Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lovebird Sugar Cookie Cutout

Lovebird Sugar Cookie Cutout
Martha Stewart

Makes about 18 5-inch cookies.
• 4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
• 2 cups granulated sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.
2. Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in eggs and lemon juice. Reduce speed to low. Gradually mix in flour mixture. Divide dough in half; flatten each half into a disk. Wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees with racks in upper and lower thirds. Let one disk of dough stand at room temperature just until soft enough to roll, about 10 minutes. Roll out dough between two pieces of plastic wrap to 1/4 inch thick. Remove top layer of plastic wrap. Cut out cookies with a 5-inch owl cookie cutter. Transfer cookie dough on plastic wrap to a baking sheet. Transfer baking sheet to freezer, freeze until very firm, about 15 minutes. Remove baking sheet from freezer and transfer shapes to baking sheets lined with nonstick baking mats. Roll out scraps, and repeat. Repeat with remaining disk of dough.
4. Bake, switching positions of sheets and rotating halfway through, until edges turn golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.
Dani Fiore's Royal Icing
Makes about 5 cups.
• 1/2 cup meringue powder
• 2 pounds confectioners' sugar
• 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1. Using a hand mixer with the whisk attachment, mix together meringue powder with 1 cup water until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. Using the beater attachments, add sugar and lemon juice; continue mixing until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Lovebird Cookies
Ingredients-Makes 1 cookie.
• Dani Fiore's Royal Icing
• Georgia peach or rose-pink gel paste food coloring
• 1 5-inch Lovebird Sugar Cookie Cutout
• Violet and rose-pink or red gel paste food coloring
• Fondant hearts or Sweethearts candies
• Gumdrops or Cupid Corn
• Red hots or jellybeans
• Candy heart
• Candy confetti rounds or candy dots
1. Mix together some of the royal icing with peach or rose food coloring until desired shade is reached. Transfer to a small squirt bottle with a wide tip. Leaving 1/4-inch border, outline the cookie with colored icing. Draw several zigzags across entire surface of the outlined area. If necessary, use a toothpick to spread evenly.
2. Mix together some of the royal icing with violet and rose-pink or red food coloring until desired shade is reached. Draw 3 lines horizontally across the body of the bird. Using a clean toothpick, lightly drag across the lines five times, alternating directions, to create a "feather" pattern.
3. Use the fondant hearts or Sweethearts candies to form eyes, the gumdrops or Cupid Corn to form a beak, the red hots or jellybeans for the feet, and place a candy heart in the center of cookie. Place a small dot of royal icing in the center of each eye. Arrange the candy confetti or dots to form the pupil of the eye. Let cookie dry completely before packaging.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hot pink popcorn balls

Hot pink popcorn balls. So crunchy, so sweet and buttery-like, really delicious!

What You Need:

* 1 cup unbleached granulated sugar
* 1/4 cup (half stick) Earth Balance buttery sticks or regular Earth Balance
* 1/3 cup light corn syrup
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 8 cups popped popcorn (two quarts), popped however you like
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* a dab of Wilton coloring paste (I used rose)
* a candy thermometer

What You Do:

1. Put the sugar, Earth Balance, corn syrup and salt in a medium sized sauce pan. Stir to moisten the sugar.
2. Spread you popcorn out onto a lipped cookie sheet. The popcorn ball process is gonna make a mess on the tray, but the caramel will come off easily with a hot water soak so don't worry.
3. Clip the candy thermometer to your saucepan and bring the caramel ingredients to a boil over medium heat. Stir frequently to make sure the sugar does not burn. Once the caramel comes to a boil, stop stirring. Bring the caramel up to 270F which is just to the hardball stage.
4. Immediately remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and color paste. Stir well to distribute the color.
5. Quickly pour the caramel over the popcorn. Use a utencil to distribute the caramel evenly over the popcorn. You want to get it coated as much as possible.
6. Grease your hands and wait for the stuff to get to a temperature you can tolerate. Don't wait to long because it will start to get hard really fast. Form popcorn balls into whatever sizes you like using medium pressure to make the balls uniform and compact.
7. They will get very crunchy when cool.