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Monday, February 17, 2014

Chocolate Heart Cookies

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Chocolate Heart Cookies

Chocolate Heart Cookies
For Valentine's Day, I baked Chocolate Heart Cookies for hubby and me. This recipe is the first chocolate sugar cookie recipe I have made. I searched on the web for months before deciding on Sweetopia's recipe. The rich chocolate taste of the cookie and chewy texture was delightful. The chocolate dough was easy to work using rolling pin technique to roll out the dough in between two sheets of parchment paper. I used 4 different heart cutters for my shapes and rolled a quarter of the dough at a time keeping the rest in the fridge to keep it cool. 

Large Chocolate Heart Cookies
Here is the link to the chocolate sugar cookie recipe: http://sweetopia.net/2013/12/chocolate-sugar-cookie-recipe-cut-out-cookies/.

Large and tiny Chocolate Heart Cookies
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 Salt

Chocolate Heart Cookies all stacked up.

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.

4 heart cutters I used

Different Wilton sprinkles, pearls, and sugars I used on the cookies
Scrape sides of bowl with spatula and mix again for 5-10 seconds more.

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

Add Vanilla 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.

Chocolate Hearts Cookies cooled and ready for decorating

Chocolate Heart Cookies close-up
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.

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

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

More close-ups of Chocolate Heart Cookies

Close-up of some of the Chocolate Heart cookies
Place cookie shapes on parchment lined baking sheet and space apart 2 inches.

Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes, or until center of cookie no longer looks wet. My cookies baked in 10 minutes.

Let cookies cool in baking sheet for 10 minutes and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely for 1 hour.

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

Once cookies have cooled, decorate as desired.

Chocolate Heart Cookies close-up pic
Royal Icing
Go to Joy of Baking: http://www.joyofbaking.com/RoyalIcing.html for the tutorial and recipe for royal icing with Egg Whites or Meringue Powder. I prefer the Egg Whites recipe and think the other is quite bland.

Use Royal Icing immediately or transfer to airtight containers as it hardens when exposed to air.

I tinted some of the icing to get pink and transferred to Squeeze Bottles using a funnel to prevent it from spilling. When you are not using the bottles keep the tip covered. If the icing hardens, spray a little bit of water and shake bottle well holding the tip with your finger.

Tiny and Large Chocolate Heart Cookies close-up
Do the borders first and let them dry completely 2-6 hours before filling the cookie. If you add sprinkles over the filled icing do it while it is wet.

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

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Heart-Shaped Cherry Pie

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Heart-Shaped Cherry Pie

Heart-Shaped Pocket Cherry Pie, so yummy!
I had 5 pounds of Cherries in my freezer and a few days ago baking a Cherry Pie came to mind. I decided to make the pies heart-shaped since Valentine's is approaching. The Pie Crust was flaky and the Cherry Pie filling was a little sweet and a little tart and oh so satisfying!

Heart-Shaped Pocket Cherry Pie, devour in a few bites!
I had to thaw the Cherries last night, and this morning removed the stems and pits. I do not own a Cherry Pitter yet, but found a great tip to remove the pit. Use the thicker end of a chopstick to push the pit out of each Cherry. If you are making one 9-inch pie, leave the Cherries whole but for the pocket pies, roughly chop the Cherries. It worked perfectly though it was time consuming. I did this step after making the Pie Crust. You can find the tutorial on removing pits from Cherries with a chopstick at:

Pie Crust ready to chill
Perfect Pie Crust
I made the Pie Crust from The Pioneer Woman Cooks A Year of Holidays by Ree Drummond (pg. 286). I adore the recipes Ree shares on her blog, show on Food Network and cookbooks, which I proudly own all! Hubby got me this newest food tome as one of my Christmas gifts and I cherish it. This Pie Crust is a cinch to make. You do not need to use a mixer, just a Pastry Cutter.

Makes two 9-inch Pie Crusts

Heart-shaped Cookie Cutter and Pastry Cutter

Ingredients
3 cups All-Purpose Flour

¾ cup Vegetable Shortening; cut into pieces (I used Crisco)

¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) cold Unsalted Butter, cut into pieces

1 extra large Egg

1 teaspoon Salt

1 tablespoon Distilled White Vinegar

5 tablespoons cold Water

Cherry Filling - yum!

Directions
Combine the Flour, Salt, Shortening, and Butter in a large bowl.

Using a Pastry Cutter, gradually work it all together until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Beat Egg with a fork and add it to the mixture along with the Vinegar and cold Water.

Stir together until combined, adding another tablespoon or two of cold Water, if it needs the moisture.

Form the mixture into two balls; wrap each in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours. If you are not using the Pie Crust immediately, wrap each in individual plastic freezer bags and place in freezer. Remove from freezer 30 minutes before you need them.

Take ½ of 1 of the cold Pie Crust and sprinkle flour on work surface and on rolling pin, and roll out a nice circle. Take a heart-shaped cookie cutter, and dip in Flour and cut out shape and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Repeat until you have used up all the Dough. I got 16 hearts, which made 8 pocket pies.

Crimped and ready to bake

Cherry Pie
I used the Cherry Pie recipe from: http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/cherry-pie/.

Ingredients
5 cups Cherries, sweet or sour (or both), pitted

½ cup Sugar

¼ cup Corn Starch

1 tablespoon, cold Unsalted Butter, cut into tiny pieces

1 extra large Egg, beaten

1 tablespoon Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed

1 teaspoon Lemon Zest

½ teaspoon Pure Almond Extract

½ teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

Wilton White Sanding Sugar or Sugar for sprinkling

Pies out the oven

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, toss together Cherries, Sugar, Lemon Juice and Zest, Extracts and Corn Starch until evenly coated.

Spoon 2 tablespoons of the Cherry Pie filling onto one heart half. Repeat process until you are done. Take a tiny piece of Butter and place over each Pie Filling. Using a Pastry Brush or your finger, go around the edge of the Dough with beaten Egg, so it will seal properly. Cover with the other heart half, and with the edge of fork and go around the edge of the Dough crimping down to seal it. Brush tops with Egg and sprinkle with Sanding Sugar. Take knife and make a few slits on top of each pocket pie. I made an x.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

Cool in baking sheet for 15 minutes; remove to a rack and cool for at least 30 more minutes. Serve warm or place in fridge to cool. Serve with vanilla bean ice cream if desired.

Enjoy! :)

-Sophia/Two Frys

Thursday, February 6, 2014

NYC Just Food Conference 2014

Pin It JUST FOOD CONFERENCE
Teachers College and Off-Site Locations in New York City
April 5 and 6, 2014

On April 5 and 6, 2014, JUST FOOD will host the annual Just Food Conference in partnership with the Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy. This two-day event will offer opportunities for the general public, food professionals, CSA members, community organizers and farmers to come together for workshops, skill-building sessions, all-day intensives, and tours. The conference will provide attendees with opportunities to learn about national farm and food issues, CSA trends, and cooking and food preservation techniques, as well as ways to mobilize communities in order to increase access to farm-fresh, locally grown food.


JUST FOOD CONFERENCE 2014: Just Food Website

JUST FOOD FB: Just Food Facebook Official

This is a important event for the city so make your plans now.

Allen/Two Frys