Saturday, March 31, 2018

Bird's Nest Lemon Cookies

Pin It Bird's Nest Lemon Cookies

Bird's Nest Lemon Cookies
For Easter, I baked Lemon Sugar Cookies and put aside half of the dough for Easter Sugar Cookies and the remainder for Bird's Nest Lemon Cookies. This year instead of dying the coconut green like I did for my Bird's Nest Cookies last year,  I toasted the coconut. Years ago, I made Easter Egg Nests Coconut Cupcakes and those were fun to bake. I love baking Easter Cookies as much as I love to bake Halloween and Christmas Cookies. The lemon cookie pairs great with the toasted coconut, vanilla buttercream, and Cadbury eggs. The end result is one great tasting cookie.

Bird's Nest Lemon Cookies
Lemon and coconut fans you will really dig this cookie. The lemon cookie recipe is adapted from Sweetopia, but I reduced the granulated sugar by 1/2 cup and used vanilla sugar. For the ultimate lemon flavor, I added more lemon extract, lemon zest, and freshly squeezed lemon juice. In addition to the cookie ingredients, you need one bag of shredded coconut and one bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs (speckled jelly beans would also work). See recipe below.

Some of the Bird's Nest Lemon Cookies
Yield: 3 Dozen Cookies

Lemon Sugar Cookies
Ingredients

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

2 Large Eggs

1 1/2 cups Vanilla Sugar

5 cups All Purpose Flour (I use King Arthur)

Bird's Nest Lemon Cookies

Zest of 2 Lemons

3 tablespoons Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

1 tablespoon Pure Lemon Extract

1 teaspoon Coarse Salt

Bird's Nest Lemon Cookies

Directions
Cut each stick of butter into 8 pieces.

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

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

Pretty Bird's Nest Lemon Cookies
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.

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

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Bird's Nest Lemon Cookie close-up
Take the dough and use a rolling pin and roll out between 2 pieces of parchment paper to desired thickness and with a round cutter cutout shapes.

Repeat until you use it all. I saved half of the dough for another recipe I baked the same evening.

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

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

Another close-up of Bird's Nest Lemon Cookies

Let cookies cool in baking sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to wire racks 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.

Vanilla Buttercream
Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened and each stick cut into 8 cubes

2 cups Confectioners'/Powdered Sugar

2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

Cadbury Mini Eggs

Directions
Beat butter on medium speed for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.

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

Add vanilla extract and combine until incorporated.

Add frosting in a disposable pastry bag and set aside.

Toasted Coconut
Ingredients

I bag Shredded Coconut (I buy Unsweetened)

Cookies, Cadbury Mini Eggs, Toasted Coconut, and Vanilla Buttercream

Directions
Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread coconut on baking sheet.

The coconut will toast quickly in about 3-5 minutes. Oven temps vary so start checking the coconut at the three minute mark.

Cool completely before assembling the cookies.

Assembling the Bird's Nest Cookies:
Ingredients

1 bag Mini Chocolate Cadbury Eggs

Assembling the cookies

Directions
Take pastry bag with the vanilla buttercream and for each cookie add the frosting in a circular motion leaving about 1 inch of space around the cookie.

Once you press the mini eggs on the buttercream it will spread out to the edge.

Repeat until you have frosted all the cookies.

For each cookie, sprinkle toasted coconut over the top of the vanilla buttercream and press down so it sticks.

Let the cookies set once assembled.

Gently shake off excess coconut, and using different colors press 3 Cadbury Mini Eggs.

Repeat until you are done.

Cover the cookies with plastic wrap and let them set for 2-3 hours in the fridge or overnight.

I used Bob's Red Mill Shredded Coconut, Unsweetened
I was inspired by the design of the Easter Cookies on Preppy Kitchen:
https://preppykitchen.com/easter-cookies/

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

For the Vanilla Buttercream recipe, see my Victoria Sponge Cake recipe:
https://twofrys.blogspot.com/2016/01/victoria-sponge-cake.html

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Thursday, March 29, 2018

L.B.I. Love Potion

Pin It L.B.I. Love Potion World Famous Hot Sauce


Love Potion on stuffed clams

Adding Love Potion to the stuffed clams
World Famous Hot Sauce has a great line of sauces, rubs, and mustard. Love Potion is an A+ sauce and one of my new local favorite Habanero Pepper based hot sauce. Distilled vinegar, and a dried vegetable blend that includes carrots, onions, and garlic are part of the ingredients. These spices enhance the aged Red Habanero Peppers. Love Potion is a medium heat level Habanero sauce that is spicy but should be good for all spicy lovers. It is hot enough for Chiliheads yet not too intense for casual hot sauce users.

Love Potion

Love Potion
The World Famous line has an ocean type theme and the sauce is great for seafood and rice dishes and I recommend Love Potion for all foods. We had L.B.I. Love Potion on oven baked stuffed clams and they were outstanding. Love Potion is a great table sauce made in NYC. I would order more than one at a time as it will be devoured quickly around your house.

Close-up of stuffed clam with Love Potion

Love Potion
I also added Love Potion to my Bacon Pepperoni Pizza; so good!
To order L.B.I. Love Potion and other World Famous Hot Sauce products, visit:
https://www.facebook.com/World-Famous-Hot-Sauce-LLC-556630547716101/

To contact World Famous Hot Sauce, e-mail:
WorldFamousHS@gmail.com

-Allen/Two Frys

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Men Pa'w La Bomba

Pin It Men Pa'w Gourmet Hot Sauce La Bomba


La Bomba gave our red beans a great kick and intense flavor
The new Men Pa'w Gourmet Hot Sauce La Bomba is a real treat for the taste buds. It is an excellent addition to Caribbean, Dominican, and other island type dishes. The sauce has a great kick in the heat department. The ingredients of spices, Scotch Bonnet Peppers, Habanero Peppers, and Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Peppers) combined deliver a hot yet smooth heat for your foods.

La Bomba in our red beans; so yummy!
La Bomba was a great addition to red beans we made and I also added it to rice. The sauce really kicked up the flavor in our beans and complimented the rice perfectly, rounding out our dinner with the right amount of heat and intense flavor. Being a red sauce, La Bomba is also a great condiment as well as a sauce versatile enough to cook with to boost up the flavor profile of any dish. 

La Bomba
The vinegar in the ingredients used is Apple Cider adding a nice zing, and is a pleasant accompaniment to the 3 peppers and spices. I look forward to using La Bomba on platanos (tostones) with garlic and on pork chops. This is the fifth product I have used from Cutler Bay, FL based Men Pa'w Gourmet Products.

La Bomba is great on rice!
La Bomba is another recommended sauce by Two Frys from our friend Carline at Men P'aw. Men Pa'w offer great island flavors you do not want to miss out on.

To order La Bomba and other fine Men P'aw Gourmet Hot Sauces, please visit:
https://menpawhotsauce.com/

-Allen/Two Frys

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Key Lime Shamrock Cookies

Pin It Key Lime Shamrock Cookies



Key Lime Shamrock Cookies

Key Lime Shamrock Cookies
Happy St. Patrick's Day! This morning I baked 3 dozen Key Lime Shamrock Cookies. This recipe is almost the same one I made in 2016 except I replaced lime for key lime, and added key lime juice in the royal icing as well. The key lime juice and zest really bring out a fresh flavor that reminds me spring is almost here, and the cookies smell and taste great. The recipe is adapted from Sweetopia (link below), but I reduced the sugar by 1/2 cup and just added more zest. The cookies are tender, with a balanced lime flavor from the juice and zest and are not too sweet. I purchased the pretty Shamrock plate from Party City. I share the recipe below.

Yield: 3 dozen cookies.


Mini Shamrocks and Lucky Coins

Key Lime Shamrock Cookies
Ingredients
2 cups (4 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened and each stick cut into 8 cubes

2 Large Eggs

1 1/2 cups Granulated Sugar

5 cups All Purpose Flour (I use King Arthur)

Zest of 3 Key Limes

3 tablespoons Freshly Squeezed Key Lime Juice

1 teaspoon Coarse Salt

Key Lime Shamrock Cookies

Medium sized Shamrocks
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.

Shamrock close-up

Shamrocks close-up
Add eggs one at a time. Scrape down bowl with spatula and mix again for another 5 seconds.

Add key lime zest and key lime juice 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. I was pressed for time and put my dough in the freezer for 45 minutes.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Shamrocks close-up

Shamrocks close-up
Take 1/4 of the dough (leave the rest of the dough covered in the fridge), and place it between two sheets of parchment paper. With rolling pin roll out to desired thickness, and cut out shapes.

Repeat rolling the dough and cutting shapes until you use it all.

Place shamrock shapes on parchment lined baking sheets and space apart 2 inches.

Tip: Put cookies in the freezer for 15 minutes before baking. They hold their shape when you do this.

Bake cookies for 9-13 minutes, or until edges are slightly browned. My cookies baked in 13 minutes.

Tip: Since oven temperatures vary check the cookies at the 10 minute mark and adjust baking time accordingly.

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

Let cookie sheets cool completely before you bake again.

Tip: I put the cookie sheets in the freezer for a few minutes.

Repeat until you have baked all the cookies.

Shamrocks close-up

Sprinkles are so much fun to decorate cookies with!
Royal Icing
Ingredients
4 Egg Whites

4 teaspoons Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed

1 teaspoon Fresh Key Lime Juice

1-4 teaspoons Water, as needed

6 cups Powdered/Confectioners' Sugar, sifted

Shamrock close-up

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

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

Transfer the egg whites and lemon juice mixture to stand or hand held mixer with paddle attachment and mix on high for 1-2 minutes.

Add key lime juice and mix on high for 30 seconds.

With mixer speed on low, slowly add sifted sugar and beat on low until smooth.

If needed, you add 1 teaspoon of water at a time until you reach the right consistency. Only use the amount of water you need.

Lots of sprinkles to choose from makes decorating the cookies more fun.

St. Patrick's Sprinkle Mix I put together for this recipe.
Watch the Joy of Baking (link below) 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 separate the icing in plastic containers with lids according to the amount of colors I need for tinting.

I use Americolor Soft Gel Paste Food Color in Green and Yellow. I made two shades of green for color variation.

Royal Icing hardens fast so keep it covered when not in use.

Shamrock shapes on dough. You can clearly see zest in each one.

About the chill the Key Lime Cookie Dough in the fridge.
I transfer the icing immediately into Squeeze Bottles since it starts crusting quickly.

If the Royal Icing hardens due to exposure to air, spray a little bit of water into squeeze bottle and shake bottle well holding the tip with your finger. Be sure to test the icing consistency on a paper towel before decorating the cookie.

Warning: Too much water will cause the color to bleed so try to avoid having to do this by keeping the icing covered at all times when you are not using it.

As you are icing the cookies, use a paintbrush or cookie stick to reach edges and use tip of cookie stick or a toothpick to pop any air bubbles.

I place a paper towel under a wire rack and also use a baking sheet when I decorate the cookies. I run out of wire racks quickly so I do both.

In addition to putting together my own St. Patrick's Sprinkles Mix, I use various sanding sugars, sugar pearls, jimmies, etc... Variety is key.

Let the cookies dry overnight.

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:
http://www.joyofbaking.com/RoyalIcing.html

For more information on St. Patrick and the history of St. Patrick's Day, please visit:
http://www.history.com/topics/st-patricks-day

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Atlantic City Restaurant Week

Pin It Atlantic City Restaurant Week
March 4-9, 2018


Allen at KWI Noodle House

Sophia at KWI Noodle House
Every year Sophia and I go to Atlantic City Restaurant Week. This year we went on Sunday, March 5 until Tuesday, March 7. We participated in the Lunch menu at a cost of $15.18 per person, which is a great deal. We went to two Asian restaurants KWI Noodle House, and Noodle Village, and Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville before we got on our bus back home at Resorts. Everywhere we ate was great and our trip was a nice getaway both relaxing and fun.

KWI Noodle House, Green Tea

KWI Noodle House, Allen's Hot and Sour Soup

KWI Noodle House, Sophia's Egg Drop Soup
KWI Noodle House
After we checked in to our Ocean View Jubilee room at Bally's Tower on Sunday March 5, we went to Caesars to dine at KWI Noodle House for lunch. KWI Noodle House overlooks the High Stakes Poker Room and features a warm décor that is welcoming and cozy. We were served green tea with our meals. For the appetizer, I got the most wonderful Spicy Hot and Sour Soup I ever had, and Sophia ordered Egg Drop Soup, which was flavorful and yummy!

KWI Noodle House, Beef with Broccoli and Jasmine Rice

KWI Noodle House, Beef with Broccoli close-up
The entrée I chose was Black Pepper Chicken Lo Mein, and I was very impressed with this meal and the pepper gave it a kick. The noodles in the lo mein were flavorful and soft. Sophia ordered Beef with Broccoli and Jasmine Rice. The sauce was packed with great bold flavor and seasoned well, and the beef was soft and cooked perfectly, and the jasmine rice complimented each bite. The broccoli was tender but not overly so and just right.

KWI Noodle House, Allen's Black Pepper Chicken Lo Mein

KWI Noodle House, Allen's Black Pepper Chicken Lo Mein close-up
Our dessert was Coconut Rice Pudding topped with whipped cream and with a bit of crunch from the coconut. The texture was creamy and fluffy, and the coconut taste was just right. This dessert was a perfect end to our lunch.

KWI Noodle House, Coconut Rice Pudding
Our server was very good and polite. For a first time dining experience at KWI Noodle House, we were impressed and will eat there again.

Noodle Village, Sophia

Noodle Village, Allen

Noodle Village
We ate our Atlantic City Restaurant Week lunch at Noodle Village in Bally's on Monday, March 6, just a quick walk from the elevator from our hotel room. We came here for some authentic Asian cuisine. We were served green tea and chose our entrees from the Restaurant Week menu. The appetizer was a fresh and crispy Vietnamese Spring Roll with a Fish Sauce for dipping, and it was very good.

Noodle Village, Green Tea

Noodle Village
For my entrée, I chose the Shrimp with Lobster Sauce and Jasmine Rice. The dish had 6 pieces of jumbo shrimp with melt in your mouth ground pork sauteed in a hearty egg sauce. All the flavors blended well and I put my jasmine rice in the dish to soak up the egg sauce. I also added a few drops of Hoisin Sauce and Sriracha to spice it up. I was impressed with the flavors of my entree dish.

Vietnamese Spring Roll with Fish Sauce for dipping

Noodle Village, Allen holding up one of his faves, Sriracha

Noodle Village, Allen's Shrimp with Lobster Sauce and Jasmine Rice
Sophia ordered Beef Mei Fun, wok-stirred flank beef with onions, beansprouts, and garlic scented mei fun noodles. Sophia said the beef had a perfect sear and the seasoning overall was great. The garlic scented noodles really complimented the dish. It was crunchy and soft in texture and well rounded.

Noodle Village, Sophia's Beef Mei Fun

Noodle Village, Almond Cookie
For dessert, we got a large Almond Cookie which was soft and chewy and had a lovely almond flavor with slivered almonds on top, adding a little crunch in every bite. It is great to have an authentic Asian restaurant at Bally's to dine at. We had a great experience and super service. I shall return!

Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, Allen

Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, Sophia

Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville
On March 7, our last day of Atlantic City Restaurant Week, we ate lunch at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville in Resorts. The restaurant looks out into the boardwalk in the front of the hotel and casino. The restaurant is beach themed with palm trees painted inside, boats made into large booths, a tiki bar in the back, a chill bar, and wooden sea birds and pelicans throughout not to mention lots of surfboards with TVs embedded all over playing music videos of Jimmy Buffett, Kid Rock, country, rock and pop bands. The size of this place is big and the ambiance is the bringing the beach inside giving the place a happy and relaxed feel.

Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville

Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, Tossed Fresh Greens Salad 

Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, Allen's Island Cuban Sandwich

Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville, Allen's Island Cuban Sandwich close-up
For the appetizer, we had Tossed Fresh Greens Salad with choice of dressing. For the entrée, I chose a very tasty Island Cuban Sandwich with pulled pork, sliced ham, Swiss cheese, lots of sliced pickles and mustard. The Cuban was all pressed and toasted in authentic crusty Cuban loaf with skin on french fries. The Cuban was the best I've had since living in Tampa, FL in the 80s where I got the best Cubans so this was a real treat indeed.

Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, Sophia's California Grilled Cheeseburger Panini

Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, Sophia's California Grilled Cheeseburger Panini close-up
Sophia ordered the California Grilled Cheeseburger Panini Style Sandwich with a whopping 7 oz. beef (medium) with Haas avocado, ripe red tomatoes and crispy bacon on a hearty white bread grilled on an Italian inspired Panini press. It was served with a pepper on top, creamy California buttermilk ranch dressing, and skin on french fries. The burger was cooked medium as requested and the beef tasted so good. Sophia loved the avocados and the bacon and the panini was pressed just right.

Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, Allen's NY Cheesecake

Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, Sophia's Vanilla Ice Cream
I had the NY Cheesecake for my dessert and it was a big generous piece and very satisfying. Sophia ordered the Vanilla Ice Cream, which was smooth, creamy and great tasting. We had a great server, and I was impressed they have Tabanero as their hot sauce. That was definitely a plus as well as I love Tabanero. Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville = good times and great food. See you again this summer for dinner.

Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, lovely anchor decor

Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville, too early for the Chill Bar

Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, cool plane prop
For further information about Atlantic City Restaurant Week, visit:
https://www.acrestaurantweek.com/

-Allen and Sophia/Two Frys