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Monday, May 29, 2006

Hay, Hay It's Donna Day#3: Cookie Challenge

Elderberry-Lemon Cookie

Donna Hay Challenge #3

Brought to us by eatstuff, a challenge and contest to take a simple recipe and make it more difficult(?), at least that's how it always seems to work in my case.

First, the background.
So who is Donna Hay? She is a cookbook authoress who also has her own magazine. She is beloved because of her great sense of style and her easy to make recipes… her peanutbutter self frosting cupcakes spawned a recipe making chain reaction in the food blog scene last year, they were so popular they triggered Barbara to initiate the Hay Hay it’s Donna Day Food Event, where we take one Donna Hay Recipe and compete to see who’s version reigns supreme!

The Rules
Who can enter? ANYONE! Have a blog? Make the cookies!
Entries must be emailed by 1st June 2006
Winning Cookie will be chosen by a poll … which will either be by email or some polling system I make casey build….. he owes me……. But I will let you know the method at the round up.

Here is the
official Donna Hay Conversion Chart
185 gms butter (6 1/2 ounces)
1 cup of caster (superfine) sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract2 1/2 cups plain flr (all purpose)
1 egg
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup cocoapowder
(eatstuff added cinnamon and Indonesian Chilli powder to hers, she says it was really good!)
1 tbsp milk
preheat oven to 180 C (355F).
Place the buter, sugar and vanilla ina food processor and process til smooth. Add the flour egg and egg yolk and continue til a smooth dough forms.
Remove half the dough and set aside. Add the cocoa and milk to the processor and process for 1-2 mins or until just combined. Remove the dough and roll betweern 2 sheets of bakingpaper until 5 mm or 1/4 inch thick. Repeat with plain vanilla dough. Use a square cookie cutter* to cut out squares arrange on baking sheet lined with baking paperto for cheqerboards. Repeat
Bake for 10 - 12 mins until crisp and golden. — You just lay the squares right next to each other they will stick together when they bake.
*Alt method 1) Use a ruler and a knife and cut small squares, can be fun and fiddly, esp if you want to make small squares*Alt method 2) Divide the 2 doughs and make long thin logs, join the together and then cut 1 cm thick slices. You will need a sharp knife.
Most Important thing to remember HAVE FUN!!!

And have fun I did!
Here's how my recipe varied from the original: I wasn't sure if the butter called for here was salted or unsalted so I used 1/2 cup unsalted and 5 Tablespoons salted. Upon tasting the dough before adding flavorings it was clear the butter should have been salted. I added a pinch of salt and divided the dough into two portions. To one half of the dough I added 3 Tablespoons of Elderberry Jam that I bought at the local Farmer's Market. To the other half, I added 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice and Zest (I have been in the habit of keeping a few cups on hand at all times. I buy lemons on sale then zest and juice them all and freeze the entire works until I need it for a recipe.) Both doughs received a small amount of food coloring just to brighten the colors a bit. The additions of jam and juice made the dough extremely sticky. I rolled each dough into a log using waxed paper and let it refrigerate overnight. By the recipe, I thought this might make the dough too cold and tough to handle but in the morning it was still quite soft. I molded the two halves of dough together carefully and found that freezing it for a couple of minutes was my best bet for getting the cookies cut and into the oven without becoming a gooey mess.

After baking and cooling these cookies are still quite soft which is fine with me as I occasionally like a softer cookie. The flavors are a fantastic match.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Time To Get Back In The Swing With USNA Cake Pictures

My blog posts are seriously lacking these days, I know. I have potential entries stacked up like cord wood and it's getting on my nerves. So let's start with picture time.

The workload at the bakery has been ridiculous. I don't think we've had a single weekend that wasn't busy since maybe the second week of January. This month, for example we've had large parties for the Kentucky Derby, then was Mother's Day, then Preakness. This past week we had a Navy picnic which required a 4,000 cookie order and then Naval Academy graduations. As a side note may I just say to everyone who traveled to Annapolis for USNA graduations, we're glad to have you but please DO NOT stop on the route 50 bridge to look at the Blue Angels as they fly over. Our traffic congestion is bad enough without you stopping in the middle of the highway to gape at the airplanes. Please have courtesy enough to pull part-way onto the shoulder of the road like the police do. That way, only one lane of traffic has to slow to a crawl. Thank you for your consideration.

I recall last years' attempt at recreating the Naval Academy seal cost me 3 hours of worktime for one cake. This year my USNA cake took 25 minutes from start to finish. That's some improvement! I think the result of this years' decoration is just as good as last year, if not better. Judge for yourself.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Ready For A Good Long Nap

Flower Pot Detail
Originally uploaded by Grommie CheeseBabe.
You wanted to know what's been keeping me away from my dear Bloggity? These little darlings. I'm decorating Flower Pot Cakes in my sleep these days. What little sleep there is. Once Mother's Day decorating is over, I'll be glad to not see another Flower Pot Cake for a whole year!

You can check out more cakes via Flickr.