Thursday, December 23, 2010

Kids in the Kitchen- Christmas Sand Tarts

Everyone wants a reliable recipe for Christmas cookies that are easy to share and most importantly DELICIOUS!  These "Sand Tarts" are fun to make with the whole family or by yourself while jamming to the all-Christmas radio station.  Get the kids involved with counting the ingredients as you add them! They will also enjoy "painting" on the egg and sprinkling on the decorations. These cookies are light and crispy and go great with coffee.  Although, Santa prefers them with milk. ;)

Sand Tarts
Recipe from Susan Leese

1 cup Butter
2 cups Granulated Sugar
2 Eggs
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
3 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
4 tsp. Baking Powder

Instructions: (Check out the notes below for helpful hints!)
1. Cream butter and sugar.  
2. Add eggs and vanilla.  
3. Add flour and baking powder. 
4. Mix well.  
5. Chill at least one hour.  

6. Roll out on floured board and cut with cookie cutters.

7. Brush with separate well-beaten egg.

8. Decorate with sprinkles, jimmies, nonpareils, or colored sugar.


 9. Bake at 340 for 10-12 minutes.

Be sure butter is softened before combining with sugar. For best results, chill dough overnight.  For rolling: use lots of flour!  If you have parchment paper, roll out cookies on parchment paper to prevent them from sticking to the board.  I used metal cookie cutters.  I'm sure plastic ones are fine too, I just might flour them before-hand to prevent sticking.  This dough works best when it is cold.  I rolled out just enough for one pan at a time and refrigerated the rest while workingRoll out dough about as thin as you can get it before it pulls apart.   


Friday, December 17, 2010

The Pink Lady

The Pink Lady

Although, I mostly intend to write about recipes and their outcomes, I thought it appropriate to write about favorite ingredients as well. When it comes to apples, there are of course different schools of thought on which apples are best for each type of cooking.  For baking, Rachel Ray suggests McIntosh for instance. I have tried her recipe for stuffed apples using the McIntosh variety and found them to be too mushy and grainy.  I hope to resolve this undesirable outcome by trying a naturally firmer variety of apple for baking.  I have found a favorite apple and I am looking forward to trying it in different apple recipes to test its versatility.  This apple is called, the Pink Lady.  It is a sweet-tart variety, characterized by its unique pink skin.  They usually appear an eye-catching coral color, which is difficult to ignore when choosing between all the other apples that are either green or red.  It is a cross between an Australian apple called the Lady Williams and the familiar Golden Delicious.  I enjoy it because it is firm, never grainy, and has a combination of sweet and tart that pairs well with savory or sweet.    As a snack apple, it is ideal because it is sweet enough to pair with cheese (I prefer sharp white cheddar), yet tart enough for a sweet dip such as caramel or peanut butter.  This Kitchen Chart for Apples marks it for use as "a dessert apple with cheese, as a snack on its own, in salads or for pies." I look forward to enjoying the Pink Lady in my favorite apple recipes as much as I enjoy sharing one with my favorite "Little Lady", Emma Kate.