Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Weekend Wrap-up, mid-week

There has been blog silence due to an upcoming event at work that has had me working until at least 7 every night this week.  I have not abandoned you, I promise!  I will be back with recipes, book reviews, my Bedroom makeover wrap-up and more in the upcoming days and weeks!!

In the meantime, here is a little recap of my weekend festivities and a yummy family recipe that we made this weekend!

Apple picking in 89 degree weather just didn't seem right.  Instead, we went and got ice cream at The Fountain on Locust which was delicious!  The decor is very Art Deco and the drinks remind me of Mad Men.  We tried their ice cream which is shipped straight from a family dairy in Wisconsin!

I had butter pecan ice cream in their signature pretzel cone.  The combination of sweet and savory was amazing!  J had a malt topped with fresh whipped cream, which was also very good.

They even candy their own lemon peels there--I definitely recommend it to anyone in the area!

On Saturday I made Halloween sugar cookies with a girl I mentor.  We made ghosts, pumpkins and star cookies.  Here's the recipe:

Grandma's Halloween...err Christmas...Cookies

1 cup shortening
2 cups of sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup of milk
4 cups of flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon baking powder

For the frosting:
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup of milk
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Kitchen Supplies:
Various cookie cutters
Hand or stand mixer
4 baking sheets
Food coloring
Small bowls for mixing colors, I used our ramekins
Sprinkles, optional
Tupperware and freezer paper for storage

Sift dry ingredients together in a small bowl.  Cream shortening and salt with either a hand or stand mixer.  Crack eggs, one at a time, into a small bowl and add to the batter, continuing to cream with the mixer.   This helps ensure one bad egg doesn't run the whole batter! While mixer is running, add milk and sifted ingredients until the mixture has come together.  Add vanilla and almond extract and mix well.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least twenty minutes.

Remove a small portion of dough from the refrigerator and roll out to 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness on a floured surface.  Coat cookie cutters lightly with flour, press into dough and place shapes on an ungreased sheet pan.  Repeat process until all dough has been used.  Note that by keeping the dough you are not working with in the refrigerator, it rolls out much easier.

Bake at 375 degrees for 9-10 minutes.  Do not allow the cookies to brown.  Place on cooling racks or brown paper bags to cool.

Next, cream thoroughly butter, salt and 1 cup of powdered sugar until light and fluffy.  Add remaining sugar and milk, alternating blending until smooth and of blending consistency.  Add vanilla.  Mix well.  Spoon equal amounts into small bowls.  Add food coloring and mix well.  Decorate to your heart's content.

Store in airtight Tupperware containers with freezer or contact paper between layers.  Makes approximately two dozen cookies.

My grandma (my Dad's mom) usually makes these around Christmas time, but they work just as well any other time of year!

Buy a cookie cutter like this and make a batch for a new neighbor.  Surprise your sweetheart with some sweet treats on Valentine's Day or an anniversary with a cookie cutter like this.  Or make some cookies for a baby or wedding shower.  Any way you cut them, they are great cookies! Enjoy!

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