Saturday, February 28, 2009

Chocolate Valentino Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream - February Daring Bakers



The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef .
We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

February’s challenge is a Flourless Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Valentino, inspired by Malaysia’s “most flamboyant food ambassador”, Chef Wan. Recipe comes from Sweet Treats by Chef Wan.


This is fun - flourless cakes are always so dense and delicious. It didn't take long for me to get moving on this one. In addition to the cake, our hosts thought serving it with vanilla ice cream would be novel since Daring Bakers have not yet done a home made ice cream. I opted to use Wendy's recipe for vanilla ice cream. It was so simple to make and really sinfully good.

Chocolate Valentino

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).
5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.
6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter.
8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C
9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.
Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.
10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold




Since I used a flower shaped pan I couldn't just let the middle go empty - right? Of course I had to add the whipped cream in the middle.

and now on to the ice cream:

Dharm's Ice Cream Recipe
Classic Vanilla Ice Cream
Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Recipe comes from the Ice Cream Book by Joanna Farrow and Sara Lewis (tested modifications and notes in parentheses by Dharm)

Ingredients
1 Vanilla Pod (or substitute with vanilla extract)
300ml / ½ pint / 1 ¼ cups Semi Skimmed Milk – in the U.S. this is 2% fat (or use fresh full fat milk that is pasteurised and homogenised {as opposed to canned or powdered}). Dharm used whole milk.
4 large egg yolks
75g / 3oz / 6 tbsp caster sugar {superfine sugar can be achieved in a food processor or use regular granulated sugar}
5ml / 1 tsp corn flour {cornstarch}
300ml / ½ pint / 1 ¼ cups Double Cream (48% butter fat) {in the U.S. heavy cream is 37% fat)
{you can easily increase your cream's fat content by heating 1/4 cup of heavy cream with 3 Tbs of butter until melted - cool to room temperature and add to the heavy cream as soon as whisk marks appear in the cream, in a slow steady stream, with the mixer on low speed. Raise speed and continue whipping the cream) or use heavy cream the difference will be in the creaminess of the ice cream.

1. Using a small knife slit the vanilla pod lengthways. Pour the milk into a heavy based saucepan, add the vanilla pod and bring to the boil. Remove from heat and leave for 15 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse
Lift the vanilla pod up. Holding it over the pan, scrape the black seeds out of the pod with a small knife so that they fall back into the milk. SET the vanilla pod aside and bring the milk back to the boil.
2. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and corn-flour in a bowl until the mixture is thick and foamy. 3. Gradually pour in the hot milk, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over a gentle hear, stirring all the time
4. When the custard thickens and is smooth, pour it back into the bowl. Cool it then chill.
5. By Hand: Whip the cream until it has thickened but still falls from a spoon. Fold it into the custard and pour into a plastic tub or similar freeze-proof container. Freeze for 6 hours or until firm enough to scoop, beating it twice (during the freezing process – to get smoother ice cream or else the ice cream will be icy and coarse)
By Using and Ice Cream Maker: Stir the cream into the custard and churn the mixture until thick (follow instructions on your ice cream maker)

Wendy's Ice Cream Recipe
Vanilla Philadelphia Style Recipe

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
2 cups (473 ml) of half and half (1 cup of heavy cream and 1 cup of whole, full fat milk)
1 cup (237 ml) heavy cream
2/3 (128 grams) cup sugar
Dash of salt
1 (12 grams) tablespoon of vanilla

Mix all ingredients together (we do this in a plastic pitcher and mix with an emulsifier hand blender-whisking works too).
Refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer
Mix in your ice cream maker as directed

This whole challenge was such fun. The prep time was quick - gotta love that. The taste - absolutely deeeeeeelicious. I would definitely make both the cake and the ice cream again.

A big huge thank you to both Wendy and Dharm - I loved this month's challenge. StumbleUpon

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tried, Tested and True 3 Roundup: Wedding Edition



Thank you to everyone who participated in Tried, Tested and True 3! This is what I love about blogging: the support of your fellow bloggers and great recipe ideas. Next week, when Giz gets back from Miami and I am more adjusted to my new work schedule, wedding planning will resume to full speed. Thankfully, with your help, we have a bunch of great ideas for our Saturday dinner.

Appetizers

Ivy of Kopiaste submitted her Smoked Salmon Vol au Vents. What's great about this particular entry is that we do have non-meat eaters. As you can imagine - smoked salmon (lox) is a sure bet with our family.



I also love the sweet version of these vol au vents (in the dessert section)

Ruth of Ruth's Kitchen Experiments made these wonderful looking soy honey sausages that would be a hit at any event. I love the ease of these appetizers and I'm sure they'll be gone as quickly on our buffet as they were on Ruth's table. Ruth's event Bookmarked Recipes, is in it's 42 week. Definitely check it out! I'll be hosting it in a few week too.



Hopie, our adopted blog sister from Hopie's Kitchen , makes sure everyone has something to munch on with her Roasted Pepper and Feta Dip. This is one of those dishes I really have to be careful with since it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility for me to grab the whole thing and find a quiet corner - just me and my dip. Congratulations to Hopie on the one year anniversary of Hopie's Kitchen


Val from More Than Burnt Toast did a beautiful job of Turkey Pinwheels. Just a perfect add Val and if (that's a big if) there are any leftovers, you can bet we'll be taking these to work for lunch.


Mains

And, if one entry wasn't enough, Val of More Than Burnt Toast made Chicken Wellington. I can see you were going to be absolutely certain that nothing got missed. Thank you so much for this.


Another double entry comes from Ivy of Kopiaste created her Stuffed Turkey Roulade. I can't think of a single person in the family who wouldn't be looking at this roulade without thinking how beautiful it looks. Ivy - I'm so sure Giz will be making this.


NOTE: I'm telling you folks - Galvy is the bomb!

Nuria from Spanish Recipes really knows how to throw a party. These Muntaya Sea and Mountain Shrimp would be an elegant addition to any festive table.


Chris from We Heart Food made this gorgeous Ultimate Veggie Mini Burger. I'm excited to have a couple of really interesting meatless options. The primary ingredient in these buns is garbanzos beans, which makes for a fascinating alternative to the traditional burger buns.


Julia from Grow. Cook. Eat suggests a resilient and delicious Beef Stew. Cooking delicate food for a group (particularly when it's a drop-in event) can be disastrous. So, foods that can sit, be reheated and are still flavourful are an important consideration.


Ben from What's Cooking has never cooked for a wedding before, but if you check out his blog, you'll see that he's more than capable. Check out his
Eggplant and chicken casserole . I'm going to have to test this recipe out as I could see this being a regular in our repetoire (not to mention a great addition to our Saturday dinner).


Following Julia's advice of resilient food, I made a beef pot roast. It's my party and I can eat horseradish if I want to! Right? Well - this is my sneaky way to incorporate it. But, I'd probably go with a more pulled beef texture to aid in the consumption since there isn't room to accommodate everyone at one table.


Ning from Heart and Hearth prepared Greek Chicken and brought it all the way from the Phillipines. A fresh healthy option would certainly be a hit.


Desserts

Grace of A Southern Grace shares her Mamster's Lemon Pound Cake. Grace, can I steal "Mamster"? I think Giz would prefer that to "Mother Dearest". Just a hunch. This poundcake looks delicious. I'm glad to see the pound cake making a big comeback. I know Giz will be the first one checking this out as will Baba who swears the only good cake is one that looks exactly like this one.


Karen from Domestic Muse suggests Not Yo' Mama's Banana Puddin, which ironically enough, may become my mama's banana pudding since Giz is now scrolling Miami looking for these regal Chessmen Cookies. I don't think I've ever seen them before in Canada.


Giz's note: I loved the uniqueness of these cookies so much that I set out on a mission to actually find them and VOILA...I found them,


Giz of Equal Opportunity Kitchen shares her recipe which is two parts awesome and one part insane. Why is my mother making a wedding cake out of towels four months before my wedding? Just wondering. But I must admit...it is kind of cool. If it's not too dusty in June, I think we'll use it as a decorative piece/food display for the table.


Giz's cookies are very cute. R's family is going to think we've lost our minds with such attention to detail. I think they'll get over it after eating these cookies.



Last, but not least, here the sweet version of Ivy's vol au vents Kopiaste ...Sweet...savoury...sweet...savoury. Ok - I'll take both!

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Best of the Best - Part II


Oh What a Night!!! I had no expectations other than good representation of food and wine and anything else would be a bonus. On arrival I was given my wrist band, book for tasting notes and my own wine glass for tasting that could be worn around my neck. With camera in hand, I made my way to the venue hall.

Tables each had Wine Spectator magazines and floral decorations.
Around the periferal of the venue were booths - plenty of booths, wine and food interspersed. Learn a little about a wine of interest, choose which one at a particular booth you'd like to sample and a representative of the vintner would pour you about an ounce for tasting. With wine in hand you stop at one of the chefs' booths where you are greeted by a table of sample plates for you to ask about, sample, enjoy. You might get really lucky and find one of the friendliest chefs in the place who will greet you with open arms.



I somehow always thought of Michael Psilakis as a very shy individual but actually found him to be warm, charming and extremely endearing. Michael is the owner of three highly successful Greek inspired restaurants - Anthos, Mia Dona and Kefi in New York, NY. He introduced his dish of Greek sashimi made with mastic. I was so excited because now I actually know what mastic is.



Everybody's sweetheart, Tyler Florence was entirely focused on making sure each and every sample dish was properly garnished. Most probably know Tyler from The Food Network where he hosts Tyler's Ultimate and My Country, My Kitchen.





Next stop was Rick Moonen's booth for an absolutely incredible taste of a fish dish that I couldn't even begin to describe short of using the word heaven. Because the chefs are incredibly busy at their booths it's near impossible to engage them other than a smile and hello.



Rick Moonen is the owner of rm seafood in Las Vegas, NV. and co author of the widely acclaimed Fish Without a Doubt.




Michael Symon, Iron Chef on the Food Network and more recently host of Dinner Impossible. Michael hails from Cleveland where he is the chef and owner of critically acclaimed Cleveland restaurants Lola and Lolita.



Michael created a beef cheek perogie and although I couldn't get a photo of it, was a treat I won't soon forget.

On the subject of photos, this was probably the most difficult challenge of all. The population in the room, plus constantly feeling like you could use one extra arm made picture taking problematic.

If I had to chose my very favourite dish, this Porcini Ravioli would be it. Ya ya, I know, the picture doesn't do it any justice but the flavour - oh my goodness.



This roasted red pepper mousse with avocado cream was feather light and silky smooth.



John Besh, named one of the top 10 best chefs in America emerged victorious against Mario Batali on Iron Chef.



If anyone ever gets their hands on the recipe for this Truffled Gnocci with shaved parmesan cheese - trust me - it would be a complete coup.



Named Pastry Chef of the Year in 1995 by the James Beard Association, it's tough to speak of fine French pastry without mentioning his name and noticing his accomplishments.







Anne Burrell created an incredible barley risotto. You probably have seen Anne as Mario Batali's right hand on the Food Network's Iron Chef America.







Susie's Scrumptious Sweets makes creating these cakes and fine pastries ...well...pretty effortness. But we know different, right? Other yummies in her repetoire were out of control dark chocolate hazelnut truffles, pecan praline truffles and white chocolate truffles with fresh raspberries or amaretto cream custard.



After this last stop I was looking for a wheelbarrow to cart me out.



This was only a sampling but I think you get the picture. StumbleUpon

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Best of the Best


I'm taking in some R&R time in Florida. I'm a Canadian and as much as I adore Canada, leaving temperatures that are in the minus figures and shedding the winter coats and boots for shorts and enjoying the mid 80's F (30's C) doesn't take a whole lot of arm twisting. Apart from the weather, I just happened to be here when the Food and Wine Festival is on in Miami Beach. Driving down the streets one sees celebrity chefs of the Food Network posters adorning the light standards. Oh look - there's Tyler Florence, Paula Deen, Giada DiLaurentis, Emeril to name just a few.
Alot of the events are already sold out so I expected that the closest I would get would be to see the entrance gates on the drive past.

Today is/was and will always be remembered as a lucky day for me. A friend was able to get me a ticket for an event called "The Best of the Best" - an evening event on Friday, February 20th - a sampling of food and wine at the newly renovated Fontainebleau.



I'm not one to get star struck but who can dispute the incredible list of who's who in the culinary world?

Participating Chefs:

Nate Appleman (A16 Restaurant and SPQR Restaurant, San Francisco, CA)
John Besh (Restaurant August, New Orleans, LA)
Patrick Boucher (Acqua, Four Seasons Hotel, Miami, FL)
Anne Burrell
Floyd Cardoz (Tabla, New York, NY)
Fabrizio & Nicola Carro (Quattro Gastronomia Italiana, South Beach, FL)
Anthony Carron (Bourbon Steak Miami, Aventura, FL)
Richard Chen (Wing Lei at Wynn Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV)
Scott Conant (Scarpetta, Fontainebleau Miami Beach, FL)
Adam Cooke (Blackberry Farm, Walland, TN)
Andrea Curto-Randazzo & Frank Randazzo (Talula, Miami Beach, FL)
Daniel Eardley (Chestnut, Brooklyn, NY)
Angelo Elia (Casa D'Angelo, Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Marco Ferraro (Wish, South Beach, FL)
Tyler Florence (Empire Plush Room, San Francisco, CA)
Clark Frasier & Mark Gaier (Arrow’s Restaurant, Ogunquit, ME)
John Fraser (Dovetail, New York, NY)
Neal Fraser (Grace Restaurant, Los Angeles, CA)
Bryan Fyler (Asia de Cuba at Mondrian South Beach, South Beach, FL)
Kerry Heffernan (South Gate, New York, NY)
Cindy Hutson (Ortanique on the Mile, Coral Gables, FL)
Paul Kahan (Blackbird, avec & The Publican, Chicago, IL)
Dewey LoSasso (North One 10, Miami, FL)
Steve Martorano (Café Martorano, Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
Mark Militello (1 Bleau, Bal Harbour, FL)
Sean Mohammed (Tuscan Steak, South Beach, FL)
Rick Moonen (Rick Moonen’s rm seafood, Las Vegas, NV)
Masaharu Morimoto (Morimoto, New York, NY)
Michel Nischan (Dressing Room, Westport, CT)
Sean O’Connell (Vida, Fontainebleau Miami Beach, FL)
François Payard (Payard Bistro, New York, NY)
Alfred Portale (Gotham Steak, Fontainebleau Miami Beach, FL and Gotham Bar and Grill, New York, NY)
Michael Psilakis (Anthos, Mia Dona, Kefi, New York, NY)
Roberto Santibañez (Revolucion, Café Frida, Maria Maria, New York, NY)
Andrew Shotts (Garrison Confections, Central Falls, RI)
Susie Stallings (Susie's Scrumptious Sweets, Sunrise, FL)
Allen Susser (Chef Allen’s, Aventura, FL)
Michael Symon (Lola, Cleveland, OH)
Rick Tramonto (Tru, Vernon Hills, IL)
Jonathan Waxman (barbuto, New York, NY)
Kris Wessel (Red Light, Miami, FL)
Roy Yamaguchi (Roy’s Restaurants, Honolulu, HI)
Alan Yau (Hakkasan, Fontainebleau Miami Beach, FL)
Mark Zeitouni (The Standard Hotel, South Beach, FL)

I'm not a big wine efficionado but for those who are - I'm sure this list could be fun.

Who’s Pouring:

A.P. Vin
Amisfield Winery
Andrew Geoffrey Vineyards
Argyle Winery
Au Bon Climat
Beaulieu Vineyard
Bertani
Biondi-Santi
Bodegas Caro
Bodegas Montecillo
Campo Viejo
Castello di Fonterutoli
Champagne Gosset
Champagne Mumm
Champagne Nicolas Feuillate
Champagne Perrier-Jouët
Charles Krug Winery
Château Coufran
Château de la Gardine
Château D'Esclans
Château Lascombes
Château Verdignan
Col Solare
Daedalus Cellars
Diamond Creek Vineyards
Domaine De La Vougeraie
Donum Estate
Far Niente
Felsina
Flora Springs Winery & Vineyard
Freixenet
Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards
GrGich Hills
Grupo Barón de Ley
Grupo Pesquera
Hanzell Vineyards
Jermann
Jonata
Jordan Vineyard & Winery
Joseph Phelps Vineyards
Ladera Vineyards
Landmark Vineyards
Louis Latour
Marchesi Antinori
Marques de Riscal
Nickel & Nickel
Nicolas Potel
Northstar Winery
Olivier Laflaive
Pago de Vallegarcia
Pali Wine Company
Palmaz Vineyards
Paul Jaboulet Aine
Planeta
Provenance Vineyards
Red Car
Robert Stemmler Winery
Roessler Cellars
Rubicon Estate
Rudd Winery
Schrader Cellars
Segura Viudas
Silver Pines Vineyards
Stag's Leap Wine Cellars
Tandem Winery
Terlato Wines
TOR Kenward family Wines
Torres
Vine Cliff Winery
Wagner Family Wines
Weinlaubenhof Kracher



Believe that my camera will be fully charged and I'll be looking forward to sharing real food with you right after the event.

Reminder: Tomorrow is the last day of submissions for Tried Tested and True 3.
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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

BloggerAid Cookbook: Pancetta Tortiglioni


You thought I was a terrible daughter, didn't you? Here my mom, along with Ivy and Val (a.k.a. Galvy), is working hard on BloggerAid and her blogging partner daughter doesn't submit anything. What? You weren't thinking that? It's only me that is instilled with guilt for any possible disappointment of my mother. Ok. Nevermind.

Well, let me just say how relieved I am that the deadline to submit a recipe for the BloggerAid Cookbook has been extended. Not only can I restore my position as the good child (Actorboy never had a chance anyway), but more importantly, this recipe will appear in print in a cookbook that will raise money for world hunger.


The catch for providing submissions for the BloggerAid cookbook is that the recipe can't be included in the post. For the recipe (and many other excellent recipes being collected from foodbloggers around the world), you'll have to get the cookbook. The cookbook is targeted for sale on Amazon by November/December 2009.

Let me tell you a bit about my dish. This recipe came to me as I was daydreaming at work last week. It's a daily ritual: avoid work by thinking about what to make for dinner. This time I felt particularly inspired by the ingredients in my fridge. This dish, which I'll call Pancetta Tortiglioni, is versatile and packed full of flavour and vegetables. I realized while making it that it would also make for the base of a great casserole.


Since making this dish, R and I have been racing to see who gets the leftovers. Definitely something I would make regularly.


To see your recipe in print and contribute to raising money for the World Food Program, post a picture of your dish and and email your recipe in a plain text Word document along with a photo of your dish to bloggeraid(AT)gmail(DOT)com by March 31st. StumbleUpon

Monday, February 16, 2009

Think Fennel: Chicken in Tomato Sauce with Kalamata Olives and Feta Cheese


This isn't the first time I've highlighted food from For The Love of Cooking. I've lost track of how many recipes of Pam's I've starred. What can I say? She makes good food and the quality photos don't hurt in the enticement department.

When I saw Pam's Chicken in Tomato Sauce with Kalamata Olives and Feta Cheese, I knew I wanted to try it. I didn't have all the ingredients (no ouzo) and am not a big fan of olives, so I left them out. But the dish was still excellent. Even R mmmmm'd his way through dinner.

But, if I'm being honest here...I'll admit that the deal-maker on this dish is that it contained fennel, one of the two ingredients featured in this month's Think Spice event (an event spearheaded by Sunita). This month, Ivy at Kopiaste is hosting the event.


Ivy is always such a strong supporter of our blog and a great collaborating with my mom and Val on BloggerAid, I really wanted to get a recipe in to support Ivy and this event. In fact, Giz's, Ivy's and Val's name are appearing together so often, I propose we start calling them Galvy.

Chicken in Tomato Sauce with Kalamata Olives and Feta Cheese
original source: Eating the Greek Way


2 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil (divided)
4 chicken breasts, trimmed of any fat, cut into two pieces (I used 3, bone in)
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
Oregano, to taste
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 28 oz can of whole or diced tomatoes (I used diced)
1/2 cup of chicken broth
1/3 cup of ouzo (I didn't use)
12 kalamata olives (I didn't use)
Feta cheese, garnish
1 tbsp fresh parsley, garnish (also added fresh oregano to garnish)

Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add garlic and fennel seeds. Stir constantly for 60 seconds then add the tomatoes, broth, (ouzo if using), sea salt, pepper and oregano, to taste. Crush tomatoes with a spoon, bring mixture to a boil then lower heat and simmer until chicken is done browning. If you want a smoother sauce, blend the mixture with your immersion blender.

Trim the chicken breasts of any fat and cut into two pieces. Season each piece with sea salt, pepper and oregano, to taste. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Once hot, add seasoned chicken to the skillet and brown 4 minutes then flip. Brown for an additional 2-3 minutes; add the tomato sauce to the chicken, lower heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove the chicken to a serving dish and keep warm with a tin foil tent. Add the olives to the sauce and boil over high heat, stirring frequently, until it thickens -about 5 minutes. Taste and re-season with salt, pepper and oregano if needed. Pour sauce over chicken, top with feta cheese and chopped parsley. I would suggest serving this meal with bread of some sort to help sop up the yummy tomato sauce.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Wedding Cakes and Cookies



It's pretty exciting when your only daughter comes home from a vacation and informs her mother that she's engaged. It's even more exciting when her fiance (very foreign word) is someone who you know will make your daughter happy. After all, I've had 7.5 years of having him around to get used to him and appreciate him as a perfect match.

After a couple of days of burning up the telephone lines and hearing "Sunrise, Sunset" playing in my head, the reality of logistics started moving to the front burner. After all, 75% of the guests will be coming from out of town (myself included). Helping with coordinating this event is a tougher task and largely done by telephone and pictures. I'm thinking I should create a slide show of the different engagement ring options, the samplings from potential restaurants, dresses in styles and colours and ideas for flowers. It does work - thank goodness for the internet.

One of the events we planned was a welcoming buffet and Psychgrad thought that having our blogging friends help contribute with ideas for what would make a smashing buffet would be a fun Tried Tested and True - Wedding Edition Event Submission are due by February 20th - What will we prepare? Ack!!! I definitely need some help!! Yup, this is me begging... (how pathetic am I)

I tend to obsess (should come as no surprise to Psychgrad) and a wedding is pretty high end on the obsession scale for me. What to do? What to prepare? Ok, I think I figured out that I'd like to do something a little different - at least different to me. Here is my submission to Psychgrad's wedding event.


If you're looking at it and saying "what the hell is that", you wouldn't be the first. It's a towel wedding cake that's pretty jammed with small goodies that every bride should have. Let me clarify - Psychgrad and I don't always agree on what she needs.

You'll notice in the front are a couple of cookies, heart shaped, in bride and groom configurations. I borrowed this recipe for sugar cookies that came from Katie of Good Things Catered that came from another friend - clearly a great recipe. They really are the most fabulous sugar cookies. I'm not a fancy baker and working with Royal Icing is a little daunting, messy and a whole day job.


Royal Icing

4 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
3 Tbsp meringue powder
5-7 tablespoons water (dependent on the humidity factor of your kitchen)

1. Mix confectioner's in stand mixer with paddle attachment starting on low and adding water 1 Tbsp at a time up to 4 Tbsp and then smaller amounts to achieve desired consistency. You'll need 2 consistencies - 1/2 the batch for piping outlines in the cookies (medium consistency) and 1/2 the batch thinner for flooding the cookies. Adding food colour should be in a clean metal or glass container. Anything that is even remotely greasy (plastic is a good culprit unless it's new) will break the royal icing.

2. The key to good icing is all about practise, understanding consistencies and having a steady hand. I'm still working on all of it and hopefully I'll get it right by June. If not, I'll be giving away tons of wonky looking sugar cookies.

3. I used a #2 Wilton tip for outlining and a small metal spoon for flooding the cookies.

4. After the first step of icing dries on the cookies (overnight) I went back over the bride cookies to add more decoration.

Note: Royal Icing dries faster than nail polish - be sure to cover it with a damp cloth when you're working with it.

With all the stressors people face on a daily basis in their lives, isn't it a fun thing to celebrate!!! Please join our celebration.
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