Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fondant, Baby!

I have seriously been wanting to try something with fondant, forever. It's pathetic. I'm probably the last person out there to try it, but I needed a good excuse to play with it, where it wasn't going to matter how it actually turned out. I decided snacks for Jaxon's soccer game was perfect. I know you're thinking... "fondant... for the 6 year old soccer players?" Ridiculous, but I knew the kids wouldn't care how it tasted or how it turned out and I could try something low key.

I knew I was doing cupcakes and decided I wanted pre-made fondant, just to save a little time and work. That is, until I saw that it would cost me 20 dollars! So, I started looking for a recipe to make my own. I found this recipe on allrecipes and the reviews promised it would taste mildly better than regular fondant. Because let's face it, the stuff is ick. But oh, so pretty!

This fondant is pretty basic and cheap. But it's a ton of work. My arms got such a workout. I wouldn't recommend doing it with a hand mixer. My dead hand mixer would second that. I think a Kitchenaid with the dough hook would do it.

Makes about 2.5 lbs. of Fondant
up to 1/4 cup Crisco
1 (16 ounce) package miniature marshmallows
4 tablespoons water (possibly more)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I omitted this to keep my fondant white; it'll make the color more of an off white if you use it--granted, that doesn't really matter if you'll be coloring the fondant)
up to 2 pounds confectioners' sugar, divided
Food coloring, if desired

1. Set your Crisco aside. You'll just be using it to grease bowls, spoons, your hands, and workspace.
2. Place the marshmallows in a large , well greased (just spray with Pam or spread some Crisco on it), microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on High for 30 seconds to 1 minute intervals to start melting the marshmallows. Carefully stir the water and vanilla extract into the hot marshmallows, and stir until the mixture is smooth. Add food coloring at this point as well, if you intend to color your fondant.

3. Transfer melted marshmallows to Kitchenaid bowl at this point and begin slowly beating in the confectioners' sugar, a cup at a time, until you have a sticky dough. Reserve 1 cup of powdered sugar for kneading. The dough will be very stiff. I found that I could barely beat in 1 cup of sugar before the batter got too stiff to beat. At this point, I kneaded all the powdered sugar in by hand.
4. Rub your hands thoroughly with Crisco, and begin kneading the sticky dough. As you knead, the dough will become workable and pliable. Turn the dough out onto a working surface dusted with confectioners' sugar and continue kneading until the fondant is smooth and no longer sticky to the touch, 5 to 10 minutes. Add powdered sugar about a cup at a time. I found that I didn't use the entire 2 lb. bag of powdered sugar. Just keeping adding until you have a nice, non-sticky, pliable dough. I added a little extra water to make the dough easier to handle.

5. Form the fondant into a ball, rub it all over with Crisco (it's niice, like a baby's behind...) wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight (I'm impatient... I only waited about 4 hours). To use, allow the fondant to come to room temperature, and roll it out onto a flat surface dusted with confectioners' sugar. Roll it to about 1/4 or 1/8 inch thickness. Now it's time to play with it.

But that's a whole 'nother post. Best check out Bakerella or Pioneer Woman for good tips there. I'm definitely just trying to figure it out myself. But my soccer cupcakes sure turned out cute. And the fondant was surprisingly not horrible. Not my favorite, but I used chocolate frosting underneath, as an adhesive, and the fondant wasn't terrible.

Leftover fondant will keep for several weeks in the fridge.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies (like "Oreo Cakesters")

When Dacia came down, she wanted to make chocolate sandwich cookies. No particular reason. Just wanted us to gain a couple extra pounds. So we perused allrecipes until we found a combination we liked. We ended up finding two different filling recipes and taste tested them. The cream cheese filling was definitely our favorite, but that may be because we're cream cheese addicts. The cookies tasted just like cream cheese brownies. They were sooo good. The other cream filling sounds a bit weird, but tastes just like the filling in a Twinkie, or Ding Dong. It's sweet, but really good, and makes the cookie more similar to an Oreo Cakester. My kids obviously liked this one best. Both were easy to whip up and these cookies were so pretty! Perfect for giving away because they're quick, easy, and oh so precious.

Cake Mix Cookie: (Double this recipe)

1 box devil's food cake mix (After trying all three main varieties of cake mixes, I definitely prefer Betty Crocker's... they always turn out better)
1/2 bar of Crisco
2 eggs
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix cake mix, Crisco, and eggs, until well blended. Batter will be very stiff.
2. Roll into balls, or use a small cookie scoop. Drop onto an ungreased baking sheet. Before baking, I slightly flatten each cookie. I just the backside of a spoon to give them a very slight indentation.
3. Bake for 7-9 minutes. You want to UNDERbake them so they'll stay soft once they're filled. The cookies will definitely not look done when you take them out, but that's good. (Once you fill them, they have to be refrigerated. So, if you underbake them, they'll still stay soft and chewy after refrigeration)
4. Allow them to cool completely, and then refrigerate them. That way they firm up a bit before you fill them. It makes them easier to fill.
Cream Cheese filling:
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

1. In medium bowl, cream the cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar together until fluffy and fully incorporated. Don't overbeat or it'll become runny. Add vanilla. Refrigerate about 15 minutes before using.

"Other" cream filling:
1 1/2 cups shortening
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 egg whites, beaten

1. In a medium bowl, cream together the 1 1/2 cups shortening with the confectioners' sugar and 1/4 cup of flour until light and fluffy.

2. Gradually beat in the milk and vanilla until well mixed, then fold in the egg whites.

Once your cookies are cooled, pipe a heaping tablespoon of filling onto the center(you want one big cylinder in just the middle of the cookie) of the bottom of one cookie. I found that by piping my filling on, it was neater once I sandwiched my cookies together. Plus, by piping it on the center of the cookie, it allows plenty of room for the filling to spread out and not leak out. Once the filling is piped on, top it with another cookie and you have a perfectly adorable chocolate sandwich cookie.

Because of the ingredients in the filling, be sure to refrigerate these. The filling doesn't hold up when it's not cooled. We know this from the runny, soggy messes Dacia took up to Joe. Also, they tend to be better the next day. The cookies are a bit softer from the filling and the filling has firmed up so it doesn't squeeze out when you bite into it.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fresh Peach Pie

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
4 T (heaping) corn starch
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
6 whole peaches, peeled and sliced
1 whole precooked 9 inch pie shell

Combine water, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and salt in a medium saucepan. Whisk until combined. Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until thick and almost hard to stir. Remove from heat and add butter, stir until melted and combined. Add peaches and gently fold to coat. Pour into precooked pie shell. Refrigerate for 4 hours to set. Top with whipped cream and serve.

I pulled this recipe from So incredibly delicious!! I wanted to horde the whole thing for myself. I forgot to add the butter and it still tasted wonderful. I also didn't bother with the whipped cream.

Individual Scalloped Potatoes

8 whole medium potatoes
1 stick butter
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup scallions, chopped
12 t half and half
salt and pepper

Bake the potatoes, but not until soft--they still need to be firm. Set aside and let cool until they can be handled, then slice them. Place 1/2 T pat of butter in each mold of a muffin pan, then a slice of potato, then a pinch of salt and pepper, the cheese and scallions. Repeat layers. (Can do 2 or 3 layers worth). Top each mold with another pat of butter and drizzle each with a T of half and half.
Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes until cheese is melted and potatoes are brown.

I pulled this recipe from We all loved it! But I did think they were a bit greasy.

Chicken Salad

This is seriously THE best chicken salad ever. I made it for the RS summer party and received so many compliments. However my recipe was made to feed 70 people, so I will do my best to cut it down. So much of chicken salad though is determined by the eater, so be sure to add however much mayo, seasonings, etc you like and in amounts based on how many people you are feeding.

boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Best Foods mayo
McCormick Salad Supreme Seasoning
green onions, chopped
celery, chopped
green grapes, cut in half
purple grapes, cut in half
cashews, rough chopped

Boil the chicken then cube it. Mix with mayo and seasoning, let it rest in the fridge for 1-2 days. Before serving, mix in celery, onions, and grapes. I would personally sprinkle the cashews on top because if you mix them in and then stick it back in the fridge, the cashews sometimes lose their crunch.

Happy eating!

White Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake Cookies

Alan's coworker made these and he LOVED them. He brought a few home and the kids also loved them. I thought they were okay, but not my favorites.

1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter or margarine softened
1/4 cup white chocolate chips melted
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
8 oz package cream cheese softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1-2 Tbsp milk
1 can cherry pie filling

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In large mixing bowl cream together sugars, shortening, margarine, vanilla and eggs. Add in slightly cooled melted white chocolate. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Add flour, baking soda and salt. Beat at low speed until soft dough forms. Stir in white chocolate chips.

Cream together softened cream cheese , powdered sugar and vanilla. Stir in milk until blended.

Drop dough by heaping teaspoons about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Make an indention with your finger or spoon in top of dough. Drop a teaspoon of cream cheese mixture into each indention. Bake for 10 -12 minutes or until light golden brown. Let cool for 1-2 minutes before removing from cookie sheet. Let cool. Spoon on cherry pie filling. Store in refrigerator.

Makes about 3 dozen