Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween Cookies!

"I'm going to be the most gorgeous knight in all the land, and I will go save my princess from candy overload!" laughed Zoe as she placed her hand over her forehead, went down on her knees and expelled a dramatic sigh.
"Well when I'm a zombie I'm going to come and eat your face off and your princess will never like you!" Kendra exclaimed with a mouth full of cookie.
"Okay that's it, out you go. Do something useful for a change instead of eating all my cookies," Stella said as she pushed the girls out the door. She was adorned with a tall witch hat and green cape, and looked as if she was about to cast a spell on them.
Nearby Kevin laughed into his coffee, spilling it, as he overlooked the scene. 
"Seriously I have no idea where they went. I made an entire batch this morning, iced and all, then poof! They disappeared! Now I have to make another whole batch before tomorrow." Stella said as she passed Kevin throwing her arms up,"and scones, squares and biscuits!"
Kevin then proceeded to spill more coffee onto his newspaper, as Kendra peeked inside the door while munching on a very tasty looking cookie.

The BEST Sugar Cookies

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter- softened
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

In a large bowl beat sugar and butter together till light and fluffy. Add in eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla.
In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
Add flour mixture to butter mixture till well incorporated.

Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Flouring surface and rolling pin, roll out dough out till it is 1/8 of an inch thick

Cut out, place on a baking tray covered in parchment and bake for 6-8 minutes till edges are a very light golden brown.
Cool and decorate!

Royal Icing: for decorating!

1 egg white
1 cup icing sugar
2-3 drops lemon juice

Using a whisk, whisk ingredients together till they form a spreadable icing. If it's too thin, add more icing sugar. If too thick, add more lemon juice.

Put desired colours in icing, and decorate!

How to Make Spider Web Cookies:
Cover a circular cookie in white icing. Create a large dot with a circle around it making the cookie look like a target. Starting from the middle, using a toothpick or skewer, drag it through the icing to the edge of the cookie. You will see it as it drags, it moves the black icing along creating the spider web effect. Repeat all the way around the cookie.

Writing and photography by Emma

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Nana's Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Stella's mother, whom they all call 'Nana', is visiting for a few weeks. She shares Stella's passion for feeding one and all, but she has her little quirks which often add spice to her conversation.

While she mixes up her family-famous Cinnamon Coffee Cake in the kitchen she says to her grand-daughters, "Now girls, you can have a piece, but you have to earn it. While this cake is baking, your mom can watch it and we can take a walk to the park. You girls can get some exercise on the swings and what-not while I people watch.This town has so many interesting weirdos and they amuse me."

Zoe thinks Nana is forgetting that she is fifteen and a little old for playground equipment, but she deems it wise not to say anything about that for the time being. She likes hearing Nana's observations and assessments of the world too much to risk irritating her. She also likes her delicious, moist Coffee Cake with its cinnamon-crunch layers and is looking forward to having some with a cup of tea after their outing. Zoe looks at Stella and Stella looks back at her with a slight lift of her eyebrow and just a hint of a grin.

"Enjoy yourselves, girls, and Mother..."

"Yes, dear" says Nana with a slight look of challenge in her eyes.

"Go easy on the citizens. Many of them are my customers."

"I'm never uncharitable, Estelle, only truthful," says Nana, winking at the girls.

She decides she'll join Nana and the girls for tea and cake, too. Stella looks up at the calendar, reminding herself of the date of Nana's flight back home. She'll need Kevin and Savannah in that morning so she can drive Nana to the airport.

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Mix in a small bowl and set aside:
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons crushed nuts of your choice

Beat together 1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
beat in two eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla

mix together:
1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
a pinch of salt

mix 1 teaspoon baking soda into a cup of sour cream in a bowl or 2 cup measure (the sour cream will begin to foam and rise with the baking soda) - sometimes Nana uses full fat yogurt instead of the sour cream, or a combination of both.

Add the flour mixture alternately with the sour cream to the wet butter/sugar mixture. Mix just until blended.

Pour half the batter into greased and floured nine inch baking pan
Sprinkle with half the cinnamon mixture

Bake at 350 degrees Farenheit for 30 to 40 minutes.

Delicious served slightly warm.