Tag Archives: daring baker’s

Daring Baker’s: Meringue Coffee Cake

27 Mar

This was another Daring Baker/Cook’s Challenge that was done at the last possible minute. Last night at around 11:30PM to be exact. And photos were taken this morning. How’s THAT for procrastination? Just call me the Queen.

I’m always trying to enhance my knowledge of baking with yeast. And this Challenge was no exception. I was extremely happy with the rise on the bread, and even happier with the addition of the meringues (I’ve finally conquered meringues and their fickleness! Hooray!). Now I just need to work on making it look….pretty.

See what I’m saying? Ah well, as long as it tastes good right?

Hubby thought it tastes more like a babka and not a traditional coffee cake a la Entenmman’s. I gave him the side eye for it. While it’s not traditional coffee cake by any means, it’s still delicious.


The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.

Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake

Recipe from Life’s a Feast

Coffee Cake Dough

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dried yeast
  • 3/4 cup 1% milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment combine 1.5 cups of  flour, sugar and yeast. Mix together then add the salt.

In a small saucepan, combine the butter, milk and water and stir until the butter has melted. Add to the flour mixture and mix on low speed until blended. Increase the speed to medium and beat for another 2 minutes. Add the eggs and another cup of flour and beat an additional 2 minutes.

Remove bowl from mixer and using a wooden spoon add as much of the remaining flour in order to form a cohesive ball. Dump the mixture onto a floured surface and knead the dough for 8-10 minutes, adding the remaining flour until it forms a soft and smooth ball.

Place into a lightly greased bowl and make sure the ball is covered with oil on all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let rise until doubled, about 45-60 minutes.

Meringue & Filling

  • 3 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 oz chocolate, chopped roughly
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon

In a VERY clean stand mixer with the beater attachment, add the egg whites and beat on low for 30 seconds. Increase the speed to as high as your stand mixer will go. Once the egg mixture begins to bubble and foam slightly add the vanilla extract. 1 tbsp at a time add the sugar until incorporated and stiff peaks form.

In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon and stir to combine. Set both aside

When the dough is ready punch it down a little and dump onto a floured surface and divide into 2 mounds. Roll each mound into about a 10×20″ rectangle. For each roll, dump half of the meringue mixture, followed by half the cinnamon sugar, and half of the chopped chocolate. Roll it up the long way until it forms a long roll and pinch the ends.

Gently transfer to a lined baking sheet and join the two ends to form a circle, making sure the pinched side is facing down. Using scissors, cut deeply into the roll every inch or so. The deeper you snip the better! I don’t think I snipped mine nearly as deep as I should have!

Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let rise an additional 45-60 minutes.

Towards the end of the rising time, preheat oven to 350. Mix up an egg wash (I didn’t have any whole eggs left so I combined 2 leftover egg yolks and some water. Worked out beautifully!) and slather it onto the rolls. Sprinkle additional cinnamon sugar if you wish.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, turning once, until the top is golden brown.




Daring Baker’s: Panna Cotta & Florentine Cookies

27 Feb

As you are reading this I am probably having a fabulous time in San Francisco (And getting ready to head to Lake Tahoe for snowboarding and snow tubing and other fun stuff!), so I’d like to make you feel better by showing you this fabulous panna cotta I made for Daring Baker’s.

When I tasted this panna cotta, it tasted EXACTLY like a melted vanilla milkshake. You can really taste when you are using vanilla beans and vanilla extract, there’s just that extra OMPH of vanilla flavor. Now, if you don’t like melted vanilla milkshake then there is probably something wrong with you.

To be honest, the panna cotta was a little on the extra jiggly side, but I think it was still a success for it being my first time! If you want your panna cotta to be extra creamy, substitute the half and half with heavy cream.

Then, pairing the panna with these beautiful florentine cookies? Oh man, that’s just way too much. I originally wanted to make these into round cookies, however the cookie dough was a little too runny and basically turned into one big sheet by the time I took it out of the oven. Oops? Well, the important thing is that they still tasted fabulous.

The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.

Florentine Cookies

As seen on Food Network

  • 2.5oz sliced, blanched almonds
  • 1.5 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp grated orange zest
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp half and half
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2.5 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 oz dark chocolate
  • 3 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a food processor add the almonds and pulse until finely chopped. Stir together the nuts, flour, orange zest and salt in another mixing bowl.

Put the sugar, half and half, honey and butter in a small sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until it comes to a roiling boil. Continue to boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, then pour into the almond mixture and stir to combine.

Pour the mixture onto the baking sheet and spread evenly. Bake 10-11 minutes, turning pan once, until golden brown.

Let cool for 10 minutes, then using a sharp knife, cut into about 15 pieces. If some of them break, that’s ok!

While they are cooling, fill a small saucepan with water and bring to a simmer. Combine the chocolates and melt until smooth. Once the cookies are cool, place about 1-2 tsp of chocolate on every other cookie and then sandwich them with the other plain cookie. If you want, drizzle more chocolate on top and on any broken pieces. Let them dry completely on a wire rack.

Panna Cotta

As seen on Food & Wine

  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, insides scraped
  • 1 1/8 tsp gelatin
  • 1/5 tbsp water

In a small saucepan, combine the half and half, sugar and vanilla bean. Bring the mixture to just a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat, cover and steep for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand until evenly moistened, about 5 minutes.

Uncover the cream mixture, and reheat over medium high heat to just a simmer again. Remove from heat, and stir in the gelatin until dissolved. Remove the vanilla bean. Pour the mixture into ramekins and let cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Daring Baker’s: Biscuit Joconde Imprime

27 Jan

We interrupt our regularly scheduled restaurant review programming to bring you….! The next Daring Baker’s Challenge!

The January 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Astheroshe of the blog accro. She chose to challenge everyone to make a Biscuit Joconde Imprime to wrap around an Entremets dessert.

When I first read through the Daring Baker’s Challenge for this month I probably sounded like this,

“I’m suppose to make WHAT?!?!?!!?!” ::insert panic screech here::

Then I read it about 20 more times and thought to myself, Well that actually doesn’t sound too difficult.

I originally had ambitious ideas about this cake. I originally wanted to do a German Chocolate base with Bavarian cream and raspberry jam. And then I ran out of time. Whoops? Well that and I’m actually trying to stay on a diet.

So instead I changed it up and went with a Banana Pudding. Homemade banana pudding. It was my first time making pudding and it was a great experience! Definitely worlds away from the boxed stuff.

So for the decor paste, I halved the recipe. And I STILL had too much left over. I may have eaten the leftovers, because the paste was just SO GOOD. Ugh.

As you can see, the sides of my cake didn’t come out to well. I blame a couple of things, my oven, my oven rack being too low, my computer for luring me away from said oven for too long, my cat. I tried to go simple with the design, and may have left it on the pan for too long. I also think I didn’t put enough of the sponge on the imprime. The bottom of my cake was actually done on a whim because I had leftover paste. Less baking time plus putting the cake on the top rack made the bottom absolutely gorgeous. Now I know for next time.

This was really a fabulous challenge and I’m really glad I was able to learn such a great technique. I definitely look forward to refining it and playing around with it. And maybe someday I’ll actually make the original cake I planned for.

Banana Pudding Entremet

Jaconde sponge and paste recipe provided by Astheroshe who hosted this month’s Daring Baker’s Challenge. Banana pudding recipe adapted from Evil Shenanigans

Jaconde Sponge

  • 3/4 cup/ 3oz almond flour/meal*
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons/2⅔ oz confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup/1 oz cake flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 2 1/2 tsp/ ⅓ oz white granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp/1oz unsalted butter, melted

A note about the almond flour/meal. If you want to spend $11 on what branded as “Almond Meal/Flour” then by all means do it. But if you want to spend about $3 instead, buy a package of blanched sliced almonds, and run them through your food processor for about 5 minutes. *POOF* Almond Flour.

In a clean mixing bowl whip the egg whites and white granulated sugar to firm, glossy peeks (I am currently the QUEEN of egg whites. This used to not be the case). Reserve in a separate clean bowl to use later. Sift almond flour, confectioner’s sugar, cake flour. (This can be done into your dirty egg white bowl).

On medium speed, add the eggs a little at a time. Mix well after each addition. Mix until smooth and light. (If using a stand mixer use blade attachment). Fold in one third reserved whipped egg whites to almond mixture to lighten the batter. Fold in remaining whipped egg whites. Do not over mix. Fold in melted butter. Reserve batter to be used later.

Jaconde-Decor Paste

  • 7 tbsp/3.5oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 3.5oz Confectioners’  sugar
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3oz cake flour, sifted
  • 1 oz cocoa powder

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (use stand mixer with blade). Gradually add egg whites. Beat continuously. Fold in sifted flour.

Banana Pudding

  • 2 cups milk (I used 1%)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
    2 tbsp butter
  • 2-3 large bananas, sliced into 1/8″ slices
  • Vanilla wafers
  • Whipped cream

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Spread a thin layer of the paste onto a silicone baking mat, or parchment paper on an upside down baking pan. Pattern the paste into what you want. Use your imagination! Put in the freezer for 15 minute to harden.

Remove from the freezer and quickly pour about half of the sponge cake batter to cover the design and quickly put into the oven, on the highest rack if you can. Bake until the sponge bounces back at you. This can take anywhere from 7-15 minutes. It all depends on your oven and your pan. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, leave your oven while it is baking. Just.Watch.It.

Pour the remaining batter (and make another pattern if you want!) into a spring form pan. Once the first part of the cake is finished remove from oven and put the cake in. Bake for another 10-15 minutes.

Once the cake base is finished, pop the springform pan apart. Using just the ring, you want to cut your jaconde so it goes entirely around the pan (on the inside) The height should be about halfway up the pan (or more if you want!) Make sure your pattern is up against the ring.

Now time to make the pudding!

In a medium sauce pan whisk together the milk, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla bean paste (if using), salt, egg, and egg yolk.  Once well combined place the pan over medium heat and cool until thick and bubbling.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter (and vanilla extract if you are using) and whisk until completely melted.  Pour the custard through a strainer into a separate bowl and cover with plastic wrap to cool slightly.

In a separate bowl, mash up the banana, leaving a couple of chunks. Mix the banana into the custard. Refrigerate for at least an hour before assembling the cake.

Once the pudding has partially set, put the sponge base into the springform pan and pour the pudding into it. Cover with whipped or homemade whipped cream and smashed vanilla wafers. Put in the fridge for another hour to set. Then eat!

Daring Baker’s: Stollen

27 Dec

When I found out that this month’s Daring Baker’s Challenge was Stollen, well, my heart just seized with joy. I’m pretty sure my husband was more excited though. Hubby and I love all things German (We went to Germany for our honeymoon!) and I was really excited to try my hand at some traditional German Christmas bread.

The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book………and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.

I made this Stollen for Christmas at my parent’s house. We were all so excited to try it as it made the kitchen smell AMAZING. There were so many different recipes to chose from, I felt slightly overwhelmed at trying to find the perfect recipe. I ended up combining two different recipes, one from Life’s A Feast and the other from Sugar Crafter. I was really happy with how the Stollen came out and will definitely be making this one again!

Stollen: German Christmas Bread

Recipe adapted from here and here.

  • 1/2 cup milk (I used skim)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 cups mixed dried fruit of your choosing (I used candied orange peel, golden raisins and dried cherries)
  • 2/3 cup rum
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup water

To make the sponge, warm the milk to about 100 degrees and whisk in the flour (1/4 cup) and yeast. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about an hour, or until it looks really spongy.

Combine the fruit and the rum into a bowl and stick it in the fridge until you are ready to put everything else together. I suggest doing this first before even making the sponge.

For the dough, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon.  Stir in the egg, butter, sponge, and enough water to form a soft but not sticky ball (this should take about 2 minutes). Once the dough comes together, cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

Drain some of the rum from the dried fruit and then add the fruit/rum to the dough mixture. Transfer dough to a floured surface and kneed for approx. 6 minutes until the sough feels soft and is no longer sticky.

Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough ball in the bowl. Roll it around so that the entire ball is covered. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night. The next day, remove the dough from the fridge and leave out at room temperature for 2 hours.

Once the dough has rested, scrape it out onto a floured work surface, punch it down and roll out into a large rectangle of about 16 x 24 inches (mine was a tad smaller). Sprinkle the dough generously with cinnamon-sugar-nutmeg all the way to the edges. Starting with a long side, roll the dough up tightly, forming a long, thin cylinder. Transfer the cylinder to the sheet pan. Pull the two ends around together, forming the dough cylinder into a ring and join the ends together, and pinch with your fingers to make it stick. Using clean kitchen scissors, make cuts along outside of circle, in 2-inch intervals, cutting 2/3 of the way through the dough. Once sliced, gently pull the sections out from each other so they will stay separated once risen and baked. Either spray the wreath lightly with spray oil or tap gently with a vegetable oil soaked paper towel. Cover lightly yet completely with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise at room temperature for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350. Bake the Stollen for 20 minutes, then rotate 180 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Brush the top with melted butter and then sprinkle generously with powdered sugar. Let stand for 1 minute, then sprinkle with a second layer. Let cool for at least 1 hour before serving.

I’m happy to say that this was a big hit with my family! Everyone really enjoyed it and I really can’t wait to make it again!

Daring Baker’s: Crostata

28 Nov

Happy Post Thanksgiving everyone! I hope your weekend and holiday was fabulous. I spent the weekend at home with friends and family which means posting late for Daring Baker’s. Oh, and forgetting my camera and only having my point and shoot with me, so my apologies for the less than stellar photos.

The 2010 November Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simona of briciole. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make pasta frolla for a crostata. She used her own experience as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.

This challenge sounded like a fun way for me to prepare something for the holidays without making just a boring pie. I was originally going to make an apple pie crumble so the fact that this month’s challenge was a crostata was perfect.

I really liked this dough and it tasted delicious. I would love to make a more traditional crostata the next time around because they just sound delicious.

I also got a chance to use this precious bottle:

I recently got to attend a food blogger event at Cambridge 1 in Fenway and we were given the opportunity to try this fabulous brand of hard cider. And let me tell you, their Solstice hard cider tastes EXACTLY like caramel apple pie. So when I found a bottle of this stuff at the local liquor store I snatched it up quickly.

Now I just need to figure out what to do with the rest of my leftovers!


Apple Crumble Crostata


For the Crostata:

  • 3/4 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1 and 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • grated zest of half a lemon 
  • 1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten in a small bowl

Whisk together sugar, flour and salt in a medium bowl. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbles (You can use a food processor for this, or use your hands if you want to get some aggression out). Make a well in the center of the mound and pour in the beaten eggs then add the lemon zest. Use a fork to start to incorporate the flour mixture into the eggs and then knead lightly until it forms a ball. Shape the ball into a flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (I did overnight). Once the dough has been properly chilled unwrap it from the plastic wrap but don’t remove it. Place on a floured surface with the plastic wrap on top of the dough. Using a rolling pin roll the dough to a thickness of about 1/8 of an inch. Put some muscle into it.

Now I didn’t have a tart pan, so I used a regular 9″ pie dish. Spray lightly with cooking spray and flip the dough onto the pie plate so the plastic wrap is still facing you. Using your fingers, press the dough into the pie dish. There will be excess dough on the top.

Since the crostata dough is a little shorter than traditional pies, I used a sharp knife to trace a line all the way around, cutting to just below the pie plate. Then take the remaining dough and roll into a pipe and add that to the sides of the crostata, to make the edges thicker. Then, using a fork, poke the bottom on the dough withe the fork to make some air bubbles in the dough.

Apple Filling

  • 2lbs granny smith apples, sliced into 1/8″ strips (do not remove the skin!)
  • 1 cup of your favorite hard cider
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

In a heavy saute pan line the sliced applies around the pan and pour the sugar, cinnamon and apple cider over the apples. Cook on medium heat, covered, for about 10 minutes, or until the apples are soft. Turn them once or twice. Remove the cover and cook an additional 10 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated, again, turning the apples gentlyto cook evely on both sides. Remove from pan and cook completely (Again, I did this the night before)

Crumble Topping

  • 4 tbsp butter, chopped
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

Mix sugar, flour and cinnamon in a food processor. Slowly add the butter and pulse until coarse crumbles form.

Now it’s time to assemble your crostata!!!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Carefully line the dough with the apple slices. Spread the crumble topping over the top. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top is crispy. Make sure to place the crostata on a baking pan in case and juices flow over.

Well there you have it! Delicious crostata! The dough was flaky and delicious and very sturdy (which I like). I can’t wait to make it again!




Daring Baker’s: (Cider) Donuts!

27 Oct

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

One of the first things that comes to mind when you think of New England and Fall, it’s apple picking. And a day of apple picking is never complete without eating 1 (or 30) cider donuts. I mean, apple picking is pretty exhausting. It’s important to get one’s stamina back by consuming copious amounts of cider donuts and apple cider. Last fall Mr. Kitchen Misfit and I went to Russell Orchards located in Ipswich, MA. They are famous for their hot right-out-of-the-oven cider donuts. In fact, they tell you not to open the bag of donuts right away because the steam is so hot you could burn yourself. That’s just how fresh they are.

I knew that for this challenge I needed to make cider donuts. The New Englander in me just didn’t see it any other way. I initially was going to go the baked route but couldn’t find a recipe I liked that I could bake without procuring a baking pan. The recipe I ended up using was absolutely perfect and the taste of the apple cider was AMAZING.

Apple Cider Donuts

As found via the Washington Post

  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 3 1/2 cups flour, plus additional for the work surface
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 4 tbsp butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (low-fat or nonfat work fine)
  • Canola oil for frying

In a saucepan over medium or medium-low heat, gently reduce the apple cider to about 1/4 cup, 20 to 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.

Using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer beat the butter and granulated sugar until the mixture is smooth. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to beat until the eggs are completely incorporated. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the reduced apple cider and the buttermilk, mixing just until combined. Add the flour mixture and continue to mix just until the dough comes together.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or wax paper and sprinkle them generously with flour. Turn the dough onto 1 of the sheets and sprinkle the top with flour. Flatten the dough with your hands until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Use more flour if the dough is still wet. Transfer the dough to the freezer until it is slightly hardened, about 20 minutes. Pull the dough out of the freezer. Using a 3-inch doughnut cutter, cut out doughnut shapes. Place the cut doughnuts and doughnut holes onto the second sheet pan. Refrigerate the doughnuts for 20 to 30 minutes. (You may re-roll the scraps of dough, refrigerate them briefly and cut additional doughnuts from the dough.)

Add enough oil to a deep-sided pan (I used a dutch oven) to measure a depth of about 3 inches. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and heat over medium heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees. Place paper towels on a plate. Carefully add a few doughnuts to the oil, being careful not to crowd the pan, and fry until golden brown, about 60 seconds. Turn the doughnuts over and fry until the other side is golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Drain on paper towels after the doughnuts are fried. Side Note: While the donuts are frying, place the remaining dough in the refrigerator. I had a couple of misshapen donuts because the dough was warm and therefore stretched A LOT.

Option #1 – Apple cider glaze – Combine 1 cup confectioners sugar and 2 tbsp apple cider. When donuts are cool enough to handle dip the tops in the glaze.

Option #2 – Cinnamon sugar dusting – Combine 4 tbsp cinnamon with 4 tbsp sugar. When donuts are cool enough to handle mix the cinnamon sugar over the donuts until fully covered.

Consume immediately!

Daring Baker’s: Sugar Cookies

27 Sep

I used to work at a Stop & Shop and I used to be obsessed with their sugar cookies that had the inch thick icing on them. They were so terribly bad for you but oh so deliciously good. I’ve always wanted to make my own but never had the opportunity to. So I was really excited when the next Daring Baker’s challenge was sugar cookies and icing.

The September 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mandy of “What the Fruitcake?!” Mandy challenged everyone to make Decorated Sugar Cookies based on recipes from Peggy Porschen and The Joy of Baking.

More specifically, she wanted us to create a cookie that reminded us of September. This September was pretty crazy for me, so this year I could have very easily made any of the following cookies: trains, white water rafting, Portland, or taking the MTELs (that one would have been hilarious to make). However I decided to go with the simple pumpkin.

Pumpkins remind me of a lot of things. Pumpkin pie. Pumpkin cider. Pumpkin beer (My favorite). But pumpkins also remind me that I can whip out my flannel sheets and still not have to wear a jacket outside. It means that it’s time to start fattening up for winter (Kidding!). Fall is definitely the most delicious season of them all.

I was surprised how easy the royal icing was once I got the hang of it and got the consistencies right. Instead of a regular sugar cookie I made pumpkin spice sugar cookies to go with my theme. Next time I might add more pumpkin spice to the cookies, but they still taste delicious. I’ve definitely found a new recipe with countless possibilities!

Pumpkin Spiced Sugar Cookies

  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice mix*
  • 3 cups sifted all purpose flour
  • 1 stick plus 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup superfine sugar (If you can’t find superfine sugar like I couldn’t, just use regular granulated sugar and pulse in food processor)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream together butter, sugar, and pumpkin spice mix until it just starts to become creamy.

Beat in the egg until combined and make sure to scrape down the sides (unless you just got a new beater blade like I did!!!) Add flour slowly until a non-sticky ball forms.

Knead into a ball and dive into 2-3 balls. Roll out each portion on parchment paper to a thickness of about 1/5 inch. Refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes. Once chilled, remove from parchment paper and place on lightly floured surface. Cut out your shapes. Arrange shapes on parchment lined baking sheets and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Allow them to cool completely.

*Pumpkin Spice Mix

  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Mix together all ingredient.

Royal Icing

  • 2.5 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • food coloring

Mix egg whites and lemon juice. Sift confectioner’s sugar to remove lumps. Beat or whisk until smooth. Add almond extract.

After I divided up my sugar. I used only a little bit of green and a lot of orange.

I filled one of my squeeze bottles that I got at Crate & Barrel with the orange royal icing. Then I added about 1/3-1/2 confectioner’s sugar (sifted!) to the remaining icing so I could make the outline. Then I started outlining!

After I finished outlining I used the looser icing to fill it in. I started at the top and as I held the cookie up the icing slid down. I used the tip of my squeeze bottle to cover the entire cookie. For the green I used a really really tiny tip and just filled in the green top. It would have been too annoying to outline and then fill. It worked great!

The first one was messy but after the second one I was getting the hang of the outline and getting it down fairly quickly. I was really happy with this challenge, can’t wait for next months!

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