepper and onion and stir to mix.
Crush bouillon cube and sprinkle over mixture
Add 1 cup cheese spread evenly
Pour in tomato sauce
In a small bowl, mix the black pepper, chili powder, paprika, salt, and cumin till well blended
Sprinkle spices over the mixture in the crockpot
Turn the crockpot on high and let cook for 4 and 1/2 hours
Remove lid and sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top and re-cover
Cook for another 1/2 hour or till melted into the casserole


I serve this with tortilla chips, sour cream and non alcoholic sangria.  It never fails to please! If you have never made non alcohholic sangria, below is the recipe.  I make it because my husband is diabetic and cannot drink, but it is also great for households with kids.  Enjoy!


Non Alcoholic Sangria Recipe


Ingredients:


  • 1 apple, peeled and cut in slices
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 lime sliced with the rind on
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 1 orange, sectioned
  • a handful of rinsed Maraschino cherries (or pitted fresh)
  • 3/4 cup cranberry-grape juice frozen concentrate, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 3 cups seltzer water


Directions: 


Place apple slices, cherries and lemon juice to the pitcher and stir.
Add the orange sections, and juice, the lime slices and the cranberry-grape frozen concentrate and the sugar.
Refrigerate for two hours and then add the seltzer water and stir to combine
Serve immediately

This makes a great dinner on any night, and it is guaranteed to please.  You don't even have to worry about a hangover!

Have a great weekend.


Jade    :)   

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I love serving Sangria in a clear pitcher and clear glasses, it is so pretty!  This is my favorite Sangria serving set:





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Image Credit:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/13470115@N08/5152902373/sizes/l

Monday, October 1, 2018

Unbaked Cake - A Strange Old Recipe






I inherited a box of cookbooks from my mom when she passed away.  Some of these books are really old.  I mean REALLY old.  So old they call it "fat" instead of oil and "sour milk" instead of buttermilk.  My favorite one of all of them was a church cookbook that was run off on a ditto machine.  (yes a ditto machine, if you don't know what that is, Google it)  It is so old that the covers are gone, so there is no date or name of where it came from.  But I will tell you one thing......the recipes in it are delicious and they are made with the real things.......flour, sugar, eggs, etc.  You will not find any chemical additive junk in these old timers.


Let me share one of my favorites:  The Unbaked Cake


Ingredients:


  •     1/2 pound crushed graham crackers
  •     1 pound bag of small marshmallows each cut into at least 4 pieces
  •     1/2 pound raisins (half gold, half dark)
  •     1 cup pecans very finely chopped (can use walnuts)
  •     1/4 cup of strawberry preserves
  •     15  Maraschino cherries
  •     1/2 cup of cream
  •     1/4 teaspoon salt
  •     1 tablespoon grated orange peeling



Instructions:


Mix everything in a large bowl, other than the cream.
When thoroughly mixed, add the cream and stir to make a dough consistency
Press into an oiled pan (I use cooking spray) and frost with white boiled frosting (recipe below)
Chill for 24 hours before serving.  Keeps for about a week.


White Boiled Frosting


Ingredients:


    2 cups sugar
    1/2 cup water
    1/2 cup white syrup
    1 teaspoon vanilla


Directions:


Heat until the liquids spins a thread when dropped from a spoon.
Beat two egg whites, stiff, add vanilla and sugar
Pour in the hot syrup and beat until the right consistency for spreading and is cool


This is really a funky cake, but I really love it.  It kind of reminds me of fruit cake, but it tastes much better.  Sometimes I skip the frosting completely and just put a dolop of whipped cream on it or nothing at all.  Give it a try, I bet you will love it!


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Image Credit:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/llstalteri/5521134064/sizes/m/