Thursday, December 15, 2011

Meringue Cookies

  • 3 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup fine granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup confectioner sugar
  • 5 drops food flavoring
  • food coloring (optional)
  • Preheat the oven to 225 F, place the rack in the center of the oven. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites on low-medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and continue to beat until the egg whites form soft peak. Add sugar, a little at a time, and continue to beat on medium-high speed until the egg whites form stiff peak. Beat in food flavoring and coloring. 
  • Transfer the meringue to a piping bag fitted with appropriate tip. Pipe the 1 inch rounds of meringue in rows onto the parchment paper. Bake meringue in the oven for about 70-90 minutes. Turn off the oven, then leave the baking sheets inside the oven for several hours to overnight to dry the cookies.
  • Store in airtight container.

Savory Cheese Sticks

  • 2 oz butter
  • 2 oz vegetable shortening
  • 8 oz all-purpose flour
  • 2 oz sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated
  • 2 oz parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • Cold water, as needed
  • 1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • Preheat the oven to 450 F. In a large mixing bowl (or food processor), mix flour, butter and shortening until crumbly. Add cheese and seasoning, then add egg yolk and cold water to form a dough. Wrap the dough in a plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour.
  • Using rolling pin, roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch in thickness. Cut into strips and transfer to greased baking pans. Brush with egg white and sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese onto them. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Gingerbread Cookies

Isn't this the time of the year? Time when the kitchen is buzzing with the sound of electric mixer, the clickety clank of baking pans and my own voice telling my kids to stop stealing cookies from the cooling racks. The time when the entire house smells like sweet gingerbread and cinnamon. The time for the Holidays.

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • In a medium bowl, shift flour and add salt, baking soda and spices. Beat sugar and butter in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add egg and molasses, mix well until well combined. Gradually add the flour mixture into the batter, knead with hand if necessary. Divide the dough in half, wrap each with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 
  • On a floured surface,  roll out the dough to the thickness of 1/4 inch. Cut into shapes using a cookie cutter. Transfer to baking sheet and bake for about 8-12 minutes per batch, until the cookies are done and turn golden around the edges. Remove cookies to the cooling rack. Wait until the cookies are completely cool before decorating with royal icing (if desired).