Dec 24, 2010

Black Bottom Bears (gingerbread men)

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I made gingerbread men

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well gingerbread bears actually.

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I got so busy decorating them that I made black bears with the first batch. All of a sudden it smelled like burn! So I ran to the oven and there they were Black bottomed Bears.
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Very disappointing,

I heard that Little J, 2 years old had decapitated ALL of the gingerbread men that his mother had spent the whole day making and decorating with the intention of giving for gifts.
I think it would be better to have unburnt topless gingerbread men than black bottomed gingerbread bears.
I scraped the black off their bottoms with a knife and I got out some leftover maple frosting from another project . My decorating skills didn’t go so well maybe it was because I was using a fork.

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I just smeared it all over them. Now they were more like White or light brown bears. They still tasted a little like burn.

They were eaten.

Overheard: “Look, a paraplegic Bear, he doesn’t have any arms or legs”
“Paraplegic? Where’s his head? Isn’t he dead?”
“His head’s right here, I just bit off his ears so now he has a pointy head”

Merry Christmas!

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Here's the recipe worked off of
Gingerbread Men:
  • 3 cups (390 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) unsulphured molasses


beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and molasses and beat until well combined. add the flour, baking soda, spices and salt .
Divide the dough in half, and wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight or put in the freezer for 20 min or so.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C)
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Use a gingerbread cutter to cut out the cookies. With an offset spatula lift the cut out cookies onto the baking sheet.
Bake for about 8 - 12 minutes depending on the size of the cookies. Small ones will take about 8 minutes, larger cookies will take about 12 minutes. They are done when they are firm and the edges are just beginning to brown.
Remove the cookies from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for about 1 minutes. When they are firm enough to move, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
If desired, you can press raisins, currants, or candies into the dough for eyes and buttons while the cookies are still warm. Otherwise, confectioners frosting can be used to decorate the cookies. You can also use the icing as a glue to attach candies, raisins, and sprinkles.
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Dec 23, 2010

Gingerbread bear cookie cutter

Oh, let me tell you about my gingerbread bear cutter.
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I, being the spoiled child that I am and having the doting mother who gets me whatever I want; I had said I wanted to make gingerbread men but I didn’t have a man. I mean a man cutter. No, I meant a gingerbread man cutter.
She went right out to the high end cooking store, she buys only the best, money is no issue, and her little girl has got to have what she wants.
No, she did not get it at the dollar store, nope she found this bear cookie cutter for 70% off of it's 49 cents price and she paid about 12 and a half cents for it.

Aren’t I special?

Something to remember today:
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
Matthew 6:27
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Dec 18, 2010

Palmiers

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Palmiers; A cookie made of butter and sugar! And a little flour.
Irresistibly eatable. Don't make them if you don't want to be tempted. I'd call these Christmas cookies but I know there won't be any around by Christmas.

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Get out about 14 oz of Puff Pastry dough or just cut off about a third of it. Sprinkle a clean work surface with half the sugar. Place dough over sugar, and sprinkle with remaining sugar.

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Using a rolling pin, gently press sugar into dough, rolling out dough slightly; rotate dough frequently to prevent sticking.

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With longer side of dough toward you, fold over edge, and roll tightly with your hands until you reach the middle. Turn dough so the unrolled edge is toward you, and roll again, meeting first roll in center. Chill dough in refrigerator 1 hour.

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Cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices,

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and place on baking sheets. Chill in the refrigerator 1 hour.

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Bake the palmiers 5 minutes Reduce oven temperature to 400° Continue baking until golden brown and well caramelized, about 10 minutes.

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Transfer Palmiers to a wire rack to cool completely, and store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

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Flaky and buttery is not an insult, it's just good.

Palmiers
• 14-ounces of Puff Pastry dough (Recipe)
• 3/4 cup sugar

Directions
  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Defrost pastry according to the manufacturer’s directions. Line two baking sheets with parchment, and set aside.
  2. Sprinkle a clean work surface with half the sugar. Place dough over sugar, and sprinkle with remaining sugar. Using a rolling pin, gently press sugar into dough, rolling out dough slightly; rotate dough frequently to prevent sticking. With longer side of dough toward you, fold over edge, and roll tightly with your hands until you reach the middle. Turn dough so the unrolled edge is toward you, and roll again, meeting first roll in center. Chill dough in refrigerator 1 hour.
  3. Cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices, and place on baking sheets. Chill in the refrigerator 1 hour
  4. Bake the palmiers 5 minutes Reduce oven temperature to 400° Continue baking until golden brown and well caramelized, about 10 minutes. Transfer Palmiers to a wire rack to cool completely, and store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
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Dec 17, 2010

Puff Pastry dough

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Puff Pastry dough is a lot of fun to make if you have enough time like 5 or so hours.

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Four sticks of butter! Yes, four sticks of butter for this.

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1. Make the dough package: Whisk together flours and salt in a large bowl. Using your fingers, incorporate butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.

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Form a well in center; pour in cold water.

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Using your hands, gradually draw flour mixture over water, covering and gathering until mixture begins to come together. In bowl, knead until dough just comes together, about 15 seconds. Pat into a rough ball; turn out onto plastic wrap. Wrap tightly; refrigerate 1 hour.

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Make the butter package: Sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons flour on a piece of parchment paper. Place sticks of butter on top; sprinkle with remaining 11/2 teaspoons flour.

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Using a rolling pin, pound butter to soften and flatten to about 1/2 inch thick.

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fold butter package in half onto itself. Replace top parchment; pound until butter is 1/2 inch thick. Repeat 2 or 3 times, or until butter becomes quite pliable. Using your hands, shape into a 6-inch square. Wrap well in plastic; refrigerate until cold, up to 10 minutes.

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Roll dough: Place dough package on a lightly floured work surface. Gently roll dough into a 9-inch round. Place butter package in center of dough round. Using a paring knife or bench scraper, lightly score dough to outline the butter square; remove butter, and set aside.

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Starting from each side of the center square, gently roll out dough with the rolling pin, forming four flaps, each 4 to 5 inches long; do not touch the raised square in center of dough.

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Place butter package on center square. Fold flaps of dough over butter to enclose. Press to seal.

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Using the rolling pin, press down on dough at regular intervals over entire surface until it is about 1 inch thick. Gently roll out into a rectangle, about 9 by 20 inches.

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Starting at the near end, fold the rectangle in thirds as you would a business letter; this completes the first single turn. Wrap in plastic; refrigerate 1 hour.

Repeat step 5, giving it 5 more single turns. (Always start with the flap opening on the right.) Refrigerate 1 hour between each turn. After the sixth and final turn, wrap in plastic; refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight before using.


Puff Pastry dough
• FOR THE DOUGH PACKAGE
• 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
• 3/4 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
• 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
• 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
• 1 3/4 cups cold water
• FOR THE BUTTER PACKAGE
• 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
• 1 3/4 cups cold (3 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
Directions
1. Make the dough package: Whisk together flours and salt in a large bowl. Using your fingers, incorporate butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.
2. Form a well in center; pour in cold water. Using your hands, gradually draw flour mixture over water, covering and gathering until mixture begins to come together. In bowl, knead until dough just comes together, about 15 seconds. Pat into a rough ball; turn out onto plastic wrap. Wrap tightly; refrigerate 1 hour.
3. Make the butter package: Sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons flour on a piece of parchment paper. Place sticks of butter on top; sprinkle with remaining 11/2 teaspoons flour. Top with parchment. Using a rolling pin, pound butter to soften and flatten to about 1/2 inch thick. Remove top parchment; fold butter package in half onto itself. Replace top parchment; pound until butter is 1/2 inch thick. Repeat 2 or 3 times, or until butter becomes quite pliable. Using your hands, shape into a 6-inch square. Wrap well in plastic; refrigerate until cold, up to 10 minutes.
4. Roll dough: Place dough package on a lightly floured work surface. Gently roll dough into a 9-inch round. Place butter package in center of dough round. Using a paring knife or bench scraper, lightly score dough to outline the butter square; remove butter, and set aside. Starting from each side of the center square, gently roll out dough with the rolling pin, forming four flaps, each 4 to 5 inches long; do not touch the raised square in center of dough. Place butter package on center square. Fold flaps of dough over butter to enclose. Press to seal.
5. Using the rolling pin, press down on dough at regular intervals over entire surface until it is about 1 inch thick. Gently roll out into a rectangle, about 9 by 20 inches, with one of the short sides closest to you. Keep corners even by squaring them with the side of the rolling pin or your hands. Brush off any excess flour. Starting at the near end, fold the rectangle in thirds as you would a business letter; this completes the first single turn. Wrap in plastic; refrigerate 1 hour.
6. Repeat step 5, giving it 5 more single turns. (Always start with the flap opening on the right.) Refrigerate 1 hour between each turn. After the sixth and final turn, wrap in plastic; refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight before using.
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Dec 12, 2010

Strawberry Cream Roll

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I saw a picture of a cake roll and was inspired to make one and just the name 'Strawberry cream roll' sounded good! Frozen strawberries will just have to do in December.

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beat egg yolks with sugar until mixture is light and fluffy.

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Add almond extract.

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add flour, salt, and baking powder to the batter.

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The whisk didn't work too well. I switched to a fork.

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In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff; gently fold them into the batter.

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Pour batter into prepared jellyroll pan; bake for 10 to 13 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

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In a bowl, beat ricotta cheese until it is light and fluffy. Add apricot preserves and Amaretto; mix thoroughly


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Turn the cake over onto a towel that has been dusted with confectioners' sugar. Lift off the pan and let cake cool for 10 minutes.

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Remove wax paper. Roll cake with the towel, jellyroll fashion, and let it sit in the rolled position, on a rack, for 20 minutes while it continues to cool. Note to self: I think it would be better to roll the cake from the short side next time.

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When the cake has cooled completely, unroll. Spread the inside with the Strawberry Cream Filling. Spoon the 3 cups of sliced strawberries over the cheese filling.

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Re-roll the cake to form a log and place seam side down on a platter. Dust the top with confectioners' sugar and garnish with the cup of sliced berries if you didn't use them all up in the filling. Chill cake for 1 hour before serving.



Strawberry Cream Roll

4 EGGS, SEPARATED
3/4 CUP GRANULATED SUGAR
1 TEASPOON ALMOND EXTRACT
3/4 CUP SIFTED CAKE FLOUR
1 TEASPOON SALT
3/4 TEASPOON BAKING POWDER
CONFECTIONERS' SUGAR FOR GARNISH
STRAWBERRY CREAM FILLING (SEE BELOW)
1 CUP SLICED STRAWBERRIES, FOR GARNISH

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 10 x 15-inch jellyroll pan and line it with wax paper. Grease the paper lining.

In the bowl, beat egg yolks with sugar until mixture is light and fluffy. Add almond extract. Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder and add dry ingredients to the batter.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff; gently fold them into the batter.
Pour batter into prepared jellyroll pan; bake for 10 to 13 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Turn the cake over onto a towel that has been dusted with confectioners' sugar. Lift off the pan and let cake cool for 10 minutes.

Remove wax paper. Roll cake from the short side (not the way I did in the photo) with the towel, jellyroll fashion, and let it sit in the rolled position, on a rack, for 20 minutes while it continues to cool.

When the cake has cooled completely, unroll. Spread the inside with the Strawberry Cream Filling. Spoon the 3 cups of sliced strawberries over the cheese filling. Re-roll the cake to form a log and place seam side down on a platter. Dust the top with confectioners' sugar and garnish with the cup of sliced berries. Chill cake for 1 hour before serving.

STRAWBERRY CREAM FILLING:
1/2 POUND RICOTTA CHEESE
3 TABLESPOONS APRICOT PRESERVES
3 TABLESPOONS AMARETTO (OR 1 TEASPOON ALMOND FLAVORING)
3 CUPS SLICED STRAWBERRIES

beat ricotta cheese until it is light and fluffy. Add apricot preserves and Amaretto; mix thoroughly
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Dec 2, 2010

Granola Bars

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I made granola bars for the first time in a long time.
I finally got over my awful miserable mistake attempt at making granola bars without reading the recipe last May! Luckily my visiting cousins were very open minded to eating little blops of almost caramel in a pile of dry oats and some dried fruit.

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I saw a recipe in TheFreshMarket's magazine/catalog that inspired me to give granola bars another try. There was no way I was going to used the recipe that -I didn't read-made me make the non bars last time.

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Toast the oats and nuts partway through add the bran and wheat germ

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combine honey,

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brown sugar, butter, vanilla, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a saucepan and place over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

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Cook until brown sugar has completely dissolved.

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pour the liquid mixture into oat mixture, and dried fruit; stir to combine. Don't waste any time.

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Dump it into the pans and press it down.

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Use a sheet of waxed paper if it sticks to your hands.



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I like to cut mine into bars

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and wrap them individually.
Sesame seeds are really good but I forgot to put any in.


Granola bars

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
2 cups puffed rice
1/4 cup bran
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup chopped Pecans
1/2 cup chopped Almonds
4tblsp butter plus extra for pan
1/2 cup Honey
1/2 cup Brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1-2 cups dried fruit, chopped (apricot, Candied ginger, pineapple and cranberries)

Preparation:

Butter a 9x 12 and a 9 x 9 inch baking dish and set aside. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread the oats, pecans, bran, almonds and wheat germ onto pan. Place in the oven and toast for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. In the meantime, combine honey, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a saucepan and place over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until brown sugar has completely dissolved. Once the oat mixture is done, remove from oven and reduce heat to 300°F. In a large bowl immediately add oat mixture, liquid mixture and dried fruit; stir to combine. Turn mixture onto the prepared baking dish and press down, evenly distributing mixture in the dish and allow to cool completely. Cut into bars and store in an airtight container for up to a week or freeze.
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