Thursday, December 07, 2006

Coming Soon... Pictures!

I have quite a few pictures to share... Only problem - no batteries. I thought I'd be "smart" and pick up a couple of the $1 packs from Target. After 7 pictures on pack one and 4 pictures on pack two, they were shot. But I'll tell you about them...

Butter
Seems a couple of my "friends" like to good naturedly "joke" about my "martha" streak. Two days ago I made Truffles, leaving my with an extra cup of cream. Rather than eat it on oatmeal, I thought the kids would like to make butter. Turns out The Boy already had, and was full of helpful advice... Poured the cup of cream in a Bell jar and started shaking. Shakey-shakey for about 20 minutes and it had really started to thicken, only problem? The kids lost interest. So rather than shake, I poured the really thick mixture into a bowl and got out the mixer. In about a minute I had butter and buttermilk. Poured off the buttermilk and rinsed off the butter. A little salt later and it's in the fridge. It was very good last night on bread...

Workout Clothes
The Queen went to the gym. She was amazed by some of the women there and the lenghts they would go to to look good. I thought it would be funny to take a picture of me before I left for the gym. Went to grab the camera yesterday and remembered the lack of working batteries. It would have been a gem - black track pants circa 1990, a t-shirt of the same vintage, one of my husband's discarded xxl pullovers and a stocking cap to my eyebrows (hey, it's cold here). Better yet, I'll take a picture when I'm done with the workout and look like Nick Notle's mug shot. Maybe tomorrow...

Cookies
I love Alton Brown. He's got this show, Good Eats, where he not only explains how to make things, but why cooking works the way it does. This is the third year I've made these cookies, and they always get rave reviews. This is one of my selections for the cookie exchange tomorrow. Without further ado...

Chocolate Peppermint Pinwheel Cookies.
1 batch Sugar Cookies, recipe follows
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 cup crushed candy canes or peppermint candies

To half the dough add chocolate and vanilla and incorporate with hands.
Add egg yolk, peppermint extract, and crushed candy to other half of dough and incorporate with hands.
Cover both with plastic and chill for approximately 5 minutes.
Roll out doughs separately to approximately 1/4-inch thickness - (use powdered sugar to keep it from sticking too bad
Place peppermint dough on top of chocolate and press together around the edges.
Using waxed paper or flexible cutting board underneath, roll dough into log.
Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Remove dough from the refrigerator and cut into 1/2-inch slices.
Place cookies 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet, parchment, or silicone baking mat and bake for 12 to 13 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking time.
Remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes, then move to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Sugar Cookie:
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon milk
Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Here's the thing - they take a little while. Notice, they have to sit for two hours two different times - first after being made, and second, after being rolled into a log. My last batch, I let the logs sit over night and sliced and baked the next day. I'm not sure how long you could let them go, but overnight was ok for me. Also, rather than do one big log, I make two. The cookies come out smaller, and it's easier for me to handle 1/4 of the dough at a time. So when it's time to make the log, I'll roll out 1/2 the chocolate dough and 1/2 the peppermint and make a log, then repeat.

These really are worth the work for both the 'wow' factor and the taste. I think they'd probably even ship well.

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I'll post some pictures tomorrow...

11 comments:

Mrs. Wheezer said...

1. I'm jealous that the only thing wrong with your camera is batteries. I've managed to completely lose mine.

2. I love Alton Brown. He may be the only celebrity I want to meet in real life.

Mrs. Wheezer said...

oh, and you are soooo Martha. LOL

Tree said...

I never look good while working out. Why put forth the effort when it will be washed away in sweat? But, then, maybe those women don't sweat?

I want pics of those cookies!! Please? Because they sound really good. Question for you - what do you do with the excess dough if the two halves, after being rolled out, do not quite match up? Does it matter?

Tanaya said...

Shame on you for mentioning working out and the cookies in the same post! I think I'm going to have to try those...after the gym.

heatherzg said...

I am way scary at the gym. Not sure which is more confusing, women with a full face or men drowning in cologne.

I love AB and have seen him make those cookies a couple of times, I am so glad to know someone who has actually baked them!

Martha, very Martha.

Mitzi Green said...

butter?

you made butter?

you have hit an all-time low with that one, my friend.

and the thing that bugs me about alton is he can't just cook something. he has to build a pressure cooker out of a paper clip, 2 C batteries and a bra. which in turn makes my husband want to do the same thing.

Gretchen said...

Mrs. Wheezer - hope you find your camera soon! I'd marry Alton if I could - sight unseen if only for his cooking.

Tree - I doubt they sweat. It would ruin lunch afterward. Ladies that Lunch they are. As for the cookies, I match them up best I can then roll. The two ends are smaller, but I cut and cook them anyway - if only for the kids (ok, me) to eat. I roll them out on clear flexible mats (I think I got them at WalMart for $1) so I can try and line them up ahead of time.

Tanaya - gym first. cookies later. what a good girl you are!

HeatherZG - eew. cologne at the gym. worse, no shower and cologne after the gym.

Gretchen said...

Mitzi - He's the McGyver of cooking. Mmm... Richard Dean Anderson... Next time I go to the greenhouse, I'm picking up a large pot to make a roast in. Really... I am... Next time I'm in town, we (your husband and I) should compare our favorite Alton tricks.

joansy said...

I can't wait to see the pics!
I don't cook, but I have such a crush on A.B.

Jenny said...

Get out of town.

You *made* your own butter?!

I want to be you.

Sassy Brown said...

i just pulled a recipe for the chocolate peppermint pinwheel cookis off the internet ysterday!
how weird is that?
and i am NOT a baker at all, trying to find something for my daughter's class Christmas party