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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Cranberry Orange Cookies

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Cranberry Orange Cookies
My holiday baking has officially begun with these Cranberry Orange Cookies. The cookies taste amazing from the combination of cranberries, orange zest, orange juice and almond extract and smell great too. I came across a Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies recipe on the blog, Mom on Timeout (see link below), and adjusted it by adding freshly squeezed orange juice. I also used my Ateco round cutter, instead of forming the dough into a log shape and slicing before baking as the recipe suggests. This recipe make 15 cookies if you use a round cutter, and 30 cookies if you form the dough into a log shape and slice them.

Close-up of Cranberry Orange Cookies

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour

3/4 cups Granulated Sugar, divided + 1 tablespoon to sprinkle over cookies

1 cup, 2 sticks Unsalted Butter, cubed and cold

1/2 cup Dried Cranberries

Zest of 1 Orange

2 teaspoons Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice

1 teaspoon Almond Extract

Cranberry Orange Cookies

Directions
Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a processor pulse a few times the cranberries and 1/4 cup of sugar. If you do not have a processor, just chop the dried cranberries into smaller pieces and combine with sugar using a spatula. Set aside.

Add flour and remaining sugar in a large bowl and combine with spatula.

Add cubed/cold butter chunks and with a pastry cutter work until you achieve fine crumb texture.


Cranberry Orange Cookies on wire rack cooling
Add almond extract, cranberries and sugar mixture, orange zest and orange juice.

Use your hands and knead dough until combined and forms a ball.

Either shape dough into a log shape or form into round shape and cover with plastic wrap. Set in fridge for 2 hours.

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Cranberry Orange Cookies yumminess

If you did a log shape cut slices that are 1/4 inch thick.

I rolled out the dough and with a cutter cut round shapes.

Place cookies on baking sheet and lightly sprinkle sugar over the top before baking.

Bake for 12 to 18 minutes. My cookies baked in 18 minutes.

Cranberry Orange Cookies, see the orange zest on top! 
Bake until cookies are set and just before they start to brown.

After 2 to 3 minutes, remove cookies from baking sheet and transfer to wire rack to cool completely. This is where I ate one warm just to give it the taste test. Yum!

For the Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies recipe, please visit Mom on Timeout: http://www.momontimeout.com/2015/11/cranberry-orange-shortbread-cookies-recipe/

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys



Saturday, November 28, 2015

Black Friday Ham Feast

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Black Friday Ham Feast
Instead of running out at midnight in a frenzy to shop for the best deals in town, Allen and me stay home in our PJs and cook either a turkey or ham feast. We always celebrate Thanksgiving with our family, and on Black Friday we cook all day and have food for days. It is our tradition every year with Christmas music playing in the background. Allen made the hickory smoked ham and stuffing. I made the jalapeño chives mashed potatoes and share the recipe below. The chives are from Allen's urban garden.

Smoked Ham with pineapple slices and maraschino cherries

Close-up of Smoked Ham with pineapple slices and maraschino cherries

I love roasted jalapeños in mashed potatoes and it adds great texture. The sour cream makes it so rich tasting and creamy. I used 8 jalapeños which add a spicy kick.

All the yummy sides for our Smoked Ham feast.

Smoked Ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, rolls, gravy, cranberry and black olives

Jalapeño Chives Mashed Potatoes Ingredients
2 teaspoons Chives

5-8 Jalapeños (depends on size and how much heat you want)

3-5 pounds Potatoes

1/2 cup Sour Cream

1 1/2 cups Milk

6 tablespoons, Butter

Kosher Salt

Olive Oil

Smoked Ham ready to go in oven

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Wash jalapeños in cold water and pat dry with paper towel.

Cut top off and slice jalapeños in half, remove seeds and membrane or leave them in if you want it real spicy.

Coat jalapeños with olive oil and salt on both sides. Place on cookie sheet.

Adding jalapeños

Adding chives

Roast in oven for about 20 minutes; turn over half way through.

Let cool and chop, set aside for now.

While the jalapeños are roasting, peel and cut potatoes in half. Place potatoes in a large pot with cold water and add salt.

Jalapeño Chives Mashed Potatoes

Bring potatoes to a boil on medium-high heat, then lower heat and simmer uncovered for 12-15 minutes. Make sure potatoes are fork tender.

In a small saucepan, heat milk and butter until butter melts and is hot. Do not let it boil. Remove from heat until potatoes are cooked.

When potatoes are cooked, drain in colander and return to pot or a large bowl. Mash the potatoes with a masher until you get the texture you want.

Stove Top Turkey Stuffing with celery and onions
Slowly add melted butter and milk mixture and stir with a spatula. Keep adding as you mash until you have poured it all in and the potatoes have a creamy texture.

Add sour cream, then the jalapeños, and chives blending together well with spatula. Add 2 teaspoons of salt if needed.

-Sophia and Allen/Two Frys

Friday, November 27, 2015

Cranberry Apple Cake

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Cranberry Apple Cake
I always wanted to bake a cake with fresh cranberries for Thanksgiving. I just did not have a recipe I trusted until I came across this Cranberry Apple Cake recipe in my Ina Garten, How Easy is That? cookbook, pgs. 204-205 and had to make it. I trust Ina Garten's recipes more than any other chef out there since I have never been disappointed, and the results are always a smashing success! This recipe also has orange zest, fresh orange juice, apple and cinnamon and is the perfect dessert to share with your family for Thanksgiving. It has a little bit of sweet with the right amount of tartness. A nice cup of coffee or tea goes great with a warm slice of this cake.

Cranberry Apple Cake ready to go in the oven

Cake Ingredients
12 ounces fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over for stems

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and diced

1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

2 oranges, 1 tablespoon grated orange zest

1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1 1/8 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided

2 x-large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup sour cream

1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Cranberry Apple Cake fresh out the oven

Directions
Heat the oven to 325 degrees.

Take a paper towel and dry rinsed cranberries until dry.

Combine the cranberries, apple, brown sugar, orange zest, orange juice, and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside.

My slice of Cranberry Apple Cake
In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs on medium-high speed for 2 minutes.

With the mixer on medium, add 1 cup of the granulated sugar, butter, vanilla, and sour cream and beat just until combined.

On low speed, slowly add the flour and salt.

First slice cut, Cranberry Apple Cake
Pour the fruit mixture evenly into a 10-inch glass pie plate.

Pour the batter over the fruit, covering it completely.

Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar and 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon and sprinkle it over the batter.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean and the fruit is bubbling around the edges. My cake baked in 55 minutes.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cranberry and Apple Cake, Ina Garten, How Easy Is That? cookbook

For the Cranberry Apple Cake recipe, please visit:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/easy-cranberry-and-apple-cake-recipe.html

Cranberry Apple Cake, Copyright 2010, Barefoot Contessa, How Easy Is That?, All Rights Reserved.

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Pumpkin Pie

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Pumpkin Pie with decorative leaf and pumpkin cutouts
Pumpkin cutouts
I made two pumpkin pies, one for Thanksgiving dinner with my family, and the other for Allen and me. For the pie crust, I use Ina Garten's pie crust recipe (see link below). You can make the pie crust a day or two ahead and keep it covered with plastic wrap in the fridge until ready to use. I let the pie crust come to room temperature before rolling out the dough. I use Paula Dean's pumpkin shape for the crust cutouts. For the leaf cutout, I use NorPro Pie-Top Cutter. The pumpkin pie recipe is the famous Libby's Famous Pumpkin Pie except I add 1/2 teaspoon of Nutmeg.

Close-up of leaf and pumpkin pie cutouts

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

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

2 X-Large Eggs, + 1 Egg just Egg Whites, lightly beaten, separated

3/4 cup Granulated Sugar, + 1 teaspoon to sprinkle around crust

1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon, + 1 tablespoon to sprinkle around crust

1/2 teaspoon ground Nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground Ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground Cloves

Pumpkin cutouts

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

Place pumpkin cutouts on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Brush cutouts lightly with Egg Wash.

Take 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and combine in small bowl. Lightly sprinkle cinnamon-sugar over the egg wash.

Put aside for now.

My slice of pumpkin pie! Yum!
Pumpkin cutouts cooling

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 2 Eggs. 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. I did the crimp method for one pie and used leaf crust cutouts on the other pie.

Carefully pour pumpkin pie mixture into pie shell.

Pumpkin pie, first 2 slices cut
Brush the outer edge of the crust lightly with the egg wash and sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture around it.

Bake pumpkin pie at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.

Place pumpkin cutouts in oven for 7 to 9 minutes until crust is golden brown. Remove and place on cooling rack for 1/2 hour.

After the first 15 minutes of baking, reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees, place pie shield (Mrs. Anderson's Pie Crust Shield) or cut strips of aluminum foil over crust and bake for another 40 to 55 minutes until cake tester or toothpick comes out clean. My pumpkin pie took 45 minutes to bake.

Two pieces of pumpkin pie left for my family to have

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

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

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

Enjoy with a dollop of whip cream or with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

Mrs. Anderson's 10-inch Pie Crust Shield
For the Ina Garten Pie Crust recipe, please visit:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/perfect-pie-crust-recipe.html

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

Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Apple Pie

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Apple Pie - yummy!!!
My coworker Carole bought a lovely brand spanking new red pie dish to work, so I brought it home and baked her an Apple Pie. I doubled this recipe and made an extra one for Allen and me to devour, and we sure did in just a few days. For the pie crust, I use Ina Garten's (see link below) Pie Crust recipe. You can make the pie crust a day or two ahead and keep it covered with plastic wrap in the fridge until ready to use. I let it come to room temperature before rolling out the dough. I use Paula Dean's Apple shape for the crust cutouts. The Apple Pie recipe is the famous Pillsbury Apple Pie, but I change it up by mixing apples (sweet and tart), and adding more cinnamon and nutmeg for a robust flavor.

Apple Pie Ingredients
2-3 Granny Smith Apples, peeled and sliced

2-3 Braeburn Apples, peeled and sliced

3/4 cup Granulated Sugar

2 tablespoons, All Purpose Flour

1/4 teaspoon, Kosher Salt

1 tablespoon, ground Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon, ground Nutmeg

1 tablespoon, freshly squeezed Lemon Juice, plus extra to sprinkle on Apples as you peel and slice to prevent browning

Crust Topping
1 Egg White, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon Granulated Sugar

Apple Pie filling

Directions
Peel and slice apples using a corer and sprinkle lemon juice to prevent browning. Add sliced apples to large bowl and keep covered with paper towel.

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl, add the apples, sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon juice and combine with spatula.

Place apple mixture into pie dish over crust.

Top with second pie crust. Take excess crust and tuck in and seal together and with the tines of a fork press down all around the crust.

Make 4 slits on the top of crust and add decorative Apple Cutouts.

Brush the crust lightly with egg white and sprinkle sugar all around.

Bake Apple Pie for 40-55 minutes until apples are tender and crust is golden brown. My pies took 50 minutes to bake.

Cover the edge of the crust with a pie shield or with cut strips of aluminum foil after the first 20 minutes to prevent burnt edges. If you do not own a pie shield, I recommend you purchase one. I use Mrs. Anderson's Pie Crust Shield.

After you take the Apple Pie out of the oven, let it cool completely on a cooling rack for 2-3 hours before serving.

Enjoy with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

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

-Sophia/Two Frys

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Coffin Cookies

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Coffin Cookies
Feliz Dia de los Muertos/ Happy Day of the Dead! To honor the dead this year, I made coffin cookies. I ordered this nifty coffin cutter and imprint designs from Tovola and had a lot of fun making these cookies. I put aside enough dough from the previous post, Halloween Cookies to make these coffins and used the royal icing as well. The full recipe for the Chocolate Sugar Cookie and Royal Icing is below.

Coffin Cookies Set

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

Coffin Cookies Set

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.

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.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Take one quarter of dough, and roll out to desired thickness 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. Put cookies in the freezer for 5 minutes before baking. They hold their shape when you do this.

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. I put the cookie sheet in the freezer for 5 minutes. Repeat until you have baked all the cookies.

Coffin Cookies cooling

Royal Icing
Ingredients
4 Egg Whites

4 teaspoons Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed

6 cups Confectioners Sugar, sifted

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

Transfer to stand or hand held mixer with paddle attachment.

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.

I separated the icing in plastic containers with lids according to the different colors I needed for tinting and used Americolor Soft Gel Paste Food Colors.

Keep the containers covered until you are ready to color. Royal Icing hardens fast so keep it covered when not in use.

White Squeeze Bottles
I transferred the icing immediately into small Squeeze Bottles using a funnel to prevent it from spilling. Keep the squeeze bottle tips covered.

If the Royal 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.

I carefully added the royal icing into the impressions.

Let dry 4-5 hours or overnight.

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

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

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys