Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Frosted Sugar Cookies

Posted by: Maggie

DC got record breaking snowfall starting Friday morning, that lasted until late Saturday afternoon. Our city is notoriously ill-equipped when it comes do dealing with snow and ice, so some friends, my boyfriend, and myself holed up in the Beacon Hotel in Dupont Circle all weekend to ride out the storm, instead of being stranded in our respective apartments all alone.

I wanted to contribute something sweet to our festivities, so I made these cookies Thursday night. My friends ended up gobbling them up in about 30 minutes flat, so suffice to say they were a baking success.

These are a rare cookie that is WAY better the day after. They taste overly sweet and average all around until the icing has a chance to harden overnight, so if you're bringing them somewhere don't hesitate to get them out of the way 24 hours ahead of time. I decorated these with a Valentine's Day theme, but will definitely be making them again for St. Patrick's Day, 4th of July, Halloween...pretty much any holiday that has a defined color scheme!

What you'll need:

Sugar Cookies -
1 1/4 c white sugar
1 cup salted butter (softened)
3 egg yolks
1 t vanilla extract
2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cream together butter and sugar, and beat in egg yolks and vanilla.

Stir together dry ingredients, and gradually incorporate into butter mixture.

Roll into walnut sized balls, and bake for 9-10 minutes, until edges are just set. Allow to cool completely before frosting.


Royal Icing -
4 cups powdered sugar
2 T meringue powder (I got mine online from Wilton)
5 T. Water

Combine all ingredients, and mix with an electric mixer (essential for this recipe) for about 5 minutes, or until matte. Gradually add more water in very small increments until it reaches a consistency appropriate for piping onto the cookies.

I probably added 2 T, to get a consistency thinner than cake frosting, but thicker than melted chocolate. You don't want it to run all over the cookies, but you want it to be thin enough so that after it's piped on it spreads out and appears smooth.

If you're not using the icing immediately, transfer it to an air tight container, because it dries out quickly. If using immediately, go ahead and tint with gel icing colors (also available from the Wilton online store, and at some grocery stores) and fill pastry bag.

Using a pastry bag fitted with a round #12 decorating tip, frost the cookies, and decorate immediately with sprinkles, if desired.


Monday, February 1, 2010

Barbeque Chicken Calzones

Posted by: Maggie

My boyfriend loves anything with barbeque sauce, and when we order takeout he typically gets a calzone, so I probably should have made this recipe a long time ago. As I expected, he loved it, and it was so easy to make that I'll definitely be preparing it again, and possibly experimenting with different fillings.

Here's what you'll need:

4 slices bacon
1/2 small red onion, chopped
3 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast meat (I used about 4 1/2 chicken breasts to get this amount)
2/3 c barbeque sauce
1 can refrigerated pizza dough (between a 10-13 oz size)
1 cup shredded mozzarella
2 T chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Fry bacon in a large skillet over medium high heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels, crumble, and set aside. Add the onion and shredded chicken to the hot bacon grease in the pan. Fry over medium heat until the onion is tender. Stir in 1/3 c of the barbeque sauce and remove from heat. Stir in the cooked bacon.

Roll the pizza crust dough out onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Press out to an even thickness, and cut in half. Divide the chicken mixture between the two pieces of dough, spreading on only half of each piece to within 1/2 inch of the edge. Drizzle the remaining sauce over the filling.

Sprinkle the cheese and cilantro over the top. Fold over uncovered portion of dough, and pinch edges to seal. Bake for 20 minutes, or until browned to your liking.

I served these with extra barbeque sauce and ranch dressing for dipping.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Posted by: Maggie

I love all of Starbuck's pumpkin items in the fall - particularly their pumpkin cream cheese muffin. Sadly, the Starbuck's decision makers seem to think that being seasonally appropriate is important, and fail to sell their delicious treat all year round. When I saw the recipe for these on Annie's Eats, I knew I needed to make them for breakfast this past Saturday.

What you'll need:

For the muffins -

3 c flour
1 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1 t ground cloves
1 T and 1 t pumpkin pie spice
1 t salt
1 t baking soda
4 eggs
1 1/4 c vegetable oil
2 c sugar
2 c pumpkin puree

For the filling -

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 c powdered sugar

For the streusel topping -

1/2 c sugar
1/4 c and 1 t flour
4 T butter, cubed
1 1/2 t cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To prepare the filling, whip cream cheese and powdered sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Form into a log on plastic wrap or foil, and make sure that the diameter is small enough to fit into the well of a muffin pan. Wrap the log up tightly and freeze until slightly hardened, 1-2 hours. (Note: I'm super hungry in the morning, and there was no stinkin' way that I was waiting for this concoction to harden. I ended up freezing it for about 20 minutes while mixing up the other ingredients, and it was still a mushy consistency when I used it. Instead of slicing the log, I ended up having to scoop the mixture, and it still worked out fine.)

To make the muffins, combine the flour, spices, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Mix well and put aside. Using an electric mixer, combine the eggs, vegetable oil, sugar, and pumpkin puree. Mix until well combined. Add in the dry ingredients gradually and mix on low until just combined.

To make the streusel topping, combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Mix together with a pastry blender or two forks until crumbly.

Line two muffin pans with liners. To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin well halfway with batter, Remove the cream cheese log from the freezer and slice into 24 equal slices (or if you're impatient like me and you have a soft mixture, just use a spoon). Place a slice (or blob) into each well. Divide the remaining batter evenly among the muffin cups, on top of the cream cheese. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the top of the batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes and let cool before serving.

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