Thursday, December 25, 2014

Vanilla and Chocolate Christmas Sugar Cookies

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Snowflakes
For my Christmas Cookies, I used Vanilla and Chocolate dough. I love Sweetopia's Chocolate Sugar Cookie recipe. The rich chocolate taste of the cookie and chewy texture is delightful. The chocolate dough is easy to work using a rolling pin to roll out the dough in between two sheets of parchment paper. I used multiple cutters for my shapes and rolled a quarter of the dough at a time keeping the rest in the fridge until I was ready to use it.

Christmas Stockings
For the Chocolate Sugar Cookie recipe please visit Sweetopia: http://sweetopia.net/2013/12/chocolate-sugar-cookie-recipe-cut-out-cookies/.

Snowmen

Chocolate Sugar Cookie
Ingredients
2 cups (4 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened

2 cups Sugar

2 Extra Large Eggs

3 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

4 cups All-Purpose Flour

1 ½ cups Cocoa Powder

1 teaspoon Kosher Salt

Reindeer

Reindeer

Directions
Sift Flour, Cocoa Powder and Salt in large bowl and combine with spatula; put aside.

Cut each stick of Butter into 8 pieces.

Cream the Butter and Sugar together in a bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment on low to medium speed. Mix until incorporated, about 1 minute.

Scrape sides of bowl with spatula and mix again for 5-10 seconds more.

Chocolate Boys and Girls Sugar Cookies

Vanilla Boys and Girls Sugar Cookies

Add Eggs one at a time. Scrape down bowl with spatula and mix again for another 10 seconds.

Add Vanilla Extract and mix for 1 minute.

Slowly add Flour mixture to bowl and mix on low speed for 1 minute. When Dough clumps around paddle attachment, it is ready.

Use rolling pin and roll out Dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper. Cover Dough with plastic wrap and cool in fridge for 1-2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Trees

Take one quarter of Dough, and roll out further and cut out desired shapes. Repeat rolling the Dough and cutting shapes until you have used it all.

Place cookie shapes on parchment lined baking sheet and space apart 2 inches.

Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until center of cookie no longer looks wet. My cookies baked in 10 minutes.

Let cookies cool in baking sheet for 5 minutes and transfer to wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.

Let cookie sheets cool completely before you bake again. Repeat until you have baked all the cookies.

Ornaments

Vanilla Sugar Cookies
Please visit Joy of Baking for the Sugar Cookie recipe and directions:
http://www.joyofbaking.com/SugarCookies.html

Royal Icing
For the Royal Icing recipe, please visit Joy of Baking: http://www.joyofbaking.com/RoyalIcing.html

I made the Royal Icing with Egg Whites, Lemon Juice and Confectioners Sugar, but there is also a recipe using Meringue Powder. The video tutorials are helpful if it is your first time making Royal Icing.

I double each recipe and made 2 consistencies of Royal Icing for borders and to fill the cookies.

I put aside the white icing I needed and tinted the rest with Wilton Gel Colors in teal and royal blue. I used plastic containers to color the Royal Icing.

I transferred the icing immediately into Squeeze Bottles using a funnel to prevent it from spilling. When you are not using the bottles, keep the tips covered. If the icing hardens due to exposure to air, 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.

Candy Canes

Decorating the Cookies
Once all your cookies have cooled, do the borders first and let them dry completely before filling the cookies. If you add sprinkles over the filled icing do it while it is wet. Decorate as desired.

Let the cookies dry overnight. I place them in cookie sheets and leave them uncovered for 4 to 5 hours and then cover with plastic wrap overnight to complete drying.

Enjoy! Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Italian Anisette Cookies

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Italian Anisette Cookies
I have been buying Italian Anisette Cookies for many years but never baked any. I came across a recipe for these cookies in Mother Thyme and had to try them. The recipe is very simple to follow and the cookies are soft and have a cake like texture with a yummy Anise taste. If you never had Anise cookies the taste is like black licorice. These cookies are the perfect dessert with coffee or tea. The Anise Glaze adds to the Anise flavor in the cookies and I sprinkled Red, White, Green Nonpareils for the holidays!

For the recipe please visit, Mother Thyme: http://www.motherthyme.com/2012/12/anise-cookies.html

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Spritz Cookies

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Holiday Spritz Cookies
Spritz Cookies are crisp when you bite into them and soft inside. I made these Spritz Cookies using my Cuisinart Electric Cookie Press. The recipe is from Cook's Illustrated Holiday Baking, 2011, (pgs. 26-27). These Spritz Cookies have a great buttery flavor and the shapes hold well. I used various colored sugars and sprinkles. Spritz Cookies are also beautiful on their own using different shapes from your cookie press and you can tint the dough in different colors. If you want to change the flavor profile, substitute the pure vanilla extract to almond, coconut, orange or lemon extract.

Makes about 6 dozen 1 1/2 inch cookies.

Ingredients
1 Extra Large Egg, just the Yolk

1 tablespoon Heavy Cream

1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

2 sticks (16 tablespoons) Unsalted Butter, softened

2/3 cup Granulated Sugar

2 cups All-Purpose Flour

Colored Sugars and Sprinkles, optional

Gel Food Coloring, optional

Directions
Heat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl, beat Egg Yolk, Heavy Cream and Vanilla Extract with a fork until combined; set aside.

In a bowl of your mixer with the paddle attachment, cream Butter, Sugar and Salt on medium high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.

Scrape down bowl with spatula.

With mixer running on medium speed, add Yolk-Cream-Vanilla mixture and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds.

With mixer running 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.

Dough will be soft, but do not refrigerate.

If you want to tint dough, separate Dough into bowls depending on how many colors you want. Add 4 to 5 drops at a time and combine with a spatula until desired color is reached.

Fit your cookie press with desired disk to form cookies.

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

If desired, decorate with colored sugars and sprinkles.

Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies are light golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes.

Remember to cool cookie sheets completely before you press more cookies or the cookies will lose their shape.

Cool cookies on sheet for about 3 to 5 minutes and transfer to wire rack and cool completely, about 1 hour.

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Monday, December 22, 2014

Coconut Cake

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Coconut Cake
This month, I baked three Coconut Cakes for the holidays. This recipe is from, The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook 2001-2010 (pgs. 498-99). I love this Coconut Cake recipe and it is the best tasting one I baked thus far. This cake is for serious coconut lovers. The only adjustments I made to the recipe was adding ½ cup of Shredded Coconut Flakes in the cake batter and reduced the Confectioners Sugar to 2 ½ cups instead of 3 cups in the Coconut Frosting. This cake is dense and rich with a creamy Coconut Frosting topped with Toasted Coconut.

Toasted Coconut
Ingredients
2 cups Sweetened Shredded Coconut Flakes

Directions
Heat oven to 450 degrees.

Place the shredded Coconut on a baking sheet in oven for about 10 minutes, stirring after 5 minutes. Keep an eye on the Coconut. It toasts up pretty quick.

Place on cooling rack to cool completely.

When cool, place in a large bowl and set aside.

Coconut Cake
Ingredients
2 ¼ cups Cake Flour, plus more for the cake pans

¾ cup Cream of Coconut (Goya)

5 Extra Large Egg Whites, plus 1 Egg, room temperature

¼ cup Water

1 teaspoon Coconut Extract

1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

1 cup Granulated Sugar

1 tablespoon Baking Powder

¾ teaspoon Table Salt

1 ½ sticks (12 tablespoons) Unsalted Butter, softened and cut into 12 pieces

½ cup Sweetened Shredded Coconut Flakes

Coconut Cake - divine!

Directions
Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.

Grease cake pan, line with parchment paper (if using 2 9-inch pans; omit parchment paper if using 9 x 13 Baking Dish) and grease and sprinkle with Cake Flour. Tap on counter and get rid of excess Cake Flour.

Whisk Cream of Coconut, Water, Egg Whites, Egg, Coconut and Vanilla Extracts together in a medium bowl.

In a hand-held or stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix Cake Flour, Granulated Sugar, Baking Powder, and Salt on low speed until combined, about 1 minute.

Increase speed to medium, beat Butter into the Flour mixture, a couple of pieces at a time, about 1 minute. Continue to beat the mixture until it resembles moist crumbs, about 1 minute.

Beat in all but ½ cup of the Cream of Coconut mixture, then increase speed to medium and beat until smooth, light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add remaining Cream of Coconut mixture until batter is combined, about 1 minute.

With a spatula gently fold in Sweetened Shredded Coconut Flakes.

Scrape batter and pour into the prepared pans, smooth tops with spatula, and lightly tap the pans against the counter top two to four times to settle the batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.

If you are using 2 9-inch cake pans, cool cakes in pans for 10 minutes. Run a small knife around the edge of the cakes, then flip them carefully onto a wire rack. Peel off the parchment paper, flip the cakes right side up, and cool completely before frosting, about 2 hours.

If you are using a 9 x 13 Baking Dish (I used Pyrex Glass Baking Dish), cool cake completely before frosting. If you want to place on decorative platter, cool cake in pan for 10 minutes and run a small knife around the edge of the cake and flip carefully onto platter.

Toasted Coconut - pure yumminess!

Coconut Frosting
Ingredients
2 tablespoons Heavy Cream

1 teaspoon Coconut Extract

1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

Pinch Table Salt

2 sticks (16 tablespoons) Unsalted Butter, cut into chunks and softened

¼ cup Cream of Coconut

2 ½ cups Confectioners Sugar

 2 cups Sweetened Shredded Coconut (Toasted)

Directions
In a small bowl, stir the Cream, Coconut and Vanilla Extracts, and Salt together.

In a hand-held or stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat Butter and Cream of Coconut on medium-high speed until smooth, about 30-45 seconds.

Reduce mixer speed to medium-low and gradually beat in Confectioners Sugar, then continue to beat until smooth, about 3 minutes. Beat in the Cream mixture. Increase mixer speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.

Spread desired frosting over the cooled cake. Sprinkle as much of the Toasted Coconut Flakes over the cake. Cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and keep in fridge until ready to serve. I chilled the cake overnight.

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Pumpkin Pie

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Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie
I always bake Pumpkin Pie for Thanksgiving dinner at my Mom's. Instead of wasting money shopping on Black Friday, I stayed home in my PJ's and baked another Pumpkin Pie for Allen and me. I usually make the famous Libby's recipe, but this year I was inspired by Ina Garten's, Ultimate Pumpkin Pie and Perfect Pie Crust recipes from Foolproof Recipes You Can Trust (pgs. 241-244). To the recipe, I added ground Clove and used Pure Vanilla Extract in place of Rum. The Pie Crust recipe is simple and perfection, but if you are pressed for time use Pillsbury Pie Crust. I had a mishap taking the pie out of the oven when one of my hot pads slipped out of my hands. I broke a piece of the pie crust and burned myself, so please be careful. The texture of this pie is silky and it is really creamy. The addition of Orange Zest and ground Clove really boosts the flavor and the taste is sublime. 

For Ina's Perfect Pie Crust recipe please visit: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/perfect-pie-crust-recipe.html

Pie Filling Ingredients
1 can (15 ounce) can Pure Pumpkin (Libby's)

½ cup Light Brown sugar, lightly packed

¼ cup Granulated Sugar

½-teaspoon ground Cinnamon

¼-teaspoon ground Ginger

¼-teaspoon ground Nutmeg

¼-teaspoon ground Clove

½-teaspoon Kosher Salt

3 Extra Large Eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup Heavy Cream

½ cup Whole Milk

1 ½ teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

2 teaspoons Grated Orange Zest (1 Naval Orange)

Pumpkin Pie, my slice - yum!

Pie Crust Cutouts (optional)
1 Egg White
1 tablespoon Granulated Sugar

Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Use the extra crust to make cutouts such as the Pumpkin press cutout I used. Take Egg White and Brush over cutouts and sprinkle Sugar over the top. Bake in a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 7 to 9 minutes. Remove and cool on rack.

Pie Filling Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Line pie pan with unbaked pie crust. Crimp crust and place ceramic pie weights or dried beans to weigh crust down.

Bake crust for 15 minutes.

Remove beans or ceramic pie weights and aluminum foil or pie shield, and bake uncovered for an additional 5 minutes. Take out.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine with a spatula the Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Clove, and Salt.

In a large bowl, add the Pumpkin, Brown Sugar, Granulated Sugar, the Spice Mixture, Orange Zest, Eggs, Cream, Milk and Vanilla Extract and whisk until combined.

Pour Pumpkin filling into baked pie shell.

Bake for 55 to 65 minutes until filling is set and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Put on cooling rack to cool completely, about 2 hours.

Once the pie has cooled, place cutouts over the pie.

Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate until ready to serve.

If you wish, serve with vanilla bean ice cream or whip cream.

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Reaper of Sorrow Hot Sauce - Born To Hula

Pin It Reaper of Sorrow Hot Sauce - Born To Hula

A New Flavorful, Hot, and Edible Reaper hot sauce is now out (I mention edible as some Reaper Pepper products out there are just too hot for their own good). This extremely hot sauce is a real treat to add to your food. This is a smooth blend of Red Jalapenos and Carolina Reapers with a tomato base.

Reaper of Sorrow Cheeseburgers, HOT and Delicious!
This is what is called a Sriracha style hot sauce and I agree. The wonderful flavors and all together taste of this bright red, ultra hot sauce goes great on everything I tried it on. I kitchen tested this sauce for several weeks on a variety of foods.

Some of the foods I topped with this versatile Reaper of Sorrow sauce include Pasta with Red Sauce, Chinese Stir Fry, Oven Roasted Homemade Vegetables, Egg Rolls, Eggs and Nachos. My favorite was the Reaper of Sorrow Homemade Cheeseburger which was amazing (see photo). Reaper of Sorrow has a bite straight up, but when cooked with or added to food its flavors fuse well. Some recent sauces out there are just too hot for enjoyment. After all, the Reaper Pepper is currently the worlds hottest pepper on the Scoville Scale.

If you have family that cannot handle the more extreme hot sauce, just mix a small amount with sour cream and then put that on nacho chips or mexican food. It was really good with the cheese in my cheeseburger. The dairy will tone down the intensity a touch. This sauces focus is on flavor not heat, although it is very hot and one of the hotter sauces that I have had. Born To Hula is a local company based in New Jersey. We have been fans of Born to Hula for several years. I also recommend the Smokin' Pineapple sauce they make for your rice dishes, chicken wings, fish and pork.

The ingredients are very natural and sometimes simple is better. The Reaper of Sorrow Sauce contains Carolina Reaper peppers, Red Jalapenos, red wine vinegar, tomatoes, lemon, onions and garlic. The Siriacha Style is evident in the use of the tasty Red Jalapenos to compliment the heat of the Carolina Reaper Peppers. The pepper taste combined with the other vegetables hit the spot. I must also point out that the aroma of this sauce is a winner as well as the taste. Great texture and colors also compliment this sauce. Order Reaper of Sorrow today from Born to Hula. I recommend you order a few bottles as it may go fast in a Chili-heads household. The bottle note pre warns people it is extremely hot. I think they should put a warning also stating this bottle contains extreme flavor (as well as heat). Special thanks to Ed Bucholtz for reaching out to us to cover his new product.


The hard work done by the creator, Ed Bucholtz really paid off as this sauce shines for fans of both flavor and heat. I am giving this sauce a seal of approval from our hot sauce division at Two Frys. This is the first sauce to receive the Two Frys "Seal of Approval" as well as a recommendation from me. The "Seal of Approval" is a new thing we are going to give hot sauces that really get the combo of both flavor and heat right. I was going to start the "Seal of Approval" in January 2015, but this sauce is just too good not to get it.

To order Born To Hula products and for further information, please visit:
Born To Hula: www.borntohula.com

Born To Hula on Facebook: www.facebook.com/BTH52

-Allen/Two Frys