Monday, December 12, 2016

12 days of Christmas

I love the Twelfth Day of Christmas Song,I must have been looking for the words last year when I found a blogger who asked other bloggers to make Cookies for each day of the song. Anyone who was brought up celebrating Christmas and played a part in Christmas pageants knows the tune to this song, but the words? Each bloggers vision for the cookies to correspond to this song, captured the spirit of giving. I thought it was deserving of an Anchor!

You must drop by, it will inspire you with your own cookie decorating this year.

If you want a festive little cookie and you're oven is on the fritz or something crazy like that! Here is a cookie that you make on the stove. The dairy is easily replaceable with coconut or other non-dairy milks. The red cherries and nuts make it a very festive cookie that's easy to whip up in a few min. If you have an allergy to nuts try crispy wheat or rice puff.  I hope you get to try it.

Saucepan Cookies

1/2 c. undiluted evaporated milk
2 c. sugar
1/2 c. margarine
1/2 c. cocoa
1/2 tsp. salt
3 c. quick-cooking oats
1 c. coconut
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. sliced, candied cherries or dried cherries
1/2 c. chopped walnuts.

    In a large saucepan combine milk, sugar, margarine, cocoa, and salt. Cook stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until soft ball forms when tested in a glass of ice cold water. Remove from heat and stir in oats, coconut, vanilla, candied cherries and chopped walnuts. Mix well. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto silpat or waxpaper and allow to cool.
This recipe was submitted by Pearle Goodwin, VT to the Women's Circle in 1985 :)

12 Days Of Christmas Lyrics | MetroLyrics 

On the first day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
A Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the second day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the third day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the fourth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the fifth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the sixth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the seventh day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the eighth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the ninth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Nine Ladies Dancing
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the tenth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Ten Lords a Leaping
Nine Ladies Dancing
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the eleventh day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Eleven Pipers Piping
Ten Lords a Leaping
Nine Ladies Dancing
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the twelfth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
12 Drummers Drumming
Eleven Pipers Piping
Ten Lords a Leaping
Nine Ladies Dancing
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Eggnog Cake and Frosting

  I have stumbled upon some fascinating things in the past few months. First an Eggnog Cake and Second an old word that stirs up memories of sweet times gone by.
Today I'm going to share an Easy Eggnog Cake and frosting Picked as one of the favorite cakes by Ann Pillsbury.
I discovered the word Entremets it means between dishes .... Centuries ago people used to have sweets or vegetable refreshments between dishes or entre's. They'd also have festive entertainments like dancers, music, jesters or other performers. When I learned this word's meaning it took my mind back to when our children were very young. We'd plan  to put on skits in the living room or sing carols and recite poetry. Often times they'd make decorated invitations, just to make the event official:). These are memories I cherish. Memories, that keep in mind that even when life isn't perfectly the way we expected it to turn out(who's life is?) Still there is always something to be grateful for. I hope you make this cake it is so yummy and moist.

"Easy Eggnog Cake"

10 in. Tube/Bunt pan
mixing bowl,
 or Mixer

1 box of yellow cake mix
1 small box of vanilla pudding(eggnog if you can find it)
1 c. of eggnog
4 eggs
1 chopped pecans
a few whole pecans and candied cherries, for decoration (optional)

Blend all ingredients except the pecans in a mixing bowl. Beat with mixture at medium speed for 5 min. Brush pan with oil and sprinkle pecans in the bottom. Pour in the batter and bake at 350 degrees for 50 - 60 min(depending on your oven.) Check for doneness by inserting a skewer.
Invert the cake for 30 min and remove from the pan and Frost with Eggnog Frosting below.

Eggnog Frosting

1/4 c. eggnog
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
3 c. confectioners sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla

Heat the eggnog and butter, then beat in the confectioners sugar and vanilla. Beat until it is a smooth and spreadable consistency, that you desire. Decorate the Easy Eggnog Cake and place pecan and cherries or other candied fruit. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Christmas Treates: Geodes, a Chocolate Delight

Hello! It's that season again. It's easier to get in the spirit when you have children or someone to snuggle up with during these frigid months:D  With Children their optimism and enthusiasm is infectious. They ask for what their heart desires, with no thought to the adult realities of  obligations or responsibilities. How liberating is that? Secretly within I do the same thing, only I include those adult responsibilities, because without them ...well, where will we celebrate?

With visions of sugarplums, well in my case Chocolate Bon bons and Truffles, dancing in my head.  I stumbled across this wonderful Recipe of  Goedes. From "The Joy of Chocolate" by Judith Olney. First you make Truffles than layer then alternately with Chocolate, Cocoa Powder and White Chocolate. They are about 5- 6 inches in diameter. Cut them open and walla beautiful circular patterns of chocolate bliss! They can be made smaller for individual servings too;).

Chocolate Truffles makes about 50

1 2/3 c. heavy cream
7 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 pound semisweet chocolate, cut or broken into pieces
2 Tbsp. Grand Marnier or to taste)
Cocoa powder for dusting

1. Put cream and butter into a saucepan. Let butter melt over medium heat then, stirring all the while, turn up the heat and let the cream just come to a boil.
2. Remove from the heat and ad the chocolate to the saucepan and stir util it is completely melted.  Continue to stir until the mixture thickens and cools a bit. Stir in the grand manier if using, then cover the mixture and place in the refrigerator to cool for at least 2 hours but stir it about 2-3 times as it cools and hardens.
3. To for the truffles, use a spoon or melon baler to scoop out portions, dust your hands and  the truffle  thickly with cocoa. Roll it between your hands and make a ball, roll it in the cocoa again and refrigerate immediately.

Geodes makes about 2  large or several smaller geodes
1 recipe of the chocolate truffles above
12 oz. white chocolate grated
1/3 c. + 2 Tbsp. boiling water approx.
Confectioners Sugar as needed
Semisweet, bittersweet or couverture chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
Cocoa Powder

1.While the chocolate truffle mixture is cooling in the refrigerator...
2 Place the white chocolate over a double boiler. Add the boiling water to the chocolate and whisk over heat until the mixture is perfectly smooth.
3. Continue beating the white chocolate until it thicken a bit, then leave it to cool at room temperature.  * Both mixtures should have the same packing and firming consistency. Do not refrigerate the white chocolate as it will harden too much. If needed add a little confectioners sugar to solidify the white chocolate.
4. To make the 2 large geoedes form 1 white and 1 brown ball each 1 in. in diameter. Wrap the white ball in some brown truffle mixture and place it in the freezer; wrap the brown ball in white chocolate. Continue alternating each truffle by layering by alternating white and brown chocolate. Smooth each layer as much as possible and occasionally placing the balls in the freezer. When the mixtures are all used up place the geodes in the freezer to harden.
5. To make smaller geodes form several balls in the same way as step 4, but with fewer layers and chill.
6. Brush the geodes with melted chocolate and roll in cocoa. Wrap and refrigerate at least 1 day
7. To serve slice the large geodes in half and place them on a platter for each guest to cut a wedge for herself. Place smaller geodes on a platter for individual and half portions.


Friday, September 30, 2016

Hot Cocoa: Adjusting to Small Town Living

Hi everyone, 
    So much can happen in a little time. You live in one part of the country for so long then you move to another part. At the beginning of Spring we moved from NY. The convenience of instant is totally removed in our small town. I miss it, as well as my daughters that still live in the Big Apple. There are no convenience stores here at least not on every corner or right outside my door. Thankfully I'm still in the states and not too far into the stix. The library doesn't allow Face Book, nor do they have WiFi. Shocking? So when my WiFi is out I have a bit of a hike. The local grocery store and DD has WiFi and is about two mile walk from our house. No biggy on a clear day. NYer's walk...a lot! It's good to know I am self reliant enough to make our own favorites on a rainy day like today. I'm re-posting an oldie but a goodie, while we get adjusted. Our Hot Cocoa recipe, which we used for hot chocolate, to warm us up on days like today. I like to spike mine with a shot of espresso to get me moving and chase all the clouds away.
 Keep warm.

Hot Cocoa (syrup version) serves 4 cups

1/4 c. cocoa powder
1/2 c. sugar
1 dash of salt
1/3 c. water
4 c. milk (optional)
3/4 tsp. vanilla(optional)
  1. Mix Cocoa, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan.
  2. Stir/Whisk in water on medium heat until boiling
  3. Let the mix simmer like that for 2 min., whisking a bit.
  4. Remove syrup from the heat and slowly stir in the milk of choice. I love cocoa with almond or coconut milk. Then return to a low heat until the milk is steaming hot, but don't boil. 
  5. Once the milk is hot,  you can add in the individual Ginger tea crystals or 2 slithers of ginger. (see photo below).
  6. Stir in Vanilla,  Hot cocoa!
  7.   The sugar mixed in with the cocoa is enough for me, but  the sweetness can be adjusted  within individual cups. The less sugar the better the cocoa is for you...
"In the this photo from left/clockwise, tea ginger granules, regular cocoa, ginger slices(skin on)  and dark cocoa.

Subscribe, Like and Stay Sweet!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Marzipan Recipe

Do you know what Marzipan is? I've wondered what the difference of almond paste and marzipan are. After making both and doing a little reading up. I discovered that it depends on where you live. Here in the U.S. Marzipan and Almond paste are different. Marzipan has 75% more sugar where as almond paste has equal parts sugar and almond mea,l which I showed how to make last week in my post titled "Almond paste". We just skipped the other ingredients for basic simplicity, all was required other than the almond meal and sugar were the binder (egg white etc.) and almond extract.
In the UK, marzipan and almond paste are said to be the same. While marzipan has almond paste as the main ingredient and more sugar and a host of other ingredients, which take away from the taste. Almond paste also is used differently than marzipan and it's less sweet...still sweet, just less.

Uses: Marzipan is what's used to cover cakes, and those intricate shaped candies in the shops in Europe, because it's smoother and easier to create fruits and animals.The extra sugar aids in the malleable texture. When pastry chefs and bakers are making something a bit more elaborate with marzipan, they incorporate other ingredients like rose water, creams and infuse other flavors. You can too.
Almond Paste on the other hand is used to mix into cakes and pastries. It can still be flavored and colored, but isn't easily rolled out like marzipan, for covering cakes or making edible figures, because it lacks the elasticity.

This recipe comes together quite fast, 5 min. or less and yields 1 ½ lb.
If you made the Almond paste with me last week you are halfway done.
If not hop on over to get the recipe and come back here to make up your very own marzipan. Just click on the almond paste link in the recipe, that follows.

1 lb./16 oz. almond paste
3. c. powdered sugar (sifted)
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten or pasteurized egg whites.
Or and equivalent of two eggs...about 1/4 c. or less ..I've never measured the other ingredients like glucose or corn syrup.

1. Coarsely chop up almond paste with a knife until it is in small quarter size chunks and place the almond paste in the bowl of a large stand mixer.

2. Add the powder sugar to the mixing bowl and mix them together on low speed with the paddle attachment until the almond paste has broken down and everything has a fine sandy texture.
(You can achieve this step with your hands in a medium to large mixing bowl.)

3. With the mixer still running on low add eggs until it all come together in a ball . (you may find that you don't need all the egg whites)

4. Once the marzipan has formed a ball, take it out of the mixer, dust your work surface/counter with powdered sugar and knead the marzipan until it is completely smooth and has a nice pliable texture.

Links for more

Monday, September 5, 2016

Day 14 Candied Fruit

Hi I don't know why this didn't post yesterday...according to schedule....but here is,

Day 14
your syrup should have the consistency of honey. With many fruits it will also have a golden color as does honey but with cranberries it will be a marvelous scarlet.

  • Drain your fruit in a colander saving the syrup and setting it aside.
  • When the fruit is completely drained, dry it for 2-3 days in a warm, dry place or in your oven at it's lowest setting with the door held ajar with a wooden spoon.
  • For air drying fruit I love using parchment and wax paper, but for the oven I used a silpat.
  • For either method stir the fruit on occasion to insure a complete and thorough drying of the fruit.
Candy fruit can be used right away without drying in fruit cakes and cookies. I prefer mine this way for placing on top of cakes and cupcakes too. If you dry them completely you can grind them into a coarse meal to be used as a sprinkle for cakes, breakfast cereals, granola or trail mixes. As for the fruit syrup? When you taste it your imagination will run wild with all sorts of delectable ideas. I use it for glazes for desserts, on ice-cream or pancakes, waffles, fillings...need I say more. Whatever you use it for I know you'll enjoy it. I hope you have enjoyed these post on how to make candied fruit and try this recipe.


Chef Geir's Culinary Resource

Quickie way to candy fruit

Cassata 1st inspired to make Candy Fruit

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Day 8 Candied Fruit

Hello, it's almost a week before you'll bask in the glory of your own candy fruit. If you've been following along, congratulations you're almost at the end of the race...Let's get back to it..
Day 8
drain off your syrup and dissolve 1/3 of a cup of sugar by bringing the syrup to a hard boil.
  • add your fruit,
  • allow the mixture to reach a boil (not boiling)
  • then place the fruit and syrup back in your container to age for 2 days (age 48 hours).
Then repeat again on day(9/1) 10, but leave the fruit to age for 4 days before moving onto the next step. Is your journal helping? My kids like to have a calendar on the fridge., with each stage written out? whatever works best for you?

Monday, August 29, 2016

Almond Paste

Almond paste is a very versatile medium to make marzipan figures, fruits, covering or mixing in cakes as well as other dessert decorations and designs . Freshly made it has a somewhat grainy texture depending on how well you processed it, but mostly because of the almonds. It's best to buy unsalted almonds. To begin this process we’ll blanch the almonds, to separate the brown skin from the nuts. Wait a few minutes for them to cool and dry. If you wish to skip this step just buy blanched almonds and Start at step 2. and place the almonds in a processor or blender to grind them with powdered sugar and a little binding liquid such as corn syrup, pasteurized eggs or glucose. Finally knead and form to a consistent dough of almond paste...ready for whatever you want to make.

Almond Paste recipe ingredients
1 ½  c. whole blanched Almonds
1 ½  c. 10 x
¼ c. Pasteurized eggs whites or substitutions
½ tsp. Almond extract (more or less)

Let’s begin with Step 1. If you understand blanching, this first step, will be a breeze for you.  Look for the skin to become wrinkled and kinda lift from the almonds. When gently squeezing an almond between your finger and thumb it should easily slide out of the skin.

  1. Boil water in a medium sauce pan.
  2. Carefully place the almonds in the boiling water and simmer for 1 min. Turn off the heat and remove the pan from the burner.
  3. Place almonds on a towel to cool and remove the skin. Gently, because they are slippery little devils.

To Begin step 2 Using a 7 c. Vol. processor Grind the almonds with ½ c. powdered sugar, to a fine ground consistency.

After the almonds are ground add the rest of the sugar and pulse until the whole mixture is combined completely. Stop the machine once more feed in the egg whites and extract. Start up the processor and let it combine to a mass of dough, then remove from the processor to your dusted working surface of powdered sugar.
If you are like me, and rather mix the binding liquid into the ground almond sugar by hand,
place it on the work surface or bowl, make a well int the middle of the almond mixture, to knead in the egg whites. All that’s left is to form it into a consistent ball of almond paste that’s not sticking to your hand. Just keep adding the powdered sugar as needed to achieve a slightly non-sticky dough. It's a bit tacky, but it doesn't stick to your hands at all.

Once it is a nice dough, I keep it in the refrigerator (will keep up to 3 months and freeze up to 6 months) wrapped in plastic wrap and parchment paper to keep it fresh for use and free of unwanted refrigerator flavors.. Bring the almond paste to room temperature before using. It is very easily colored too. I’ve added gel color after it’s made with pleasing results. I think it would be fine to add the color to the binding liquid as well or just painting directly onto the formed fruit or what have you, using a bit of petal dust.

Next time I will share how I make Marzipan from the Almond Paste
For these adorable little snowman

Friday, August 26, 2016

Day 4 Candied Fruit

Hello, it’s day 4 and I’m here to look in on your progress...:D I think it’s a good halfway point before day now you’re seeing  changes in the fruit and the liquid. for now stick with 1/4 c. sugar and dissolve over the heat.
In two days... Day 8, you’ll increase the sugar to ⅓ c.
All you'll be doing from that point is ...
  • Let the syrup boil.
  • Add the fruit which will bring the temperature of the syrup down and let it come "just to a boil" again. It’s a tiny bit tricky...this is where the right tools for the job come in handy.
I'll post day 8 on the 30th in the mean time have fun
Until Saturday here's...
*A Tool Tip. A large metal/silicon mesh strainer with handles makes putting the syrup back in the sauce pan easy, because now the fruit are separated and once the syrup boils you’ll have no problem carefully putting the fruit back in.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Day 2 Candied Fruit

Here we are again, ready for day two?
The best part of the next 5 days is that it just a repeat of today. No mysteries here. Have your measuring cup, sugar and spatula handy. I want to also mention if you're using other sugar for this project like beet sugar or raw or even honey I'd love to hear about your results. I'll check in here in two days and see how it's going...feel free to post comments and questions.
Day 2
Remove or strain off your syrup and place it in a sauce pan. Heat and dissolve 1/4 c. of additional sugar to the syrup and cover your fruit with the syrup when it reaches a hard boil and all the sugar is dissolved. Cover again and leave for another 24 hours. Today's process will be repeated for days 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 (The next 5 days) Here's where you mark your calendar and take notes of your fruits changes.

  • Drain syrup, Heat it to a Simmer is what you want and make sure the sugar is dissolved each day.
  • Mark you calendar and journal. if you forget a day or got too's happened to me. I went to the next day with 1/4 c. because adding too much sugar at once takes longer to dissolve and absorb, which can cause sugar crystals...a different kind of candies fruit and not what we are going for. So I needed an extra day or I just went to the next set of days when I had to add more sugar. It worked out good.
Till Saturday...All the best

Monday, August 22, 2016

Day 1. Candied Fruit

Candied Fruit Recipes
One of those little niceties that goes on top of ice cream or even mashed into it. These look lovely enough to go on and i cakes. I'd posted this project in earlier post, but I wanted to let it go solo here because of it's versatility.  I hope you can give it a try.

Candy Ginger and Cherries

There are quite a few recipes for making candy fruit, but this project will take 14 days. I like the results. I can choose if I want the fruit glazed or crystallized looking. Believe, when i tell you...It's well worth the effort. I'm going to walk you thru making candied fruit in a cluster of  days. So let's get candy making.
You'll need. 
  • A calendar or journal to keep track of each days process. Personally, I like the journal type calendars, because I can take notes on how each fruit does through the candying process.
  • A sanitized needle for pricking berry type fruits.
  • 2  8 oz. canning jars with lids(depending on how many pounds of fruit you're candying)
  • Or a glass baking sheet one with a top would work nicely, but it's not necessary.
  • Medium sauce pan or skillet
  • Almost 3 c. Sugar for the whole process
  • Water to cover fruit at the start
  • Small saucer or bowl to keep fruit submerged.
  • A candy thermometer (help when gauging the hard boil)
  • A few spoons and spatula

Use only firm, unblemished fruit in this process and always wash fruit before hand. It will be necessary to prick each cranberry before the first step with a sanitized needle otherwise they will burst open in the cooking process and become mushy.

Candied Blueberries

Day 1.
In a sauce pan place your washed and needle pricked berries. Cover with just enough water to cover and set on a medium heat. Allow to cook for 3-4 minutes, not enough time to make the fruit mushy but enough time to break down the cell walls so your sugar will penetrate the berries easily over the next couple of weeks. Taking into consideration that you will cook these again in the near future. Remove the blueberries from the heat and strain setting the juice aside off the burner

For every one pound of fruit that you just cooked place 1 and 1/4 cup of liquid in a sauce pan. Heat to a boil and dissolve 3/4 cups of granular sugar. When completely dissolved pour this sugar mixture over the berries and set this aside.
*Note... if at all possible you should lay your fruit in a single layer on the baking sheet, for the sugar syrup. This allows the syrup to cover every piece of fruit.

If you're limited on kitchen space save the single layer technique for orange slices and fruit of that nature, but I used glass jars for blueberries and cherries. Since all fruits love to float this is the point where you weigh down your single layered fruit with a plate or a cookie sheet of a smaller size and your jarred fruits with a small bowl...I used parchment under the cup to push the fruit down even further. Leave your fruit to set at room temperature for 24 hours.

Fruit to try

Kiwi  only required half the process
Mango lovely and the syrup looks just like honey
Peach syrup taste way more heavenly than anything I've ever tasted on the grocery shelf. It just doesn't come close.
Blueberries Candy blueberries ... way better than grape jelly, which brings up the matter to candy grapes. I have to try it...

Golden Nugget...

Be sure to start your fruit at a gentle simmer...All fruit are not created equally and one fruit can become mushy quite quickly, than another would.  So gentleness and attentiveness is the key to achieving wonderful candies and syrup.

Our Next step is a cluster of make sure to use your journal for notes as well as keeping up with what step and day your on.

Can you imagine your fruits on top of chocolate cup cakes or cakes? I have more projects like this one, so like and subscribe to Chocolate Mondays to receive more of this type of recipe, to your in box once a month...
happy chocolate Monday to all

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Chocolate and lemon filled cookies recipe

Chocolate Cookies by Martha Stewart Magazine
I'm still on the hunt for the first chocolate cookie Martha aired on those first shows. It wasn't too sweet and I loved the ease and consistency of the dough. When I posted the original recipe I gleaned from her magazine, I said it was too sweet. This is my attempt to decrease the sugar to 1 c. and increased butter 1 ½ c.  They taste chocolaty and softer than the original. Very familiar taste, if you've ever had those cookies with the bear drawn out on the face of the cookie on the box? Yea, they taste like those.
I want them to be thicker so I may make another adjustment with the flour next the mean time I'm very happy how these turned out. I hope you get to try them...and the chocolate mint leaves with the lemon are a very sophisticated combination.

*Chocolate cookie Ingredients
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 cups sugar, plus more for flattening cookies
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg

Cookie Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Into a medium-size bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg; beat to combine. With mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture; continue add the flour mixture; continue beating until dough is well combined.
Use whatever sized ice cream scoop you want. Drop dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets about 2 inches apart.

Place cookies in the oven until firm, about 10 to 12 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through. Transfer baking sheet to wire racks to cool completely.

Lemon Butter Cream filling
2 c. sifted Confectioners sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) Whipped soften butter
1/2 tsp. to 1 tsp. lemon juice

Filling Directions
Soften a stick of butter to room temperature and whip in a mixing bowl.
Combine the whipped butter with the sugar in a mixing bowl with a whisk or in a stand mixer on low.
Add the lemon juice a little at a time. It may not be necessary to use it all depending on the humidity and how the frosting consistency comes together for you. I like mine on the thicker side. You may like a stronger lemon flavor.

Place cream filling in a pastry bag fitted with a round or star tip and pipe about 1 Tablespoon filling onto the flat side of half the cookies. Top with another cookie and gently press on each to squeeze filling to edges. Filled cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 2 days. Or placed in the fridge in a container.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Chocolate Mint Leaves

Today's post for Chocolate Monday is all about making chocolate leaves. Two reasons to use real leaves for this project instead of cutters or a mold is because they're frugal and edible leaves leave a hint of the herb or flower in the chocolate. Through this post you'll see I've placed a couple of links. One is a list of the leaves or plants, that are non-toxic for use on a pastry and beautiful samples of uses for chocolate leaves.
Chocolate Mint Leaves
you'll need...
Large mint leaves
Tempered Dark chocolate
A silpat or parchment
If You don't want to use mint take a look at edible/nontoxic leaves that will work well for what you're baking. Basil or Rose. Pick, wash and dry the best looking and largest mint leaves. Flatten them if you like, between a paper towel or napkin.

Temper a few ounces of dark chocolate (I used 60% for these leaves) Either paint on the chocolate or place each leaf on the surface of the chocolate. (btw, use the side shown above to have more indentation... in other words use the back of the leaf) Lift and allow to drip off the access. Using a toothpick or skewer, pop any bubbles, make sure  to stretch out the leaf completely in hand or on the silpat and fill in any gaps, with a little dripping chocolate on the tip of the tooth pick.
Glossy Goodness
Place these shiny gems into the fridge. Or freezer until solid to the touch. I use the stems to make a slight crack and peel off the leaf from the chocolate and walla, Chocolate Leaves.
You'll love the mint scent and hint of mint flavor of these, provided you like mint and chocolate. I do as long as chocolate is the dominant flavoring.
Looking at these leave we see a good indentation and range of sizes. I missed a few bubble which gave me a more, organic feel for the way leaves are naturally, with bug holes and stages in growth for this type of mint.
I thought it would be fun to have some samples of fall leaves. Green or any color is good but make sure to use
Gel colors and not the liquid food dye used for Easter eggs.
White chocolate leaves
Use a sharp tool to clip off access chocolate, while the leaves are still chilled. Now the only thing left to do is place them on a cake, cupcakes or cookies.

Minty leaves with lemon butter cream filling
sandwiched between two chocolate soft
sugar cookies

Bon Appetit!