Monday, December 21, 2009

Icing for "flooding" cookies!

It works so fabulously I'm tempted to ice everything in the house =). Here's the recipe I used to ice the sugar cookies made from the recipe below. The cookies are amazing by themselves- I'm so glad I went with that recipe.

1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons milk
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
assorted food coloring

In a small bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup.
Divide into separate bowls, and add food colorings to each to desired intensity.

Dip cookies, paint them with a brush, or I put mine in ziplock bags, cut the corner tip off, and "flooded" them. I had to use thinner icing for the bottom (white) layer to"flood" them. The icing gets hard and glossy, so you can stack them on top of each other and they don't mess up the design.
I mixed a second batch to do the blue, and made it thicker so I could draw lines w/it. I also used "edible glitter" (the white flakes, they came from Hobby Lobby) and sugar pearls from walmart.
It took me a long time to decorate them, but I may just be inefficient due to inexperience. Maybe you get faster after a while?! Not sure on that one, but here's a couple pictures- I just LOVE them!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

No Fail Sugar Cookie Recipe

I found this on Soul Kitchen's blog last week, but every time I open thatblog it jams up my computer, so I'm posting it here. I found some snowflake cookie cutters (finally!) and Dball & I are going to make this recipe for our family and friends. We may even ship it to folks- don't know how that will go!

No Fail Sugar Cookie Recipe

6 cups flour
2 cups butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 TBSP baking powder
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. salt

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients and add to butter mixture. Mix well.

Chill for 1 to 2 hours

Roll to desired thickness (I like ¼ inch) and cut into desired shapes. Bake on ungreased baking sheet at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until just beginning to turn brown around the edges. This recipe
can make up to 8-dozen 3" cookies.

Royal Icing

2 tablespoons meringue powder
1/4 cup water
About 2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon flavoring such as vanilla, lemon, orange or almond (optional)

It's easiest to make royal icing if you use a large electric mixer. You can make smaller quantities in a small bowl and just stirring with a spoon.

Put confectioners' sugar, meringue powder and flavoring in mixing bowl. Start mixer and add water a little at a time until you get the desired consistency. It's best to keep it a little stiff at first and thin it later to pipe or fill.

Mix until smooth and shiny.

Take out portions of it to tint with food coloring. Keep the icing you are not working with covered with a damp cloth or paper towel so it doesn't dry out.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Crock-pot Black Bean Soup

I am not warm. It's definitely a crock-pot day, and I'm trying this recipe for the very first time. Since I made it up in my head. =) But I'm extremely optimistic, and cold. Keep your fingers crossed, will report back after!

Black Bean Soup
2 lbs dry black beans
salt pork (fat back, 10-12 slices bacon...)
2 medium onions
1 can diced tomatoes
6 cloves garlic
1-2 bay leaves
1-2 TBSP cumin
1 tsp chipotle pepper

sour cream, cheddar cheese, scallions for garnish

I soaked my beans overnight w/2 tsp baking soda and a large bowl of water. I don't know what the baking soda does for it, I've heard it cuts the gas and also that it can soften really hard beans (like the ones that have maybe been in your food storage for 10 years?! I don't know....)

So this morning I drained the beans, rinsed them real well and dumped them in the crock-pot. If you don't want to soak your beans overnight, you can clean, rinse, and sort them- then boil them for 1-2 hours.... THEN rinse and drain them and proceed. In the past, not soaking or pre-boiling the black beans has always yielded really hard beans for me. Your mileage may vary.

So, after I put the beans in the crock; I added the salt pork, can of chopped tomatoes, 3 whole cloves garlic, 1-2 bay leaves, chipotle pepper, cumin and chopped onions and set it on high. I'm thinking after about 6 hours, I will remove the bay leaves and any fat from the salt pork; add 3 minced garlic cloves and cilantro to taste, cover with water and let them cook another 2 hours.

Then remove half of the beans (and leave the onion and garlic in there- because they will become unrecognizable here shortly, for those of you whose people don't like to eat onions they can see...) and set them aside. I use my hand/stick blender and blend up what's in the pot. You may use a food processor, blender, whatever you have. You may also do it by hand with a rice masher if you're up to it.

Return the blended mixture and the reserved beans to the pot to simmer for 30 minutes or so, or however long it is until dinner. I'm serving ours with sour cream and grated cheese on top! Pictures to follow.