Friday, May 30, 2008

My NEW Cookie Place on the Web

Our family cookie business will have a new website by mid-June if all goes well. We hope to begin a blog related to the site this summer. We'll write mostly about cookie gift ideas , but also hope to offer our ideas about cookie baking in general for those who enjoy the art of baking from scratch. Also, recipes, comments from our customers, etc. etc. Come visit us this summer!

Family Get-together

Wish I could have been there! I missed my niece's HS graduation party this past Sunday due to illness but my husband Dan & daughter Kim were able to go. Congratulations to Lindsay! Everyone tells you that your kids will grow up fast, you don't really believe them until it happens!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Buttercream Brownies chocolate and pink

Deep Dish Brownies are a favorite of mine. I baked these in cornbread pans so that each brownie has both a moist interior and also the brownie crust that completes the brownie. These are Belgian Dutch cocoa brownies, topped with a buttercream frosting and mini chips. I will post the recipe later.
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Sunday, May 18, 2008

A good Sunday in Pittsburgh

Well, the Penquins won the Eastern Conference, so on to the Stanley Cup Playoffs! "Buy Sam a drink and get his dog one too!" as Mike Lange would say for all the Penquin fans out there.

And we did find time to work on our photo cookies, this one an old black & white photo from 1963. They are getting better each week as we learn the process. Now back to the celebratory red wine!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Sunday & the Penquins

Tomorrow is Sunday and I plan on making lasagna and working on our new photo and logo cookies coming soon at the cookie shop, but my husband and I will take the afternoon off to watch the Pittsburgh Penquins play game 5 in the semi-finals with the Philadelphia Flyers! They are home again for this game and we're hoping for a win to move on to the Stanley cup finals! Somehow, we managed to get tickets online for one of the home playoff games with the New York Rangers and well, there is nothing like playoff hockey. I would give up 10 regular season games for one playoff game. GO PENS!!!

A new kind of Peanut Butter Sandwich

My daughter Kim and I decided to try some new ideas we have for the summer...cookie sandwiches! This one was by far the best, homemade peanut butter cookies, some with chocolate chips and some just rolled in sugar, filled with creamy peanut butter frosting. If you like peanut butter, these are worth trying. To make the frosting, just mix confectioner's sugar with cream cheese and peanut butter, mix in a teaspoon of pure vanilla and beat, adding a few tablespoons of water if too thick.

We plan to also try chocolate cookies later with a mint frosting and chocolate chip cookies with vanilla frosting .

Friday, May 16, 2008

Country Cut-out Cookies

This is my favorite cut out sugar cookie recipe. It's so easy to roll and very forgiving. You can use extra flour without the cookies drying out. I don't bother chilling the dough, but it can be refrigerated if wrapped tightly first. We bake the cut out heart cookies at our bakery, Country Cupboard Cookies and also cute scalloped cookies frosted with pastel shades of buttercream frosting. Try them with pink, blue or mint green frosting.
Simply delicious!

Country Cut-out Cookies

1 pound softened Butter
2 cups sugar
2 whole eggs
1 TBL pure vanilla

1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
4 to 4 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
Cream butter & sugar. Add eggs & vanilla & mix well. Add dry ingredients gradually and mix until soft dough forms. May use more or less flour depending on humidity of day, etc. Roll out and cut out with desired cookie cutter. Use only enough flour to avoid sticking to table or to rolling pin.

Bake 8-10 minutes in 325- 350 degree oven.

Bake only until very light browned around edges. Frost and decorate with your favorite icing. Top if desired with sifted confectioners sugar.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The search for the perfect cookie

Chocolate Chip cookies
Butter, pure vanilla, unbleached flour, Callebaut chocolate chunks. I'm always searching to make the perfect chocolate chip cookie, sometimes I come close, then the next time I bake them, well, they are flat, or too buttery or too chunky. These were perfect. Thick and chunky, great color and just the right amount of chocolate. Crispy on the edges and soft and moist in the midde. Dressed up with a gingham bow makes them even better.

Farmhouse cookies

First of all, I grew up in a farmhouse, complete with a large covered front porch, side porch and backporch. The side porch was covered with grapevines and made of stone. ( This is the porch show in the old photo from 1963 of my Mom and 6 kids. The youngest to be born in about 6 weeks from when the picture was taken. ) We picked the grapes to eat, large purple sweet and juicy grapes and also I remember making grape jam with my parents. I'm the oldest of the family, shown in the photo to the far right with my hand in front of my face, probably hiding a cookie. I grew up loving to bake, we baked from scratch cookies, pies, bread and rolls. Christmas was a bake-a-thon, every year my sister, mom and I would try to see how many flavors we could bake before the males in our family ate them right out of the freezer.
But back to the farmhouse. I loved that house with it's huge attic, 2 kitchens ( one we called a summer kitchen, I'm not sure why) and huge yard filled with fruit trees, pine trees, and peony bushes. I'm still looking for one to replace it, living in western Pennsylvania, the old farmhouses have given way to new construction and the suburbs. The house has been torn down to make way for a new house, the barn and yard are still there. Horses for riding replace the cows and chickens, my parents live in the house built in the late 60's where the corn used to grow. I've moved on to owning a cookie business with my husband in western PA in the suburbs of Pittsburgh and baking farmhouse cookies from recipes I've tweaked over the years! But more about that later.