Monday, December 26, 2011

Homemade Croutons

There is leftover everything and yet, I don't want to waste a thing.   I had a leftover baguette from my favorite bistro and bakery and thought since we'll be eating lots of salad (indulged in too much food over the holidays) that homemade croutons would be perfect.   It adds crunch, flavor and texture to any salad and is super easy.

Homemade Croutons

  • 1 day old baguette, cubed
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T dried onions
  • 2 T dried garlic
  • 2 T dried rosemary
  •  1/2 t celery salt
  • salt and pepper
Directions:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cube day old baguette and place on baking sheet.
 Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine dried herbs, salt and pepper and set aside. 
Drizzle bread cubes with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning.
Place in oven and bake for 8 - 10 minutes or until golden brown.   Remove from oven and cool.
  Keep croutons in zip lock baggie and use wherever you want to.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Magic of Christmas Cookies

I haven't posted much this December, only because I have focused on getting our home ready for the Holidays and have started baking for my food demo next Sunday... entitled the Magic of Christmas Cookies.   All our children will be home this year so we are a bit more festive in our home!   Did I go over-board on the decorations... maybe, but it's worth it when I see the sparkle in the kids eyes (though everyone is in the 20ies other than Emma).   Maybe it's all to make me happy!

But, in the spirit of sharing... here is my Sugar Cookie and Royal Icing recipe that I have used year after year.  The cookies are tender and bite after bite melts across your tongue with a hint of citrus and a dusting of sparkle.

You can join me tomorrow on KEYE-TV during the We Are Austin LIVE segment between 4 and 5 sharing with Bettie Cross a few Christmas Cookie tips.

I hope you get a chance to makes these special treats with your family and above all... May the Spirit of the Season find and bless you!

Magical Sugar Cookies
Sugar Cookie Dough
  • 4 1/2 C flour
  • 1 1/2 T baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 stick butter, softened
  • 2 C sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 C half and half
  • 1 t vanilla paste
  • 1 T orange extract
Directions:   Preheat oven to 375 degrees.   Sift flour with baking powder and salt, set aside. 

Mix a large mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well.   Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the half and half, vanilla paste and orange extract, beating well.   Wrap and chill for at least an hour before cutting into shapes. 
 Roll a section out on a floured surface and with your choice of cookie cutters.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes.  Remove to wire rack and let cool before icing.   Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Royal Icing
  • 2 C confectioners sugar
  • 2 t meringue powder
  • 2 T water
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • food coloring
Directions:   In a small bowl, mix the meringue powder with the water and let sit a minute.   Mix the sugar, meringue mixture and lemon juice together in a medium bowl.   It should be smooth and creamy.   Tint with food coloring or gel colors to get the colors you want.   I like to use clear squeeze bottles to pipe the frosting onto each cookie and embellish with sprinkles, dragees, and sugar dust.
Cookies can be boxed and stored in the refrigerator and make the perfect gift for neighbors, teachers and friends.