Lessons in Cookie Making

I had a terrible week that started right after my hand mixer decided to die on me, so last Friday when I got home from work, I decided that the only cure would be to make some cookies and spend the night decorating them. I had just bought some heart cutters from Dollarama and wanted to put them to good use. I had even found a decent sounding recipe for cookie icing that didn’t involve the needing of a mixer.

My only problem was that when I opened the fridge, I realized I was out of butter. I still had on hand a box of margarine squares sitting in the back, but I was in the middle of making supper and there was no way that I wanted to deal with rush hour, despite having two grocery stores just down the street from us. So I sucked it up and used margarine instead.

I’m sure this is probably not going to come as a shock to anyone, but the bare cookies had a little “off” taste to them. They were still edible and Trevor raved about them all night, but to me, they didn’t have the same rich, savory flavour. The icing recipe isn’t even worth posting, as although it looked nice, it was a pain to pipe and it wasn’t the same royal cookie icing taste that I’m used to. It also didn’t harden properly after 48 hours of sitting out, so some of the tops got squashed during packaging.

So lessons learned:

1). NOTHING beats butter in cookies. Seriously, the next time butter comes on sale, I’m stocking up so I don’t find myself in the same situation.

2). Double tie your piping bags. I wish I had taken a picture of the mess I had created, but lets just say that one of my bags exploded black icing all over my table and some of the cookies. I blame the consistency of the icing. And the icing recipe. And my shaky hands.

3). Make cookies with lots of time to spare. It was well after midnight when I finally put the piping bag down and I had been up since 6am, so I was a little cross-eyed.

Still though, it was nice to practice my piping. And if you recognize the handwriting of the word “love” that’s because it’s from a wonderful video tutorial from Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle. (Although she has much better writing).

And if it makes you feel better, I made cookies again tonight WITH butter and they turned out perfect. I’m also going to attempt to make royal icing by hand. But that is for next week…

Cheese and Garlic Red Lobster Biscuits

Three nights a week, Trevor has night classes. This means that three nights a week, I do supper for just myself. Most of the time, I get my cheese fix and make myself pizza or lasagna, but tonight I had to make one of my favourite restaurant knock-offs – cheese and garlic “Red Lobster” biscuits.

As a kid, going to Red Lobster was always a treat. My family is really big on seafood and I’m always shocked when I meet someone who doesn’t like fish or shrimp. (FYI: we usually eat fish or shrimp at least 2x a week). The highlight for me was always the basket of biscuits you get before your meal. Since we can’t always afford to eat at Red Lobster when my craving hits, I tend to make my own.

Most of the recipes I’ve read online call for Bisquick, which works and is wonderful if you’re in a rush. However, I find nothing more relaxing at the end of a work day than rolling up my sleeves and dipping a measuring cup into my bag of flour and making something from scratch.

Milk-Free Banana Muffins

Milk-Free Banana Muffins

Trevor is lactose-intolerant, so I frequently try to find milk-free recipes for him to enjoy. When I first started collecting cookbooks, my mom gave me one from the grade 8 trip fundraiser at my sister’s elementary school. This was where I found the perfect milk-free banana muffin recipe for Trevor. I’ve gone through many failed banana muffin recipes, but I think I’ve found the perfect one. Milk tends to add moisture to muffins, but these muffins are soft, moist and super delicious.

Soft Molasses Cookies

These molasses cookies are amazing and one of my family’s favourite. The recipe (below) was in an old high school cookbook at my parents’ place, dated 1984 and I had to email it to myself to make when I got back to Toronto.

These cookies are soft, moist, delicious and super easy to make.  My hand-mixer recently broke, but these are just as easy to make with a bowl and wooden spoon.



Be sure to beat the egg before adding it to the sugar/margarine/molasses mixture, as previous experience has taught me that this makes a huge difference in the texture of the cookies.

My arm was pretty tired, so I think I need a new mixer.

Graduation Cookies

 

I rediscovered this photo when I was flipping through old photos on my facebook and I had to post it.  Sorry for the quality.

A couple years ago, I made sugar cookies for Nathan’s high school graduation.  (To put this in time perspective, Nathan went back to school for grade 13 – an Ontario thing – and now he’s in the middle of his first year of university for Mechanical Engineering).  I found the graduation cap cookie cutter at Bulk Barn and the teddy bear and boy cutter is part of my Mom’s Christmas set.

Since Nathan’s school colours are yellow and green, I decided to make the icing match his graduation robes.  This was my first real venture into making some sort of decorative cookies and it definitely hooked me.