Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Super Bowl, Love & Chocolate - A February Trio

I really know NOTHING about Football but I know the Super Bowl is a BIG deal (or, depending on your intonation, big DEAL) and it is on Sunday February 6, 2011.

People throw parties on Super Bowl Sunday -- and where there are parties, there needs to be cookies. So, I made these chocolate sugar cookies in the shape of footballs and hearts to appease all football fanatics and their loved ones -- because everyone knows that the way to someone's heart, who is totally disinterested in football, is with chocolate.  And, the best part is that these cookies totally taste like brownies.

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 375.
Beat together butter, brown sugar, cocoa powder, milk and vanilla until well combined.
Beat in baking soda and flour.
Shape dough in a ball.
Roll out on cocoa and flour mixture (just a bit so the dough does not stick to the work surface).
Shape and bake for 5 minutes.

The footballs are not super huge, and while I am a super fan of the big sugar cookie, I still think these are a nice sized cookie.  The recipe is not very big but can be doubled (and I don't say that about very many recipes).
To decorate I used royal icing, a #6 tip for the football ends and a #3 tip for the laces.

I really liked the way the cookies came out and bagged up with 12 perfectly yummy brownie football cookies in a bag.
But I realized they needed a bit more love so I added in a chocolate heart with white frosting and pink & red heart sprinkles -- because really LIFE IS BETTER WITH SPRINKLES!
However you spend February 6 or 14 or any day in February for that matter, try to include some love & chocolate to warm up this otherwise cold and dreary month.  It just dawned on me that that is perhaps why the Super Bowl and Valentine's Day are in February.
And, while the Super Bowl and Valentine's Day seem far away, they really are just around the corner, so if you are interested in ordering cookies, send me a quick note to arrange.

Don't forget to sign up to follow Flour Child on Facebook  -- not that I have really figured out what that means 100% but I do have a site that is working.  I think you can even sign up on the blog and all comments are welcome!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Scrabble Cookies for All Occasions

Last week was my 5th wedding anniversary so I made these scrabble pieces for my husband but I think they could be used in so many ways:  Valentine's Day, family get togethers or game night, going to a cottage or chalet, happy birthday for a scrabble lover -- the heart could be a picture of anything -- and any words can be spelled out -- thank you, family names, happy birthday, get well...

I should mention, I totally stole the idea from the Bake At 350 blog -- she is so very talented and detailed (I think hers are actual Scrabble tile size) -- mine are way bigger but the sentiment is there.

Use your favorite sugar cookie recipe.

The cookie cutter I used was a simple square -- it's a bit smaller than 3" but when the cookies are baked, they are about 3".  Roll them out to your desired thickness and bake.

To decorate, I outlined with white royal icing.  Sometimes, depending on the cookie, the consistency for outlining is much thicker than the filling so that the icing does not run over -- but because the filling is white I did not worry too much about this.
It is always a fine line when flooding a cookie with royal icing -- too runny and it will run over the sides; too thick and it won't spread nicely.  I test for the right consistency to cover a cookie by placing some icing in a cereal bowl -- the icing test is to lift your spoon and let the icing drip back into the bowl.  The ideal consistency is when the ribbon of icing that falls back into the bowl remains on the surface of the icing in the bowl for about 4 seconds before disappearing.

On the cookie, I usually use a toothpick or wooden skewer to help move the icing around to ensure the whole cookie is covered.
For a cookie that is completely covered in royal icing, I usually let it dry overnight before packaging.

I did not grab pictures of drawing on the letters (a very simple sans serif font) but used a #2 tip for the letters and a #1 tip for the Scrabble point values.

This is a super cute idea for just about any occasion.  Boxed or bagged, Scrabble cookies are fun to share, spell/figure out and eat!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Chocolate Chips -- Traditional, Chocolate Chocolate and Shortbread

So I've been thinking and talking about Chocolate Chip Cookies (CCC) since I started this blog and have been too busy to follow through on the vote that I had originally posted regarding your favorite cookies.  Of the few of you that voted, CCC came out first so now I'm going to share some CCC ideas. And please check out my newest survey on Valentine's Day -- I am curious to hear your thoughts on this holiday.

When I think of CCC I think of three kinds -- traditional, chocolate chocolate and shortbread.

I generally use the Nestle Toll House recipes for the traditional and chocolate chocolate -- seriously --  why mess with perfection?  However, what can make an ordinary CCC extraordinary is what's inside -- so I have been doing quite a bit of thinking outside the chocolate chip cookie box and with some of your help, I've come up with some fun ideas for adding the following things to either a chocolate chip or a chocolate chocolate chip...

  • white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, mini kisses -- check out Hershey's collection of chips
  • M&Ms, Smarties or candy covered chocolate sprinkles add fun colour
  • pistachio nuts, almonds, walnuts, peanuts...
  • dried fruit including: craisins, dried blueberries, apricots, cherries... 
  • mini rolos
  • mini marshmallows (can give a S'MORE flavour -- but I think I need a whole blog on S'MORES perhaps in the summer;)
  • skor bites (one of my favorites in a traditional chocolate chip cookie)
  • Williams Sonoma Peppermint Snow (and they are way better than chopped up candy canes -- perfect size and consistency)
  • rice krispies -- I have not tried this but Barbara suggested that she thinks they would add a fabulous little crunch (as they do to her mandel bread) and I don't disagree
  • my newest fav to add to just about anything - coconut
  • other ideas ?  keep them coming
I think with CCCs, if you start with a good base and add yummy stuff you can't really go wrong.  Combinations are fantastic -- white chocolate chips with craisins or apricots in a chocolate chocolate chip // chocolate and blueberries // chocolate and coconut are super for example.

Head to your local Bulk Barn, experiment, have fun and report back to me -- I would love to hear about some new great CCC add ins.
Chocolate Chip Cookies with Skor Chips
One of the cookies that friends and family (particularly my nephews) ask for time and time again is my Chocolate Dipped Chocolate Chip Shortbread.

1 3/4 c  pastry flour
1 c mini chocolate chips (the cookies are not really big so the mini chips work best)

3/4 c unsalted butter
1/2 c icing sugar
2 tsp cold water
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
3 squares semi-sweet or bitter sweet chocolate (for dipping)
Preheat oven to 325. Line 1 or 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat pad.  The recipe makes 30 cookies and I fit them all on one baking sheet but you may wish to use two depending on the size of your cookie sheet.

In a small bowl, stir flour with chocolate chips.  Stirring the chips into the flour ensures the chips will be evenly distributed through the cookie batter.

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat butter until smooth, then gradually beat in sugar until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.

Beat in water, vanilla and salt.

Using a wooden spoon, gradually stir in flour mixture.

Shape into 1" balls and place on baking sheets.
Bake 1 sheet a time, until edges are light golden, 15 to 20 minutes.

Cool completely on rack.

Meanwhile, melt chocolate for dipping in microwave or over double boiler and stir until smooth.

Dip half of cooled cookies into melted chocolate.
Place on parchment paper.

Refrigerate until chocolate is set.

My friends the Jordan's prefer these cookies out of the freezer -- so if I bring them a fresh batch they run to put them in the freezer to eat the next day.

However you eat them or share them, just enjoy.

I'm still getting the hang of taking pictures while I'm baking -- I see other baking bloggers do such a good job with this -- I'm sure over time I will get better at this.  

Over the next few weeks I'm going to be baking for Valentine's Day -- so if you have any orders, requests or ideas let me know.

And finally, and perhaps most exciting, as for my Bakerella book give away -- CONGRATULATIONS Barbara I will be sending you your new baking book straight away. I hope you have as much fun with this book as I have had!