Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sparkly Pastel Meringue Wreath Ornaments


For Christmas this year I thought it would be fun to have a little tree 
covered with edible ornaments including these pretty 
Meringue Wreath Ornaments!

These ornaments are easy to make, inexpensive and delicious,
 and are perfect for a Vintage or Pastel Tea Party! 
(And they're Gluten Free!)

All you need is 2 egg whites, 1/2 cup of sugar, food coloring & 
Sprinkles! I actually doubled this recipe, divided the mixture in half 
and tinted one half pink and the other half teal.

I used two small open star tips (Wilton 21 & 32) and just practiced
 until I found the look that I liked the best.  I used my handy dandy 
template to pipe uniform meringues. Just place the template on a 
baking sheet and put a piece of parchment paper over that. Then 
pipe your meringues using the circles as a guide.

Some ornaments I piped as one continual circle and others I piped 
individual dots of meringue - side by side to form a circle.

Right after I piped the ornaments I decorated them with Dragees then
sprinkled them with Baby Pink Disco Dust. There is some controversy 
about whether you should actually eat the Dragees. I suggest that you
read the information on the link then decide. You could remove them
from the ornaments before eating them, or simply decorate with
another type of edible candy balls.

My daughter is holding the pretty ornaments and wishing that
we had our Christmas Tree up so that she could decorate it!


SIMPLE MERINGUE COOKIES

2 egg whites
*1/2 cup super fine sugar (such as Dixie Crystals)
food coloring of choice
sprinkles of choice

Preheat oven to 200F. Line 2 baking pans with
parchment paper. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
Gradually add the sugar and beat at medium high 
speed until you get stiff peaks and the sugar has dissolved. 
Add food coloring and mix well.

Transfer mixture to a piping bag fitted with a
small open star tip and pipe circles or shapes
of choice. Decorate with sprinkles or candy
balls. Bake for 2 hours. Remove from oven, 
let cool, then place in an airtight container
until ready for use. 

*super fine sugar dissolves much faster
than regular granulated sugar. If you
can't find it, you can use a food processor 
to grind the regular sugar a little finer.

Hang your ornaments with some pretty gold or pink ribbon!
I already had some pretty sparkly pink Rick Rack so I used that.

Just imagine a pastel dessert table with a miniature Christmas Tree 
filled with edible meringue ornaments and gingerbread men!!
I love it!!

Hope you enjoyed this recipe as much as I did in bringing it to you!
Please stay tuned because I've made some lovely Meringue
Christmas Trees that I'll share in my next post!!





Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Pretty Pastel Coconut Pound Cakes


This week I saw the cutest little cakes on Pinterest that were baked
in this pan! So I ordered one from Amazon and as soon as I 
received it, I made mini coconut pound cakes in it! 

This recipe is one of my "go to" recipes that I've been making for years 
and they are so good!! These luscious little two bite cakes include 
Cream of Coconut, butter and cream cheese and are so moist and 
yummy!! They are perfect for so many occasions!

This is the Silicone baking pan that I used. The design is so pretty!

I used baking spray to oil the pan for the first batch, but didn't
use it again after that. After baking the cakes I just turned the
pan upside down, shook it a couple of times and the cakes fell
right out!

To make things easier, I used my piping bag with the plain tip 
to fill the pan. The tip needs to be large enough to let the pieces
of coconut go through. The mixture is very thick, so as I piped
I made sure the tops of the cakes were level so they would bake 
evenly.

I was a little disappointed that the cakes didn't show the
design like I hoped they would. You would see more detail 
if you used the pan for making chocolates or chilled desserts.

These cakes really don't need any frosting. I've
made them many times and I usually just sprinkle on
a little powdered sugar to serve. The Land O'Lakes's recipe
says to just serve them plain with fruit preserves or jam. 
Perfect for a brunch!


Mini Coconut Pound Cakes
*Adapted from Land O'Lakes

1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 3 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
*1/4 cup cream of coconut (Original recipe says milk)
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Heat oven to 350 degrees. 
Combine sugar, butter and cream cheese in mixer.
Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy.
Add cream of coconut, eggs and vanilla. Continue 
beating until smooth. Stir in flour and coconut.

Spoon (or pipe) into paper-lined or greased muffin cups, 
filling each 3/4 full. Bake for 32 to 38 minutes (20 minutes 
for mini muffins) or until light golden brown. 


Just for fun, I tried several different icing techniques. I used royal icing
for the pink cakes and didn't like the taste. I used a simple 
powdered sugar & milk glaze for the green cakes and liked that a lot 
more. But my favorite way to serve them is just sprinkling with 
powdered sugar, and I thought they looked really pretty that way!

Hope you enjoy my version of these wonderful little Coconut Cakes!!
Thanks for stopping by!!




Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Violet Macarons for Tea!

This week I tried my hand at Sugared Violets and used them to
top my pretty Violet Macarons! It's really easy to do - just brush
some egg whites on your violets, then sprinkle them with
superfine sugar and let dry.  Just make sure that your Violets
are the edible kind!
The Macarons aren't Violet flavored - just a pretty Violet color!

I used a recipe called Best Vanilla Frosting from Best Friends For Frosting.
So good!!


VIOLET MACARONS
Macarons adapted from Macaroons & Biscuits
Buttercream from Here

For the Macarons:

3 egg whites, room temp
1/4 cup (55g) superfine sugar
violet food coloring
pink food coloring
1 1/4 cups (200g) powdered sugar
1 cup (120g) ground almonds

For the Buttercream:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6-8 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract (I used clear- no color)
violet food coloring
pink food coloring

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Using whisk attachment, beat egg whites with electric 
mixer until soft peaks form. Add superfine sugar a
little at a time and food colorings. I used a combination of the
violet and pink to get the color I wanted. Beat until sugar 
dissolves, then transfer to a large bowl. Fold in
sifted powdered sugar and ground almonds in 2
batches.

Spoon Mixture into a piping bag fitted with a
3/4" plain tip. Pipe 1 1/2" rounds about 3/4"
apart onto trays. Tap trays so Macarons spread 
slightly. Let stand 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 150C/300F.
Bake Macarons about 20 minutes. Cool
on trays.

Prepare Buttercream:  In the bowl of an electric mixer
fitted with a paddle attachment, combine butter, 4 cups
powdered sugar, milk, vanilla extract and food colorings.
 Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 3-5 minutes.
Gradually add remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating
for about 2 minutes after each addition, until icing reaches
desired consistency; you may not need to add all of the
sugar. 

Sandwich Macarons with buttercream. If using
sugared violets, pipe a tiny amount of buttercream on
top of macarons, then the add a Violet.


Love the soft Violet color! 
Thanks for visiting!!




Saturday, August 16, 2014

Company's Coming - Quick! Grab the Cornflakes!!


So you get a call from a friend saying she's coming over for a chat...
You want to surprise her with a nice cup of tea, but you haven't
baked in a week and the package of Pepperidge Farm Cookies
only has one cookie left in it! What do you do - split the cookie
or make Honey Almond Joys? Do I have time to make them before 
she gets here you ask? As long as she lives 20 minutes away 
because that's all the time you need to make these treats!!

All you do is melt the butter, sugar and honey until boiling,
stir in the cornflakes and almonds, spoon into the mini
 cupcake liners (I used my medium cookie scoop) and 
bake 7-10 minutes. 

Remove them from the oven and let them cool in pan.

These little buttery, crispy, chewy, nutty bites are perfect
with a cup of tea. Be careful - they disappear quickly!!



Honey Almond Joys

5 tbsp butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp honey
4 cups cornflakes
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Melt butter, sugar and honey in a saucepan
until boiling. Remove from heat and stir in
cornflakes and almonds until coated.

Spoon cornflake mixture into mini cupcake liners
placed in a mini cupcake pan and bake for 7-10 
minutes or until golden. Cool completely in
pan before serving.

Just before your friend arrives, put the Honey Joys on a pretty
plate and arrange them, the teapot and 2 teacups on the table.
She'll be so impressed!! Enjoy!!



Monday, August 11, 2014

Sprinkle Twist Cookies with Tutorial

I love my Gooseberry Patch cookbooks, and today I'm
going to show you how to make some adorable cookies
from my Sweet & Simple cookbook - Twist Cookies!

Over the weekend I was flipping through my cookbook (I 
read cookbooks like other people read novels LOL!) and
as soon as I read the recipe for Twist Cookies, I wanted
to make them! 
Aren't they pretty?!  I decorated my cookies with sprinkles, 
but colored sugar would also be pretty! They really are not
difficult to make! 

First, I used my small cookie scoop to measure out the balls,
then rolled them in my hand until smooth. Then I rolled each
ball into an 8 inch rope. I used my measuring tape for the
first cookie, but after that I just eyeballed the length. (Don't
do what I did and use flour for rolling out the dough because
the cookies won't stick together for the twist.)

The recipe didn't mention chilling the dough first, but I
found it much easier to work with after chilling. I
suggest at least 30 minutes.

Next, fold the cookie rope in half....

...and twist 2 to 3 times.

Place cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet,
brush with beaten eggs and decorate with sprinkles
or sparkling sugar!
The recipe says to bake for 15-20 minutes - mine took 20.
Everyone's oven is different - just bake until lightly browned.

Let cool and enjoy with a cup of tea (or coffee!)


TWIST COOKIES

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 eggs, divided
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tsp baking powder
4-5 cups AP Flour
sprinkles

Cream butter until fluffy, about 5 minutes;
gradually add sugar, blending another 5 minutes.
Add 4 eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each
addition; blend in vanilla and baking powder.
Gradually mix in flour until a stiff dough forms;
roll dough into walnut sized balls. Roll each ball
into an 8-inch rope; fold in half and twist 2 to 3
times. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet;
set aside. Beat remaining eggs; brush onto each
twist. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
Makes about 5 dozen.

I hope this tutorial helps you to make these lovely cookies!
They would be pretty for a tea, brunch or girl's birthday
party!! Enjoy!!





Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Nutella Meringue Kisses


I love Nutella and I love Meringues, so when I saw this recipe for 
Nutella Meringues, I couldn't wait to try them!! The meringue batter 
alone is so delicious, the meringues almost didn't make it to the oven!!
It's a cinch to make - just a basic meringue recipe that you 
swirl softened Nutella into. Delicious!!!

I wanted to pipe the meringues and still get the desired
swirls of Nutella, so I took a little of the softened
Nutella and with the back of a spoon, I spread it in a
 line vertically down the inside of my piping bag.
Then I did the same thing on the opposite side.
When I piped the meringues, it created pretty
swirls of the Nutella!

I piped these using a large plain tip, which made
the pretty "kisses."  The meringues do create air 
pockets when they bake so don't think that you've 
done something wrong if it happens to you. 


NUTELLA MERINGUES
Adapted fromCream Puffs in Venice
Yields 15 to 20 meringues (depends on how big you make them)
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
a pinch of cream of tartar
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon, granulated sugar
1/4 cup Nutella

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Make sure you have one oven rack in the bottom third of your oven and one in the upper third of your oven.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Warm the Nutella in a microwave then let it cool as you make the meringue.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, place the egg whites. Beat on medium-high speed until they are completely foamy.
Add the cream of tartar and the salt and continue whipping at medium-high speed until when you lift the whisk attachment, soft peaks form. This should take a few minutes.
Once you have reached the soft peak stage, increase the speed to high and begin adding the sugar a few spoonfuls at a time (this should take a few minutes).
Once all the sugar is in, the meringue should be very thick (almost stiff) and when you left the whisk firm peaks should remain.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and drop in all the Nutella. With a rubber spatula, gently fold the Nutella into the meringue three or four times. You’re aiming for a swirled effect so don’t overmix. This will also help avoid deflating the meringue.
Using two spoons, drop the meringue onto the parchment-lined baking sheets in large dollops.
Place in the oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, immediately lower the heat to 200 degrees F. and rotate the trays. Bake for an hour.
After an hour, check the meringues. If they are completely dried out then turn the oven off and leave the meringues in the oven for a few hours to cool with the oven. If the meringues still look a bit “wet”, then continue baking for another 20 minutes or so. Either way, once fully baked, turn off the oven and leave the meringues in there for a few hours.
When you remove the meringues from the oven they should be completely dry and cool and will sound hollow when you tap the bottoms.
The meringues will keep in an airtight container for a week.


These were truly the best tasting meringue cookies I
have ever made! Hope you give them a try!



Friday, August 1, 2014

Ruby Tea Cookies

Today my daughter and I made cute little Ruby Tea Cookies, yummy 
little almond and orange cookies sandwiched with raspberry jam!

The recipe came from a cookbook called "Fairy Cooking." It's a
really cute cookbook that any little girl would love! It's full of
mini delights including "Pretty Fairy Fudge," "Swirly Pink
Cookies," "Tiny Fairy Cakes," and "Butterfly Cupcakes!"


Since I thought that the cookies might be tricky to move to the
baking sheet after cutting out, I actually rolled the dough out
and cut out the shapes on the parchment paper. Then I just
peeled the extra dough away from the cookies and transferred
the parchment paper to the baking sheet.


Rolling out the dough and cutting out the shapes is a little time consuming, 
but worth it! This would be a fun activity at a birthday party!


I wet the flower cookies with a little water using a pastry brush before
adding the sprinkles.


RUBY TEA COOKIES

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
one small orange
1 medium egg, beaten
2 tbsp ground almonds
1 3/4 cups AP flour
1 tbsp cornmeal
8 tbsp raspberry jam

2" round cookie cutter
small flower cookie cutter

Into a large bowl, mix butter & sugar until creamy.  Zest the rind 
from orange and add to bowl and combine. Add egg, combine. 
Add almonds, combine. Mix together flour & cornmeal, then combine 
with butter mixture.  Mix together until a dough forms. Wrap dough 
in plastic food wrap and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle some flour onto a work 
surface and roll out dough to 1/8" thick. Using round cutter, cut 
out circles. Then use the flower cutter to cut holes in the middle 
of half of the circles. Squeeze scraps into a ball and roll out again, 
cutting out as many shapes as you can. Place cookies on a baking 
sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes. Leave 
them on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then cool on wire rack. 
Spread preserves on the whole cookies, as far as the edge.
Then place a flower cookie on each one and press down gently.


I used my vintage tea towel with the bluebird taking tea!
So cute!!

The little flower shaped cookies below were the extra shapes
left over after cutting out the cookies. My bluebird loved
them with her tea! LOL!

Thanks for popping by! Have a great day!!