Tag Archives: icing

Holiday Icing Thumbprints

Holiday Icing ThumbprintsI’m continuing through my list of classic Christmas cookies/treats of which I have previously been deprived My latest observation in this multi-year endeavor is that a lot of popular holiday desserts are just variations on sugar cookie dough. If you need proof, see here, here, and here (and then make all of those recipes and invite me over). Holiday Icing ThumbprintsYou’d think this would somehow make Christmas cookie trays boring, but how could anyone *possibly* be bored when there are Holiday Icing Thumbprints to be had?!Holiday Icing ThumbprintsYou are probably familiar with the more traditional jam thumbprints—usually a sugar or shortbread cookie with a little well of jam (the titular “thumbprint”) baked into the middle. Those are great and all, but these are their more fun cousins. I mean, these are basically just a socially acceptable vehicle for eating icing. And they have sprinkles. Yesssssss.Holiday Icing ThumbprintsHoliday Icing ThumbprintsHoliday Icing Thumbprints are super easy to make. Mix the dough and then chill, scoop, and roll it into balls. Press the back of a small spoon into each dough ball before baking for 12-13 minutes. You could, of course, make the “thumbprints” with your thumb, but I vastly prefer the consistent shape that comes from using a 1/2 teaspoon.Holiday Icing ThumbprintsHoliday Icing ThumbprintsSince these thumbprints are baked without a filling, their centers will puff dramatically while they’re in the oven. The pre-baking press is less for the sake of the wells and more because it means the cookies won’t be as prone to unsightly cracking when you press wells into them again after baking. It’s the most tedious part of this recipe, but it makes for really aesthetically pleasing results. (Also, it’s really satisfying.)Holiday Icing ThumbprintsAfter that, there’s nothing left to do but squeeze red and green icing into the wells and scatter holiday sprinkles over the tops!Holiday Icing ThumbprintsOh, and to admire them for their undeniable cuteness and holiday cheer. And to eat like four of them while nobody’s looking.Holiday Icing Thumbprints

Holiday Icing Thumbprints
makes about 3.5 dozen cookies

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
4 oz (1/2 brick) full-fat brick-style cream cheese, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract

Icing & Garnish:
1 1/3 cups confectioners sugar, divided
2-3 tablespoons (6-9 teaspoons) milk
red food coloring (gel or liquid)
green food coloring (gel or liquid)
holiday sprinkles, optional

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Cream in granulated and light brown sugars, followed by the egg, vanilla, and peppermint extract. Add dry ingredients in 3 installments, combining completely after each. Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours or up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Remove dough from the refrigerator. Scoop dough by the tablespoon and roll each int a ball. Place dough balls at least 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Use the back of a very small spoon (like a 1/2 teaspoon) to slowly press a well into each dough ball. They may crack a bit—just smooth them with your fingers. If dough gets too warm and sticky, freeze for 10 minutes.

Bake cookies 12-13 minutes. Cookies are done when puffed and no longer wet-looking. When you remove the cookies from the oven, press the back of the small spoon into the centers again. Let cookies cool on the pans for 10 minutes before carefully removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat rolling and baking process with all remaining dough, letting the cookie sheets come back to room temperature between batches.

Make the icing. Place 2/3 cup of confectioners sugar in each of two small bowls. Stir 1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons) of milk into each bowl. Add some red food coloring to one bowl and green to the other. Whisk each with a fork until combined. Add more milk by the 1/2 teaspoon until icings are very thick, but pourable.

Transfer icings to piping bags (or ziptop sandwich bags) twist them tight and snip off very small corners. Fill wells in cookies as desired and decorate with holiday sprinkles, if using.

Icing will set after a few hours. Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days. Place wax paper between layers for easiest storage. Holiday Icing Thumbprints Holiday Icing ThumbprintsHoliday Icing Thumbprints

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Raspberry Lemon Sweet Rolls

 After making Blackberry Lime Scones last week, I came up with about fifteen new berry-based recipes to make between now and Labor Day, by which time I’ll be ready to ditch summer fruit for pumpkin. Probably. I dont think I could ever get tired of fresh summer produce.

First on the list? These Raspberry Lemon Sweet Rolls! Soft pastry filled with lemon-scented raspberries and drizzled with a simple lemon glaze. Served warm (with or without a fork), they’re like a ray of sunshine in breakfast form. That may sound a little ridiculous, but make these and you’ll understand. 

These sweet rolls start with a simple yeast dough. Yes, I just said yeast dough was simple. Yes, I meant to do that. For some unknown reason, yeast remains the most intimidating ingredient in American baking. It really shouldn’t be–there’s nothing to be afraid of. The most nerve-wracking part is proofing (waiting to see if it’s alive), and that’s really no trouble at all. But if it’s still intimidating for you, well, this dough might be the place to start.

You see, the dough for this recipe is made with instant yeast, so there is no waiting for anything to prove. As long as your instant yeast isn’t past the expiration date on the package, it should work just fine! Also, there’s only one rise, so these rolls can be made start-to-finish in less than three hours. The yeast is mixed with all-purpose flour, bread flour, sugar, and salt. A mixture of warm water, milk, and butter is stirred into the dry ingredients, followed by an egg. Stir until everything is combined and sticky, and then add flour in small increments until a smooth dough forms. Let it rest for ten minutes. The dough may expand a bit, but won’t really rise at this point. 

Roll the dough out into a large rectangle (or vaguely rectangular oval, if you’re me 😜). Spread that with softened butter, and then cover the whole thing with frozen raspberries that have been tossed with lemon zest, sugar, salt, and a touch of cornstarch. I know it’s tempting to use fresh raspberries this time of year, but they’re far too juicy for this recipe. 

Roll the raspberry-covered dough into a tight cylinder, and slice it into 1-inch rolls. I know it’s easy to eyeball this, but I recommend using a ruler. I keep one in my kitchen, and I use it way more than I ever would have expected. 

 Place the cut rolls in a lightly-greased square baking dish. Tent the pan loosely with foil, and leave it in a warm, draft-free place for 60-90 minutes, until the rolls have doubled in size. I put my rolls in an oven that I’ve preheated to 200F. Once I’ve tented the pan with foil, I turn off the oven and put the pan in there. In about an hour, my rolls are risen. Works every time!Uncover the risen rolls, and bake in a 375F oven for 25-30 minutes, until puffy and golden. Tent them with foil again if they’re starting to brown too quickly (mine were at the corners). Let the rolls cool for a few minutes while you mix together an easy lemon glaze. Drizzle that over the warm rolls and dig in! 

Raspberry Lemon Sweet Rolls are like summer in breakfast form! They’re perfect for brunch, end-of-school gifts for teachers, or just because you want something more interesting than your usual granola for breakfast. They’d be a fantastic way to start Memorial Day weekend, too! 

 Looking more more sweet rolls? Check out my Mini Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls (no yeast required!) and Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls!

Looking for more raspberry breakfast recipes? Check out my Overnight Raspberry Cheesecake-Stuffed French Toast Bake!

Raspberry Lemon Sweet Rolls
makes about 12 rolls

Dough:
1 1/4-1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup bread flour*
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 packet instant yeast* (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup milk (I use whole milk)
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large egg, room temperature

Filling:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
zest of 1 lemon
2 1/2 cups frozen raspberries* (not thawed)
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Glaze:
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1-2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Make the dough. Set aside 1/2 cup of the all purpose flour. In a large mixing bowl, stir together 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, bread flour, granulated sugar, salt, and yeast. In a small saucepan*, heat water, milk, and 2 1/2 tablespoons of butter over low heat until the mixture reaches 115F. Remove from heat and stir into the flour mixture. Stir in egg. Add reserved all-purpose flour in 2 tablespoon increments until the dough is smooth and soft*, pulling away from the side of the bowl when stirred. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 5-6 minutes. Form dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Prepare the filling. Place frozen raspberries and cornstarch in a small mixing bowl. In a separate small bowl, combine sugar, salt, and lemon zest. Use clean fingers to rub the zest into the sugar and salt until it is all well-mixed and fragrant. Add lemon-sugar mixture to raspberries, and toss until everything is combined.

Grease a 9-inch square baking dish. Set aside. Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Roll dough into an 8″x14″ rectangle. Spread softened butter over the entire surface of the dough. Spread raspberry mixture over the softened butter.

Starting at the long edge of the dough furthest from your body, roll the dough tightly toward yourself until you have one long cylinder. Using a large, sharp knife (not serrated) cut 1-inch rolls. Place cut rolls close together in prepared baking dish. Loosely tent with foil. Place rolls in a warm, draft-free place to rise for 60-90 minutes, until they have doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Uncover risen rolls. Bake for 25-30 minutes, tenting with foil again at 10 minutes if the tops are getting too brown. Let rolls cool on a rack for ten minutes.

Make the glaze. In a small bowl, combine confectioner’s sugar and salt. Use a fork to whisk in lemon juice and vanilla. Add more confectioner’s sugar or lemon juice until the desired consistency is reached. Drizzle over warm rolls.

Raspberry Lemon Sweet Rolls are best enjoyed the day they are made, but may be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 48 hours.

Notes:

1. If you do not have bread flour, all purpose flour may be substituted. Your rolls may not be as soft and chewy as if you’d used the bread flour, but they will still be delicious.
2. I use Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise Instant Yeast.
3. Do not use fresh raspberries for this recipe. They are too juicy to work well here.
4. I usually need 6 tablespoons of the reserved flour to achieve the desired consistency.

Halloween Candy Corn Platinum Blondies

Halloween Candy Corn Platinum Blondies

Confession: I am one of those adults who positively loathes Halloween. This Saturday night, you will not see me at any costume parties or roaming the crowds of the West Village Halloween Parade. And as there are no children in our building, I won’t be handing out any candy either. As a nanny though, I’ve had to learn to feign interest for the sake of some sweet little friends of mine. For the last four years, I’ve helped squeeze tiny people into itchy costumes, stood in line to get professional photos taken to commemorate that year they dressed up as turtles and cried for six hours straight, and even once taken them trick-or-treating…and that’s all before the sugar-induced meltdowns. Needless to say, I’m a little relieved that Halloween falls on a Saturday this year so I can stay home with Henry, who feels the same way. But for all the grimacing I do on those days, I have to remember that I loved Halloween when I was little. I dressed up as two Disney Princesses, Queen Guinevere (in a vintage purple velvet bridesmaid’s dress that once belonged to my Aunt Jerry Beth), and Mother Teresa. Yes, when I was thirteen, I trick-or-treated as a nun. My mother worked at a church, so my little sister and I had to come up with costumes based on what we could find in the acolyte room. My childhood friend, Christina, went as Dolly Parton that year–we were quite the pair.

All that is to say that I love candy. I have no problem going through someone else’s haul to steal all of the Twix bars and Reese’s Cups. I especially dig candy corn and those little mallow creme pumpkins. I’ve scoured the shelves of the Target Halloween aisle four times in four weeks, and have eaten more sugar than I care to admit. And I’ve finally found a way to get even candy corn-haters to enjoy the stuff–baking it into what I call “platinum” blondies. I’ve figured out that it’s the texture of candy corn that grosses out so many people. And it makes sense–it’s chalky, chewy, and overly sweet, gets stuck in your teeth, and tastes nothing like the “real honey” advertised on the bag. By baking it though, it melts and mellows, ceases to be chalky and gets extra chewy. Combine that with a soft and chewy sugar-cookie-meets-brownie bar, some sprinkles (because sprinkles!) and a vanilla glaze, and you’ve got the perfect no-mixer-needed treat for your Halloween celebration.

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These platinum blondies are so, so simple. They start with melting butter and combining it with regular granulated sugar. Whereas most blondie recipes use brown sugar and are therefore a golden brown color, these remain a pale yellow–platinum, if you will. Next come two large eggs, plus a yolk. The extra egg yolk is needed to make up for the moisture lost by not using brown sugar. Then comes a hefty amount of vanilla and just a touch of imitation butter extract. Yes, imitation butter extract sounds gnarly, but it gives these bars a Funfetti cake mix flavor without actually having to use cake mix. If you don’t have any, or just aren’t into it, you can leave it out without the final product suffering. Next we fold in the flour and salt, followed by the candy corn and sprinkles. Then we spread the batter in a prepared pan and bake at 350F for half an hour. The cooled blondies are sliced and drizzled with a simple vanilla glaze, then topped with more sprinkles (because more sprinkles!) and candy corn. Yum!

Halloween Candy Corn Platinum Blondies are the perfect dessert for your Halloween celebration this year. Whether you are attending a party, wandering your neighborhood with your children, or ignoring all of it at home with your favorite person and your Netflix account, you’ll love these blondies! Happy Halloween, indeed.

Halloween Candy Corn Platinum Blondies

Halloween Candy Corn Platinum Blondies
makes one 9×13″ pan, about 30 blondies

Platinum Blondies:
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon imitation butter extract, optional
2 cups all purpose flour, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher or sea salt
1 cup candy corn
1/2 cup sprinkles (jimmies, not nonpareils)*

Vanilla Glaze:
5-6 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
additional sprinkles, for decorating*
additional candy corn, for decorating

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9×13″ pan with aluminum foil, leaving overhand on the short ends of the pan. Grease the aluminum foil. Set prepared pan aside.

Melt butter on the stove or in the microwave. Let cool slightly.

Pour sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add melted butter and whisk until combined. Add in eggs and egg yolk one at a time, incorporating completely after each addition. Whisk in vanilla and optional imitation butter extract.

Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, fold the all purpose flour and salt into the butter & sugar mixture. Gently fold in the candy corn and sprinkles. Spread batter into prepared pan. Tap full pan on the counter three or four times to remove air bubbles. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let blondies cool in the pan for thirty minutes, then use the foil overhang to remove them to a rack to cool completely (about an hour). Once they are cool, peel off the foil and cut into 30 pieces.

Place cooling rack over a piece of wax paper to collect drips. Place blondies back on the rack.

In a small bowl, whisk together heavy cream and vanilla. Whisk in confectioner’s sugar and salt until smooth. Using a squeeze bottle or a fork, drizzle glaze over blondies. Decorate with additional sprinkles and candy corn. Let glaze dry for an hour or two, until it is no longer shiny and is a little bit hardened, before packing into an airtight container for storage. These keep well covered at room temperature for up to three days.

Notes:

  1. Please use jimmies here. Non-pareils (the little round ball sprinkles) are not recommended for the batter as they will bleed their color.
  2. Non-pareils or jimmies are a good choice here.