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BROWNIE FUDGE COOKIES/ Brotherly Love



My Mom and Dad referred to my older brothers as 'the boys' and my younger brother and me, who are two years apart, as 'the little ones'. Mom often baked Chocolate Chip Cookies which we all loved, and she baked these Brownie Fudge Cookies for my little brother, his favorite. I recently surprised him by baking these fudgy goodies. It had been years since he had these cookies and he nearly forgot these were his favorite.

Growing up we spent lots of time together and most early pictures were of the two of us. We were out of bed before the rest of the family on Saturday mornings watching cartoons as we waited for the house to come to life. The two of us would quietly scurry downstairs on Christmas morning to find toys, bicycles and gifts beneath the tree. Oh, heaven! As little kids we even shared a room for several years. After Mom & Dad tucked us into bed we would talk about whatever little kids talk about. Then when we tired we would end our conversation with this: “Say your last goodnight… goodnight.” Then usually we’d start talking again and end with our nightly ritual of our last goodnight.

Those happy childhood days are long gone but the memories remain. Even though we annoyed each other at times, without knowing we forged a sibling bond and eternal friendship that has stood the test of time.

                                             Christmas 1964                                                        World's Fair 1964

These cookies are a combination of cookie, brownie and chocolate cake. You can jazz them up with chopped nuts or miniature chocolate chips.


Brownie Fudge Cookies
3-1/3 Cups Flour
1 Tsp Baking Powder
½ Tsp Salt
2/3 Cup Butter
1½ Cups Sugar
2/3 Cup Light Corn Syrup
2 Eggs
6 squares Unsweetened Chocolate (six ounces), melted
2 Tsp Vanilla
1½ Cups Walnuts, chopped (optional)


 In a separate bowl mix Flour, Baking Powder and Salt. Set aside.
Cream Butter and Sugar. Add Corn Syrup and Eggs. Mix well.
Add Flour mixture, Chocolate and Vanilla. Stir in nuts.
Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Makes 4-5 dozen.


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COOKIE DECORATING/ 201




Dear Cookie Artisans,

In my earlier post Cookie Decorating/101, listed were essential ingredients and supplies needed to decorate cookies. Once you have the necessary supplies you are ready to bake and decorate cookies!

Cookie decorating is fun but time-consuming so plan out your time. Set aside an ample amount of time to prepare dough, bake cookies, prepare icing and decorate. It can all be done in one day but I would never recommend it. You would be in the kitchen all day. I usually spread my cookie decorating over 3 days.

One, make the dough and chill at least 2 hours.

Two, roll out the cookies to 1/4 inch, bake and freeze cookies in an air-tight container overnight. (I prefer to freeze cookies before decorating to ensure cookies are firm.) The next morning thaw the cookies in the container on kitchen counter. Do not remove the lid until completely thawed. (One and Two can be done on the same day if you prefer).

Three, make icing, prepare icing bags, icing bottles, set up your workstation and decorate cookies.

Begin your first project by decorating only 10-12 cookies. Set aside a few hours to decorate. It is essential to take your time to achieve the best results. I usually decorate 15-25 cookies at a time which takes 3-4 hours. The most I decorate at one time is 36. Keep in mind that the more intricate the design the more time is needed to decorate the cookies.

Choose a simple cookie cutter and a simple design. A cookie cutter with curves, such as the  heart, mitten, or duck are great for beginners. Most cookie cutters are about 3 to 4 inches; some are larger. My largest cutter is the mitten at 5 inches and it was the first cookie I decorated. The large size and easy curves make the mitten the perfect cutter to learn decorating. A square cutter is slightly more difficult but it requires outlining straight lines. [Gail of One Tough Cookie demonstrates how to pipe a straight line.] Until you become proficient, I do not recommend the daisy, blossom or round cutters. A round cookie is the most difficult cookie to outline. I recommend starting out with tip#3 for outlining. It is easier due to a wider opening and it requires less squeezing of the icing bag.

Before you decorate your first cookie, remember to take your time and have fun! Begin first by practicing on a sheet of wax paper. This will allow you to get the feel of the piping bag, how much pressure to apply and figure out the most comfortable grip. Hold the icing bag at a 45 degree angle for a steady flow of icing. To apply flood icing, for the best flow and control, hold the icing bottle vertical and close to the cookie but avoid running into the outline.

It takes about one hour to prepare icing, divide and color icings, fill piping bags, prepare flood icing and fill squeeze bottles. I rarely use more than 3 colors in order to keep the prep time to a minimum. Cleanup afterwards takes about one hour. It requires storing leftover icing in containers, cleaning all the mixing bowls, utensils, icing bags, squeeze bottles, tips, etc.  

 For icing preparation, technique and care of decorating tools see the Decorate tab. For video instruction, visit the Videos tab.  Most of the ingredients for baking Shortbread Cookies and preparing Royal Icing are already in your pantry. Refer to Recipes for more details.

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BLUEBIRD COOKIES/ Free as a Bird



That's how I feel since leaving the workforce and I just celebrated six years of freedom. I enjoyed my job and it was exciting to work only a few blocks from the White House but I'm glad it is in the past. I retired after 29 years as a legal secretary having worked long days, many nights and weekends. There is not much I miss except perhaps my co-workers, dressing up everyday and the hustle-bustle of the DC streets. Typing lengthy legal documents, deadlines, being at the beck and call of a demanding boss, and the hour-plus commute every morning and evening are not missed. In fact, when I hear the morning traffic report I feel elated yet empathy toward the commuting throngs.

After retiring, I started a calligraphy business for two years until my hands, already overworked from three decades of typing, could no longer bear the strain and it became too painful. I like making my own schedule for cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping and all the other humdrum household chores. I like the freedom to procrastinate too! What I've enjoyed the most is having the time to work in the garden and pursue new interests like researching my family history, cookie decorating and this blog.


Bluebird Cookies
Dove Shortbread Cookies
Royal Icing for outlining and flooding tinted Blue with AmeriColor Turquoise
Royal Icing for outlining tinted Green with AmeriColor Leaf Green
Royal Icing for flooding tinted Red with AmeriColor Super Red
Royal Icing for outlining tinted Light Yellow with AmeriColor Lemon Yellow
Disposable piping bags & couplers
Squeeze bottles
Wilton Decorating Tip #2
Toothpicks
Hint: Just a smidge of Lemon Yellow creates light yellow. One drop of Turquoise creates light blue.
[Design inspired by Bridget’s Baptism Doves at Bake at 350]


Outline cookie with #2 tip in blue icing.

Flood cookie with blue icing.

Pipe dots on back wing with red icing.

Pull with toothpick to create design. Let dry 30 minutes.

Pipe dot for eye with red icing. 
Option: Pipe small dot of light color over red dot on eye

Pipe twig with #2 tip in green icing.

Pipe berries with #2 tip in yellow icing. Let dry overnight.

 
 MORE COOKIE DESIGNS

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COOKIE SQUARES/ Painting with Royal Icing



Decorating cookies with royal icing is not all about piping bags and squeeze bottles. Creative and unique cookie designs can be achieved with a paintbrush. It is lots of fun and the possibilities are endless. No two cookies are alike. This technique in cookie decorating is called Brush Embroidery.

The design is achieved by piping a line, straight, curved or zig-zag, along with icing consistency to create texture. A stiff icing creates a veil-like appearance and a soft icing creates an oil-painted look. For these cookies I wanted a modern look so I used a soft icing to create a thick texture. Use the paintbrush to spread the royal icing and see the design appear. This is an easy technique and the result is a beautiful cookie that is sure to impress.


Ivory Brush Embroidery Cookies
Square Shortbread Cookies
Royal Icing for outlining and flooding tinted with Wilton Ivory
Royal Icing for outlining tinted Pink with AmeriColor Red
Royal Icing for outlining tinted Gray with AmeriColor Black and AmeriColor Violet
Royal Icing for outlining tinted Yellow with AmeriColor Lemon Yellow and Wilton Ivory
Disposable piping bags & couplers
Squeeze bottle
Wilton Decorating Tip #2
Paintbrushes 
Hint:  Use one paintbrush for each color of icing.

View Video Tutorial



  
Outline cookie with #2 tip in ivory icing.
 
Flood cookie with ivory icing. Let dry overnight.
 
Pipe zig-zag line with #2 tip in gray icing.
 
Use a paintbrush to pull icing to create design.
 
Pipe zig-zag line with #2 tip in pink icing. Use paintbrush to pull icing to create design.
 
Pipe zig-zag line with #2 tip in yellow icing.

Use a paintbrush to pull icing to create design.
   
Repeat zig-zag line and paintbrush technique using alternating colors.
Let dry overnight.

  


MORE COOKIE DESIGNS


BRUSH EMBROIDERY COOKIES

GLITTERY SQUARE COOKIES

FLORAL PLAQUE COOKIES

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BLUEBERRY CRISP/ My Sweet Aunt



Looking for a delicious, easy, yet impressive dessert recipe for your next dinner party? After setting the table, sprucing up the place, preparing appetizers and dinner, do you run out of steam to make that fancy dessert from Bon Appetit magazine? Well, I’ve got the perfect dessert recipe….Blueberry Crisp. This recipe has been duplicated by Martha Stewart and dozens of bloggers but this is the simplest recipe ever. My Aunt Rosemary discovered this recipe which was originally printed in Bon Appetit magazine in the mid-1970’s.

Aunt Rosemary was a very energetic, beautiful and independent woman, born during the roaring twenties, grew up during the depression, married her sweetheart after WWII and had three children. She always looked neat as a pin, loved fashion, baking, golfing and most importantly, her family. My earliest memory is at age 4 in the ocean with her holding me as she jumped the waves at Fire Island. I remember the brightly-colored flowers on her swim cap and feeling safe in her arms.

She was a special aunt to my brothers and cousins too. I felt extra lucky to have her as my Godmother. My younger brother often speaks of fun times golfing with her during his teen years. Even with three children of her own, Aunt Rosemary made each and every one of her nieces and nephews feel special. I don’t know how she did it but she just had a way about her. We lost her too soon but she continues to live on in our hearts and in our memories.

Aunt Rosemary blowing out my First Birthday Candles

Aunt Rosemary - Age 23 (circa 1947)

Blueberry Crisp
3-4 Cups Fresh Blueberries
1/4 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/3 Cup Flour
1 Tsp Cinnamon
2 Tbsp Butter, melted
French Vanilla Ice Cream

Gently stir Blueberries with Lemon Juice. Pour into a pie plate.

In a separate bowl mix Sugar, Flour and Cinnamon. Add melted Butter.
Toss with fork until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over Blueberries.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. 
 
 Serve immediately and top with a scoop of French Vanilla Ice Cream.

Makes 5-6 servings.
  
 
MORE RECIPES
 
 BLUEBERRY MUFFINS 

LEMON RICOTTA MUFFINS

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