Showing posts with label Valentines' Day. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Valentines' Day. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Big Be Mine Heart Cookie for Creative Cookie Exchange

Giant M&M cookies make the best Valentines.  Who could say no to such a blatantly sweet and clearly heartfelt request?  Be Mine!

I have an enormous amount of optimism about the creativity and potential of the human race.  Just when we think that every idea has been thought, every invention must have been created, someone comes up with something so brilliant and simple that the rest of us all slap our foreheads and wonder why WE didn’t think of it!  It’s so OBvious, right?  This is a silly example of that but take, for instance, those cookies that are as big as cakes.  When I was growing up, we had cakes and we had cookies.  And then suddenly, there were cookies as big as cakes and they were being decorated for birthdays!  Who had that idea first?  I’ve done a little research and even Wikipedia doesn’t seem to have a clue.  And those people make stuff up when they don't know.  I'm certain of it.  (In other news, I’m thinking I could write a Wikipedia article and take credit now.)

Anyway, to cut a long story short (I know – too late!)  I’ve made a cookie cake for this month’s Creative Cookie Exchange Pink and Red challenge because I have a red silicon heart-shaped pan and there’s hardly anything prettier than a huge cookie Valentine.  Plus, this falls right in the middle of Appetizer Week, which started with Cocktail Day and it's also my birthday week!  So I couldn't do a regular sized cookie, it had to be something big and fun!

For the cookie:
2 cups or 250g flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups, firmly packed, or 300g light brown sugar
1/2 cup or 115g butter, at room temperature plus a little more for buttering your baking pan
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 12 oz or 340g bag M&Ms (I used the red, white and pink Valentines edition milk chocolate ones.)

For the icing, to write your message of LOVE:
1 cup or 125g powdered sugar
2 teaspoons butter, at room temperature
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 teaspoons milk
Paste food coloring (I used Wilton No-Taste Red.)

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and butter your baking pan really well.

In a small mixing bowl, combine your flour, baking powder and salt and mix well.

Cream your butter and sugar together until you have a nice smooth homogeneous mixture.

Add in the eggs and vanilla and beat again.

Now take a heaping 1/4 cup or about 55-60g of M&Ms and set them aside to decorate the top of the cookie before baking.   Mix the rest of the package into the dough.

Spoon the dough into the prepared pan and spread it around evenly to all corners.

Decorate the top with the reserved M&Ms.

Bake in your preheated oven for about 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the middle.

Allow to cool for few minutes before inverting and removing from the pan.  Turn pretty side up once more and allow to cool completely before adding any icing.

To make the icing, combine the sugar, butter, salt and vanilla together with two of the teaspoons of milk and mix thoroughly.

 Depending on your powdered sugar you could need the last teaspoon of milk to get a writing consistency.  Add it in, if necessary.  Then add in some food coloring paste.

This stuff is very hard to quantify.  I usually dip the tip of my everyday knife in the little pot and scoop out perhaps a quarter teaspoonful.  If you use an actual quarter teaspoon, it is very hard to get all the coloring out of the well of the spoon and you end up washing it out.  Which is a waste.  Using a knife allows you to scrape it completely clean.

Mix the coloring in thoroughly.  If you want to add more, always use a clean knife to dip into your color pot.  Keep in mind that the icing will darken somewhat as it rests and even once it's on the cookie.

When the cookie cake is completely cooled, decorate it with the icing in a piping bag and a small round tip.  Have fun with it!  (You'll probably have icing left over for another project.  It can be kept in the refrigerator or even frozen.)

Cut in small squares to serve.


If you are looking for inspiration for Valentines Day, I’ve got some great cookies for you today, all following the theme of Red and Pink:

You can also just use the Creative Cookie Exchange as a great resource for cookie recipes - Be sure to check out our Facebook page,  our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts.  You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month!

Big shout out to our host and organizer, Laura at The Spiced Life!  The Creative Cookie Exchange is her baby.

If you are a food blogger who would like to join the Creative Cookie Exchange, send an email with your URL to Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Banana Cream Napoleons for #SundaySupper

This week’s Sunday Supper theme is, of course, Valentines’ Day, so when I was contemplating what might be a good treat for my sweetie, it had to be something banana cream related.  Everyone knows how much he loves banana cream pie, but I thought I would pretty it up and create a banana cream Napoleon.  Napoleons are cream “sandwiches” made with crispy puff pastry and filled with custard and whipped cream.  You find them in all the windows of fancy pastry shops, where, sadly, you do not find banana cream pie.  More's the pity.  This rendition would rectify that.

The banana cream Napoleons came out lovely, and my husband enjoyed them but, in the spirit of full disclosure, I have to tell you that he did ask why I was trying to improve on perfection and said, in future, he’d still rather have his ideal, the banana cream pie.  All right.  All right.  Duly noted!  But they were fun to make and I was pleased.  (I am thinking my next Napoleon might be completely untraditional.  Savory with whipped cream cheese and vegetable fillings, perhaps.  Wouldn't that be nice for a ladies' lunch?)

Ingredients for two large Napoleons
Vanilla custard – made from this recipe here, or your own, and chilled till set
About 17.5 oz or 500g puff pastry (A little more or less won’t matter.)
Flour for rolling out pastry
3 1/2 oz or 100g powdered or icing sugar (A little more than 3/4 cup)
3 1/2 teaspoons milk (You may not use it all.  Add gradually!)
1 large banana
1 cup whipping cream

Preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C and line your baking sheet with parchment paper.

Sprinkle on a little flour and roll out your puff pastry dough till it’s about this thin as in my photo and pretty much covers your baking sheet.  I stick a piece of cling film to the countertop first because it makes lifting the puff pastry easier once it's rolled out.

Roll the pastry over your rolling pin and transfer it to the lined baking sheet.

Use a fork to dock the pastry (poke holes in it) so it doesn’t puff up too much while baking.

Cover it with another piece of parchment paper and top it with another baking sheet.

Bake for about 15 minutes, in your preheated oven.  Remove the top baking sheet and piece of parchment and bake for a further 15-20 or until the pastry is a nice golden color.

Just after the top baking sheet and parchment were removed. 

While your pastry is baking, whip your cream into firm peaks.  Pop it in the refrigerator until you need it.

Remove the pastry from the oven and transfer it to a large cutting board.  Trim off the sides so you have a nice straight rectangle.

Use a measuring tape to figure out how to cut your pastry into eight even rectangles.  The size of each doesn’t really matter, as long as they are equal.  Pick the two flattest and possibly least attractive of your rectangles and set aside to be the tops.  You are going to cover these with glaze any way.

I think traditional Napoleons have only three layers of puff pastry.  But then I've always been an over-achiever. 

In a small bowl, mix your powdered or icing sugar and the first teaspoon of milk.  Stir well.

Add another teaspoon of milk and stir well again.

You are looking for a consistency that will pour but then stay put without running completely off of the puff pastry.  Add just a little more milk until you reach that.  I ended up adding 3 1/2 teaspoons altogether, the last 1/2 teaspoon a 1/4 teaspoon at a time.

Place the two puff pastry rectangles you chose as your tops on a low wire rack with a piece of parchment paper underneath it to catch the glaze run off.  (I reused the one that baked on top of the pastry.)  Spoon the glaze over the two pieces of pastry, using the spoon to gently push the glaze over the sides.

Using a small decorating tip, pipe small lines of custard across the glaze.  Run a toothpick back and forth to create the traditional Napoleon zebra design.  Since I used custard instead of chocolate, the zebra stripe wasn’t exactly traditional or as pretty, but chocolate just wouldn’t fly in banana cream pie.  One can only take so many liberties with a beloved recipe.  Set the tops aside.

Start your “sandwich” building with one puff pastry rectangle as the base and pipe or spread on vanilla custard first.   I decided piping was much easier since spreading seemed to lift bits of the puff pastry.

Peel one side of your banana and slice it into thin slices with a sharp knife.

Line up about eight (or however many comfortably fit on your rectangle) slices on top of the custard.

Pipe or spread on the whipped cream.  Once again, I opted for piping, using one of the flattish tips meant for leaf-making.

Top with another crispy piece of puff pastry and continue the process – custard, banana, cream, puff pastry - until you are ready to add the top.  Hold the top piece by the edges, so you don’t mess up the zebra pattern and press gently onto the layer of whipped cream.

Repeat with the second Napoleon so you will have two, one for you and one for your sweetie.  Eat the balance of the vanilla custard, if any, with a spoon.  Same for the whipped cream.  Pretend it all came out even.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Sunday Supper Movement

If you are looking for Valentines’ Day inspiration, you have come to the right place!  Have a look at all the fabulous dishes and sweet treats the #SundaySupper bloggers are featuring this week!

#SundaySupper Valentine’s Day Breakfasts, Apps & Main Dishes:
Asparagus, Clam & Bay Shrimp Pasta from Galactopdx
Bacon Double Cheese Burger Bites from In the Kitchen with KP
Cheese Stuffed Cannelloni from Curious Cuisiniere
Fried Heart Pizza from Mooshu Jenne
Garlic Shrimp Bruschetta from MarocMama
Green Olive, Goat Cheese & Basil Crostini from Hip Foodie Mom
Indian Shrimp Pulao from Soni’s Food
Individual Beef “Phyll-ingtons” from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
Ranch, Bacon and Cheese Crisps from Daily Dish Recipes
Red Velvet Pancakes with Cream Cheese Frosting from Peanut Butter and Peppers
Rissóis de Camarão | Portuguese Shrimp Dumplings from Family Foodie
Spicy Red Cabbage Quiche | Veggie Quiche Recipe from Masala Herb

#SundaySupper Valentine’s Day Sweet Eats:
Banana Bourbon Blondies from The Messy Baker
Banana Cream Napoleon from Food Lust People Love
Brown Butter M&M Cookies from Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts
Brown Butter Rolo Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies from Damn Delicious
Cherry Pie Hearts from Home Cooking Memories
Chocolate Baumkuchen from Webicurean
Chocolate Bread Pudding from La Cocina de Leslie
Chocolate Chip Banana Cake with Banana Cream from The Lovely Pantry
Chocolate Covered Bacon from I Run For Wine
Chocolate Covered Stuffed Strawberries from Country Girl in the Village
Chocolate Mousse from Mom, What’s For Dinner?
Chocolate Roll filled with Nutella Cream from Basic N Delicious
Chocolate Truffles from The Wimpy Vetegarian
Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream with Cherry Sauce from Vintage Kitchen Notes
Cinnamon Sugar Tortillas with Chocolate Sauce from The Roxx Box
Coconut Sweetheart Cookies from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
Coeur a la Creme from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Cream Cheese Mints from Simply Gourmet
Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Mousse with Coconut Cream from Sue’s Nutrition Buzz
Dark Chocolate Raspberry Torte from Kelly Bakes
Deliciously Baked & Festively Glazed Mini-Donuts from Mangoes and Chutney
#GlutenFree Chocolate Almond Cloudless Cake from Cooking Underwriter
Heart Shaped White Chocolate Cakes with Raspberry Cream from Noshing with the Nolands
Homemade Cherry Mash Candies from Juanita’s Cocina
Maple-Date Bars from Diabetic Foodie
Meyer Lemon Marmalade from Shockingly Delicious
Mini Samoa Bundt Cakes from Ruffles & Truffles
Molten Chocolate Lava Cake from Gotta Get Baked
Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes from The Meltaways
Pistachio and Chocolate Souffle from Small Wallet Big Appetite
Raspberry Custard Tart from Kudos Kitchen
Raw Fudge Love from Mama’s Blissful Bites
Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
Red Velvet French Macarons with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Filling from The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen
Red Velvet Fudge from What Smells So Good?
Red Velvet Ice Cream Sandwiches from Cravings of a Lunatic
Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies from Magnolia Days
Red Velvet Sugar Cookie Bars from Chocolate Moosey
Red Wine Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting from The Urban Mrs.
Strawberry Shortcake! from The Foodie Army Wife
Strawberry Valentine Cake Hearts from Ninja Baking
Tres Leches Tea Cakes with Honey Riesling Soaked Fruit from Neighborfood
Valentine’s Bakewell Tarts from Happy Baking Days
Valentines Chocolate Apples from Big Bear’s Wife

#SundaySupper Valentine’s Day Drinks:
Blood Orange Vodka Martinis from The Catholic Foodie
Bloody Raspberry Cocktail from My Cute Bride
Strawberry Gin Fizz from girlichef

#SundaySupper Valentine’s Day Tablescape: A Romantic Table For Two Please from An Appealing Plan

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter on Sunday, February 10th to talk all about Valentine’s eats and treats! We’ll tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 p.m. ET and you do not want to miss out on the fun. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos!