Saturday, February 12, 2011

Make and Use my Cookie Dough Leveller Tutorial

Would you like to know how to roll out your cookie dough in seconds? 
Would you like all your cookies to be the same thickness?
Well read on and find out how it's done.......

Alasdair made this frame for me out of 1" x 1" 90 degree angle wooden edging available at Bunnings (Oz) and B&Q (UK).
Using my chopping board as the base he stuck 4 lengths together to make a frame. The two long sides have the 90 degree angle facing upwards as a guide for my rolling pin and the two short sides have the angle facing downwards to hold tight to my chopping board so that the frame does not move when I roll out the cookie dough.
The gap is set at 3/16th of an inch which is the thickness I like my cookies.

I use a layer of greaseproof paper under the cookies and another layer on top

Cut out cookies while still on the board and then lift off using a spatula.

Gothic brushes from Obsidian Dawn used in this little Photoshop creation.

Happy Valentine's Day Cookies Tutorial

Here is another treat for you to make for your loved one this Valentine's day!

These cookies are not difficult to make and are decorated with Royal Icing and can be as simple or elaborate as you like.

I now use this gorgeous recipe for all my cookies. The cream cheese gives them a lovely flavour and texture and the consistency of the dough makes it easy to cut out shapes with cutters.

Buttery Sugar Cookies

250g softened butter
85g of softened cream cheese
150g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
510g (3 cups) plain flour

Cream butter and cream cheese using K beater until light and fluffy. Add sugar egg & vanilla. Beat at a medium speed scraping down the side of the bowl often until creamy.

Reduce speed to low and add flour, beat very lightly until combined again scraping down the bowl.

Divide dough into 2 equal portions and wrap in plastic warp and refrigerate until firm (at least 2 hours). Or place in freezer for when you need them.The dough can last up to a week in a airtight container...they do go a little soft, but suppose to be like that...(not a crunchy biscuit)
Heat oven to 160 (fan). Sometimes I even lower the temp to 150, they don’t take long to cook, just enough so when you lightly touch them they do not make an indent in the cookie.

 Roll out dough on baking paper. 

Cut out cookies and bake for 7 to 10 mins until edges are very lightly browned.

Click here to find out how to make and use my cookie dough leveller!

Remove from cooking sheets and cool completely on wire rack.

Outline and fill the cookies at the same time using RI (Royal Icing) with a number 2 piping nozzle and remember that RI takes 24 hours to set.

Royal Icing
Traditional royal icing is made with real egg white, however, because of the slight chance of salmonella poisoning, I now prefer to use dried egg white instead.
20g (3/4 oz) dried egg white
90ml (2.5fl oz) cold water
500g (1lb 2 0z) icing sugar

Mix egg white and water in a bowl until smooth.
Sieve the icing sugar into a grease free bowl.
Tip in the egg mixture and beat on the slowest speed for 5 mins until the icing stands up in peaks.

Planet Cake Royal Icing using real egg whites.
250-300g pure icing sugar, sifted
2-4 drops acetic acid (white vinegar)
1 egg white

Beat icing sugar, acetic acid and egg white with electric beater on medium-high speed for 4 minutes for 'soft peak'. Add extra sugar if the icing is too soft.
Achieving the right consistency for Royal Icing can be difficult but practise makes perfect, so if icing is too thick or too thin just empty your piping bag and add more water/vinegar or icing sugar. You will soon work it out.

Place icing in airtight plastic bowl with a lid. Lay a piece of cling film directly on top of the icing and replace the lid.
DONT put the cookies in an airtight container until they are set (24 hours to set) need the air to help dry out..

Pipe on your designs once the cookies are set using a number 2 piping nozzle. If you would like to use my designs then click on the image above to enlarge and then copy the same or similar on your cookies. 
For the straight lines, in particular, touch the cookie with the nozzle at the beginning and end of line only, pulling your line of icing in the air. This way you get the straightest line possible. For the heart-shaped outlines you sort of hold the nozzle above your cookie and let the icing gently fall/glide into place. Do not drag the nozzle along the cookie surface at any time. Very few of my cookies are identical as I adapt my designs as I go. Feel free to experiment.

Suggested timeline for making the Valentine's Day Cookies:

Day One - Baking
Day Two - Outlining, filling, and letting cookies dry overnight.
Day Three - Detail piping

These lovely little cookies last for ages, just keep on eating the odd one to make sure the rest are fresh, LOL! Remember to keep them out of strong sunlight so that the colours don't fade.

Another little artwork to brighten up your day!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Valentine's Day Chocolate Peppermint Fudge

'The way to a man's heart is through his stomach.'

If cooking for a man is a good way to win his affections then why not cook him up some fudge for a Valentine's treat?
This is a surprisingly easy recipe! So go ahead and try it out.


395g   Tin Sweetened Condensed Milk

50g     Unsalted Butter, cubed

200g   Finely Chopped Lindt Mint Intense
200g   Finely Chopped Dark Chocolate (Plain)

  • Line the sides and base of a 16cm (6") x 26cm (10") baking tin.
  • In a medium saucepan, gently heat the condensed milk and butter on low heat until melted.
  • Stir continuously to stop the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning.
  • While the mixture is warm, stir in the chocolate until completely melted. Immediately pour the fudge into the baking tin.
  • Smooth the top and refrigerate until firm (2-4 hours).

Line the baking tin.

Break the chocolate up and place in the food processor.

Blend at top speed till chocolate is finely chopped.

In a medium saucepan, gently heat the condensed milk and butter on low heat until melted. (I took the picture while stirring at the same time!!!)
Stir continuously to stop the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning.

While the mixture is warm, stir in the chocolate until completely melted. Immediately pour the fudge into the baking tin.

Smooth the top and refrigerate until firm (2-4 hours).
When set, cut the fudge into squares.

Did you notice that I printed out my 'Red Heart' artwork and used it to brighten up this picture.
Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

Live, love, create!