Ready For Summer Strawberry Tart

I haven’t posted a recipe in soooo long!!! What’s up with that!??  I’ve actually been sitting on this recipe since last summer.  But when I launched MC in October, it wasn’t really strawberry season. I adapted the recipe from Izy Hossack.  I swapped out the filling and added a burst of gorgonzola.  I hope you all enjoy!  xoxo

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I love summer here.  The fruit available to us, when in season, is just so yummy, juicy and sweet.  It almost feels like you’re eating pie.  And after a winter of dehydration and feeling blah-heavy on carbs and starches, my body is craaaaaving water and fruit!  

Cue:  Straaaawberries!

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In probably just a week or two it will be the peak of the season.  I couldn’t be more excited!!!  There’s nothing worse than buying a 2 for $5 pack of hard, flavorless strawberries in the dead of winter. They taste like poodley oodley.  I always do it, though, dreaming of summer berries.  Do you do this???  Why do we do this???

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The way the berries are loaded on top, it’s almost like a dessert bruschetta.  🙂
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So when it’s peak strawburry season in your town, go pickin till you come back with a nice haul.  Then, try this recipe!! It’s super fresh, light and delicious.  🙂

untitled-7911Summer is just around the corner… Are you ready???  🙂  🙂  🙂

Ready For Summer Strawberry Tart
A buttery shortbread crust with a cream cheese whipped topping and covered in delicious seasonal strawberries.
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For the crust
  1. 1 1/3 c. dark rye flour
  2. 1 1/3 c. all purpose flour
  3. 1 T. + 1 tsp granulated sugar
  4. 1 tsp salt
  5. 1 c. + 2 T. unsalted butter, very cold, cubed
  6. 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  7. 6-10 tbsp ice water
  8. 1 egg (for eggwash)
Filling
  1. 8 oz. cream cheese
  2. 2 T. Grand Marnier
  3. 1/2 c. gorgonzola
  4. 1/3 c. powdered sugar
  5. 1 1/2 c. heavy cream
  6. 1/3 c. apricot jam
  7. 2 T. water
  8. 2-3 pounds of strawberries
For the crust
  1. Put the flours, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. With a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the chunks of butter are the size of small peas. Rub the mixture with your fingertips until it has the texture of damp chunky sand.
  2. In a separate cup, pour the apple cider vinegar into 10 tbsp of ice water.
  3. Drizzle a bit of the water mixture over the dry ingredients in the bowl and gently stir together with your hands until the dough starts to come together. Add more water as needed to form into a rough ball. Saran wrap the ball and chill for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight.
  4. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400F.
  5. Cut a piece of baking paper to fit the size of your half sheet tray. Place the baking paper onto a work surface and roll the dough out on it into a rough rectangle.
  6. When its about the size of the half sheet tray, gently slide it onto the tray. Dock the dough with a fork and brush with beaten egg.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes until dark golden all over. If there are air bubbles, flatten them with a spatula. Let the pastry cool completely.
For the filling
  1. Slice the strawberries and toss with Grand Marnier in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Heat the jam on low with 2 T. of water in a small saucepan. Pour the glaze into the berries.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat the heavy cream until there are soft peaks. Set aside in different bowl.
  4. In the mixing bowl you just used, beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar until soft.
  5. Fold in the whipped cream.
  6. Once the crust is cooled, frost it with the cream cheese whipped mixture and dot it with the gorgonzola. Cover the tart with the sliced berries. The more the merrier! Cut and serve immediately!
Adapted from Izy Hossack
Adapted from Izy Hossack
MandiCrocker http://www.mandicrocker.com

Hummingbird Cake

We are getting totally SOCKED IN.  I love it!!!  There is nothing more peaceful than waking up to a quiet, relentless snowfall…

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I spend a majority of my mornings like this.. roaring fire, cats, writing in my warm ‘flippies’.  I LOVE MY MORNINGS!!!

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Little Tilla gets it… hanging out in the window sill… It’s just so peaceful.  *swoon*

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Which brings me to our treat of the day.  Hummingbird Cake!   

A buddy I work with is from one of the islands in Guam and he LOVES banana. Our breakfast guys make a banana bread french toast and he’s always taking a nibble here and there. “Oh God, Mendi, this is soooo good. Do you make a banana cake?” 

“Oh yeah, honey. I make a Hummingbird Cake!”

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“What’s that?”- asks EVERYONE.  Poor Hummingbird Cake, always the bridesmaid. 

Hummingbird Cake is a cake made with banana, pineapple, pecans and coconut.  A southern staple, it would probably place third as a contestant in a Cakes of The South beauty pageant. What makes this cake perfect for winter is that it is dense and hearty like a carrot cake, putting meat on your bones after a good ski, but it’s also tropical and will feel like a much needed vacation from the cold!

But hold onto to your ski poles… Because while Hummingbird Cake is a southern staple, it actually has its roots in Jamaica-mon!  It was a cake named after Jamaica’s national bird, the ‘Doctor Bird,’ and according to Wikipedia, was exported off of the island in 1979 “with other local Jamaican recipes in media press kits sent to the USA. The marketing was aimed at American consumers to get them to come to the island. As printed in the March 29, 1979 issue of the Kingston Daily Gleaner.”  THANK YOU JAMAICA!

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The first recipe was printed by Southern Living (sorry Better Homes & Gardens, they got the jump on ya) and won the Kentucky ‘Best Cake Award’ at the state fair that year.  Who can blame them?! The best part?  It is an oil based cake so you pretty much get to throw all of the ingredients into a bowl and whisk them together!  Easy peasy!

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The recipe I have always used, I found in Saveur.  However, the old recipe was replaced with a newer version to include coconut.  So my adaptation is a cross between both recipes.  Also, knowing that it has a history of being tropical, rather than Southern, I include a little lime juice and rum in my cream cheese frosting now. Hee hee hee… 

Enjoy!!! “Stay warm and tropical, my friends”… xoxo

 

Hummingbird Cake
Serves 10
A moist tropical cake with banana, pineapple, coconut and pecans, covered in a fluffy key lime, rum cream cheese frosting.
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INGREDIENTS
  1. 3 c. + 3 T. flour
  2. 1 T. cinnamon
  3. 1 tsp baking soda
  4. 1 tsp salt
  5. 1 c. chopped pecans
  6. 1 c. sugar
  7. 1 c. packed dark brown sugar
  8. 3 eggs, beaten
  9. 8 oz. crushed pineapple
  10. 6 overly ripe mashed bananas (about 2 3/4 c.)
  11. 1 1/4 c. oil
  12. 2 tsp vanilla
  13. 1 c. sweetened coconut
  14. 1/2 tsp almond extract
INGREDIENTS FOR FROSTING
  1. 2- 8oz. pkgs cream cheese
  2. 8 T. unsalted butter
  3. 6 c. powdered sugar
  4. 1 tsp vanilla
  5. 2 T. dark rum (to taste)
  6. 1 T. key lime juice (to taste)
FOR GARNISH (optional)
  1. toasted unsweetened coconut flakes
  2. 1 c. toasted pecans.
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease 3- 9 inch cake pans (10 inch pans work too)
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add wet ingredients and combine thoroughly.
  3. Distribute evenly into 3 pans and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  4. Allow to cool completely.
TO MAKE FROSTING
  1. Cream together cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Slowly add in powdered sugar. Add almond extract and mix thoroughly. Add rum and key lime juice to taste.
Notes
  1. **If you have extra banana or pineapple left over in your can, feel free to use it between layers!
  2. **Add powdered sugar to cream cheese and butter slowly or your kitchen will look like a cocaine factory.
  3. **Have extra rum on hand because #Thursday
Adapted from Saveur
Adapted from Saveur
MandiCrocker http://www.mandicrocker.com

Loaded Banana Cream Pie

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Banana Cream Pie is probably my favorite pie of all time.  Not the cloyingly sweet, straight from the big tub of fake pudding, with little pathetic slices of banana you get at an all night diner… But rather a big ol’ slice of pie from scratch stuffed to the gills with banana and fresh whip… ooooh, dawgie!  Today I’m sharing one of my babies… Loaded Banana Cream Pie.

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The reason Thomas (above) finds this pie so special is because Thomas loves food, Thomas thinks he is starving and Thomas eats everything.  Sophie’s lucky to get her head in the bowl half the time!  I find myself saying things to these cats my mom used to say to us kids, “You can’t possibly be hungry, I just fed you,”  “Let your sister have some!” or “You’re not hungry, you’re just bored.”  Little Tilla (below), on the other hand, loves mommy’s pie because of the walnut crust, the rum cinnamon nutmeg filling and the bourbon whipped cream.  Such a sophisticated palate, our little Sophie!  😉

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The first thing you’re going to do is make your pie crust.  Here is a painfully hideous, poorly produced little video I did to describe how I make my walnut crust using my cuisinart and how I roll it out.

 

Once the pie crust is rolled out, I freeze it for at least an hour (usually overnight) and then par bake it for about 40-50 minutes.  I usually make my pastry cream and ganache the day before.  To assemble, I put a schmear of chocolate ganache on the bottom. Susina, a bakery where I used to work did this.  Not only is it super delicious but it seals the bottom crust so it doesn’t get soggy after adding the pastry cream.

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Then I do a thin layer of bananas right on top of that ganache.

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Then a layer of pastry cream on top of the bananas until they’re just barely covered.  

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Another layer of sliced bananas. Then cream.  Rinse.  Repeat.  Until you reach the very top!  NINE BANANAS WORTH PEOPLE!  Granted, I have a pretty thick pie plate so maybe seven bananas for the non-insane.  *Megan in Bridesmaids* “I took nine…

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Then you whip your heavy whipping cream, add a little powdered sugar and some bourbon.  Spread that onto your mound of banana pastry cream, top with chocolate shavings and BOOM… MandiCrocker’s Loaded Banana Cream Pie.  Try it out!! You can do it and you won’t even be a little sorry!  🙂

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If you’re enjoying these posts, don’t forget to subscribe to MandiCrocker so you don’t miss anything!  Tell your friends and if you try out a recipe, be sure to tag MandiCrocker on Instagram.  It’s always fun to see re-creations!  Happy Holidays, everyone!!! 

Mandi

Oh, look… one more just for me.  🙂

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Totally Loaded Banana Cream Pie
A walnut crust, smeared with chocolate and stuffed to the gills with banana pastry cream and topped with a bourbon whip!
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PIE CRUST
  1. 1 c. toasted walnuts
  2. 1 1/2 c. flour
  3. 1 tsp salt
  4. 1 tsp cinnamon
  5. 2 tsp sugar
  6. 1/2 c. milk
  7. more flour for dusting
EGG WASH
  1. 1 Egg yolk
  2. A few tablespoons of buttermilk or water
PASTRY CREAM
  1. 3 c. milk
  2. 1 tsp vanilla
  3. 9 egg yolks
  4. 3/4 c. sugar
  5. 1/2 c. cornstarch
  6. 1/2 tsp. salt
  7. 5 T. butter
  8. 1 tsp. cinnamon
  9. 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  10. 1 T. dark rum
  11. 9 ripe bananas, sliced
GANACHE
  1. 1/4 c. heavy cream
  2. 1/2 c. bittersweet chips
WHIPPED CREAM
  1. 2 c. heavy cream
  2. 3-4 T. powdered sugar (to taste)
  3. 2 T. bourbon
  4. chocolate shavings (to decorate, optional)
To make crust (video available)
  1. Preheat oven to 425
  2. Pulse walnuts in a cuisinart until finely ground. Add dry ingredients and pulse to mix.
  3. Dump in cold butter and pulse 2-3 times just until the butter is covered by the flour.
  4. With the cuisinart on, pour in your milk. Pulse until just blended and the butter is the size of peas.
  5. Roll out pie crust and freeze for one hour.
  6. Brush the crimped edges of cold pie crust with egg wash. Place parchment and pie weights inside.
  7. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes. Lower temp to 350 for another 20-25 minutes. (The crust should caramelize a bit and be a light golden brown).
  8. When the pie crust has cooled completely, remove the parchement and pie weights.
To make pastry cream
  1. Scald the heavy cream in a large saucepan.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk together the sugar, egg yolks, cornstarch and salt.
  3. When the cream has scalded, turn off the heat. Take out about a 1/4 cup of the cream and whisk very quickly into the egg yolk mixture. Do it again.
  4. Once the egg yolk mixture is a bit runny and warm, add the entire bowl to the cream on the stove.
  5. Turn the heat back on and cook on medium heat until thickened, whisking the entire time. Remove from heat. Add rum, vanilla, salt and butter. Stir until everything has melted in.
  6. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
To make the ganache
  1. Scald the heavy cream and add the chips.
  2. Let rest for five minutes, whisk together and let cool to room temperature.
To make whipped cream
  1. With the mixer on high, whip the cold heavy cream until thickened. Add the powdered sugar and bourbon (to taste) and whip until spreadable consistency.
To assemble
  1. Smear ganache onto the bottom of the pie crust. Layer with a row of sliced bananas. Cover with pastry cream. Repeat steps until full.
  2. Spread on your whipped cream over the pie. Cover with chocolate shavings.
  3. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Even better the next day!
Adapted from Doris Greenspan's Pastry Cream
Adapted from Doris Greenspan's Pastry Cream
MandiCrocker http://www.mandicrocker.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegan German Chocolate Cake

As a baker, you get a lot of requests!  From vegan to gluten-free, sugar free to no-nuts, there is always a special request.  And aside from folks with legitimate concerns, we all have that ‘special friend,’ don’t we?  For me, it’s my hilarious friend Millie. She lives on her own island, an island with one TV that only plays re-runs of ‘I Love Lucy’ and Yankees games.  For HER, I’ll say I’m making pumpkin cheesecake bars…

Millie:  “I love pumpkin cheesecake bars!!! Mandi J!  Can you make me some but without the bourbon white chocolate drizzle?  And none of the pumpkin? But add peanut butter.  Can you do  bittersweet chocolate? So much better for you.  Subtract the graham cracker crust. And if you could work in fava beans, you would be my FAVORITE Mandi J.  Not that you aren’t already.”

Mandi J:  “That means there’s no crust, Mills Vanills…

Millie:  “Does it need one?”

Mandi J:  “YES.” 

She cracks me up!!!  Totally one of my favorite people as she lives on the kind of island I want to visit. So I’m always trying to do my best with requests because I want everyone to be happy!!! BUT, if I’m going to agree to the bells and whistles it has to taste good.  Also, if it is naturally gluten free, vegan, etc.?  Even better!  

 

Insanely moist vegan chocolate cake covered with ganache and a gooey coconut filling.

Today’s recipe, is a SUPER yummy, SUPER decadent vegan german chocolate cake that you wouldn’t even know is vegan!  If you love rich and ooey gooey, this recipe is totally for you!  I came up with this cake combo for my hubby’s best friend’s birthday. For the cake, I adapted a cake recipe from The Minimalist Baker that I made into three layers.  I adapted a filling from Alice’s Tea Cup and used my go-to ganache recipe that I substituted.  The combo is truly decadent… 

I would also like to mention that writing happy birthday on a german chocolate cake is always a challenge.  😉

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And seriously, DON’T worry about calories.

“Eeeeeat, EAT!!!!  Nobody likes a skinny Santa…”  🙂

Mandi

 

Vegan German Chocolate Cake
Serves 8
An insanely delicious and moist vegan chocolate cake, covered with ganache and gooey coconut filling.
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Total Time
2 hr 40 min
Total Time
2 hr 40 min
For the cake
  1. 2 1/4 c. almond milk
  2. 1 T apple cider vinegar
  3. 2 c. unsweetened applesauce
  4. 3/4 c. strong brewed coffee
  5. 1 c. melted coconut oil
  6. 1 T vanilla
  7. 3 c. + 3 T. flour
  8. 2 c. sugar
  9. 1 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa
  10. 1 T baking soda
  11. 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  12. 1/2 tsp salt
For german chocolate filling
  1. 1/2 c. almond milk
  2. 1/4 c. cornstarch
  3. 1 pinch kosher salt
  4. 2 c. firmly packed dark brown sugar
  5. 1 1/2 c. coconut milk
  6. 2 tsp vanilla
  7. 3 c. sweetened shredded coconut
  8. 1 c. lightly toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
  9. 20-25 full-size toasted pecans for decorating (optional)
For ganache
  1. 1 1/2 c bittersweet vegan chocolate
  2. 1 c. almond milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line three 9 inch cake pans with parchment and grease with oil or vegan friendly spray.
For the cake
  1. Throw all of the ingredients into a large bowl and whisk the heck out of it! Disperse evenly into your three cake pans and bake for 20 minutes.
  2. Rotate pans and bake for about another 8 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
For the filling
  1. Whisk together the almond milk, cornstarch and salt in a bowl
  2. In a saucepan, dissolve the brown sugar in the coconut milk over med-high heat. Whisk until the mixture comes to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to low and simmer for five minutes, or until slightly thickened.
  4. Pour the almond milk mixture into the saucepan and mix over low heat until the mixture is thick and smooth.
  5. Remove from heat and mix in vanilla, sweetened coconut and pecans. Let cool.
For ganache
  1. Heat the almond milk and bittersweet chips on low until glossy and smooth. Let cool to spreading consistency. (Or don't! I used it while it was still a bit warm & let it drizzle out the sides).
For assembly
  1. Shave the tops of the cakes off with a serrated knife so that the cakes are flat when you stack them.
  2. Carefully flip over your cake pans and put one cake circle on your plate. Spread with a third of the ganache. Then spread with a third of the german chocolate filling.
  3. Stack another cake on top of the german chocolate filling and repeat with ganache & more filling.
  4. Finally, stack your last cake on top. (It will be smoother if you flip over the last layer so the crumbly side is facing down). Cover with ganache & german chocolate filling. If you'd like, decorate the top of the cake with a circle of toasted unchopped pecans.
Notes
  1. To toast pecans: Place single layer on a baking sheet and toast at 350 for about 8 minutes, until lightly toasted and fragrant.
Adapted from Minimalist Baker, Alice's Tea Cup & My Own Whimsy
Adapted from Minimalist Baker, Alice's Tea Cup & My Own Whimsy
MandiCrocker http://www.mandicrocker.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

I grew up in a small town in upstate New York.  It is a quaint little place when the economy is good, but aside from my most favorite ‘grinder’ sandwiches from our local Italian restaurant, you could hardly call it a ‘culinary draw’ to any real food enthusiast.  In my youth, we grew up on chicken tenders and frozen pizza from the Schwann Man, and pretty much streamlined Diet Coke and sugar drinks.

I started baking because of my sisters.  They would always bake for their boyfriends, and like the perfect kid sister, I would annoy them until they let me help.  Needless to say, we didn’t have cookbooks from any culinary greats.  There was no internet for research or Amazon to check reviews.  Instead, we had Betty Crocker cookie collections that my mom probably got from my grandmother.  

Any chance I got, I poured through them.  Any ‘candy making’ pamphlet I came across, I saved.  Even as a kid, I didn’t just want to make cookies for fun.  I wanted to produce cookies, candies and cakes. I wanted them to be bakery quality and I couldn’t wrap my brain around the who/what/when/where/why to make that happen.

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I’m also my father’s daughter, a total people pleaser.  So when I packaged my first set of cookies for a friend and they loved the gesture, it became a global crusade to get EVERYONE cookies.  It became a personal tradition, the night of Thanksgiving, that I would go to the 24 hour grocery store and load up on $200 worth of baking ingredients.  I would bake all through the weekend and ship out boxes to loved ones that Monday morning. It became an obsession. Why make one person’s day when you can make the day of 15 friends!? 30 friends!?  A college campus of friends!?After college it escalated further. One Christmas, I worked in a call center at our local phone company and brought in ginormous cookie platters enough to feed 200 people!  NUTS. 

When I moved to LA for acting and comedy after college, I would always bring treats to class. One cookie in particular was a hit with everyone, but especially my friend Jacole. It came from one of these old school books that was actually called The Favorite Brand Name Cookie Collection.  These cookies were called Peanut Butter Secrets.  MAGICAL.  

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Why were they special?  Why were they a secret??? Because not only were they a peanut butter cookie with chocolate on top… but they had peanut butter cups INSIDE!!!  I KNOW!!!

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Well, the initial recipe called for Butter Flavor Crisco and we already know how I feel about man made or chemical products in baking.  So I updated it and made a more ‘from scratch’ and dare I say, a bit more ‘gourmet’ version.  It’s one of my all time favorite cookies!  

Tip:  I use an ice cream or cookie scoop to get out the dough. Then I push a peanut butter cup into the scoop and cover the rest with what has squished out.  Much faster.  🙂

 

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CHOCOLATE!  PEANUT BUTTER!  SEA SALT!  I think the secret to these adapted cookies was in finding a decent peanut butter cookie recipe and using quality peanut butter cups. The sprinkle of salt, doesn’t hurt either. 😉

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Anyway, for my JacoleyPoo, my honey and for countless other lovers of peanut butter and chocolate… This one’s for you. xoxo

Mandi

 

INGREDIENTS:

For Cookies:

1 c. butter

1 c. dark brown sugar

1/2 c. white sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 c. peanut butter 

2 tsp vanilla

2 1/2 c. flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

36-44 high quality peanut butter cups

1/2 c. salted nuts, chopped  (for sprinkling)

1 T sea salt flakes (for sprinkling)

For ganache:

3/4 c. heavy cream

1- 11 oz. package of bittersweet chocolate chips

1 T honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

DIRECTIONS:

For cookies:

Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

With a mixer, beat together butter and both sugars.

Add eggs and vanilla.  

Add peanut butter.  Beat well.

Add dry ingredients.

When mixed thoroughly, scoop out a tablespoon of dough and wrap around each peanut butter cup.

Place on baking tray with parchment and bake for 8-12 minutes.  (These cookies continue to bake and set on the tray, so as soon as you see a whiff of brown on top, take them out immediately.  Or even a little bit sooner!)

To make ganache:

On medium heat, scald the cream in a small saucepan. Add the chips and let sit for five minutes.  Whisk together.  (If there are any lumps still in the chocolate, turn the saucepan on low and whisk continuously until the mixture is smooth). 

Stir in honey and allow to cool 15 minutes.

FOR ASSEMBLY:

Frost each cookie with ganache by dipping tops in chocolate or using a spatula.  Sprinkle with chopped nuts and sea salt.  

TIPS:

*If you can’t find dark brown sugar, you can use a cup of light brown sugar and 2 T of molasses.

*I use Skippy or Jiff peanut butter.  Organic Trade Joe’s ‘almond butter’ style peanut butter cannot be substituted in recipes.

*I use Ghirardelli bittersweet chips and LOVE Maldon Sea Salt Flakes.

*If you can’t find specialty peanut butter cups, Reeses are fine, too!

Sugar Cookies

CHRISTMAS!!!!  🙂  🙂  🙂

My family had lots of Christmas traditions growing up as a kid:  eating cookies, eating chex mix, eating fried dough on Christmas Eve, etc.  One of these traditions (prior to the eating) has always been frosting sugar cookies!  We used my ‘Aunt Sheila’s’ kick ass recipe every year, a quickie almond glaze for decorating and sprinkles, shredded coconut & nuts galore! Sugar cookies are one of the first things that come to mind when I think of Christmas because it really is fun at any age.  You could be a mom with small kids that is just hoping any of the icing ends up on the cookie or a baker that is dying to try out their new cookie cutter.  IT SHOULD BE FUN!!!

Whatever you do, don’t listen to THIS lady…  😉

This haggard old recipe has as many miles as Santa’s sleigh!  *snort*

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Now… deep breath…  I need you organic crunchy types to look at me. It’s going to be as hard for me as it is for you. Personally?  I’m not a fan of Crisco or any processed chemically things. GROSS!!! In fact, this is the only recipe I used that has Crisco in it. These cookies, however?  They need Crisco.  And, sadly, not the organic stuff.  Substituting butter makes these cookies delicious but crispy.  (I don’t believe in crispy sugar cookies). Substituting organic Crisco also makes them crispy– just not the same fat content. So if you don’t want these cookies to melt in your mouth with a satisfying chew and you’re going to substitute, go with the butter! But really, just use the dang Crisco.

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Sugar cookies can be a little daunting due to the need for a rolling pin, but trust me… YOU GOT THIS. First things first, set your oven to 375 and clean your countertop where you’ll be rolling out dough. I throw my flour and salt into a big bowl.  I then combine all of my wet ingredients (evaporated milk, eggs and vanilla) in a separate bowl.

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I use a measuring cup because it all fits in there and who doesn’t like less dishes!?  

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Then, I throw my butter and Crisco into my dry ingredients,  and with this fancy pie cutter, I cut all of the fat up until I get little bitty pea-sized pieces of butter.  You can also use a cuisinart instead!  Just pulse lightly until you get the desired pea size consistency. 

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Like these guys.  🙂

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Then, throw your sugar in there and give it a mix. 

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Make a well in the dry ingredients and fill it with the wet ingredients. 20161127-dsc_4342

 

Give it a light mix until everything is barely moistened. 20161127-dsc_4346  

Flour your countertop and dump out the goods. 20161127-dsc_4351

 

And then begin to knead it a bit and squeeze, adding the remaining crumbs along the way…

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Until it comes together into a ball!  It will be flaky.  🙂

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I always cut my dough in half just because it’s easier to roll out.  Always lightly flour on both sides so nothing sticks to the countertop or the rolling pin every time you flip, move or spin the dough. 

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You want to continue to roll out until its about a 1/4 inch.  20161127-dsc_4366

 

Then the fun part… Use those cutters!  🙂

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Lay them out on a cookie tray.  They can be fairly close as they don’t spread much.  Then, bake for 8-12 minutes depending on the size of your cookie.  If you see brown around the edges, you’ve gone too long.  I’ll actually lift a cookie up above my head with a spatula to see what it looks like on the bottom.  

Also, I believe in Christmas lobsters and Christmas martini glasses… 

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And then decorate!  Okay, maybe this is the most fun part.  🙂  For the icing, you just sift the powdered sugar into a bowl.  Add a little melted butter, a whiff of almond extract and a teaspoon of milk at a time until you get the desired spreading consistency. Separate the icing into separate bowls and add food gel to make various colors. 

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And remember… YOU CAN’T SCREW UP A SUGAR COOKIE.  JUST FROST IT AND EAT IT.  “Or I’ll pull up quick to retrieve it!”  😉20161127-dsc_4416

Kisses!

Mandi

Sugar Cookies
Buttery, melt in your mouth sugar cookies that retain their shape beautifully for icing!
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Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
2 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
2 hr
For cookies
  1. 4 c. flour
  2. 3/4 c. butter
  3. 1/4 c. crisco
  4. 1 1/2 c. sugar
  5. 2 eggs
  6. 5 T evaportated milk
  7. 1 tsp salt
  8. 1 tsp vanilla
For icing
  1. 4 c. powdered sugar
  2. 1 drop of almond extract
  3. 2 T. melted butter
  4. Milk to desired consistency
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk your flour and salt together. Cut in butter and crisco with a pastry cutter until chunks resemble the size of small peas. Mix in sugar.
  2. In a sepeate bowl, whisk together the eggs, evaporated milk and vanilla.
  3. Create a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the middle. Mix until barely moistened.
  4. On a floured surface, dump out the dough and knead until it forms a ball. Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out cookies with cutters.
  5. Lay cookies out on a tray with parchment and bake for 8-12 minutes, depending on size.
For icing
  1. Sift powdered sugar in a bowl. Add extract and melted butter. Whisk together and add milk until a teaspoon of milk at a time until desired consistency.
Notes
  1. Sugar cookie dough is like pie crust dough. It will be flaky! Be careful not to overwork.
  2. Check the bottoms of cookies to check doneness. If the edges have browned, you've gone too far.
MandiCrocker http://www.mandicrocker.com