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  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on September 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , sugar cookies   

    Daring Bakers 33rd Challenge: September themed decorated sugar cookies – Are you ready for some football!? 

    The September 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mandy of “What the Fruitcake?!” Mandy challenged everyone to make Decorated Sugar Cookies based on recipes from Peggy Porschen and The Joy of Baking. Further, we had to use September as our theme for these cookies. For me, this means the return of the National Football League on television. Never been a big fan of Canadian football, but American football, oh yes! So, followed the recipe for the basic sugar cookies, found some relevant cookie cutters at Gourmet Warehouse and tried some colour icing. Not the smoothest results, but it worked. Another one down.

    Basic Sugar Cookies:
    Makes Approximately 36x 10cm / 4″ Cookies

    200g / 7oz / ½ cup + 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
    400g / 14oz / 3 cups + 3 Tbsp All Purpose / Plain Flour
    200g / 7oz / 1 cup Caster Sugar / Superfine Sugar
    1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
    5ml / 1 tsp Vanilla Extract / Or seeds from 1 vanilla bean

    • Cream together the butter, sugar and any flavourings you’re using. Beat until just becoming
    creamy in texture.
    • Tip: Don’t over mix otherwise you’ll incorporate too much air and the cookies will spread during
    baking, losing their shape.

    • Beat in the egg until well combined, make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
    Add the sifted flour and mix on low until a non sticky dough forms.
    • Tip: I don’t have a stand mixer so I find it easier to switch to dough hooks at this stage to avoid
    flour flying everywhere.

    • Knead into a ball and divide into 2 or 3 pieces.
    • Roll out each portion between parchment paper to a thickness of about 5mm/1/5 inch (0.2 inch)
    • Refrigerate for a minimum of 30mins.
    • Tip: Recipes commonly just wrap the whole ball of dough in clingwrap and then refrigerate it for an
    hour or overnight, but by rolling the dough between parchment, this shortens the chilling time and
    then it’s also been rolled out while still soft making it easier and quicker.

    • Once chilled, peel off parchment and place dough on a lightly floured surface.
    • Cut out shapes with cookie cutters or a sharp knife.
    • Arrange shapes on parchment lined baking sheets and refrigerate for another 30mins to an hour.
    Tip: It’s very important you chill them again otherwise they’ll spread while baking.
    • Re-roll scraps and follow the above process until all scraps are used up.
    • Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C Fan Assisted) / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.
    • Bake until golden around the edges, about 8-15mins depending on the size of the cookies.
    • Tip: Bake same sized cookies together otherwise mixing smaller with larger cookies could result in
    some cookies being baked before others are done.

    • Tip: Rotate baking sheets half way through baking if your oven bakes unevenly.
    • Leave to cool on cooling racks.
    • Once completely cooled, decorate as desired.
    • Tip: If wrapped in tinfoil/cling wrap or kept in airtight containers in a cool place, un-decorated
    cookies can last up to a month.

    Royal Icing:

    315g – 375g / 11oz – 13oz / 2½ – 3 cups Icing / Confectioner’s / Powdered Sugar, unsifted
    2 Large Egg Whites
    10ml / 2 tsp Lemon Juice
    5ml / 1 tsp Almond Extract, optional


    • Beat egg whites with lemon juice until combined.
    • Tip: It’s important that the bowls/spoons/spatulas and beaters you use are thoroughly cleaned and
    grease free.

    • Sift the icing sugar to remove lumps and add it to the egg whites.
    • Tip: I’ve listed 2 amounts of icing sugar, the lesser amount is good for a flooding consistency, and the larger amount is for outlining, but you can add even more for a much thicker consistency good for writing. If you add too much icing sugar or would like to make a thinner consistency, add very small amounts of water, a few drops at a time, until you reach the consistency you need.
    • Beat on low until combined and smooth.
    • Use immediately or keep in an airtight container.
    Tip: Royal Icing starts to harden as soon as it’s in contact with air so make sure to cover containers with plastic wrap while not in use.

  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on September 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Daring Cooks 17th challenge: Canning – Ginger Jalapeno Pepper Jelly 

    The September 2010 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by John of Eat4Fun. John chose to challenge The Daring Cooks to learn about food preservation, mainly in the form of canning and freezing. He challenged everyone to make a recipe and preserve it. John’s source for food preservation information was from The National Center for Home Food Preservation. Although John provided an apple butter butter recipe to try, we were free to use any other favorite recipe. They key was to use one of the preservation techniques – freezing or hot water canning. I had done this type of canning before. Also, since buying a jar of ginger pepper jelly at Pike’s Market in Seattle, I wanted to see if I could somewhat replicate that recipe.

    I started with a Jalepeno jelly recipe by Sue Delgrego, found on Allrecipes.com. I only did half a recipe, and it yielded almost three jars. I added a couple of heaping tablespoons of fresh pureed ginger. On a whim, instead of discarding the pepper pulp, I pureed it and added it back to the sauce pan. I don’t think I used quite enough gelatin, though. I couldn’t find liquid pectin anywhere, so had to resort to Knox gelatin sheets. Used three small ones. It’s a work in progress. Still, I like the final results. Packs a nice heat punch. On cream cheese and a bagel?… Hmmmm… Thanks for the challenge, John!

    • Monkeyshines 11:32 am on September 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Mmmmm! That jalapeno ginger jelly sounds fabulous! Very creative. We’re like you – would definitely have left the pulp in – I hate to take out any of the flavor or body of the food.

    • chef_d 6:45 pm on September 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Sounds intriguing and delicious! Good job on this challenge!

    • cuppy 2:33 pm on October 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Mmm… two of my favorite things in a jelly? I’ll take a bagel, too, please!

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