Saturday, January 14, 2012

Snowflake Sugar Cookies

These are the snowflake sugar cookies that I made for an order - they were for the staff of the Christian Elementary School my cousin's kids attend. They were picked up and delivered Dec. 21st. I hope they were well received. The first cookie order - obviously I was nervous and concerned whether they would be "good" or "good enough."
The cookie recipe and royal icing recipe came from the cookie Queen, Sweet Adventures of Sugar Belle. She has the most awesome resources on her website complete with tutorials. I also got some great advice/tips from Lime Juice Sweet Treats.
The links provided should give you all the info you need to make these yummy treats - of course you can make all kinds of amazing cookies using many different cookie cutters and decorations. Roll, cut and decorate!

Dark Chocolate Cake

3 Layer Dark Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Buttercream Filling and Vanilla Buttercream Frosting 
2 cups boiling water
2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Ruddy Red cocoa powder from Bulk Barn)
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 1/4 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I use Nielson Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350 ºF. Grease 3 - 9 inch round cake pans, then use parchment circles, grease and flour. In a medium bowl, pour boiling water over cocoa, and whisk until smooth. Let mixture cool. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the cocoa mixture. Spread batter evenly between the 3 prepared pans.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Allow to cool.

Sugary Birthday Buttercream Frosting
1 cup unsalted butter
6 cups icing sugar
120 ml whipping cream
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon water
pinch of salt
Beat the butter and icing sugar in an electric mixer on low for about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla, water, whipping cream & salt, and whip on high speed until fluffy & smooth - about 4 minutes. If consistency is too thick add more water 1 tsp. at a time. (I will credit whoever this recipe is from when I find the source as I cannot find it at the moment.)
For the strawberry filling - I pureed fresh strawberries and added it to a small amount of the frosting.

I smoothed the frosting after chilling it for 20 - 30 minutes, with a paper towel. Video of method here.
Once the buttercream icing has crusted, lightly place a plain, white, smooth paper towel (like Viva) on the area of the buttercream needing smoothing. Then gently rub the paper towel. The natural heat from your hand help's smooth the frosting under the towel. How cool is that?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Peanut Butter and Chocolate - Put your hands together!

Peanut butter cookies with Hershey's Kisses
I discovered these yummy treats on Bakerella's blog - they are good any time but when they come out of the oven and are melty and gooey, OMGosh - they are decadent little mouthfuls! They are so cute, they make me smile. Thank you Bakerella for the yummy cookies - so many people got to try them over the holidays and they were a HIT!