Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas Cookies

Pin It Christmas Cookies


I hope you have a very Merry Christmas. December crept up on me so fast and I was not able to do as much baking as I planned. I did manage to make 5 different sugar cookie recipes. Below is the vanilla sugar cookie recipe I use from Sweetopia and the only addition to the recipe is 1 tablespoon of milk. I also made gluten-free, candy cane, eggnog, and gingerbread cookies (all the links are posted below) for my Christmas baking. For the gluten-free cookie recipe, I added 1 tablespoon of pure vailla extract. For the eggnog cookie recipe, I added 1 teaspoon of rum extract and freshly grated the nutmeg. The cookies had a mild and very pleasant eggnog taste. For the candy cane cookie recipe, I used 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract and 1 1/2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract. The peppermint was just perfect not overpowering at all. You can crush candy canes in a processor, but I used Wilton Peppermint Crunch Sprinkles and the more you roll out the dough the more pink it becomes so be mindful of this. I was busy for about 4 days and stayed up late every night until I was done decorating. I remember finishing the last cookie on Sunday, December 23rd at 11:45pm. Listening to Christmas music kept me in the spirit and I had fun decorating the cookies. I used royal icing and egg free icing. The photos highlight only a portion of the cookies I baked. Happy New Year!

Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookies including Christmas Story Leg Lamp and Snoopy
Yield: 5 Dozen Cookies depending on cutter size and cookie thickness

Snowman face, Snowglobes, Melted Snowman, Smowman with scarf

Snowglobes

Snowflakes and Snowmen

Snowmen

Ingredients
5 cups King Arthur All Purpose Flour

2 cups Granulated Sugar

1 teaspoon Coarse Salt

2 cups Unsalted Butter, softened

1 tablespoon Milk

2 Large Eggs

3 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

Christmas Trees

Christmas Trees

Truck with tree

Gingerbread House

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 10 seconds.

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

Ugly Sweater Cookies

Ugly Sweater Cookies

Gingerbread Ugly Sweater Vest Cookies

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

Turn off mixer and add the flour mixture and then cover the mixer with a large kitchen towel.

Turn mixer on low speed, and mix until incorporated.

The dough is ready when it begins to clump around paddle attachment.

Reindeer Boys and Girls

Reindeer and Gingerbread Boys

Reindeer

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

If you are short on time place in the freezer for about 20-25 minutes.

Heat oven to 350°F.

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

Candy Cane Cut Out Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookie Sticks

Candy Cane and Peppermint Cookies

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

If needed, dip cutters in flour, shake off excess, and make shapes.

Place onto cookies sheets lined with parchment paper, and put in freezer for 20 minutes.

The cookies hold their shape when you do this.

Christmas Wafer Paper Design Cookies

Christmas Wafer Paper Design Cookies

Christmas Wafer Paper Design Cookies

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.

Snowflake Gluten Free Cookies

Santa Stars, Stockings, Santa Belly and Santa Hat Candy Cane Cookies

Ornament Cookies

Ornament Cookies

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

Holly Cookies

Presents 

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

In a bowl, add the 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.

Santa Belly Cookies

Classic Bulbs 

Elf Stocking Cookies
Add the vanilla extract and mix for 5-10 seconds.

Turn off mixer and add the powdered sugar and cover the mixer with a large kitchen towel.

Turn the mixer on low speed and beat until smooth.

The consistency using this recipe is thick and great for borders.

If you need both a border and flood-like consistency keep reading below.

Wilton Decorating kits with many broken pieces so I couldn't make 12 :(

Icing is still wet; adorbs!

If you need more of a flood-like consistency just add 1/2 teaspoon of water and then mix again for 5-10 seconds, and repeat until you reach the right consistency. Just be careful your icing is not too runny or you may have to start over.

I prefer to do the following:
I found the best way to make royal icing is to first separate the icing in plastic containers with lids according to the different colors needed.

I save the containers when I get a pint of soup from Chinese takeout. They are great for icing. You can also use Tupperware.

Keep the containers or Tupperware covered until you are ready to color.

I use Gel Paste Food Color in various colors.

Wilton Peppermint Crunch

Candy Cane Dough

Use 1-2 drops at a time until you reach the desired color.

For the border icing, I transferred each color into my Sweet SugarBelle Icing Bottles.

Then with the remainder of the icing, I take each plastic container and use a spritz bottle with water and spritz one or two times and use a small offset spatula to combine.

This works for me and I get the flood consistency I need. I repeat this for each color.

Gluten-Free Dough

Egg Free Icing

I outline each cookie and then immediately flood it.

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, dragees, etc... over wet icing.

If you are doing layers over the icing you need to let it dry overnight before you continue.

I used AmeriColor Gourmet Writer Food Decorating Pens (Certified U.S. food grade) when I need to sketch out a design on the cookie.

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.

Eggnog Dough

Rum Extract and Eggnog

Egg-Free Icing (Double recipe if you have more than 40 cookies)
Ingredients
6 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

Royal Icing, cookies o decorate, Wilton decoration kit

Directions
In a large bowl, sift the 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.  
Add corn syrup, vanilla extract, and mix for 10 seconds.

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

Gingerbread Dough

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

Keep the containers covered until you are ready to color.

I transferred the icing immediately into squeeze bottles.

I outlined each cookie and then immediately flooded it.

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

My nephew Eddy and my Mommy on Christmas Eve

Hubby-Allen and my Mommy on Christmas Eve

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

I use AmeriColor Gourmet Writer Food Decorating Pens (Certified U.S. food grade) when I need to sketch out a design on the cookie.

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.

Hallmark Jack Skellington decoration on my tree

Cupcake decoration on my tree

Top of my tree

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

For the Candy Cane Cut Out Cookie Recipe please visit, Sweetopia:
http://sweetopia.net/2018/11/candy-cane-cut-out-sugar-cookies/

For the Gluten-Free Rollout Cookie Recipe please visit, King Arthur:
https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/gluten-free-rollout-cookies-recipe

For the Eggnog Cut-Out Cookie Recipe, please visit Deliciously Sprinkled:
https://deliciouslysprinkled.com/eggnog-cut-cookies/

For the Gingerbread Cookie Recipe please visit Two Frys:
https://twofrys.blogspot.com/2017/12/gingerbread-cookies.html

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

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

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Buca di Beppo Atlantic City

Pin It Buca di Beppo Atlantic City

The weekend after Thanksgiving we went to Atlantic City, NJ for a short 3 day, 2 night stay. We booked an ocean view room at Bally's and had breakfast and lunch at Buca di Beppo, which is located on the 6th floor. We love this Italian restaurant and they are the only restaurant in Bally's to offer a breakfast buffet. The breakfast buffet was $14.99 and the lunch menu was reasonably priced. Our lunch came out to $14.99 each plus $1.99 extra for Allen's caesar salad. The warm bread with butter is so good and essential for dipping in the marinara sauce.
Allen's caesar salad

Allen's chicken parmigiana with fettucine alfredo

Allen's chicken parmigiana with fettucine alfredo

My chicken limone with spaghetti marinara

We ate half the bread already; good thing they brought us more
For breakfast, you choose from the buffet and you can also order an omelet. Coffee and juice is also included in the price. I ordered an omelet with spinach, peppers and mushrooms. I had some sausage links, bacon, a biscuit and home style potatoes. Allen ordered an omelet with ham, cheddar cheese, and mushrooms and what I had from the buffet, and some biscuits and gravy.

Sophia at Buca di Beppo

Allen at Buca di Beppo
The next day we went to Buca for lunch. Allen ordered chicken parmigiana topped with marinara sauce and mozzarella with fettuccine alfredo and a side order caesar salad. I ordered chicken limone; a lemon butter sauce with capers and spaghetti marinara.

Sophia's breakfast; ketchup - hee hee

Allen and his breakfast

Allen's breakfast
The chicken limone was so tender and juicy and the lemon sauce was the perfect balance with the tang of the capers. Allen's chicken parmigiana was melt in your mouth from the flavorful breading and the marinara sauce and cheese. The caesar salad was creamy from the dressing. The fettucine alfredo was a perfect al dente and the sauce tasted great.

Sophia at Bally's

Allen at Bally's

Our ocean view room; it rained today

A sunny day today; view from our ocean view room

Here is a side ocean view from our room of the Ocean Resort Casino, Resorts, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
We fully recommend Buca di Beppo when you are staying at Bally's.

For further information, please visit Buca di Beppo Atlantic City:
https://www.bucadibeppo.com/restaurants/nj/atlantic-city/

-Sophia/Two Frys