Archive for the ‘dessert’ Category

Broken (Sugar Cookie) Hearts

February 10, 2009
Decorating Valentine Cookies

I took Booh to a late afternoon cooking class for Valentine’s Day to make Valentine Cookies for her Daddy. When we arrived, the tables in the classroom were lined with butcher paper and individual decorating stations were set up for each student. Ramekins of colorful dime store candies were set out, and the temptation to stick little fingers into these bowls had all the kids on the edge of their stools while waiting for the class to begin. Once everyone arrived and settled in, heart shaped sugar cookies, the smooth blank slates for their little love creations, were passed out, and the decorating began.

Decorating Valentine Cookies

With small chef hats and matching aprons the kids set to work with their piping bags and chocolate non-perils. As frosting leaked out of the top of her piping bag and onto her sleeve, Booh made the analogy of the pink and purple frosting being like “glue” and the rainbow sprinkles “glitter.”

At one point I noticed that Booh would suspiciously sit back on her stool and pull her little chef’s hat down over her face. I took a sneak peak out of the corner of my eye and saw that she too was sneaking, only little bits of chocolate jimmies that were sure to ruin her appetite for dinner, which followed. I suggested she put them on the cookies for later, which inspired her to load one of her cookies with an abundant mixture of everything, calling it a “fancy dessert cookie.”

Decorating Valentine Cookies

As the room buzzed with laughter and chatting I watched the children beam over their designs. I thought to myself that creations a professional pastry chef can execute with a frosting filled piping bag couldn’t match what these kids made. Not because a pastry chief lacks any technical skills, but because of the abandon exhibited in their creations that would be very difficult for any adult to match.

Booh beamed too at her squiggly trails of frosting that traveled up and over the rainbow sprinkles with thick squirts, centered off with a jellied heart or bean. In contrast the cookies I had decorated were symmetrical in design, or had been fashioned with letters that spelled “I (heart) U” and “I C U,” laced with little rainbow sprinkles.

Valentine Cookies

As they finished up, each family put their little masterpieces to the side of the room on parchment squares to dry. Booh’s “fancy dessert cookie” spilled candies all over the floor as we moved it to the side table. When viewing the collective of cookies, the ones decorated by adults droned order and fashion amidst the chaos of the children’s wild and asymmetrical creations.

At the end of class, each child received a bag to carry their cookies in. Booh decorated her bag with stickers and gobs of red glitter glue (which does not dry quickly for those of you who aren’t in the know). To everyone’s chagrin, the containers were too big to be set upright into the bags. And because the bags were laced with glitter glue that would take a good week to dry, we had to place the cookies on their sides, smearing frosting and jimmies up against the plastic tops.

Valentine's Day

After class we set out into the cold and windy parking lot to hurry home to share our creations with Booh’s Daddy. Inside the bag (a collection of wild abandon and controlled deliverance) cookies continued to smear frosting on the lid and the backside of one another. I placed the glitter glue ridden bag atop the car as I buckled Booh into her booster seat, the wind pushing the door against my backside. And then I heard it – a great thud at my heels! The wind had knocked the bag off the car’s hood and smashed it down onto the pavement.

When we arrived home, Booh proudly handed the bag over to her Daddy. He pulled out a container filled with bits and pieces of cookies jumbled up with pink and purple frosting, textured with sprinkles. Without inquiry, he removed the container’s lid and selected the only bare broken piece of sugar cookie heart that stood pure among the mangled mess, scooping off the frosting and jimmies that clung to the lid. He smiled and Booh beamed back.

“Happy Valentime’s Day, Dadda,” she said.

Gluten-Free Gingerbread Men (and dreidels!)

December 21, 2008


I remember as a kid decorating cookies for the holidays with my dad and brother. My mom would buy a roll of Pillsbury sugar cookie dough and cut it into thin medallions for us to decorate with rainbow jimmy’s and red hots.

J and I have followed a similar tradition since we met, only we make and decorate gingerbread men (and women) from scratch. I’ve made a gluten free gingerbread cookie dough two years in a row, and sadly many of our gingerbread men wind up on the Infirmary Cooling Rack. They just don’t hold together as well. I guess my mother had the right idea!

I made a royal frosting this year and piped it onto the batch I decorated with gluten free sprinkles. J and Booh opted to spread frosting on theirs with a butter knife and add currents. Booh found licorice Jelly Belly jelly beans and added those to hers too. That should taste interesting!

One of our neighbors is Jewish and they’ve never decorated Christmas cookies, so we invited them over to help us. They brought their dreidel cookie cutter. The dreidels stayed together much better than the gingerbread men.

Next year I think I’ll go back to a traditional gingerbread cookie recipe … unless someone knows of a good gluten free recipe that holds up after they come out of the oven!

Ice Cream & Pretzels

July 25, 2008

 

Ice Cream in a Can & Pretzel Rods (c) Sienna Wildfield (click to see more photos)

Ice Cream in a Can and Pretzel Rods (click to see more photos)

Why ice cream and pretzels?  I’ve started to notice pretzel ice cream cones showing up in different ice cream parlors and thought it odd … until my daughter and her friend turned me on recently to the idea of this culinary pairing.  We had made homemade raspberry ice cream in a can and took it along with us for an evening picnic on the lawn at the Florence Civic Center while listening to live music.  I had also pack some UTZ pretzel rods, along with various picnic salads and fruit.  What I forgot to pack were spoons!  But no worries … pretzel rods to the rescue.  Leave it up to a child to devise a way to eat ice cream out of a can without a spoon.  This must have been the origins of how pretzel ice cream cones were first discovered, a resourceful Pennsylvania Dutch child nevertheless; sort of like how the original waffle ice cream cone was “discovered” at the 1904 St. Louis World Fair.  – Speaking of which, check out this video the History Channel produced about the origin of the ice cream cone:

If the video is no longer active, here are some links to peruse: