Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Daring Bakers September: Decorated Sugar Cookies

The September 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mandy of “What the Fruitcake?!” Mandy challenged everyone to make Decorated Sugar Cookies based on recipes from Peggy Porschen and The Joy of Baking.

While most people will think of sugar cookies as no kind of challenge, my sisters will laugh and tell you what disasters I've done with them in the past. I don't know why they were so difficult! The worst attempt is when I was going for purple and green (forget why - maybe spring?) and ended up with this grayish purple and green substance the consistency of toothpaste. Yuck. Luckily, this recipe was quite straight-forward and a few self-proclaimed sugar cookie haters enjoyed it.

The cookies were to be decorated with royal icing in ways that remind you of fall. I had never made it before, but the recipe is really simple. I mixed it up, went to get the food coloring, and -- the food coloring, where did it go??? I still don't know. So it became an EXTRA challenge: decorate cookies creatively all in white. I enlisted a few friends. Working at the table in the dining room, I found out that many people wanted to help! After I finish my finals, I think it would be a fun finals-break activity (yes, that's 10 weeks away.) You can find the full directions here.

Below is my favorite that I decorated, but there are plenty more! I thought I had taken pictures of every single one, but they're not all here!!!!!! :( I'm heart broken. I've been doodling this star on the sides of my class notes since high school. Fall = more classes = more notes = more stars.

This one is cookie monster. Someone said "we should do one that's cookie monster" T, from Vietnam, says, "Ok, I'll do it!" So I ask him, "T, do you know what cookie monster looks like?" And his response was something like "oh, it's a thing?" so he got someone with a laptop in the room to look it up for him. This was the result. I added the cookie crumbs on his face.

This is a running dog (tilt your head right). Courtesy of B, in picture below.

K, from Korea, made this one. I like it!

Made by K who ended up decorating more than anyone else! It's the name of where we live.

The portrait of B (on the cookie, B is on the left), made by R (holding the cookie.)

K's family, labeled and all.

And S's city. Even boys got in on the fun :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Saturday Splurge idea

Tonight at the house we made Take 5 candy bars. If you've never tried them, you probably shouldn't. They are horribly addictive, I'm sure. People were excited at the thought of making a good candy bar. We talked about other things, too, and one of the topics was marshmallows. If I ever sell baked goods, one of the things will be homemade s'mores. Homemade graham crackers, high quality chocolate (fair trade would be a nice touch!) and marshmallows. I love Cooking for Engineers, and he has good info on marshmallows with a nice recipe, too. Before I open a bakery, I'll have to find a good corn syrup source that doesn't add the high-fructose variety. A vegetarian (ie no gelatin) version could be worth a search, too.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Recipe suggestion: Soy-Sesame Zucchini

I may not have tons of time to tell you all about what I've been making myself, but here is something I found that will appear on my building's menu next week. The whole blog looks pretty cool, and includes nice pictures, but I really should get back to writing... ick.

Soy-Sesame Marinated Zucchini
(original found here)
4-6 servings

4 medium zucchinis (about 1 1/2 lbs), halved lengthwise and chopped to 1/2-inch thick half-moons
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Combine all ingredients and toss to coat evenly. Cover and chill for 3 hours or up to overnight, turning once or twice to evenly distribute the marinade.

Nutrition information (based on 4 servings): Cal - 58 Fat - 1.5g Protein - 3.2g Carbs - 7.4g