Discovering 2014: Brown Sugar Snickerdoodle Cookies

Discovering 2014 is a personal goal to complete a daily project throughout the year!

Today’s project was Snickerdoodle Sugar Cookies. I followed this recipe by Mommy’s Sweet Confessions, which in turn was adapted from this Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.

This follows a normal sugar cookie recipe pretty closely, but also uses brown sugar, cream of tartar, and is rolled in sugar and cinnamon. Since I’ve covered making sugar cookies before I didn’t take pictures throughout the entire process this time, but the full recipe can be found at the end!

Here is the dough after it was chilled for about 75 minutes:

The mix of granulated sugar and ground cinammon:

My father-in-law’s birthday was today so I used my new dragon cookie cutter to make him his own special cookie. The cutter was a lot bigger that I thought it would be… almost 1/2 the length of my baking pan!

It’ll be fun to use that cutter with dough that doesn’t balloon out. 😉

Here is the before and after of the normal cookies:

They’re very tasty and we made some maple flavored Whipped Cream Frosting to enjoy with them! For maple we used about 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp of 100% pure maple syrup for the flavoring, which is quite delicious.

Tomorrow’s project is a Spike Bow!


Brown Sugar Snickerdoodle Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all purpose flour

Coating

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. In a mixing bowl beat butter on medium high for 30 seconds
  2. Add the 1 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking soda and cream of tartar. Beat until combined, scraping down sides occasionally.
  3. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined well
  4. Beat in the flour until well combined
  5. Cover the dough and refrigerate for 1-2 hours
  6. Preheat oven to 375° F
  7. Mix the remaining granulated sugar and the ground cinnamon in a small bowl
  8. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and then roll them around in the cinnamon-sugar mix until coated
  9. Place on cookie sheet spaced about 1″ apart. Partially flatten the balls.
  10. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges start to brown
  11. Let cool a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack
Recipe adapted from Mommy’s Sweet Confessions

Discovering 2014: Homemade Pasta

 Discovering 2014 is a personal goal to complete a daily project throughout the year!

Today’s project was Homemade Pasta. My brother gave us a Marcato Atlas Pasta Machine for the holidays two years ago, and while my husband has used it from time to time, I’ve never bothered to learn how to make a pasta dough make use of the machine myself. That changed today!

I used a slightly modified version of this recipe posted on the Food Network site. The ingredients are:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (set 1/4 cup aside)
  • 5-6 large eggs
  • 1 tsp salt

Mound 2 3/4 cups your flour, leaving a hole in the center. Crack your eggs into there (I cracked four eggs to start with), then add the 1tsp salt. After this point my hands got too messy to take pictures, but next you use a fork, break the yolks and slowly add some flour into the mix while keeping the mound solid so you don’t have runaway egg.

Once the egg mix is no longer runny, incorporate more of the flour until it’s all mixed well. At this point, because I had large instead of extra large eggs like the recipe calls for, I ended up adding a fifth egg, breaking it over top of the dough, piercing the yolk and spreading it before mixing it in. That got the dough closer but not quite there, so I used a sixth egg, then about 1/8 cup of the flour I had set aside. If your dough feels right after four or five eggs then stop at that point!

Next up is kneading the dough four 3-5 minutes. I separated mine into four chunks, turning it as I kneaded and stretched it with the heel of my hand, folding it over, and repeating this several times. Then wrap the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for 20 minutes.

After this my younger two children decided they wanted to work the pasta machine crank while I held it and fed the dough. This went surprisingly well, though the flattening press they did have some trouble mustering the strength for.

The machine also had an attachment so we used that to make a couple types of noodles.

My youngest son and I also tried our hand at making a few bowtie pasta pieces. I’m not quite sure what to think of those.

The pasta is currently sitting out to dry before I store it away. I’m sure it will come in handy soon!

Tomorrow’s project is a Felt Bow!

Discovering 2014: Whipped Shortbread

 Discovering 2014 is a personal goal to complete a daily project throughout the year!

Today’s project was Whipped Shortbread, using this recipe from Taste of Home. My suggestion, if you decide to use their recipe, is to drop the cornstarch ingredient because these come out with an overly powdery taste. They’re okay, but they could be better. Next time we do these we’ll probably try this recipe from Food.com instead.

The husband and I decided to halve the recipe since we really didn’t want over 100 cookies. Even with halving it we still ended up with nearly 75 cookies.

Our modified ingredients were:

  • 1 1/2 cups of unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup of confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup of cornstarch (this is the part I’d suggest dropping)
  • Sprinkles (maraschino cherries would be preferable here, but I used what I had!)

Pre-heat your oven to 300°F. Cream together the butter and confectioners sugar until they’re light and fluffy. Slowly add in your flour (and if you’re using it, the cornstarch, too). Continue mixing until it is fully blended.

Left to right: butter and sugar prior to mixing; fluffy butter/sugar mix; fully mixed dough

Roll the dough into 1″ balls and place about 1″ apart on ungreased baking sheets. We used our thumbs and the small spatula to partially flatten the balls, and left a small divet in the center for the sprinkles.

Next the shortbread goes into the 300°F oven for about 22-25 minutes. The bottoms should be very lightly browned, but don’t overbake these. Let cool a few minutes on the pan before moving to your cooling rack. Should yield about 75 cookies, which you could even give out as gifts during the holidays!

Tomorrow’s project are Cherry Clippies!

Discovering 2014: Pancake Bites

Discovering 2014 is a personal goal to complete a daily project throughout the year!

Good morning! Today’s project was Pancake Bites, following the directions from this pin. The simple version is to bake pancake batter in a muffin pan at 350°F for 12-14 minutes, but you can add more to jazz up the bites!

I’m not remotely close to a morning person, so using a Bisquick mix sounded much more appealing to me at 8:30am compared to making my own. I used one of the modified versions they offer that includes 1tsp vanilla extract and 2tsp baking powder (halved to 1/2 and 1, respectively).

While mixing the batter I also cooked up a couple pieces of bacon and chopped them up. I didn’t mix in the bacon and added them on top instead. You could also add other things like cooked ham, frozen fruit, and maybe even jellies.

I decided to use a mini muffin pan instead of the normal-sized pan shown in the pin, because to me the word “bite” signifies something small. Most of it got filled up! Remember to use non-stick cooking spray before adding in the batter.

Into the oven it went for 12 minutes at 350°F. Here they are fresh out of the oven:

Only one Pancake Bite broke trying to remove it, so the non-stick spray worked very well. I put some syrup in a side dish and enjoyed breakfast!

Since everyone else was at school or work I had quite a few leftovers, which I’ve stored in tupperware in the refrigerator. Tomorrow I’ll have a few more for breakfast and see how they taste reheated.

Tomorrow’s project is Egg Carton Flowers!

Discovering 2014: Angel Bites

Discovering 2014 is a personal goal to complete a daily project throughout the year!

Today’s project was Angel Bites, using this recipe from the Kitchen Trial and Error blog. I did have to modify the recipe some, which is detailed with the pictures below. The recipe is mainly low fat cream cheese and a lot of powdered sugar, flavored with mint (I used peppermint extract) and optionally dyed light yellow.

I started off using 3oz of low fat cream cheese and whipped it some, then added the 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract and three drops of yellow food coloring, then mixed it together.

Then I started adding the confectioner’s sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, with the mixer going. As more and more got added I really got concerned that it was looking dry, but I decided to take it up to the 4.5 cups listed in the recipe. That was a mistake, and this was the result:

Well, that’s pretty useless, but thankfully I still had 1oz of cream cheese left. I added that (now the total is 4oz cream cheese) and this was the result:

While not perfect, it was much more malleable. I got a system set up and started rolling the tiny bites.

About 15 bites in I asked my husband to help out. Making these at 1/2 teaspoon takes a LONG time. We ended up making bigger ones after we went through my pre-scooped 1/2 teaspoon supply. The recipe states it’d only make 36 (3 dozen) at that size, but I honestly think you’d get at least 50, if not more, from it (but can’t say for sure since we went bigger partway in). As time went on these got harder to roll, so I think a bit less confectioner’s sugar would be better as well.

This is the modified recipe I propose:

  • 4 oz low fat cream cheese
  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon mint extract (or other flavoring)
  • 3 drops yellow food coloring (optional)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (for coating)

Using that modified recipe the total calories of everything is 2200, then divide that by the number of bites you end up with for your calorie per Angel Bite! If you follow the original with 4.5 cups confectioner’s sugar and 4oz cream cheese then the total calorie count is 2440.

Store it in an airtight container (use wax paper between layers to avoid them sticking together) in the refrigerator and enjoy!

Tomorrow’s project is Faux Sea Glass!