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Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Cookies

Pin It Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookies - Royal Icing (left), Egg-Free Icing (right)
Merry Christmas everyone! I made two batches of vanilla sugar cookies for Christmas - 10 dozen cookies! I was very busy this week. I made 3 dozen for my nephew's daycare, and the rest were gifts for my family, my Mom's home aide, My Mom's doormen, and a family friend. I used two different icings, one egg-free for the daycare since some children may be allergic to raw egg whites, and my go to royal icing recipe from Joy of Baking for the remaining 7 dozen cookies. After years of making this cookie recipe, it is my favorite one from Sweetopia. You may substitute vanilla for almond, coconut, lemon, orange or any other extract you like. If you use almond or coconut extract, just 1 teaspoon is all you need. A little goes a long way. If not, you will overpower the taste of the cookie. The only change to the recipe is the addition of 1 tablespoon of milk. See cookie recipe and the two icing recipes below. The photos below highlight only some of the cookies I baked.

Yield: 5 Dozen Cookies

Santa Belt, Mrs. Claus' Dress, Santa Sleigh and Snow Globes

Directions
Whisk together flour and salt; set aside.

Cream butter and sugar in a hand held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment on low; 1-2 minutes. Do not overmix.

Scrape sides of bowl with spatula and mix for a 10 seconds.

Melted Snowmen and Snowmen
Add eggs one at a time, mix until incorporated. Scrape sides of bowl and mix for 5 seconds.

Add milk and vanilla extract and mix on low until incorporated, about 20-25 seconds.

With mixer on low speed, slowly add flour mixture and incorporate. The dough is ready when it begins to clump around paddle attachment.

Snowflakes
Cut in half and roll dough into 2 balls, cover with plastic wrap and chill in fridge for 1-2 hours or overnight.

Take half of the dough leaving unused dough covered with plastic wrap in fridge until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Stars
Use two sheets of parchment paper with dough in between and roll with rolling pin until desired thickness is reached.

Dip cutters in flour, shake off excess, and make shapes.

Place onto cookies sheets lined with parchment paper, and put in freezer for 10 minutes. The cookies hold their shape when you do this.

Reindeer, Mittens, Santa Hats and Stockings
Bake 12-15 minutes or until the edges have slightly browned. My cookies baked in 13 minutes.

Wait 2-3 minutes before transferring cookies on cooling racks to complete cooling.

Decorate once cookies have cooled completely.

Large Batch Royal Icing
Ingredients
8 Egg Whites

8 teaspoons Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed

12 cups Powdered/Confectioners' Sugar, sifted

1 tablespoon Clear Vanilla Extract

Reindeer, Gnome, Nutcracker

Directions
In a large bowl, sift powdered sugar, set aside.

In a bowl, add egg whites.

In a bowl, whisk together the egg whites and lemon juice.

Transfer to stand or hand held mixer with paddle attachment and mix on high for 1-2 minutes.

Add vanilla extract and mix for 5-10 seconds.

With mixer speed on low, slowly add sifted sugar and beat on low until smooth.

If needed, you may add 1 teaspoon of water at a time until you reach the right consistency. Watch the Joy of Baking (link at the end) video for both Flooding Consistency and Piping Consistency Royal Icing. If you prefer a recipe using Meringue Powder, it is also available at this link.

Trees
Egg-Free Icing (Double recipe if you have more than 40 cookies)
5 cups Powdered/Confectioners' Sugar, sifted

1/2 cup Whole Milk + 1 tablespoon extra (for flooding cookies)

1/4 cup Light Corn Syrup

2 teaspoons Clear Vanilla Extract

Candy Cane, Gingerbread Boys, Holly

Directions
In a large bowl, sift powdered sugar; set aside.

Using stand or hand held mixer with paddle attachment on medium-high speed, combine sugar and 1/4 cup of milk and mix for 1-2 minutes until smooth.

Add remaining 1/4 cup of milk one tablespoon at a time until you reach the consistency you need. (I made one batch for the borders, and 1 batch to fill the cookies). For filling the cookies, I added 1 extra tablespoon of milk.

Add corn syrup vanilla extract and mix for 10 seconds.

Note: The corn syrup gives the icing a lovely shine.

Ornaments
For both icing recipes, I separated the icing in plastic containers with lids according to how many different colors needed for tinting.

I used AmeriColor Soft Gel Paste Food Color in various colors. Use 1-2 drops at a time until you have the color you need.

Keep the containers covered until you are ready to color.

I transferred the icing immediately into squeeze bottles using a small funnel to prevent spilling.

If the royal icing hardens due to exposure to air, use a spray bottle and spray a little bit of water and shake bottle well holding the tip with your finger. Test the icing consistency on a paper towel before decorating the cookie.

This time, I did not need to do this since I kep the icing covered when not in use.

I outlined the cookies, and waited 1/2 hour and then filled them.

Use a paintbrush or cookie stick to reach edges, and use tip of cookie stick or a toothpick to pop any air bubbles.

Add sprinkles, confetti, sugar pearls, silver dragees, etc... over wet icing.

Cookie Tins, Custom Two Frys Gift Tags (Allen's)
For the nutcraker and ugly sweater cookies, I used AmeriColor Gourmet Writer Food Decorating Pens (Certified U.S. food grade).

Let cookies dry overnight. This is essential so the icing does not stick together when you stack them or place in cookie tins for gifts.

If you are baking and it is humid, you may need more time for the cookies to dry.

For further information:
Please visit, Sweetopia for the Vanilla Sugar Cookie Recipe:
http://sweetopia.net/2009/12/sugar-cookie-recipe/

Please visit, Joy of Baking for the Royal Icing Recipe and Video Tutorial:
http://www.joyofbaking.com/RoyalIcing.html

Please visit, The Slow Roasted Italian for the Egg-Free Icing Recipe:
http://www.theslowroasteditalian.com/2013/12/best-tasting-sugar-cookie-icing-recipe.html

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Gingerbread Cookies

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Gingerbread Cookies
This recipe is great for making gingerbread boys and girls. The molasses give the cookie a rich flavor and dark color, and the combination of spices is perfect. The aromas while the cookies bake is heavenly! The cookies are chewy and taste amazing. I bought three sets of cookie cutters from Tovolo: Ginger Girls, Ginger Boys, and Winter Wonderland to use with this recipe. I purchased Wilton Icing Decorations with small gingerbread boys for the round cookies. To decorate, I used confetti, sugar pearls, and silver dragees, flower decorations, etc... For the 2 different icing recipes (one egg-free), see my post Christmas Cookies above. I found the recipe via Pinterest on the King Arthur Flour website. See below.

Yield: About 2 1/2 - 3 Dozen Cookies 

Gingerbread Boys and Girls

Ingredients
3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

1 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1 teaspoon Coarse Salt

2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon

2 teaspoons Ground Ginger

1/4 teaspoon Ground Allspice

3/4 cup Unsalted Butter

3/4 cup Dark Brown Sugar, packed

3/4 cup Molasses

1 XL Egg

Gingerbread Cookies

Directions
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon, ginger and allspice; set aside.

In a saucepan on low heat, melt butter, and then with a spatula stir in the brown sugar, molasses, and spice mixture.

Transfer to a large bowl and let cool completely, and then beat in egg. Make sure this has cooled all the way. If not, you will scramble the egg.

Add flour mixture to molasses mixture, and combine with a spatula, and work until it forms dough. You may also use your hands if you prefer.

Divide dough in half, cover with plastic wrap and chill in fridge for 1-2 hours or overnight.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Tovolo Winter Wonderland Cookies

Heat oven to 350°F.

Roll out dough in between two sheets of parchment paper to prevent the dough from sticking to rolling pin.

Dip cutters into a little flour, and shake off excess. Use a small brush once you have the cut shapes on baking sheets to remove the flour.

Cut out shapes and place on baking sheets and freeze for 10 minutes so they cookies hold their shape as they bake.

Bake for 8-12 minutes until they feel firm. My cookies baked in 10 minutes.

Wait 2-3 minutes and then ransfer to wire racks to cool.

Decorate with icing and sprinkles, sugar pearls, etc...

For the Gingerbread Cookies recipe, please visit King Arthur Flour:
http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/gingerbread-cookies-recipe

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Spritz Spritzgebäck Cookies

Pin It Spritz (Spritzgebäck) Cookies

Spritz Cookies
All the cookies I baked minus the ones I ate warm ;)
Spritz (Spritzgebäck) Cookies are one of the most popular holiday cookies for this time of year, and one of my favorite recipes to bake and eat. They make fabulous gifts and are so pretty. These buttery delights originate from the German word "spritzen", which means to squirt or spray. The cookies are made using a cookie press or pastry bag fitted with desired tip. The texture of the cookies are a little crisp when you bite into them and tender inside. I used my Cuisinart Electric Cookie Press and using one allows you to create cookies in different shapes. The cookie shapes hold well, but it is important not to chill the dough. Cookies should be placed on an ungreased baking sheet. The butter ensures the cookies do not stick to the sheet. I used sugar pearls in blue, white, and silver; blue and white snowflakes; colored sugars in silver, white, red, green, lime green, blue, pink, orange and gold. If you wish, you can tint the dough in different colors, and green would be great for the trees and wreaths, and red for the hearts. I opted to keep this recipe in the more traditional sense, and not tint any of the dough. This recipe is also made with finely ground nuts like hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, etc... If you want to change the flavor profile, you can substitute the pure vanilla extract to almond, coconut, anise, orange, or lemon extract. Instead of using granulated sugar I opted for vanilla sugar to increase the vanilla flavor. I have baked these cookies for years, and this one recipe from tweaking it, is the best Spritz one I have made. If there is only one cookie you decide to make this holiday, this one is it! Recipe below.

Spritz Cookies

Yield: 6 Dozen 1 1/2 Inch Cookies

Ingredients
1 Extra Large Egg

1 tablespoon Heavy Cream

1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

1 1/2 cups Unsalted Butter, softened

1 cup Vanilla Sugar

1/2 teaspoon Coarse Salt

3 1/2 cups King Arthur All-Purpose Flour

Colored Sugars and Sprinkles of your choice

Pretty Spritz Cookies

Directions
Heat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl, whisk egg, heavy cream, and vanilla extract until combined; set aside.

In a bowl of your mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter, vanilla sugar and salt on medium high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.

Scrape down bowl with spatula.

With mixer on medium speed, add egg mixture and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds.

With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour and beat until combined.

Scrape down bowl with spatula and give a final stir to make sure no flour pockets remain.

Close-ups of Spritz Cookies

Dough will be soft, but do not refrigerate.

Fit your cookie press with desired disk to form cookies or pastry bag with desired tip.

Press onto ungreased baking sheet, spacing about 1 1/2 inches apart.

Decorate with colored sugars and sprinkles.

Bake until cookies are light golden brown around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. My cookies baked in 10 minutes.

Cool cookie sheets completely before you press more cookies on it. I stick the cookie sheets in the freezer for 5 minutes.

Cool baked cookies for about 5 minutes and then transfer to wire rack and cool completely, about 1 hour.

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Friday, December 16, 2016

Vanillekipferl Vanilla Crescent Cookies

Pin It Vanillekipferl (Vanilla Crescent Cookies)

Vanillekipferl (Vanilla Crescent Cookies)
I found this cookie recipe about a year ago on Pinterest after the holidays and added them to my list of cookies to bake this year. Vanillekipferl is a popular cookie from Vienna, Austria enjoyed during the Christmas holiday. The cookies are truly amazing in taste and texture. They are buttery and loaded with vanilla flavor. The cookies smell so good and when they are baking, the vanilla permeates the kitchen in a most delightful way. The blog Li'l Vienna explains "the expression Kipfe(r)l refers to anything crescent-shaped, but only in terms of pastry and baking."  This recipe takes a little work, since you make your own almond meal and you have to shape each piece of dough into a crescent shape, but it is well worth the effort. You dip each cookie into a vanilla sugar mixture while it is warm so it sticks on the cookie. If you cannot find vanilla sugar, I provide a recipe to make it yourself. This recipe adapted from Li'l Vienna. See below.

Yield: 3 1/2 Dozen Cookies

Ingredients
2 1/4 cups King Arthur All-Purpose Flour

1 teaspoon Coarse Salt

2/3 cup Vanilla Sugar

1 1/3 cup Ground Almonds (I used blanched slivered Almonds)

14 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, cold and cut into cubes

2 XL Egg Yolks

2 tablespoons Whole Milk

1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

Vanillekipferl close-up

Sugar Mixture
6 tablespoons Confectioners'/Powdered Sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Sugar

Directions
Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Take powdered sugar and combine with vanilla sugar; set aside. You will use this after you bake the cookies and while they are warm, you dip them into this sugar mixture to coat. The cookies have to be warm for the sugars to stick.

Place almonds in coffee grinder and grind until the almonds have reached a finely ground texture.

In a bowl, combine flour and salt and set aside in fridge to keep cool until ready to use.

Cut butter into 1/2 inch cubes and set aside in fridge to keep cold until ready to use.

Almonds in grinder and almond meal

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, milk and vanilla extract.

Add butter to flour mixture and with a pastry cutter (or your hands) work it until you reach small crumbs.

Add in vanilla sugar and ground almonds and mix until incorporated.

Add to egg mixture and combine until you form dough.

Knead with your hands for about 30 seconds.

Cut dough into quarters and cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.

Using one quarter of the dough at a time, divide it into small pieces and roll with your hands into 1/2 inch thick pieces and form a crescent shape. Pinch the edges slightly.

Butter in cubes, how dough should look when reaches crumbly texture and Vanilla Sugar I used
While you are forming the crescent shapes, heat oven to 350 degrees.

Place on baking sheets and freeze for 5 minutes.

Bake for 13-15 minutes, until edges are slightly golden.

Wait 2 minutes and then dip the top side into the vanilla sugar mixture. The sugar mixture will stick on the warm cookies.

Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Homemade Vanilla Sugar:
1 cup Granulated Sugar

1 Vanilla Bean

Place sugar in the bowl of a food processor.

Scrape vanilla bean using the back of a knife and add to bowl, and pulse until incorporated.

Make 1 day ahead or more, and store in an airtight container until you need it.

Vanillekipferl (Vanilla Crescent Cookies) recipe adapted from Li'l Vienna:
http://www.lilvienna.com/austrian-vanilla-crescents-vanillekipferl/

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Pumpkin Spice Blossoms

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Pumpkin Spice Blossoms
I saw this recipe on Pinterest a few months ago, and was hoping I would find the Hershey's Pumpkin Spice Kisses and was so happy to purchase a bag last month at Target. I adapted the recipe from Hershey's Spice Blossoms (see link below), but added in my own touches by increasing the vanilla extract by 1/2 teaspoon, and adding a generous amount of pumpkin spice for a bold flavor profile. The trick to making sure the kisses do not melt when you press them gently into the cookie is to unwrap the kisses, and keep them in the freezer until you bake the cookies. These cookies are delightful, and the pumpkin spice kisses have a creamy white chocolate center that makes them a decadent treat. I recommend you bake this cookie for your holiday gifting! You'll be thrilled you baked them!

Yield: 2 1/2 Dozen Cookies 

Ingredients
1 cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened

1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

2 cups King Arthur All-Purpose Flour

1/2 cup Granulated Sugar

1/2 teaspoon Coarse Salt

2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon

1 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon Ground Ginger

1/4 teaspoon Ground Allspice

1/4 teaspoon Ground Cloves

1 cup Pecans, finely chopped

30 Hershey's Pumpkin Spice Kisses, unwrapped and frozen

Pumpkin Spice Blossoms cooling on wire racks

Directions
Heat oven to 350.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Unwrap 30 kisses and place in cookie sheet, cover and put in freezer until ready to use.

In bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves; set aside.

With your mixer on medium speed, cream butter, sugar and vanilla extract until smooth; about 2 minutes.

Turn mixer speed to low, and slowly add flour mixture and pecans and mix until combined, about 3 minutes.

Use tablespoon or ice cream scoop and form dough balls and place on lined baking sheets.

Hershey's Pumpkin Spice Kisses - pumpkin spice with creamy white chocolate filling
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until done. When you press on the cookie it should feel firm.

Remove from oven and flatten a little (and gently) with the back of a spatula.

Cool for 3 minutes and then gently press a pumpkin spice kiss into the center of the cookie. The cookie will crack along the edges a little more when you do this.

Put cookie sheet in freezer for 5 minutes so the kisses firm up and do not melt.

Remove from cookie sheets to wire racks to cool completely.

For the Hershey's Spice Blossoms Recipe, visit:
https://www.hersheys.com/recipes/en_US/recipes/96290/pumpkin-spice-blossoms.html

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pin It Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cookies
In the November issue of Food Network Magazine, I came across a recipe for Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cookies and had to bake them. I increased the amount of pumpkin spice because I wanted the spices to really be the star of this cookie. The aroma while they baked was great from the spices and chocolate, and the cookies have a nice bite and are packed with flavor. The chips are Nestle Toll House Holiday Limited Edition Semi-Sweet Chocolate with Red and Green Colored Morsels. This is a special cookie and you should try it. Add 1 cup of chopped nuts if you desire. Recipe below. Happy Holidays!

Yield: 2 1/2 Dozen Cookies

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups King Arthur All-Purpose Flour

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Coarse Salt

3/4 cup Granulated Sugar

3/4 cup Light Brown Sugar

1 tablespoon Ground Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon Ground Ginger

1/4 teaspoon Ground Allspice

1/4 teaspoon Ground Cloves

1 cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled

2 XL Eggs

1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chips

Directions
Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter in microwave or in a small sauce pan; set aside to cool.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, cloves, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the cooled melted butter, eggs, sugars, and vanilla extract.

Add flour mixture to egg mixture and combine with spatula.

Add chocolate chips and incorporate with spatula.

Once dough has formed, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 10 minutes.

Using a tablespoon or cookie scoop, form and place dough balls on baking sheets.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until cookies are golden.

Wait 3 minutes and then transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Starbucks Pumpkin Pound Cake

Pin It "Copycat" Starbucks Pumpkin Pound Cake

"Copycat" Starbucks Pumpkin Pound Cake

Last year, I bought Starbucks Pumpkin Pound Cake and this recipe tastes just like it and with one bite, you will agree. I adapted the recipe from The Baking ChocolaTess, and reduced the granulated sugar, added ground ginger, and increased the amount of cinnamon and nutmeg to really bring out the spices. The smell from the aromatic spices while baking is divine. I had a warm slice with coffee, and the pumpkin and combination of spices are so yummy. I did not find it as dense as typical pound cakes are. You have to try this! See recipe below.

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups King Arthur All-Purpose Flour

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Coarse Salt

1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon Ground Ginger

1/4 teaspoon Ground Cloves

1/3 cup Granulated Sugar

2/3 cup Brown Sugar, lightly packed

1/4 cup Whole Milk

3 Egg Whites

1 cup Canned Pumpkin

"Copycat" Starbucks Pumpkin Pound Cake

Directions
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a 9x5 loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

In a medium bowl, using a spatula combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugars, milk, and egg whites well.

Add the canned pumpkin, and whisk until combined.

"Copycat" Starbucks Pumpkin Pound Cake - just taken out of the oven!
Slowly add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture, and whisk until incorporated.

Pour the cake batter into the loaf pan.

Tap 3-4 times on the counter to remove any bubbles.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in the pan before removing for 15 minutes, and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

For the recipe, visit The Baking ChocolaTess:
http://www.thebakingchocolatess.com/copycat-starbucks-pumpkin-pound-cake/

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Pumpkin Cookies

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Pumpkin Cookies - soft and yummy!
These tender cookies are like pumpkin pie and pumpkin cake rolled into one cookie. If you have an extra can of pumpkin in your pantry this is a great recipe to try, and is a perfect accompaniment with your favorite cup of tea or coffee. The aromas from the spices and the pumpkin are divine, and will have your kitchen smelling fantastic. The recipe is adapted from Honey & Butter. I increased the ground nutmeg, and added ground cloves for a more robust spice combination. I omitted the granulated sugar and increased the dark brown sugar from 1/2 to 2/3 cup, thus the sugar content was decreased a bit. You do not need to turn your mixer on, just have ready two bowls, a whisk and a spatula for this easy recipe that is packed with flavor. See recipe below.

Yield: 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups King Arthur All-Purpose Flour

1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 teaspoon Coarse Salt

1 tablespoon Ground Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon Ground Ginger

1/2 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon Ground Cloves

2/3 cup Dark Brown Sugar

1/2 cup Vegetable Oil

1 XL Egg

1 1/2 cups chilled Pumpkin Puree

1/2 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

Pumpkin Cookies - the perfect treat

Directions
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves; set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk the dark brown sugar, and the vegetable oil until incorporated.

Add the pumpkin puree and combine with whisk.

Add the egg and vanilla extract, and whisk until incorporated.

Gradually add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and whisk until fully incorporated.

Use a small cookie scoop or a large spoon and drop a rounded tablespoon of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets.

Pumpkin Cookies

Place in freezer for 5 minutes before baking.

Bake for 10 to 14 minutes. My cookies baked in 14 minutes.

Cookies are ready when they start to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

The cookies should be firm when touched.

After 2-3 minutes transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.

For the recipe, visit Honey & Butter:
http://www.honeyandbutter.com/desserts/soft-pumpkin-cookies

-Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Pumpkin Pie

Pin It Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie
Happy Thanksgiving! I woke up at 5am today and after my first cup of coffee, I baked a pumpkin pie for our family dinner tonight. I will make another one this weekend for Allen and I. For the pie crust, I use Ina Garten's pie crust recipe (see link below). I use the pumpkin shape from Paula Deen Pie Press Cutter Set, and the leaf cutout is from Wilton Pie Crust Cutter & Stamp Set. The recipe is adapted from Libby's Famous Pumpkin Pie. I made the following adjustments to the recipe: I added 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, used light brown sugar in place of granulated sugar, and added 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. See recipe below.

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie Ingredients
1 can (12 oz) NESTLE CARNATION Evaporated Milk

1 can (15 oz) LIBBY's 100% Pure Pumpkin

2 X-Large Eggs

3/4 cup Lightly packed Light Brown Sugar

1 teaspoon Granulated Sugar (to sprinkle with cinnamon over decorative cutouts)

1/2 teaspoon Coarse Salt

1 1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon (+ 1 tablespoon to sprinkle with sugar over decorative cutouts)

1/2 teaspoon ground Nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground Ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground Cloves

Pumpkin Pie right out of the oven

Pumpkin Pie Cutout Directions
Roll out 1 pie crust and make as many pumpkin and leaf cutouts as you wish.

Place cutouts on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Brush cutouts lightly with water.

Take 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, and combine in small bowl.

Lightly sprinkle cinnamon-sugar on top. Put aside for now.

Crust cutouts (always make extras just in case)

Pumpkin Pie Directions
Heat oven to 425 degrees.

In a medium sized bowl, add sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves and combine with a spatula. Put aside for now.

In a large bowl, beat eggs with whisk. Add pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture and combine with spatula.

Gradually add evaporated milk stirring with spatula just until combined.

Let pie crust come to room temperature for 15 minutes and place into glass or ceramic pie dish and press sides and bottom firmly.

Crimp crust or decorate as you wish.

Pour pumpkin pie mixture into pie shell.

Bake pumpkin pie at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.

Slice of yummy Pumpkin Pie
Place crust cutouts in oven for 7 to 9 minutes until crust is golden brown. Remove and place on wire rack to cool.

After the first 15 minutes of baking, reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees, place pie shield (I use Mrs. Anderson's Pie Crust Shield) or cut strips of aluminum foil over crust.

Bake for another 40 to 55 minutes until cake tester or toothpick comes out clean. My pumpkin pie took 45 minutes to bake.

Cool pumpkin pie on a wire rack for 2 hours before serving.

After first 20 minutes of cooling, place decorative cutouts gently on top of pie.

If not serving right away, carefully cover with foil and refrigerate until you are ready to serve it.

For the Ina Garten Pie Crust recipe, visit:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/perfect-pie-crust-recipe.html

For Libby's Famous Pumpkin Pie recipe, visit:
https://www.verybestbaking.com/recipes/18470/libbys-famous-pumpkin-pie/

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Chile Pepper Festival 2016 Part 1

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Chile Pepper Festival 2016 Part 1

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Saturday, October 1



Tons of Chileheads and chocolate lovers attended the Chile Pepper Festival at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Live music was abound and there were over 60 vendors selling their spicy goods. The Annual Brooklyn Botanic Garden Chile Pepper Festival is always a fun event. This was our third year attending. This Chile themed event has something for everyone and is not only limited to Chile based hot sauces. The festival has a grand selection of Chile chocolates, fresh Chile peppers, Chile infused products, dried pepper rubs, spicy condiments, spicy ice cream, spices and extracts for cooking and baking and a large selection of hot sauces to satisfy all types of heat palates. I was impressed this year by the way the vendors were set up into categories: Hot Sauce Sorcery, Chile-Chocolate Debauchery, Combustible Condiments, Piquant Pickles & Such, and Hi-Scoville Sweets. This year the festival layout was slightly different and elongated the spread of the tents and booths. This worked out well and made the crowds of people more manageable. This led to much shorter lines at the booths for sampling and shopping. The longest booth lines was two to three minutes and in the past we waited five to ten minutes at some of the more crowded vendor booths. 

Allen of The Two Frys Preparing To Sample Hot Sauces
Sophia about to get some Spicy Chocolates
The grounds at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden are beautiful. The day of the festival it was overcast but cool, and made for great comfortable weather to also see some nature--trees, plants and flowers in addition to visiting the vendors. We spent five hours at the festival this year visiting some friends booths and making new friends. The live music featured NYC-based Hazmat Modine, Afro-Caribbean pop artist Aurelio, Senegalese soul rock Elage Diouf, Algerian beats and Nigerian melodies from Dahka Band and Louisiana bands Lost Bayou Ramblers, and Pilette's Ghost. 

Allen heading to the Chili Pepper Festival Main Area
We tried some hot sauces and hot condiments that were new to us. It is good to see new vendors this year to spice up the festival and add to the diversity of the products for sale. It was great seeing some old friends vending like Kenya Chasten of Guyank Sweet-Hot Pepper Sauce, Jon Bratton of NYC Hot Sauce Company and Vid of Torchbearers Sauces. Every booth visited had friendly and informative staffers that were more than happy to answer any questions about their spicy products, peppers or chocolates, etc. It is important to note there are several benches in the grounds to rest or eat food purchased at the festival. Some events do not offer seating so this is welcome when you need a break. Getting to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens is an easy train trip from Manhattan and even for us coming from the Bronx, we took 2 trains and the trip was just over one hour. Very close to the gate of the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens is the Brooklyn Museum, which we plan to visit soon.

Hot Sauce Sorcery Highlights:

NYC Hot Sauce Company
It is always a pleasure to see our friend Jon Bratton of NYC Hot Sauce Company. NYC Hot Sauce is the only sauce 100% made in NYC. All aspects are done in the city from pepper growing, sauce making, bottling and labeling. The booth was festively decorated with a fall theme with hay and corn stalks. NYC Hot Sauce is my favorite Habanero table sauce and it goes great on everything from eggs, veggies, meats, rice and soup to name just a few foods I have used it on. NYC Hot Sauce is a highly recommended local sauce and available for purchase online.

NYC Hot Sauce Company - Allen Two Frys and Friend Jon Bratton
NYC Hot Sauce Company always a festive booth at events
NYC Hot Sauce Company - Jon Bratton slinging sauce
Guyank Sweet-Hot Pepper Sauce
We were happy to see our good friend Kenya Chasten and his family at the festival. Guyank makes an excellent and tasty hot sauce that is also a family fave around here. Based in Queens NY, Guyank also feature other great products like Fry Bread mix, Guyank Rub, and BBQ Style Sauce. I am always picking up the sauce when I see Kenya and crew so I always have a reserve bottle in the pantry for when I run out. Guyank Hot Sauce is great as a condiment but also to add to your food when cooking. It will bring up the heat to your food and add a punch of flavor. Be sure to try some Guyank Sweet-Hot Sauce.

Guyank Sweet-Hot Pepper Sauce Kenya of Guyank and Allen Two Frys
Guyank Sweet-Hot Pepper Sauce Family - Our friends for several years now
Guyank Sweet-Hot Pepper Sauce - Kenya setting up samples 

Torchbearer Sauces
We had a visit with our friend Vid from Torchbearers to pick up a bottle of one of my favorite sauces, the outstanding "Oh My Garlic" Sauce. Also available from Torchbearer is an impressive line of killer BBQ, Horseradish, Dipping and Hot Sauces. The Hot Sauces run from mild to super extreme, like "The Rapture" and "Zombie Apocalypse". I know "Zombie Apocalypse" is very hot since I tried it years ago and survived. Try some today for an extreme heat experience to remember.

Torchbearer Sauces - Large Selection 
Torchbearer Sauces - Allen's Favorite Torchbearer Sauce "Oh My Garlic"
The Bronx Hot Sauce
They sell The Bronx Hot Sauce at Sophia's job every week at the farmers market that visits the campus. I currently have two bottles in stock in our pantry. It was great to see The Bronx Hot Sauce at the Chile Pepper Festival. The Bronx Hot Sauce uses Serrano peppers grown in the community gardens of the Bronx.

The Bronx Hot Sauce

Pisqueya Dominican Hot Sauce
Sophia was looking forward to Pisqueya Hot Sauce since her Mom is from the Dominican Republic. It was great speaking with owner Maritza Abreu and other family members about the hot sauce. I enjoyed a sample on (moro) rice and beans, and purchased a bottle for future review. Pisqueya comes in two sizes, 3.3 oz. and 6.6 oz.

Pisqueya Dominican Hot Sauce Sampling Table
Pisqueya Dominican Hot Sauce Booth
Pisqueya Dominican Hot Sauce is amazing

Queen Majesty Hot Sauce
It is great to see Queen Majesty Hot Sauce at the festival as we have purchased all their hot sauce products and love them all. I did not get to speak to them this time, but we are fans of the great taste and balanced flavors of the products Queen Majesty offer.

Queen Majesty Hot Sauce - 3 Great Flavors

Beast Feast Maine
Beast Feast Maine was a new sauce company for us featuring a diverse lineup to sample and purchase. Beast Feast offer some great hot sauces and other sauces. Upon first taste, I immediately bought a bottle of their Beast Feast Gourmet Hot Sauce. The flavors and heat were a perfect combo. We look forward to using more sauces from Maine-based Beast Feast in the future. I was glad to have met them for the first time at the festival this year.

Beast Feast Maine Booth
Beast Feast Maine has a great selection of goods

Apinya Thai Food Co.
Allen is a fan of Apinya Spicy Thai Hot Sauce and did some prior research on the web before the festival and wanted to pick up one of Apinya's Thai Rubs and Seasonings. I purchased the hotter of the two rubs in the lineup, Thai Chili & Garlic (Thai Spice Mix). This will be great when we make our homemade stir fry and my chicken wings which we will post on Two Frys. I also picked up another sauce from them I never had before, "NAGA" Thai Chili Sauce.

Apinya Thai Food Co. - Thai Rub
Apinya Thai Food Co. large selection of flavorful and hot Thai Sauces

Bacchanal Sauce
As I visited the Bacchanal Sauce booth I was welcomed by the sauce creators and told about a new product, Mango Hot. I tasted the Bacchanal Original Sauce before and really liked it. Upon tasting the recommended Mango Hot Bacchanal Sauce, I was immediately hooked and purchased a 4 oz. bottle on the spot. This newer Mango Hot is a creamy, fruit and pepper based hot sauce made with Scotch Bonnet Peppers. This sauce is delicious and has full on flavor to accompany the heat. I will be covering Brooklyn-based Bacchanal Sauce in the future.

Bacchanal Sauce Selection
Bacchanal Sauce - Mango Hot Sauce with Scotch Bonnet Peppers

Black Irish Hot Sauce
Black Irish make a great selection of raw and fermented hot sauces. It was the first time I sampled their sauces. I tried the Orange Habanero Sauce and enjoyed the color of the fermented sauce as well as the hot pepper kick. It was one of the newer fermented sauces I sampled and it was very good.

Black Irish Hot Sauce Booth

Homesweet Homegrown Hot Sauces
Homesweet Homegrown have a real nice lineup of hot sauces that are flavorful and fresh tasting. From PA, Homesweet Homegrown had an impressive and large selection of peppers from their farm in cartons for sale from mild to super hot like Ghost and Scorpion peppers. All the pods looked very healthy and ready to be made into your homemade hot sauces. Be sure to check out their Orange Crush Hot Sauce.

Homesweet Homegrown Hot Sauces Fresh Chilis
Homesweet Homegrown Hot Sauces Ghost Peppers from PA.
Homesweet Homegrown Hot Sauces - Signature Hot Sauces
Homesweet Homegrown Hot Sauces - Super Hots Ghost Pepper Close Up

Redhead Hot Sauce
When I visited this booth, I tried a sample of one of the sauces, Redhead Original. Redhead Original has heat and a fantastic robust flavor profile. It was good to see this local company again this year at the festival. The original sauce would be great as a condiment on cheese and crackers or hor d'oeuvres.

Redhead Hot Sauce - Great Local Stuff
Redhead Hot Sauce Booth