Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Valentine Message Cookies

I recently bought these Message in a Cookie cookie cutters from Williams-Sonoma. I was very excited to use these, and I was pretty excited with the way mine turned out. The cookie on the right is supposed to say "sweetheart" but unfortunately you can't really read it. Next time I make them I will make sure to press a little harder and also not let my cookies puff up too much. Other than that, these were a lot of fun to make and you can write pretty much whatever you want! The set also comes with a scalloped rectangle and a star. You can purchase the Message in a Cookie set in the store or at

No-Fail Sugar Cookies
Adapted from CakeCentral
  • 6 cups flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 cups unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. salt
    1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Mix dry ingredients and add a little at a time to butter mixture. Mix until flour is completely incorporated and the dough comes together.
    2. Chill for about an hour
    3. Roll to desired thickness and cut into desired shapes. Bake on baking sheet with parchment at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until just beginning to turn brown around the edges.
Royal Icing
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (sifted)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp cream of tarter
Combine powdered sugar and cream of tarter in mixing bowl. Gradually add the egg whites and mix on medium speed for 4 minutes. Add a little bit of water to make icing more runny, or a little powdered sugar to stiffen the icing.

Tip: If you plan to flood your cookies you will probably need to double the icing recipe.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Creme Brulee

Creme Brulee
Makes 4 - 4oz ramekins

1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbs. plus additional 1/3 cup sugar
2 extra large or jumbo egg yolks
½ tsp. vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 300ºF. Prepare some boiling water.
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine cream and 2 Tbs sugar; cook, stirring occasionally until small bubbles appear around edges of pan, 5-6 minutes. Set aside.
  3. In a bowl, beat egg yolks and vanilla until smooth and light. Pour hot cream mixture into egg yolks, a little at a time, beating continuously until well blended. Strain mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl. Divide mixture among four 4 oz. ramekins.
  4. Arrange ramekins in a baking pan and place on middle shelf of preheated oven. Fill pan with boiling water to halfway up sides of ramekins. Cover pan loosely with aluminum foil. Bake until custard is just set, about 25 minutes (use caution when removing ramekins from oven as they will be very hot!). Chill 2-3 hours.
  5. Sprinkle remaining sugar evenly over top of cooled custards. With the kitchen torch, move the flame continuously over the surface of the ramekins, in a circular motion until sugar melts and becomes golden brown and bubbly. (You may need to use more sugar for the top if you are getting burnt spots). Serve immediately topped with fresh fruit or refrigerate for later use (if saving for later use, wait to torch the sugar until ready to serve).

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Crème Carmel

Crème Carmel (aka Flan) is a nice custard dessert, presented here with a tuile cookie dome. First prepare the caramelized sugar and then the baked custard.

Caramelized Sugar
Makes enough for 5 - 4" ramekins
  • 8 oz sugar
  • 2 oz water
  • 3 drops of lemon juice
Combine all of the ingredients in a sauce pan and begin heating. Do not stir the mixture. Brush down the insides of the pan with clean water if crystals start forming on the walls, careful not to touch the mixture with your brush. Once the sugar begins to turn brown gently swirl the solution around to distribute the color, by holding the handle of the pan and swirling. Once the entire mixture is brown, place the pot directly into an ice bath so stop it from cooking further. Immediately pour the sugar into 5 - 4" ramekins. Just enough to coat the bottoms. If the mixture hardens in the bottom and you don't have enough to coat the whole bottom, don't worry about it because it will melt again evenly in the oven when you bake the custard.

Baked Custard
Makes 5 - 4" ramekins
  • 1 pt milk
  • 1 pt half and half
  • 4 oz sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean (split)
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 14 oz eggs
  1. In a sauce pan scald the milk, half and half, sugar, vanilla bean, and salt. Remove from heat.
  2. In a bowl, whisk the eggs to break them up. Carefully pour about 1 1/2 cups of the hot mixture into the eggs, stirring constantly.
  3. Whisk the tempered eggs back into the hot mixture. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve. Gently scrape out the vanilla bean and stir in.
  4. Place mixture into the ramekins (after the caramelized sugar has already been placed in the dishes). Put dishes in a water bath, ensuring water comes up no higher than 1/3 way up the ramekins.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F, until set and there is a light skin on top of the custard, approximately 35 minutes.

Once they are finished baking, cool and then cover in saran wrap and place in the fridge. The next day (or once they are completely cooled), take a small offset spatula and run it around the edge only going about halfway down so you don't touch the sugar. Flip it over onto a plate, shake it a little and it should come out of the ramekin. If it does not, you may need to run the spatula around again. Decorate as desired and serve chilled.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Super Bowl Petit Fours

I have always loved the Super Bowl. I enjoy watching the game and rooting on my favorite team, and of course watching the commercials. However, one of my favorite reasons why I love the Super Bowl so much is because of the food! It is a great opportunity to make appetizers and other yummy food that I wouldn't otherwise have a reason to make.

About a week ago I was trying to figure out what I should make and petit fours came to mind. I had originally wanted to do them for Valentine's Day but then decided that I already had too much on my plate for V-day. Plus, mini footballs sounded so cute! Once I had the idea in my head, I knew I had to make it happen. I am very happy with the way they turned out!

Almond Pound Cake
  • 7 oz sugar
  • 7 oz almond paste
  • 1 oz egg
  • 7 oz diced butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 oz cake flour
Before you begin, all ingredients must be room temperature including the eggs.
  1. Cream sugar and almond paste together. When the mixture is well broken up, add the 1oz egg.
  2. Continue to mix until the mixture is smooth and forms a paste. There should be no lumps of almond paste in the mixture.
  3. Add the butter and cream on high speed until the mixture is light and airy.
  4. Add the eggs in 3 stages and scrape down after each addition. Do not over mix.
  5. Finally add the sifted flour and mix just until incorporated.
  6. Line a cookie sheet with parchment and evenly spread the mixture in the pan.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown and firm to the touch. Approximately 30-35 minutes.
Once cooled, flip it over onto another sheet pan and remove the parchment. Cut in half horizontally and spread 1/2 cup of warm jam on one half and then place the other layer on top. Now you are ready to cut out your shapes. It may be easier to cut if you place the cake in the freezer for 10-20 minutes.

To glaze, place a rack on a sheet pan to catch the extra glaze. Pour melted chocolate fondant over the petit fours. You can use the extra glaze in the pan if you need more fondant. Once they are set, draw the laces on with a piping bag and royal icing.

Royal Icing
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (sifted)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp cream of tarter
Combine powdered sugar and cream of tarter in mixing bowl. Gradually add the egg whites and mix on medium speed for 4 minutes.

Enjoy the game!!


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

English Trifle

English Trifle
It is made with an apricot jelly roll, layered with cake cubes soaked in grand marnier, strawberries, mandarin oranges, diplomat cream, and garnished with chantilly cream and strawberries. Although this is not a classic English trifle, it is still very delicious and pretty!