Tag - baking

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Currently
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Cookie tally & work holiday wrapup
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Rabbit Rabbit, October cookie edition

Currently

This was a choreful weekend, but a good one nonetheless. On this Sunday night, I’m currently…

Reading: I just finished Sonia Sotomayor’s My Beloved World this morning and next on tap is The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker. Both came from my local library. I’m trying to get there every other week. Libraries are good for my soul.

Mixing: I have a sourdough starter sitting on top of my refrigerator. For eleven years I’ve wanted to make my own sourdough bread. This morning I made a simple sourdough starter using this recipe, and by next weekend I’ll be ready to fail at making my own sourdough bread! Seriously, this looks like a lot of effort.

I’m supposed to feed it more flour and water every day.. I’m hoping it makes gurgely noises.


I also made a red wine vinagrette this week instead of white. Used less oil and more garlic. So exciting, right?

Playing: Words with Friends. Again. I’m pretty bad at this game. How bad? This bad.

Ugh.

If you’re one of my FB friends, hit me up and you’ll up your win count.

Cookie tally & work holiday wrapup

The cookies are done and I sang “O night Diviiiiiiine” as I shoved the cooling racks into the dishwasher and put the mixer back up on top of the fridge. Here’s the final tally:

cookies

Yes, that is a cookie frosted to resemble the Liberty Bell.

  • Two batches of gingerbread people
  • One batch of peppermint swirl cookies
  • Two batches of sugar cutout cookies, artfully decorated by WM
  • Two batches of peanut butter blossoms
  • One batch of spritz (cookie press) cookies
  • One batch of chocolate chip cookies (I don’t like how they came out but others like’em)
  • Two batches of snickerdoodle cookies
  • Two batches of Pillsbury slice-n-bake peppermint cookies for WM’s classes (not pictured)
  • Two batches of white chocolate peppermint brownies for the work bake-off (not pictured)

This photo is from tonight, and in addition to the not-pictured items, I’ve already sent a tray of cookies off to my father and taken a tray to work. So there were more cookies.

I. AM. TIRED.

We had our work holiday party on the Spirit of Philadelphia. Omigosh, so swanky. Here is me, dancing at the far right with some people from TNP and some people from another company who had their party at the same time.

I have no shame.

Because I’m nice, I won’t name the others.

This may have been the Cha Cha slide. And I still wear silly Christmas hats.

Here are the brownies that got me 3rd place in the bakeoff:

brownies

White chocolate peppermint brownies

Recipe here. I also won 3rd place in the holiday trivia contest. It pays to be middle-aged and know stupid things.

And my coworkers and I got together and made our own basket of cheer for our manager:

gift basket with enough booze to kill a man

The bow-making skills I learned at JCPenney’s gift wrap counter 20+ years ago still come in handy today!

There is enough alcohol in that basket to kill a man. The pic in front was taken on the Spirit of Philadelphia.

Next up — I have to pour a bit of cheer and finish wrapping presents!

Rabbit Rabbit, October cookie edition

Happy October, dear cookie crumbs!

Not much going on at Casa de Me lately, but I wanted to share the cookies I made for coworker T’s baby shower last Friday.

I purchased new cookie cutters for the occasion — a rattle, a bear, and a flower — because I’m sure I’ll have reasons to use them again in the future. I did a trial run last Sunday with a very buttery cookie dough. Not only did the undecorated versions look like penises …

partsTweet

…but the finished cookies were too buttery and fell apart easily. Plus I used too much pink gel food color in the royal frosting and it looked like solidified Pepto Bismol. Never fear, they tasted great and went well with coffee. The flower petals were breaking off and I couldn’t figure out a nice way to decorate the bears without introducing a third color of frosting, so I did away with them. I’m a baker, not a decorator.

Try two found me hacking around with one of my regular sugar cookie recipes, and using less pink food coloring in the frosting. Success!

Rattles!

Rattles!

Here is the royal frosting recipe that I used. I stuck with a meringue powder frosting because I didn’t want to use raw egg whites and risk poisoning our expectant mother. Bad show.

Two nights before the shower I did the pink frosting, and the night before I piped the white accents. The page on Bakerella’s site shows that she used plastic bottles for frosting. I tried that too, but my hands quickly fatigued from steadily squeezing the bottle and that resulted in shaky lines. (Me to WM: “It looks like Kirk Douglas decorated these!”) I switched to a plastic pastry bag and a decorator tip and it went much easier.

I bought cute cellophane bags so that I could present the cookies as individual favors, but the bags were too small. Woohoo! (Fact about me: I suck with eyeballing length.) I ended up having to use regular Ziploc bags and folding the business end behind the cookie before tying the ribbon around it.

Wrapped cookies

Wrapped cookies

Coworker T and the rest of the work crew loved the cookies, and I spent my Saturday chipping dried royal frosting off of my counter. And mixer. And faucet.

Here are my takeaways to make next time easier:

  • Add the gel food coloring slowly to avoid too-pink frosting
  • Buy a narrower decorator tip for the detailing and skip trying to use the plastic bottles altogether
  • Or maybe snip the plastic bottle tip to make the hole larger
  • Make one batch of pink frosting and use it for both piping and flooding. I made two separate pink batches but fretted because the pinks were slightly different. Nobody else seemed to notice or care. But I did.
  • Take my time. I should have watered down the pink flooding frosting even more before attempting to use it but I wanted to rush, rush, rush. Taking my time would also have eliminated many of the ‘peaks’ on the polka dots.
  • MEASURE THE DAMN COOKIES BEFORE BUYING CELLO BAGS
  • Wipe the counter down when I finished each night. I, uh, let things accumulate and while my kitchen smelled divine, it’s much more difficult to clean hardened frosting than wet frosting.

The bad news is that I have the baking bug again. I made banana bread on Sunday and my goal for this fall/winter is to work through a bread baking cookbook that WM’s mom sent us.

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