Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Candy Houses

Christmas candy cereal cookie house

Ok so there are gingerbread houses and then there are candy houses. The only other candy house I know is the one in Hansel and Gretel. But nevermind.

I have never understood gingerbread houses.

I love gingerbread, I make it almost every year, but it looks like this.

Love gingerbread cookie
Love gingerbread

Great flavor, on the soft side with a word on each that's christmas-y. I guess I like writing on words, (that is royal icing by the way madethe easy way with meringue powder, water and powdered sugar.) nothing against homemade gingerbread people, but my desserts on more on the rough elegancy side and less on the drawing on buttons and noses, which is more cute. My candy houses those are my cute.

I have made many of them. and I don't have the photos for the step by step it's messy and almost always made at night/ But I have ingredient recommendations.

The structure's components are a soda carton (the glass boxes come in, can be beer as well of course) and a shoe box lid.

Sometimes you have to trim the soda carton's center a bit. Bring it down so the roof has more support. When you make the lid just see if it wobbles or leaves a hude gap.

With the shoe box lid. you make two slits on the sides, and fold it so you get an angle then glue it down.

You may need to stuff the soda carton with something, newspaper or grocery bags to help it have more structural integrity.

Don't take down the roof though. Yay one less thing. If you want to make a chimmney I cut up a lose piece of cardboard off something below, and shape and adjust to get it as straight as possible on a slanted roof.

Shopping list

White frosting for mortar
Chocolate frosting for paving
Cereal for roofing (this was captain crunch)
Doughnut holes for retaining wall (you cut off the glazing and just use the slices.)
Fruit leather for bricks, I cut with scissors
Cookies for door (Milano has a little pack they sell by the register)
Cookies for window
Gum drops one green, one red for wreath, cut off the top of a green one and pierce with a skewer. The ribbon you cut a segment and cut out
Plus more green gum drops for bushes
Cereal for Christmas lights
Chocolate covered mints for pathway

You can use marshmellow fluff for snow cover, but you really have to cover it if you're doing that.

The sooner you make this, the dustier it will get, so I'd wait as much as possible.

Candy Christmas House

By the way candy houses smell amazing, Seriously you add in a christmas tree and it's like Christmas exploded.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Cookie time Perfect Spritz cookies for the holidays with the best cookie press

I love Spritz cookies, they're like the upgraded version of sugar cookies for me. They help make the holidays. But if you've ever made them then you probably know they have issues. Mainly the tool that makes them are a pain. Unless you have an old functioning electric machine, there are one of many problems you'll come across. 

1. An old machine that cripples your hand
2. A new machine that breaks without having finished it's first batch. 
3. Huge amounts of wasted dough. 
4. Some patterns just don't work. 
5. The number of clicks you need to push out dough varies constantly. 

Yeah, and I still bake them. Here's why. 

It's not stopped being about the damn machine and is about the recipe. 

My favorite Spritz Cookie Recipe 

1 cup butter (2 sticks) room temp
3/4 cup sugar 
2 1/2 cup flour 
1 egg
1 tsp almond extract 
1 tsp vanilla 

I like Nielsen-Massey for my almond and vanilla extracts. The price on amazon can be good. But always price compare for this, I've seen everything from $16 to $25 for the same 8 oz bottle of vanilla. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

Cream butter and sugar. 

Add in egg and extracts. 

Add flour. 

Press into cookie press, add your favorite disc. Adjust press to pack dough. Some discs work better than others. 

If nothing is coming out right, cool dough. If nothing comes out at all leave it out to warm up. 

You may need to click two or three times with some patterns. Anything you don't like, scoop up and place with remaining dough in bowl. 

Press them directly onto on an ungreased cookie sheet. 

Bake for 6 to 8 minutes. It shouldn't have any color underneath. 

Cool on racks, or just a cutting board like I do.

Makes around 40 cookies.