Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Watermelon Cookies

After making the watermelon cupcakes, I really wanted to try some watermelon inspired cookies. I saw this idea on the Taste of Home website, and with a couple changes, came up with these cookies.

(See dough recipe at bottom of post)

After making up the cookie dough, take 1 cup out, and dye the rest red (I used the Wilton no taste red coloring). Roll the red dough into a cylinder shape, about 3 1/2 to 4 inches long. Wrap tight in saran wrap and refrigerate until firm (about 2 hours--or you can pop it in the freezer to speed things along).

Split the remaining cup of dough into 2 portions and dye one of them green, leaving the other half plain. Roll each into a ball, wrap in saran wrap, and refrigerate until firm (1-2 hrs).

After chilling dough, roll out the plain dough into a rectangle on waxed paper approx. 8 1/2-9 inches long and as wide as the red dough log. I used my fondant roller to get equal thickness of the dough. Carefully wrap the plain dough around the red dough. Wrap back up in saran wrap and refrigerate until firm again.

Do the same with the green dough, but this time roll it out approx. 10 1/2 inches long.

Wrap it around the other two colors, trimming excess. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight, so dough is very firm.

When dough is adequately firm, unwrap it and slice it with a sharp knife, making each slice approx. 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. You can either put them on a cookie sheet as a circle, or cut each in half to form half-circles.

Add mini-chocolate chips to the watermelon slices.

Bake at 375F for 6-8 minutes, until cookies are firm but not brown. If you baked them at whole circles, take the edge of a metal spatula, and cut them in half while warm. If you did the half-circle, you may want to take the spatula and cut off a little bit to have a very straight looking top.

Cool on a cookie rack and ENJOY! These are almost too cute to eat . . . but then again, they are cookies, so who can resist

3/4 cup butter, cubed
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Red and green food coloring
mini chocolate chips

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Beat in extract. Combine the flour, salt and baking powder; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well; set aside.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Baby Under Construction

I had so much fun making this cake for my friend Marci's baby shower. A few of our other friends threw the shower for her, using this theme: Baby Under Construction. When I heard what the theme was, the wheels in my head started turning, and this cake is pretty much exactly like my original sketch.

I had two tiers: a 12" square base and 6" square top. I cheated and only did rice crispy treats for the bottom tier (that would have been way too much cake for us to eat). I knew that I needed some brown and black fondant. I didn't have either on hand, nor did I want to run out to the cake supply store and spend a fortune on it, so I decided to make up some marshmallow fondant. I had found a recipe online for chocolate marshmallow fondant, that promised I could get very black fondant from it by only adding 1-2 tsp black food coloring. I have to admit, I was pretty skeptical--true black is usually so hard to get--but I was very pleasantly surprised. I'll post the recipe for it at the bottom of this post.

I put one recipe of the chocolate fondant to use by covering both tiers in it, them my second recipe (which I turned black) I used for my caution tape bow and band as well as the road. Who would have thought that caution tape would bring so many smiles to my face?!

Here is the fun part--adding all the detailing . . .
road closure signs made out of fondant + gum tex

and the cute little orange cones--can't have construction without those. And around here they seem to leave them up on our streets even when they aren't doing construction!

And of course some trucks doing all the work. (I know--I cheated and just bought these rather than trying to make them out of gumpaste. I can only get so much done now with a needy toddler and 30 weeks pregnant. )

this one is plowing the Famous Amos cookie crumb rocks off the road.

and the hazard signs. These were the most fun to make.

My husband and I kept coming up with other ones too:
Caution Wide Load
Road Closure 6 Weeks
Detour Ahead
Bumpy Road Ahead
Watch Shoulder
We laughed so hard thinking these up.

Well, the party was amazing. I have such incredibly talented friends, who put together an adorable baby under construction themed shower for Marci, complete with table runners, dump trucks, caution tape, matching candy, and so much more.
It was a wonderful shower with wonderful friends.
Congratulations, Marci!

Chocolate Marshmallow Fondant Recipe:
6 oz. of semi sweet chocolate chips (about 1/2 of a bag)
1 bag of mini marshmallows
3 T of clear Karo syrup
3 T water
1 1lb bag of powdered sugar
gel black food coloring (if wanting black fondant)

1. Put your marshmallows in a microwave safe bowl, add the water, and microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir mixture, and microwave for another minute. Stir again (marshmallows will be very hot).
2. Immediately add your chocolate chips and stir until the chips are all melted.
3. Add Karo syrup and stir again, this time with a butter knife, making sure that all the syrup is incorporated.
4. If you want black fondant, this is the point when you would add your coloring. I used about 1 tsp and it was very black.
5. Place 1/2 of your powdered sugar in a pregreased Kitchenaid with greased dough hook attached. Pour marshmallow mixture over top (and scrap out all using a spatula). Knead fondant on medium speed. Continue adding powdered sugar in 1/2 cup increments until fondant is not sticky. By the end I usually have to knead a little bit more sugar in by hand on a well-greased surface. The amount of powdered sugar you need may vary depending on the humidity of where you live.

It should be done when it is pliable and non-sticky. I like to wrap mine in a couple of layers of saran wrap and let it rest for a couple of hours before using it. It can be stored for at least a month if coated with a thin layer of crisco, wrapped tight in plastic wrap, sealed in a ziploc bag, and stored in an airtight container.