Monday, November 22, 2010

OMG! It's Caramel!

After enjoying an incredible caramel-and-chocolate-dipped salty hard pretzel at a friend's wedding last weekend, we talked about trying to replicate the insane delicious-ness at home.
This would of course involve making my own caramel, something that was a complete mystery to me. I found a well-reviewed recipe online and got to work.
I did not make any modifications to this recipe for my first try, although my thermometer never actually got to a reading 250F...I think that I got to only about 235F. You can see how much the mixture changed color and consistency during the hour or so that it was cooking.

There were lots of good suggestions in the reviews of this recipe. Because of the variability of thermometers, someone recommended the old practice of drizzling a spoonful into a glass of cold water to check the consistency-- there is a wide range of potential results...think caramel sauce vs. hard Werther's candies.
Once the mixture was perfect, I drizzled some caramel across rows of small (see above) and large rod pretzels. When the caramel had cooled, I added a little of the most amazing chocolate (E. Guittard semi-sweet wafers) courtesy of Craig. Thank you!
Once I used what I wanted for the hard pretzels, I poured the rest of the caramel into a glass Pyrex pan lined in parchment paper. When the slab was cool, we cut it up and wrapped each piece in a little square of parchment paper.
Each piece is a salty-sweet browned-butter nugget of heaven!
Y U M!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Finger Cake

What could possibly turn a pretty white cake into a icky Halloween cake?
Funny you should ask!
I think that these rubber severed fingers did just the trick!

Halloween Cookies

Some bright-colored sugar cookies for Halloween--the dough and the glaze are all different colors :)

Elmo Cake

Scott and I put this cute little Elmo cake together for a friend.
I think that the best part is the fondant-cut out letters in the name!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Wedding Cookies

We made cookies for our friends' wedding!
The bride's mom had the idea to do a "cookie tower" instead of cake or cupcakes, and it was such a blast to be a part of making their wedding as special as it was.
We'll show some of the process steps later, but here is the finished tower with cookies (we baked a total of 950 cookies!):

We made three kinds of cookies, and decorated a purchased cardboard structure found online here. Since the idea was to make the tower look like a cake, we covered all of the tiers in a nice white fabric and edged them with a pretty green ric-rac.

We made Coconut Macaroons, Mexican Wedding Cookies, and glazed Sugar Cookies.

Coconut Macaroons
The Coconut Macaroons are a long time favorite. Here's our recipe!

Mexican Wedding Cookies
We made this Mexican Wedding Cookie recipe, but we used pecans instead of almonds. Also, we did not put any nuts on the outside of the cookies. We toasted the pecans a few days before of the actual baking so that we could get ahead a bit. We also ground up the nuts and prepped the dry ingredients (below right). Each of the 5 bags is 2 batches of cookies--10 batches in total! Scott very patiently scooped all of the cookies using a little hemisphere cookie scoop lined with plastic wrap so that the cookies would be the same size and shape and bake consistently.

Sugar Cookies
The Cut-out Sugar Cookie recipe is my great-grandmother's recipe:

Ingredients: (makes about 30 2 1/2" cookies)

  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind


  1. Cream butter and sugar til fluffy. Add 2 eggs, vanilla, and milk.
  2. Add the flour, salt, and baking powder. Mix well.
  3. Roll into 2 or 3 balls and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about an hour.
  4. Roll out on a floured board, cut into desired shapes.
  5. Bake at 375F for approximately 8 minutes on parchment paper or silicone mats.

Here is our fridge with the vegetable drawer completely filled with sugar cookie dough:
Thanks to Shelby for this AWESOME rolling pin with adjustable thickness--helped us make all of the cookies perfectly consistent--which ensured that they all baked to the same golden brown. Thank you!

The workhorse (couldn't have done it without this guy, thanks Helene!):