Winter Cookies, What a Treat!

I am SURE all of you think January/Febuary cookies are a bit of a no no. But truth is…..a bit of sweet makes the chilly winter months seem more enjoyable.
One of my wintertime favorite cookies is a Snowball Cookie. Yes, it is the old fashioned mexican tea cake or pecan ball or sandies (as my mother called them). These buttery, nut ball are formed and baked just a few minutes then rolled while still warm in fluffy powdered sugar! Perfect with a cup of tea or hot cocoa!
Here’s the recipe:

1 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teasp. pure vanilla
2 teasp. water
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans (or hazelnuts or almonds)
pinch of salt
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Beat butter for 30 seconds; add granulated sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
Add vanilla and water; beat well. Stir in flour and pecans. Don’t over work the dough. Roll into 1 inch balls, place on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake 15 to 20 min. in a 325 degree oven. Or until very lightly browned on the edges. Remove from oven and cool for 5 to 10 minutes then roll in the powdered sugar. Makes approx. 37 cookies.
Happy Baking!
Cathy

Cookie Assortments are Back!

This Holiday Assortment contains 13 hand-decorated cookies in a reusable tin. These delicious cookies are approximately 3×2 inches. Assortments will vary. We will send the freshest from-the-oven cookies. Call today for holiday delivery. 812-858-0634

Taking Care of your Cookie Cutters

As I carefully wash and dry all the Valentines cookie cutters used in the last few weeks, I thought it might be a good time to discuss the care of cookie cutters.
There are 3 basic cookie cutters that most of us have used.
Molded Plastic, Tin or Stainless Steel, and Copper (my fav.).
Plastic: Great all round cookie cutter. Simple shapes, easy to use, can be use for several ‘cutting jobs’.
Plastic cookie cutters are the only cutters that may be placed in the dishwasher. Most will be just fine.
I would bundle very small ones so they don’t get lost. Just tie a plastic bread wrapper twisty to bundle them together.

Tin or stainless steel: Never place these in the dishwasher. Only wash by hand with a mild soap. Dry completely before storing. (I hand dry all my cutters) Never let them just ‘air dry’ unless you keep turning them to drain the water out of the small gaps. (Water left in the cutter seams, will cause rust.)

Copper: LOVE copper cutters! They are so beautiful, easy to use, release cookie dough well and you can use them for decorations! Hand wash and dry. Sometimes you will need to use a copper cleaner to keep them looking bright. Be sure to completely clean the copper cleaner of the cutter before the next use.

Storage: Storing your cutters is easy. After they are all washed and dried, place them in large plastic bags by holiday.
This way they will be clean and ready to use next year!

Happy Baking!
Cathy

National Sugar Cookie Day!

Hello Cookie Decorators!

Have you baked, iced, eaten, gifted, or crumbled a sugar cookie today??  It’s National Sugar Cookie Day!  Yea! It’s like Christmas/New Years/ and The 4th of July to all of us cookie bakers and decorators!  I’m so excited about it…..I made and gave cookies away yesterday!  (Photos to be posted this week on a new cookie tutorial).

So…..you have the recipes, go bake some cookies.  Give some away……..It makes you feel so happy!

Really Happy Baking!

January Cookie reflection!

January is a great time to start to slow-down and just breathe.
I took a week off and spent time in Colorado. Something about the mountians, LOTS of snow, and being outdoors just calms me down.
It seems like everyone else, I get caught-up in all of the “Holiday Spirit” that I sometimes miss the meaning of Christmas.
Time spent with family and friends is what I really LOVE about the holidays. Re-connecting and making new memories with love ones still with us.
I got to see my sweet nieces and nephew from Orlando, and their folks, We ate cookies, of course! Then, went to parties, carved out time with my family, shopped and shopped and made thousands of cookies for customers across the country. Also taught lots of new cookie classes throughout the Midwest and (starting last spring) began teaching new Skype online cookie decorating classes.
Oh, my…….this is a lot for this little Midwestern gal!

I would encourage each of you to take just a moment to refelct on Holiday, 2010. Would you do anything differently? Yes, we are all scattered and crazy in December, but we must love it!? We do Christmas every year!

Happy New Year!
Cathy

Christmas Cookies on Video!

It’s here! Just when you need it most!
Check out my “Bolg” for the newest “Video Tutorials on Cookie Decorating”.
These are about 2 minutes of quick, little cookie tips to help you with those last minute gingerbread cookie decorating ideas.
They are FREE! Just let me know if they helped.
Happy Holiday Baking!
-Cathy

Free Cookie Decorating Videos

I have just posted several free cookie decorating videos on You Tube. Please check these short videos and let me know what you think. (I am working on additional videos.)

Also, for you last minute cookie decorators I am offering customized on-line Skype classes. Please let me know if you would like to sign up for these personalized one-on-one classes. (Please see the top post.)

Mitten Cookie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npjDdVQyOS4

Snowman:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUaGG4OoItY

Sleigh Cookie:    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1y66Jmm32UM

Christmas Tree:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YSy8us7hsI

One Minute Snowflake Cookie:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEmz0HkwIG8

Thanks!
Cathy

“Love the South”!

Just got back from teaching Cookie Decorating Classes for the wonderful folks at Viking Cooking School in Memphis.

What a  lovely group of people!   Everyone is so warm and friendly!

“Southern hospitality” is alive and well in Memphis!  Can’t wait to return!

The classes all decorated beautiful Santa cookies, Happy Snowmen cookies,  Snow-covered Sleigh cookies and  Sparkle Snowflake cookies!  (And did a wonderful job!)

Photos will be posted on my facebook account, Cathy’s Designer Cookies.

Thank you again Memphis!  Love ya’ all!

Happy Holiday Baking!

Cathy

Last Minute On-Line Skype Cookie Classes

Featured

Skype staged-video-call (Credit: Skype)

Get a private “On-Line” cookie decorating classes  using Skype video conferencing software. These personalized one-on-one classes are great for last minute holiday cookie decorating! The 2-hour classes are big hit and can be scheduled at a time that is convenient for you. (Yes I work day and night during this most joyous season.)  By utilizing Skype video conferencing software I can teach classes almost anywhere at any time.

My “private” one-on-one classes are a great for beginning cookie bakers or Moms wanting to decorate special holiday cookies with their children.

BTW, if you want to have a crowd in your kitchen for the class, that’a OK!

The set-up is simple. You will need a webcam; install the free Skype software www.skype.com and contact me (812-858-0634) to arrange a time for your personalized class (you will also need a broadband internet account).


You can make your own cookie blanks and royal icing or I can send you my Holiday Cookie Kit to use during the class. The basic kit includes holiday cookie blanks, icing and decorating sugar to decorate 5-6 beautiful holiday cookies.

The basic kit is $24.95 which includes ground shipping. All the cookie decorating kits are customized just like my classes. The on-line classes are only $50.00 per hour with a 2 hour minimum. Please call or email me today with questions or to set up your personalized on-line class.

“Coffee and Cookies Two”!

Being the coffee nut that I am……IE: can’t move without my morning cup (or four)!  If anyone out there is like this, do I have a cookie recipe for you!

“Chocolate Espresso Cookies” is an old recipe, but very tasty!  Who doesn’t like caffeine, sugar and chocolate!? Exactly my point.  Just a thought here, espresso coffee actually has LESS caffeine than regular coffee. The water is forced through the espresso grounds so fast, that it absorbs less caffeine.  This is according to Mike and Shelly at Kitchen Affairs.

On to the recipe!

Chocolate Espresso Wafers

by Cathy’s Designer Cookies

1 cup  unbleached all purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder

1/2 tea. salt

1/4 tea. baking soda

3 Tabls. unsalted butter, room temp.

3 Tabls. margarine, room temp.

1/2 cup plus 2 Tabls. sugar

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1-1/2 Tabls. instant Espresso powder

1 tea. vanilla extract

1 large egg white

Sift first 4 ingredients in to a small bowl.  In a large bowl, beat butter and margarine until creamy.  Add both sugars, espresso powder, vanilla and beat to blend.  Mix in egg white.  Add the dry ingredients and mix just to incorporate.  Use your hands to knead the dough briefly to make a smooth dough. 

Form dough into a log 14 inches long by 2 inches wide.  Wrap log in waxed paper and chill until very cold. (About 2 hours).

Bake: preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice chilled log crosswise into 1/4 inch disks.  Place disks on a parchment lined heavy baking sheet.  Bake for 12 to 14 minutes.  Tops will be cracked and almost firm to the touch in the middle.  It’s okay to slightly under bake these cookies.  They just will not be as ‘crisp’.

Cool cookie on a wire rack.  Will keep in an air tight container for up to two weeks.  May be frozen for up to 1 month. 

Happy Baking!