Monday, January 30, 2012

Skull and Daisy Cookies

I made brownies on Friday, but I didn't get any pictures, so I coudn't blog about them.  But they were really good.  Trust me.

And because the brownies didn't pan out, here are some cookies I made for a friend's daughter's 13th birthday.  Same friend as the cake, actually.  And I have cupcakes for a third daughter next week.  Nothing like getting them all out of the way at once, I guess. 



I had been wanting to try Lila-Loa's End-All Chocolate Cookie recipe, so I figured this would be a good time to do it.  The dough had a different texture than my regular vanilla sugar cookies, so it took me a moment to figure it out, but once I did it was fine.  And YUM!  It was really hard not to just hide in the corner and eat them all.  But I controlled myself. 

So, I rolled out the dough on my trusty Do-Bord. 


If you make a lot of rolled cookies and you don't have one of these, you should get one.  It is awesome.  Not only will all of your cookies be the same thickness, it really speeds up the whole process.  Of course, I suck at rolling cookies, so that's another reason why I love it.* 

So, my friend said her daughter was into goth, so I went with skulls.  LilaLoa also posted some cute girly skulls a while back, so I decided to make those.  Or at least a close approximation.  She used an upside-down tulip cutter.  Only her tulip cutter has leaves, and mine doesn't, so I had to wing it.  I used a tulip and two paisleys.


And arranged them thusly:



The dough was really great because it didn't spread at all in the oven.  With my vanilla cookies, I usually put the cutouts in the freezer for a few minutes before baking so they don't spread.  Didn't have to with these.  And for a cookie baker, that's kind of a big deal.

And here's the finished product:



Note the sparkly bows.  Disco dust, again.  Sorry.

And I made some daisies to go with them.  But I didn't like the daisies.  They kind of look like a six-year-old made them, but what are you going to do?  You can't tell from the picture, but there is black sanding sugar on the centers of the flowers.  Just for a little sparkle.


Anyhow, that's it for today.
Enjoy!

*Not a paid plug; I just love my Do-Bord. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hot Pink Zebra Stripe Cake

My friend asked me (at the last minute) to make a cake for her daughter's 18th birthday this weekend.  She told me her daughter likes pink and purple and that she wanted strawberry filling.  Then she said I was on my own for the rest.  So with absolutely no idea of what 18 year olds these days like, and having never been hip, trendy or cool myself, this was all I could think of.


Hot pink buttercream with fondant zebra stripes and purple ribbon roses.  You can't really tell from the picture, but the top is sparkly, as I liberally dusted it with Hologram Disco Dust.  My husband says I have an unhealthy obsession with disco dust, but I'm ok with that.  Anyway, I would have done different flowers given some more time, but overall I'm ok with it. 

Enjoy!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Coconut Cupcakes with Ginger Lime Curd Filling

Wow, that's quite a post title.  And I didn't even mention the coconut cream cheese frosting.  Anyway, here's how the cupcakes turned out.  Again, please excuse the photo quality.




I took them to work for a co-worker's birthday and they were a big hit.  In fact, one gentleman proclaimed that they were "the bomb diggity times infinity".  High praise indeed.

These are probably on my top three list of favorite cake/cupcake flavors.  I absolutely love them.  They take a little time to make because you should refrigerate the lime curd overnight prior to use.  Of course, after making the curd I never wanted to see another lime again... 


...because I had to zest about thirteen of the suckers.  Then juice them.  I really need to get a microplane zester.  I used my handy box grater, and it was awkward to say the least.  But it all turned out for the best.  The finished lime curd:


Doesn't look like much, does it?  Trust me, it's divine. 

The cupcakes, just before baking:



The cupcakes, prior to filling:



I used a paring knife to cut cones out of the centers, then filled the void with the curd and put the top of the cone back on.  Here's the inside of one:



Sorry for the photo.  The light in my house is very bad.  Plus it's overcast today, which doesn't help.

Here is the link to the sugared lime slice topper.  Word to the wise: Don't make the lime slices too thick or they'll be too heavy and the icing won't hold them on the cupcakes.

Once again, the finished cupcakes:


And here's the recipe I used:


Coconut Cupcakes with Ginger Lime Curd

Cupcakes:

2 3/4 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup canned sweetened cream of coconut
4 large eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla extract plus 1 tsp coconut extract
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375.  Put approx 30 cupcake liners into muffin tins.  Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl to blend.  Using electric/stand mixer beat sugar, butter and cream of coconut until fluffy.  Beat in egg yolks and extracts.  On low speed, beat in dry ingredients, then buttermilk, alternately, until just blended. 
Using clean, dry beaters, whip egg whites in another bowl until stiff but not dry.  Fold egg whites into batter. 
Divide batter into prepared tins.  Fill cups to just above half full (see photo above).  Do not overfill or you will have a mess on your hands.  Or on your oven.  Whichever.  Bake for 17-19 minutes.  Cool on wire racks.

Ginger Lime Curd:

3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup lime zest
1 Tbs grated peeled fresh ginger
6 Tbs unsalted butter, cut into cubes, room temp.

Whisk eggs, yolks, sugar, lime juice, zest and ginger in a metal bowl to blend.  Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, being sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.  Or use a double boiler.  Whisk constantly until curd thickens, about 8 minutes.  Remove bowl from over water and whisk in butter.  Strain through a fine strainer set over a bowl (this is not necessary if you don't mind the lime zest in the curd.  I do.).  Press plastic wrap onto surface of curd and refrigerate overnight.  Keep in fridge.

Recipe above adapted from this recipe on Cake Central:  http://cakecentral.com/recipe/coconut-cake-with-ginger-lime-curd

Coconut Icing:

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter, softened
8 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract
2 oz sweetened cream of coconut
heavy whipping cream

In a large bowl in a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Add extracts and salt.  Beat until incorporated.  Dump in all of the sugar at once.  Mix until well-incorporated.  Add the cream of coconut and mix well.  Add heavy cream until you get the consistency you want*.   Beat on medium/high for a few minutes until light and fluffy.

*I like my cupcake icing to be soft, just thick enough to hold a swirl, so I add more for cupcakes than I would for icing a cake. 

This is a variation of the standard American Buttercream that I use for just about everything.  It's a great recipe and very versatile.  I'll post the original another time.

I hope you can try these sometime!  After all, they ARE the bomb diggity times infinity.  :-)

Enjoy.




Monday, January 16, 2012

How to Make Sugared Lime Cupcake Toppers out of Fondant

Today I made sugared lime slices for some cupcakes I'll be doing later this week.  Of course, this being a baking blog, they are not made of lime.  They're fondant.  Here's a sneak peek at the finished product:


They're a little wonky in the middle, but I think they're kind of cute.  I needed to make about four dozen, so I decided to use a technique I learned when I dabbled in polymer clay many years ago.  But then I had a baby.  And polymer clay fell by the wayside.  But then I discovered fondant.  Yay fondant!

So here's how I did them:

(Please excuse the awful photos.  I am a baker, not a photographer.)

First, I colored fondant lime green (dark and light) and left some white.   If you try this you're going to need way more white and dark green than I have pictured.  Just sayin'.   I used Cake Craft Lime Green, but you can use whatever.  Americolor Electric Green is also lovely.



Put the dark green and white under cellophane so they don't dry out.  Form the light green into a nice cylinder. 


Now, using a very sharp knife (or tolerably sharp if you're like me and haven't had a really sharp knife in years), slice it into 8 wedges.  Now roll out the white fondant (about 1/8" thick...you don't want it to be too thin) and wrap each of the wedges, lengthwise:


I use an exacto knife to cut my fondant.  Don't worry, it's only used for food.  Try to keep the pointy edge of your wedge pointy.  It will make reassembly easier.  After you've wrapped all 8 wedges, they should look like this:


Now, smoosh them back into a cylinder.  This may take some doing.  I ended up making a small rope and putting it in the midle of the cylinder to fill the void that formed in the center.  I forgot to get a picture of that part.  Sorry.  But anyway, just squish, smoosh and manipulate until you've got a cylinder again.  It need not be perfect.


Now roll a large strip of white fondant, about 1/8" thick, and wrap it around your lime wedges.


Repeat using a thicker piece of dark green.



It looks a little lime-like, doesn't it?  Anyway, lay it on it's side and stretch, roll and manipulate the cylinder into a rope.  You may feel the wedges trying to shift around, but just give them a good squeeze and they'll settle down.  Once your rope is the desired width, cut it in half using your sharp knife.  FYI:  If your knife isn't sharp enough the inside of your lime will distort and lose definition.  I countered this by using a slight sawing motion when cutting. 



Now, just cut slices off of your rope.  After you cut the slices, you will have to manipulate them a little to get them round again.  Plus you'll want to rub out any rough edges.  You can also push any cracks that may be there back together.  Next time, I think I'll add some water when I put the wedges back together so they stick better. 


And there are some of the almost-finished limes.  FYI:  The ends of your logs o' limes are going to be ugly and wonky.  Don't worry about it.  Just don't use that part.  Smoosh it all up and save the fondant to make leaves or something later.


To give the limes a little sparkle, I sugared the edges.  I started with a very wet paper towel (actually, about three folded in half) and a plate of sanding sugar.  I used a mix of light green and dark green sugars to give it some dimension.


Then I rolled the lime edges on the paper towel, rolled them in the sugar, and set them on a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet to dry. 


And there you have it!  Sugared Lime Cupcake Toppers!  I'll post the cupcakes later this week. 
Enjoy!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Welcome

Hello.  I'm Cookie D-oh.  Welcome to my sparkly new blog.  After several years of waffling, I have decided to take the plunge.  Here I will be sharing my exploits in the kitchen.  Good and bad.  And there's plenty of bad.  But also some good.   Enjoy!