Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Great Cookie To Make With Kids: Russian Teacakes aka Snowballs

I've been making this recipe with my mom since I can remember; it's kind of our Christmas tradition. I have many fond memories of making these cookies.

At any rate, the teacakes are not only one of the easiest things I've ever baked, but are also very kid friendly. There are many jobs kids can participate in while making these; measuring ingredients, rolling the dough into balls, and covering them in confectionery sugar when they come out of the oven. The best part is, however, is that there are no eggs in this recipe, so mom's don't have to worry about their kids taking a little nibble of the dough or licking their fingers.

Russian Teacakes
Makes approximately four dozen cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 confectionery sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour, sifted
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup finally chopped (walnuts) nuts (optional, to be stirred in last)
extra confectionery sugar for rolling

Sift the dry ingredients (flour, salt) together and set them aside.

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and stir together.

Once the mixture starts coming together, use your hands and form a ball with the dough.

Refrigerate the dough until firm (usually 30 minutes to 1 hour). Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Form once inch balls with the dough by rolling them in the palm of your hand.

Place the cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet quite close together (they don't really spread much).

Bake for approximately 10 minutes. I can tell they are cooked with they start to slightly crack at the top.

Cool for a few minutes, but while still warm, roll all the cookies in confectionery sugar. After rolling all the cookies once, roll them for a second time. Then allow them to cool completely before storing.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Few Photos From Le Cordon Bleu London Pastry Class

If anyone is curious about what I've been doing at school, I'm including a few photos in this post. I don't have any cuisine photos; we have to serve the food hot and it's tasted immediately, thus destroying the beauty of the food on the plate. In pastry the recipes are so exact that they don't taste our food/art pieces, so there is plenty of opportunity snap away.

Up at the top is a croquembouche, which is a traditional french wedding cake.

My first attempt to make a pulled sugar rose. I ended up with a huge blister on my thumb from making the petals!

My first attempt at making a pulled sugar ribbon.

Me, and my ribbon hat....

And, my first attempt at pouring sugar. Poured sugar is my favorite of all the sugar work so far.

The fraisier cake, from the top. You can see, my piping needs a bit of work!

The fraisier cake from the side... yum!