Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cookie Creations

The following guest post was written by Elizabeth, from Following the Trails to Heaven.  Thank you Elizabeth! 

Cookies bring out the child in everyone and a smile to any event.  Everyone loves a good tasting cookie that looks just as pleasing to the eye, as to our tummies.  They are easy to bake and decorating them to suit your needs is fun to do. 

I'm not a stand out baker or anything, so if I'm able to pull these off, believe me you can too.  This is a quick tutorial with links to get you started :-)

Let's talk supplies

You don't need to break the bank in this area.  But there are the essentials for making your decorating time easier and faster.

You'll need:
  • an assortment of tips, piping bags (disposables or reusable ones; Wilton sells both kinds and you can find them in most craft stores, including WalMart), couplers, a few of these squeezable bottles and a variety of food coloring.
More on tips.  For outlining your cookies a #3 tip is going to be essential.  For details and finer touches, #1 and #2 tips are more commonly used.  #4 tips and tips with a scalloped edge are great for fun dots and swirls. 

Finding a good cookie & royal icing recipe

The cookies are going to be eaten, so we want them to taste good.  I've tried several recipes and trust me, these are always good!  Here are my to go to favorites!!  Bridget @ Bake at 350, Amanda @ I am Baker, and Michelle @ Brown Eyed Baker.   These ladies are amazing!

Bridget's advice and recipe for Royal Icing is, in my opinion, one of the best.  She gives easy to do details on how the icing should look, it's consistency, some tips, and provided great pictures for us visual learners.

Follow these simple tips in getting working the dough

1.  Divide your dough in half and wrap each portion tightly with Saran wrap and chill them for at least one hour.
2.  Roll out your dough onto the actual parchment paper, using a bit of powdered sugar instead of flour.  The parchment paper makes it so much easier to transfer your nicely cut shapes onto your baking sheets.
3.  Lastly, chill your cut out cookies on the baking sheets for at least 10 minutes in the refrigerator.  This helps the cookies maintain their shape and it does make a difference.

They are baked and ready for the icing

It helps to have an idea of what you want the cookies to look like.  I make a quick sketch on some paper and jot down the colors I want to use before I even start baking.

Using a #3 tip outline your cookie according to your set design. Just keep a constant pressure on the bag and release right before you complete the outline. If there are peaks on your edges, take a toothpick and gently press them down.

Use that squeezable bottle filled with your runnier icing to 'flood' the cookie. 

Just fill in towards the edges, but don't over fill (flood).  Over filling equals a big icing mess!  Trust me.  The icing will run a bit anyway, and you'll be helping to fill in the empty spots next.

Depending on how big your cookie is, you'll use either a toothpick, a butter knife, a clean popsicle stick, or whatever you have handy, to spread out the icing.

Some air bubbles may appear after a few seconds, just pop with the toothpick.

After this stage the icing needs to harden before you can decorate.  I'd give them at least 10 minutes.  Since I work with several batches I start outline first, then begin to fill (flood), ending with the spreading.  By the time I make my way around, the first cookies are ready for decorating.

The cool, creative part is the decorating.  These are just a few samples of what you can create, especially for those special sacraments feast days.

and other fun stuff

The possibilities are endless!  Think dragons for St. George,  candles for Candlemas, lilies for St. Joseph or for Our Lady.  I hope this tutorial has helped to inspire you to try some out and I hope to see some of your samples soon.

Thank you Jessica, for inviting me here to share! 

May God bless each of you ladies who contribute your talents and time here at Catholic Cuisine.  I, and my family, have benefited greatly from this site.  May God reward you for your kindness and efforts!

All Glory and Praise to God
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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tiny Tonsure Cakes

aka Your Favorite Franciscan Saint's Baked Donuts

We all know (all Catholics, that is) that our favorite Franciscans, like St. Francis and St. Anthony, wore their hair shorn on top, leaving the ring of hair around the sides, front, and back -- known as a tonsure (although a tonsure can also be completely shorn, as well). According to Catholic Encyclopedia, this practice was picked up by St. Francis because Greek and Roman slaves wore this hair "style" as a badge of their state in life. This practice is now not only known to Franciscans, but it seems this symbol of service to God is most recognizable from pictures of our favorite Franciscan saints.

St. Anthony of Padua                                                       St. Francis of Assisi

This morning I decided to greet the day with some Tiny Tonsure cakes, which are really just baked donuts. I think they look more like little cakes, however, than real donuts. My children were happy for the surprise. I intended to just make the Lemon Buttermilk variety, but before I knew it, I had the cocoa and chocolate chips out as well for Chocolate Cake Donuts -- a double pleasure today.

These little donuts would make a lovely breakfast on any Franciscan Saint day (if you mix up the dry ingredients the night before you can whip up the batter before the coffee brews), or even dessert or afternoon tea treat. The recipe does require the use of a donut pan, however.

The Lemon Buttermilk recipe is a variation of the one found at The Sweets Life, and the chocolate variety is modified from the recipe which came with my Norpro donut pan (except for the glaze, which I threw together).

Lemon Buttermilk Baked Donuts

1 c. whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat)
1 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
3/4 c. buttermilk
2 large eggs
1/4 c. honey
2 T. butter, melted
1 T. vanilla extract
1/2 t. lemon extract (or the zest from 1 lemon)

1 c. confectioners sugar
2 t. lemon juice 

enough milk to make a runny glaze

 Preheat oven to375F. Spray a donut pan lightly with cooking spray and set aside. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix together buttermilk, eggs, honey, butter, vanilla extract, and lemon extract (or zest). Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mixing just until combined.

Using a spoon (or a cookie batter scoop), fill donut pan cavities about 2/3 full. Bake for 7-8 minutes, until golden and donuts spring back when touched. 

Remove from pan and allow to cool on a wire rack. Re-spray the pan and repeat with remaining batter.

Once donuts have cooled, prepare the glaze by whisking together the confectioners sugar and lemon juice and milk, if needed. Dip cooled donuts into the glaze before flipping over (glaze side up) and placing on wire racks until glaze is set. 

Chocolate Cake Baked Donuts

1 1/2 c. flour
1/3 c. unsweetened baking cocoa
1 t. baking powder
1/8 t. salt
2 eggs
2/3 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. milk
2 T. butter, melted


1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 T. heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, sugar, and salt.

Make a well in dry ingredients and add wet ingredients (eggs, milk, melted butter and vanilla). Stir together just until well combined.

Spray pan lightly with cooking oil. Fill with batter 2/3 full.  Bake 8 minutes. 

Cool. Carefully remove. Repeat with rest of batter.

Place chocolate chips and cream in a micro safe bowl. Heat for 30 seconds on high. Stir. Heat for another 15-30 seconds and stir until smooth. 

When donuts are almost completely cool, dip tops in chocolate glaze.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

"A Multitude of Fish" Trail Mix

Tomorrow is the feast of St. Anthony of Padua!  Last year we celebrated his feast day with some Saintly Summer Fun and "A Multitude of Fish" Cupcakes, but since we are leaving to go camping this week I have to keep it extra simple this year.    We made this trail mix during the Easter season, for one of our Good Shepherd's Garden Parties.  It will be a perfect snack for tomorrow afternoon, while the kids complete our St. Anthony's Outdoor Scavenger Hunt!  Feel free to modify the ingredient list however you'd like, just be sure to include "a multitude of fish" recalling all the fish that rose out of the water to listen to St. Anthony preach!
No sooner had he spoken a few words when suddenly so great a multitude of fish, both small and great, approached the bank on which he stood. All the fish kept their heads out of the water, and seemed to be looking attentively on St Anthony's face; all were ranged in perfect order and most peacefully, the smaller ones in front near the bank, after them came those a little bigger, and last of all, were the water was deeper, the largest.

As he continued speaking, the fish began to open their mouths and bow their heads, endeavoring as much as was in their power to express their reverence. The people of the city, hearing of the miracle, made haste to go and witness it.

"A Multitude of Fish" Trail Mix
Adapted from Pepperidge Farm

3 cups Pepperidge Farm® Goldfish Colors
1 cup Pepperidge Farm® Smores Goldfish
1 cup Pepperidge Farm® Pretzel Goldfish
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup craisins
1 cup dry roasted peanut
1 cup white chocolate pieces

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.   Enjoy!

This Trail Mix would also make a great snack for the feasts of Sts. Peter and Paul, Fishers of Men, later this month!

St. Anthony of Padua, Pray for us! 

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Friday, June 1, 2012

Recipes for June :: Month Dedicated to the Sacred Heart

The month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  

Glory, honor, eternal praise be given Thee, O Heart of Jesus! May all the world adore Thee!   Blessed be the love, the infinite goodness of the same dear Heart which impelled Thee, for love of us, to be born of a humble Virgin, to die upon the Cross and shed all Thy Blood in order to redeem and save us.

Sweet Heart of Jesus, be my love! 

Recipes in honor of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (New; Trad.; Fri. before 3rd Sunday after Pentecost):  June 15th, 2012

June 3rd, St. Charles Lwanga & Companions(Trad.):

June 11th, Blessed Ignazio Maloyan (New):

June 13th, St. Anthony of Padua (New; Trad):

June 16th, Capuchin Martyrs of the Concentration Camps (New): (also the day on which St. Pio was canonized)

June 21st, St. Aloysius Gonzaga (New, Trad.):

June 24th, Birth of St. John the Baptist (New; Trad.):

June 26th, St. Josemaria Escriva (New):

June 29th, Sts. Peter & Paul (New, Trad.):

Other Special Feasts:

Trinity Sunday (New, Trad.; Sunday following Pentecost Sunday - This year it is on June 3rd, 2012)

Corpus Christi  (New:  June 7th, 2012; Trad.: Thursday after Trinity Sunday) and Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (New; Sunday after Trinity Sunday):

From the depth of my nothingness, I prostrate myself before Thee, O Most Sacred, Divine and Adorable Heart of Jesus, to pay Thee all the homage of love, praise and adoration in my power.  Amen. ~  St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us! 
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