Tuesday, July 12, 2011

4th of July Cookies with Swirled Royal Icing

Last weekend, I pulled out my super-awesomely-delicious Lemon Cutout Cookie recipe.
With a great deal of help from the little man, we took 700 times longer than usual to cut out flags, stars, and hot air balloons to commemorate our town's annual hot air balloon festival that happens yearly over Independence Day weekend.

I used royal icing and a toothpick to pull through for the swirl effect in the icing.  The lemon flavor and the light icing were the perfect combination for a summer cookie.

Almost too cute to eat.


Lemon Cutout Cookies

Ok. I'm going to share a secret with you.

Well, it's not really a secret. It's actually published for the entire world to see. My absolute FAVORITE recipe for cutout cookies.

Do you own this book?

If not, you should. It's the 1963 edition of Betty Crocker's Cooky book, still in print. This book brings back wonderful memories of Christmas cookies for as long as I can recall.

I use it for EVERY single cookie I make.  Honestly.

And, it contains my favorite cutout cookie recipe. Sweet, but not too much so, with a touch of lemon--yum!  I just can't make regular sugar cookies because I just love these way too much.

Merry Christmas Cookies

1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2/3 cup honey
1 tsp lemon extract
2 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

In a large bowl, cream vegetable shortening, sugar, egg, honey, and lemon extract until light and fluffy. Sift in flour, baking soda, and salt; stir until well blended. Refrigerate dough at least 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F . Lightly grease cookie sheets.
On a lightly floured board, roll dough 1/4-inch thick with your Rolling Pin; cut into desired shapes with your favorite Cookie Cutters. Place onto prepared cookie sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are light brown.  Be careful not to overbake; cookies will harden slightly as they cool.

The recipe says it yields 5 dozen cookies, but I like to roll them out a bit thicker, so I typically get a bit less than that, but I almost always make 2 batches--they go quickly!

Then, I take the leftover dough, roll it into little balls and then in a cinnamon/sugar mixture and bake the little dough balls.  Perfect for little fingers:)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Delicious Food:)

I'm linking up to Sweet As Sugar Cookies' blog for a linky party today.  Check out all these other great recipes...mmmmm:)


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Strawberry Fields Forever...

There's just something about picking your own strawberries that makes them taste that much more delicious.

And, WAY more affordable than buying them in the store!  We went picking twice this season, and the second visit was right at the end of the season, so the berries were super cheap.

We used these berries to make Strawberry Rhubarb jam and Strawberry Rhubarb pie...sooo good!

Wardie was especially helpful in the baking process.  He really pushed himself to make sure that the entire kitchen, not just some of it, was covered in flour.  Luckily, I don't care because he's so darn cute:)

And, the finished products.  I ended up with 14 jars of jam...

And 3 lovely pies:)

I can't wait for blueberry picking time...maybe later this week or early next.  I'm thinking some blueberry basil jam is in order.  I'll make sure to share the recipe, too!

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

You should make this.  For reals.  Usually when I make dessert, I don't eat as I go, and even though this isn't technically a dessert, it was so sweet and delicious, I may or may not have been eating it with a spoon... And, I may or may not have restricted hubby's jam intake so we have enough to last the year:) 

I use a great resource, www.pickyourown.org, for all of my canning info, as well as my Ball canning book.  I have had great luck with both!

So, here you go.  Recipe used from www.pickyourown.org.

You'll need:

4 cups crushed strawberries (1 1/2 qts of whole berries)
2 cups cooked rhubarb (just chop it up and boil for a minute or two until it's soft)
7 cups sugar (yup, you read that right.  kinds of gross.  but, if you use the low-sugar pectin, you can reduce the sugar to 4 cups...still gross, but less, ha!)
1/4 cup lemon juice (fresh, if you have it)
1 1/2 packages of pectin (again, try the low-sugar if you like)

Basically, just mix everything, saving 1/4 cup of the sugar and the pectin, and heat over medium to medium-high heat in a large pot.  Keep stirring it pretty often until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil. 

Then, add the remaining sugar and pectin, and take to a full boil, stirring often to incorporate the pectin.

Finally, skim off the foam and follow normal canning procedures (I used a water bath) to finish.

Then, hide them somewhere you'll forget so you don't find yourself with a spoon and a jar of jam!