Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Wishing you all very Happy New Year in advance. Hope you are having a wonderful time with your dear ones during this festive season. I am having good time with attending holiday parties and experimenting new dishes at my kitchen. Unlike last couple of years, this year San Diego is bit colder and having rain quite often. It’s a good change for the sunny weather of San Diego. But this cold weather is perfect for baking. It’s an awesome way to warm your home. So I used this opportunity and did lots of baking in last few days, baked Christmas cookies, cakes, and some savory stuffs.

Today I will share the recipe of one of those, named Sugar Cookies. Some things just never lose their magical appeal. I tried many other type of cookies but delicate sugar cookies remained my favorite for years. Whether sprinkled with colored sugar, frosted or  decorated, they are as popular now as in the past. Sugar Cookies are usually made during this Christmas season. They are commonly made of sugar, flour, baking soda, butter, eggs and vanilla extract.

At first cookie dough is made and then it is rolled and cut into shapes by a cookie cutter. Finally it is baked until the edges are brown. Sugar Cookies are with sweet and tender crisp edges. These cookies are delicious with or without any icing . But If you want to decorate your cookies, there are many options. You can use frosting, sprinkles or both of them. Here I have used royal icing, that I have learned from the website called Joy of Baking. There are two ways of making royal icing. You can either use powdered sugar, egg whites and lemon juice or you can use meringue powder as a substitute of raw egg white. I would always like to use the second option. 

Recipe of Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing ( for about 2 to 3 dozens cookies )

Ingredients :

All purpose four : 3 cups 
Salt : a pinch 
Baking soda : 1 teaspoon 
Unsalted Butter : 2 stick ( 1 cup )
Sugar : 1 cup 
Eggs : 2 
Pure Vanilla Extract : 1 tablespoon 

Method :

1. Take a bowl and add flour, salt and baking soda to it. Whisk it together and set it aside. 

2. Now take sugar and butter in another bowl, beat it using hand mixer or electric mixture until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time and beat it. Add vanilla extract and mix it until well combined.

3. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat until the mixture forms smooth dough. Divide the dough into two parts. Wrap each part in plastic wrap and refrigerate it over night or at least 3 to 4 hours

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F ( 170 C ). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 

5. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out on a lightly floured surface to thickness of 1/4 inch. Cut out desired shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter. 

6. Transfer cookies to the prepared baking sheets. Again put the unbaked cookies in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to chill it. 

7. Bake cookies for about 10 minutes or until the edges are just starts to get brown. Remove from the oven and let cookies cool. 

For Royal Icing 

Ingredients :

Powdered sugar : 3 cups
Meringue powder : 2 tablespoons 
Pure vanilla extract : 1/2 teaspoon 
Warm water : 1/4 cup - 1/2 cup 
Food coloring ( if you want to use ) 

Method :

Mix the sugar and meringue powder, until combined. Add the warm water and vanilla extract and beat it using hand mixer or electric mixer on medium high speed until stiff peaks form. Check the consistency, to get the desired consistency you can add more water or sugar. 

Add food coloring, if desired and decorate the cookies as you wish. 

The icing hardens when it exposed to air, so transfer the leftover icing immediately to an airtight container. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Rum Balls

As I mentioned in my last post we were planning for a India trip during Christmas vacation. Unfortunately our plan didn’t work for some reasons. I was so upset and sad for the same, but for me this year Santa came early to make me happy. Last few days I was searching for deals on camera and lenses. Santa came to know about that and ordered a new camera and lens for me. Couple of days back I received them and got so excited to have a Nikon D610 and 24-70mm lens in hand. So from now onwards you can hope to see more posts from me.

Today I will share the recipe of a truffle that is very popular especially during the holiday season. You can call it a candy or no-bake cookies  The name of this Christmas treat is Rum Balls. It’s the perfect adult indulgence during this festive time.  Rum balls are sweet and chewy, a mixture of finely chopped nuts, crushed cookie crumbs, cocoa, powdered sugar and obviously rum as the name suggests. They are roughly the size of a golf ball.

Rum balls are not so difficult to make. To start with, add the ingredients as I mentioned above and stir to mix well. When the mixture holds together firmly it is rolled into balls. Then they are coated in powdered sugar or cocoa or melted chocolate whatever your heart wishes. My favorite is the chocolate coating one. This Rum Ball recipe is adapted from #joyofbaking .

Recipe of Rum Balls : makes 20 pieces ( little bigger size balls )

Ingredients :

Toasted walnuts, chopped ( pecans, hazelnuts, almonds can be used ) : 1 and 1/2 cups
Vanilla wafer cookies, finely crushed : 1 and 1/4 cups ( shortbread cookies or digestive biscuit can be used )
Unsweetened Cocoa powder : 2 tablespoons
Powdered  sugar ( confectioners sugar ) : 1/2 cup
Honey : 2 tablespoons
Rum : 1/4 cup

For Toppings

Powdered sugar :
Unsweetened Cocoa powder :
Finely chopped Pistachios ( other nuts can be used )
Melted Semi sweet chocolate : 120g
Melted white chocolate: 30g

Method :

1. Toast the nuts until lightly browned and fragrant comes up. Let it cool completely and then chop them. Place the nuts in a food processor or grinder and pulse until finely chopped. Once done, set is aside.

2. Now put the vanilla wafer cookies in the food processor and process it until finely ground.

3. Add the ground cookies to the finely chopped walnuts. Now add powdered sugar and cocoa powder to it and mix it until well combined.

4. Add honey and rum to the mixture and mix it again. You can add little more rum, if necessary.

5. Now refrigerate the mixture for half an hour. Then give them shape into 1 and 1/2 inches balls.

6. Then roll the rum balls in confectioner sugar, cocoa powder, finely chopped nuts.

7. To dip into chocolate, put chopped semisweet chocolate ( around 120g ) and one tablespoon of butter in a heatproof bowl. Now place the bowl over a sauce pan of simmering water. Stir it, once it is melted remove it from the heat. Dip the rum balls one at a time in the melted chocolate until it is coated with chocolate. Use two spoons or a fork and remove it from the bowl of melted chocolate.

8. Again put the chocolate covered balls into the refrigerator for around 10 minutes or until chocolate has set. Once the chocolate has hardened melt some white chocolate and drizzle the rum balls.

 Notes :

  • Rum Balls can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for couple of weeks
  • If you do not want to add alcohol, use orange or apple juice in the pace of rum.
  • Store rum balls for at least a few days before serving, so their flavors have time to mingle.