Wedding Cake Sugar Cookies

August 28, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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My dear friend and coworker recently tied the knot, and for her celebratory Happy Hour, I made some wedding cake cookies, and another coworker made Carolina Tar Heel cookies (as the newlyweds are relocating to North Carolina).

I had some trouble with this batch.  Although I’ve made sugar cookies to be flooded with royal icing before, I don’t know what went wrong this time!  I used the same recipe I always do (No Fail Sugar Cookies), I chilled the cutouts before baking, but still – they puffed up beyond recognition.  See?

So this led directly to my first experience with re-cutting sugar cookies with the cookie cutter after they come out of the oven.  I found this to be pretty easy and not nearly as stressful as I imagined.  Just quickly re-cut the cookies immediately after you take them out of the oven.

I lined the cookies with a basic royal icing.

Then flooded them with all white icing.

Then I decorated them with the royal icing I used for outlining, plus sugar pearl sprinkles (yes, this took forever).

But wasn’t it totally worth it?

World’s Best Sangria

August 21, 2011 at 10:50 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Matt has been slowly but surely converting me to a win0 wine appreciator, and we have visited many of northern Virginia’s local wineries during my “conversion” process.  Last summer, at the Winery at La Grange, at the end of their tasting flight, they offered me a taste of their sangria – and it was love!  This is assuredly one of the best sangria recipes out there – it is so delicious.

Here are the ingredients for my slightly modified version:

  • 1 bottle LaGrange meritage (I substitute merlot)
  • 1 cup Simply Orange Mango juice
  • 1/2 cup simple syrup
  • 3 T. lemon juice
  • ginger ale
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lime
  • 1 lemon

Mix the wine, juices, and syrup in a pitcher, and then fill with ice (or save the ice for the glasses if you don’t want it to get watered down).  Top with ginger ale and fruit slices!

Delicious!  Doesn’t that look refreshing?

Cherry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

August 17, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

I was in the mood for some fruity ice cream, and when I settled on cherry, I knew I had to add some chocolate to make a little imitation Cherry Garcia.  Since it’s eggless, this ice cream was a snap to make, and it was delicious!

Here are the ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup grenadine
  • 1 cup fat free milk
  • 2 cups vanilla low-fat yogurt
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 cup frozen dark sweet cherries
  • 1 tablespoon almond extract
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

Add all of the ingredients except the chocolate chips to your blender.

Puree until all only small bits of the cherries remain.

Pour into your ice cream maker, add the chocolate chips, and freeze according to instructions.  This made a little too much for my 2 quart ice cream machine – I left out about 1 cup of the mixture and as you can see below – I still had a little “overflow.”

Transfer to freezer to let your ice cream harden up, and then serve!

Big Green Egg – Filets for Beginners

August 14, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

For my 28th birthday, Matt surprised me with a Big Green Egg, a kamado-style ceramic charcoal cooker – basically a smoker and a grill.  We were visiting friends in the Carolinas for the 4th of July and saw their Big Green Egg, which piqued my interest – and then 2 weeks later, voila:

So the first question was, what to do with this thing??  Seemed only right to break in the grill properly with some Filet mignon!  We fired up the grill and broke up the Big Green Egg recipe for the “perfect steaks.”

  • 2 steaks, 1-1/2 to 2-inches thick
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Trim the steaks of any excess fat. Mix all of the dry ingredients together and apply to both sides of the steaks. Allow to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before grilling.

Preheat the Egg for direct heat.

When the Egg is heated to 650°F, place the steaks on the grill and sear for two to three minutes.

Open the lid and flip the steaks onto a new section of the grid. After two to three more minutes, flip the steaks once more.

Completely shut down the Egg by closing the damper top and draft door. Let the steaks continue cooking for 3 to 4 minutes, until they reach the desired internal temperature.

Remove the steaks and let them rest for 5 minutes before serving.


Cream Cheese Crescent Bars

August 6, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

I first had these cream cheese bars at a Superbowl party about 5 years ago, and since then, they have been a “go to” treat for parties because they are so quick to make, and everyone loves them!

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 8 oz cans refrigerated crescent roll dough
  • 2 8 oz packages cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 9×13 inch pan.  Press one can of the crescent rolls into the bottom of the prepared pan – I like to line my pans with foil because it helps to lift them out and cut them into squares.

In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, eggs 1 cup of sugar, and vanilla until smooth and creamy.

Spread over the crescent layer.

Unroll the second can of crescent rolls and lay them on top of the cream cheese layer.  Don’t press down, and don’t worry about the seams – they will bake together.

Pour the melted butter over the entire pan.  Combine the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over the top.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the top is crisp and golden.

and slice!

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