Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter Lemon Cookies

Pin It Easter Lemon Cookies: Bird's Nest, Speckled Eggs, Peeps, Bunny Tails, Bunnies and Chicks

Bird's Nest Cookies
Speckled Egg Cookies
Easter Cookies
This weekend, I baked Lemon Cookies: Bird's Nest, Speckled Eggs, Peeps, Bunny Tails, Bunnies and Chicks and Gluten Free Almond Sugar Cookies for Easter. With the Lemon Cookies I reduced the sugar by 1/2 cup and to make sure the lemon flavor was pronounced, I added lemon extract, lemon zest and freshly squeezed lemon juice. My kitchen smelled like fresh lemons as the cookies were baking in the oven. Delightful! The Lemon Cookies recipe is adapted from Sweetopia, and the Gluten Free Almond Cookies from Meaningful Eats. I used a Glaze Icing from I Am Baker for the Gluten Free cookies and they are egg free as well. I share all the recipes below.

Peeps
Peeps
Peeps

Lemon Cookies Ingredients

Yield: 3 Dozen Cookies

2 cups (4 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened and each stick cut into 8 cubes

2 Extra Large Eggs

1 1/2 cups Granulated Sugar

5 cups All Purpose Flour (I use King Arthur)

Zest of 2 Lemons

3 tablespoons Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

1 tablespoon Pure Lemon Extract

1 teaspoon Coarse Salt

Bunnies
Bunny Tails

Directions
Cut each stick of butter into 8 pieces.

Sift flour and salt in large bowl and combine with whisk or spatula; put aside.

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.

Easter basket with decorated eggs
Decorated eggs
Add eggs one at a time. Scrape down bowl with spatula and mix again for another 5 seconds.

Add lemon zest, lemon juice, and lemon extract, and mix for 30-45 seconds.

Slowly add flour mixture and mix on low speed for 1-2 minutes.

When dough clumps around paddle attachment it is ready.

Glaze Icing, Egg Free for Gluten Free Almond Cookies 
Royal Icing I made
Form dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and cool in fridge for 1-2 hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Take 1/4 of the dough, use rolling pin and roll out between 2 pieces of parchment paper to desired thickness, dip cutter in a little flour, and cut out shapes. Repeat rolling the dough and cutting shapes until you use it all.

Place shapes on parchment lined baking sheet and space apart 2 inches. Put cookies in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before baking. They hold their shape when you do this.

Easter Cookies
Easter Cookies
Easter Cookies
Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes, or until edges are slightly browned. My cookies baked in 11 minutes.

Let cookies cool in baking sheet for 5 minutes and then 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.

Large Batch Royal Icing
Ingredients
8 Egg Whites

8 teaspoons Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed

12 cups Powdered/Confectioners' Sugar, sifted

A Peep
Another Peep
Peeps!

Directions

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

In a medium size 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.

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.

Bunnies
Close-up, Bunny Tail
I separated the icing in plastic containers with lids according to the different colors I needed for tinting.

I used Americolor Soft Gel Paste Food Color in Turquoise, Green, Yellow, Orange, Fuschia, and Brown.

Keep the containers covered until you are ready to color.

I transferred the icing immediately into 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 lined a cookie sheet with paper towels and placed the cookies on cooling tray over it. I then 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.

Cotton Candy, Coconut Grass, Cadbury Mini Eggs, Wilton Nonpareils, and Marbled Egg Confetti
I used the following for decoration (see above):
Blue Cotton Candy (for bunny tails)
Cadbury Mini Eggs (tops of bird's nest cookies)
Baker's Sweetened Coconut Flakes (coconut grass for bird's nest cookies)
Wilton White Nonpareils (for bunny tails)
Marbled Egg Shaped Confetti by Target (for easter eggs)

Lemon and Gluten Free Almond Cookies and brush - about to get speckled
Speckled Eggs
Speckled Eggs

Speckled Eggs Technique 
Ingredients
1 tablespoon Unsweetened Cocoa

2 1/2 tablespoons Pure Vanilla Extract

1 unused paint brush

Directions
In a small bowl, mix cocoa and vanilla extract with a small spatula until smooth.

Using a paint brush with thick bristles, lightly dip into cocoa mixture and with your finger flick the brush over the cookies.

Speckles will form on the cookies. You may splatter all over your work space so have paper towels covering it. I even got some on the wall. Yikes! Good thing it came right off with a damp sponge.

Repeat until all your egg cookies have the speckled effect.

Let dry completely for 2-3 hours or overnight.

Bird's Nest Cookies
Bird's Nest Cookies

Coconut Grass for Bird's Nest Cookies
Ingredients

2 cups Sweetened Coconut Flakes

5-6 drops AmeriColor Soft Gel Paste in Green

1 teaspoon Water

1 Resealable Bag

Directions
Add coconut flakes in a resealable bag.

Add drops of Green color and water.

Seal bag and shake vigorously until coconut flakes turn green.

Add coconut grass over wet green royal icing.

Press 3 Cadbury Mini Eggs in different colors over the coconut grass.

Let the cookies set for 2-3 hours or overnight.

Bunny Tails, cotton candy and nonpareils
Close-up of Bunny Tail with Nonpareils
Gluten Free Almond Sugar Cookies 
Ingredients

1/2 cup, 1 stick Unsalted Butter, softened and cut into 8 cubes

1/4 cup Coconut Oil, softened

1/2 cup Granulated Sugar

1/4 cup Light Brown Sugar

3 XL Eggs

2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

1/4 teaspoon Pure Almond Extract

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 teaspoon Fine Salt

1 1/4 cup Almond Flour

1 1/2 cups Coconut Flour

Chicks
A chick

Directions
Cut each stick of butter into 8 pieces.

Sift baking soda, almond and coconut flours and salt in large bowl and combine with whisk or spatula; put aside.

Cream the butter, coconut oil, and sugars 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 5 seconds.

Add vanilla and almond extracts, and mix for 30-45 seconds.

Slowly add flour mixture and mix on low speed for 1-2 minutes.

When dough clumps around paddle attachment it is ready.

Form dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and cool in fridge for 1-2 hours or overnight.

Chicks
Chicks
Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Take 1/4 of the dough, use rolling pin and roll out between 2 pieces of parchment paper to desired thickness, dip cutter in a little coconut flour, and cut out shapes. Repeat rolling the dough and cutting shapes until you use it all.

Place shapes on parchment lined baking sheet and space apart 2 inches. Put cookies in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before baking. They hold their shape when you do this.

Bake cookies for 13-15 minutes, or until edges are slightly browned. My cookies baked in 13 minutes.

Let cookies cool in baking sheet for 5 minutes and then 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.

Bunny Tails with Glaze Icing
Bunny Tails with Glaze Icing

Glaze Icing
Ingredients

4 cups Powdered Sugar

6 tablespoons Coconut milk (Silk)

4 tablespoons Light Corn Syrup

2 teaspoons Freshly Squeezed Lemon juice

Directions
In a medium sized bowl, sift powdered sugar.

With mixer speed on medium, add coconut milk, corn syrup and lemon juices and beat for 1-2 minutes.

Turn mixer to low and slowly add powdered sugar until incorporated.

Add 1/2 teaspoon coconut milk if needed until you reach the consistency you want.

Place in plastic containers and add any color you need and then transfer to squeeze bottles.

For the Citrus Sugar Cookie recipe, please visit Sweetopia:
http://sweetopia.net/2012/07/when-life-gives-you-lemons-lemon-cookie-recipe-tutorial/

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

For the Almond Flour Sugar Cookie recipe, please visit Meaningful Eats:
http://blog.meaningfuleats.com/the-best-almond-flour-sugar-cookies-gluten-free-grain-free/

For the Sugar Cookie Frosting (Glaze), please visit I Am Baker:
http://iambaker.net/sugar-cookie-frosting-recipe/

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Lagertha's Shield and Rune Cookies

Pin It Lagertha’s Shield and Rune Cookies

Lagertha's Shield and Rune Cookies
Katheryn Winnick (Lagertha) on Vikings is resilient and beautiful. I love everything about the show and the costumes and shields are intricate. I wanted to make a Lagertha's Shield cookie using royal icing for the colors. I made a simplistic version of the shield since the original design is quite detailed. I saved a little dough from the Lime Shamrock Cookies using a round cutter for the shield, and formed a small spherical cone shape for the top. I made a very small batch of royal icing. Vikings is my favorite show and on this THORsday, I present you Lagertha's Shield and Rune Cookies.

The name FUTHARK, for the The Viking Alphabet corresponds with the first six letters (Fehu, Uruz, Thurisaz, Ansuz, Raidho, and Kaunan). I studied Biological Anthropology in graduate school and took several courses on the Vikings and European Archaeology. I focused my Vikings research during their occupation in Greenland, and have been hooked on the Vikings show since it first aired. I have read all the sagas and studied Viking and Norse mythology. In my teens and twenties, I dabbled in runic divination but never got very far with it. I provide a few links below in case you want to read more about the runic alphabet and the significance of each rune.

Lagertha's Shield and Rune Cookies; bottom left rune: Othila and right next to it Uruz
I made Rune Cookies using a Sesame Shortbread Recipe. The cookies have an appearance of stone, which I think makes the runes look realistic. I saw this recipe on Benebell Wen and had to try it. The original recipe is from the cookbook, KYOTOFU Uniquely Delicious Japanese Desserts by Nicole Bermensolo and Elizabeth Gunnision Dunn. I adapted the recipe, reducing the sugar, adding an extra egg and another teaspoon of Coconut Milk. The cookies are soft and chewy in texture, and the taste is nutty from the toasted black sesame seeds and not too sweet, which I love. To make the Runic Alphabet, I used my cookie stick to carve and a small round cutter for the shape. I had some dough left after carving out the runes and made round shortbread to enjoy with tea. The recipe is below.

Lagertha's Shield and Rune Cookies
Black Sesame Seed Shortbread Ingredients
2 ½ cups King Arthur All Purpose Flour

½ cup Toasted Black Sesame Seeds

¾ teaspoon Baking Powder

¼ teaspoon Coarse Salt

½ cup, 1 stick, Unsalted Butter, softened and cut into 8 pieces

2/3 cup Granulated Sugar

2 XL Eggs

2 tablespoons Milk (I used Silk Coconut Milk)

Lagertha's Shield and Rune Cookies; top left blank rune is known for Odin and represents The Unkowable in runic divination

Directions
Add black sesame seeds to a skillet on medium heat and toast for about 5-7 minutes. You will smell the nutty essence when it is done. Remove from heat. Set aside to cool completely. Add to mortar and pestle and grind down for a few good minutes. I gave up after 5 minutes.

Lagertha's Shield and Rune Cookies
Sift flour, baking powder and salt in large bowl and combine with whisk or spatula and then add the cooled toasted black sesame seeds and stir; put aside.

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 1-2 minutes.

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

Lagertha's Shield and Rune Cookies
Add eggs one at a time and then the coconut milk. Scrape down bowl with spatula and mix again for another 10 seconds.

With the mixer on low, slowly add flour mixture until incorporated.

When dough clumps around paddle attachment, it is ready.

Form dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and cool in fridge for 1-2 hours or overnight.

Lagertha's Shield and Rune Cookies
Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Take 1/2 of the dough, use rolling pin, and roll out between 2 pieces of parchment paper to desired thickness, and cut out small circle shapes for the runes.

Repeat rolling the dough and cutting shapes until you have used it all. I used a larger round cutter with the extra dough.

Place cookies onto parchment lined baking sheets and space apart 2 inches. Use cookie stick or knife to carve out the rune alphabet.

Put cookies in the freezer for 10 minutes before baking. They hold their shape when you do this.

Lagertha's Shield and Rune Cookies
Bake cookies for 13-15 minutes, or until center of cookie no longer looks wet. My cookies baked in 13 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.

Lagertha's Shield and Rune Cookies
Lagertha’s Shield Small Batch Royal Icing
Ingredients
1 XL Egg Whites

1 teaspoon Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed

2 cups Powdered/Confectioners' Sugar, sifted

Some of the shortbread from the extra dough

Directions
In a medium size 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.

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.

I separated the icing in 2 plastic containers with lids according to the two colors I needed for tinting, and used Americolor Soft Gel Paste Food Color in Super Black, and Turquoise. Add 1-2 drops at a time until you reach the color you want.

Rune Cookie Teiwaz and cookie stick I used to carve the runic alphabet
Keep the containers covered until you are ready to color since Royal Icing hardens fast.

I transferred the icing immediately into 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.

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

I lined a cookie sheet with paper towels and placed the cookies on cooling tray over it.

Royal Icing in squeeze bottles
I did the outline first and waited about 15 minutes and then filled the cookie. I waited a few hours before adding the black border around the shield.

I put a little bit of royal icing on the bottom of the small spherical top of the shield, and covered it in black royal icing. While it was wet, I took a small paintbrush and messed up the icing to make it looked rugged and worn. After all, the shields were used in many battles.

For further information:
For information on the Runes, please visit:
http://norse-mythology.org/runes/

For a visual on the names and meaning of the Runic Alphabet, please visit:
http://www.internationalmagicsociety.org/blogs/6

For Vikings on History Channel, please visit:
http://www.history.com/shows/vikings/about

Please visit Benebell Wen for the Rune Cookies recipe:
http://benebellwen.com/2015/08/03/edible-rune-divination-black-sesame-shortbread-rune-cookies/

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

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms

Pin It Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms

Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms
I am a huge fan of Amanda from I Am Baker, and have been dying to make these Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms. My intent was to make them for Valentine's Day but I did not have enough time, since I baked Coconut Heart Cookies and Red Velvet Heart Cookies. I made time Sunday morning and baked these wondrous delights. Instead of using red food coloring, I use Lorann Professional Kitchen Red Velvet Bakery Emulsion to bring out the flavor and tint the dough. For the sugar, I used light brown and granulated. I also added distilled white vinegar just like when you make a red velvet cake. You really have to make these cookies. The flavor is red velvety goodness, and the cookies are rich and decadent. I share the recipe below.

Yield: 3 dozen cookies


Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms
Ingredients
1 bag Hershey's Kisses

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature and cut into 8 pieces

3/4 cup Creamy Peanut Butter

3/4 cup Granulated Sugar

1/3 cup Light Brown Sugar

1 XL Egg

2 tablespoons Milk

2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

2 tablespoons Lorann Professional Kitchen Red Velvet Bakery Emulsion

1/2 teaspoon Distilled White Vinegar

3 tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa

1 1/2 cups King arthur All Purpose Flour

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/8 teaspoon Coarse Salt

1/4 cup Red Sanding Sugar

Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms

Instructions
In a separate bowl sift cocoa, flour, baking soda, and salt, set aside.

Unwrap the Hershey's Kisses, set aside.

Pour red sanding sugar in a bowl, set aside.

Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Beat butter, peanut butter, and sugars in stand mixer with paddle attachment on medium speed, about 2 minutes.

With mixer on low, add egg, milk, vanilla extract, and Lorann Professional Kitchen Red Velvet Baking Emulsion. Mix until incorporated, about 25 seconds.

Turn mixer on medium high speed, and blend until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Just baked, cooling
With mixer on low speed, slowly add flour mixture and beat until incorporated.

Add vinegar just until incorporated.

Shape dough into one inch balls and roll one by one around the red sanding sugar. I reserved a dozen without rolling into the sanding sugar since I did not want the extra sugar.

Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. My cookies baked in 10 minutes.

Some with red sanding sugar and some without
Once cookies are baked, press a chocolate Kiss into the center of each cookie. The cookie should crack around the edges.

Place cookies on wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.

For the Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms recipe, please visit I Am Baker:
http://iambaker.net/red-velvet-peanut-butter-blossoms/

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys