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Blog

Filtering by Tag: mother's day

Simple Heart Cookies

Patricia Reitz

You don't need the skills of a pastry chef to make these adorable cookies - with just a few simple tools, you can make them too!  Follow me into the kitchen and I'll show you how it's done. 

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To begin, you'll need waxed paper, a rolling pin, rolling guides (1/8-inch and 1/16-inch thicknesses to make these cookies)....

How to make professional looking heart / Valentine's Day cookies with no skills! Recipe and how-to photos.

And fondant plunger cutters.  The large heart cutter is available in this set, and the small one came from this set.  If you want a large heart that can be personalized to say anything, check out this set.

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You'll also need some good quality fondant.  Some of the brands available in my area that I like are satin ice, fondarific, duff goldman, and fat daddios.  I do not care for wilton. 

I always keep white fondant on hand because I can custom color it any way I like, but it's also nice to keep darker colors on hand (red, brown, black) because it's hard to achieve the deep saturation mixing gel colors in manually.

(this isn't a necessary tool, but it sure is handy) 

When I'm working with large quantities of fondant, I keep it in a bread proofing box set at 90F (keeping the fondant sealed in an airtight container the whole time).  When I'm ready to work with the fondant, it's warm enough that I can roll it easily without first having to knead it until it's soft and workable.

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Love my bread proofing box from Brod & Taylor.  It's great for proofing bread dough, of course, but it has a temperature range of 70-120F, so it's good for making yogurt, melting chocolate, and keeping tempered chocolate in temper too.  The newest model has a temperature range of 70-195F.

Best cookie decorating hack ever!

Alright, while the fondant is still warm and soft, roll it out between two layers of waxed paper (1/16-inch thickness) and use fondant plunger to cut shapes and imprint designs.  

How to decorate cookies with fondant

Remove scraps and allow fondant shapes to sit at room temperature until needed (they'll firm up as they rest).  Do this step before baking the cookiesbecause you'll want them ready to go when the cookies come out of the oven.

Check out this clever way to use fondant plunger cutters.

For the cookies:  roll cookie dough between two layers of waxed paper (1/8-inch thickness) and use fondant plunger to cut out shapes (no need to imprint the designs here).

Note:  If the cookie dough cutouts get too soft to move without getting distorted, slide the waxed paper onto a sheet pan and pop it in the fridge to firm the dough before transferring the cutouts to a silpat lined half sheet pan to bake as directed (as shown in this graham cracker post I shared a number of years ago).

The easiest way to decorate cookies ever!

Remove the cookies from the oven and immediately place the prepared fondant cutouts on top. 

Cookie Decorating Hack for any holiday or occasion, with recipe and photos. Valentine's Day Cookies, Easter Cookies, Baby Shower Cookies, Christmas Cookies, Halloween Cookies, Fall / Thanksgiving Cookies.

As the cookies cool, the residual heat will melt the fondant cutouts just enough that they will bond to the cookies.   

Awesome cookie hack

Enjoy!

Items used to make this recipe:


CHOCOLATE CUTOUT COOKIES

makes 40-60 cookies

Ingredients

Directions

To make the cookie dough:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the BeaterBlade attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium high speed for 30 seconds.

  3. Add egg and vanilla; beat to combine.

  4. Add flour mixture and beat until incorporated.

  5. Remove dough from mixer bowl and wrap well with plastic wrap; chill for 1-3 hours.

  6. Preheat oven to 375F.

  7. Roll each dough portion to 1/8-inch thickness between 2 layers of wax paper.

  8. Cut out desired shapes with plunger cutters, without plunging the design into the cutout (dust cutter in flour if needed).

  9. Chill dough before transferring cutouts to sheet pan to prevent distorting.

  10. Place cookies 2-inches apart on silpat lined sheet pan.

  11. Bake for 6-8 minutes; remove from oven and top with fondant cutouts (cut to 1/16-inch thick) that have the design pressed into them.

  12. Cool completely before serving. Store in airtight container between with wax paper between layers.

Note:  Recipe makes 40-60 cookies, depending on size.  Plan to use about 1/2 pound fondant (I like to buy white fondant so I can color it any way I like).  Fondant cutouts can be made a day or more in advance if stored on wax or parchment paper in an airtight container.  If the cookies cool before fondant toppers are applied, you can warm the cookies for a few seconds in the microwave (but I recommend applying the fondant to cookies as soon as they come out of the oven).

Frittata with Ham and Roasted Vegetables

Patricia Reitz

Frittatas are one of my favorite egg dishes for a few reasons.  First, there's no need to make a crust - which is both a time saver and it reduces our carb intake.  Second, you can fill them with just about anything - specific meat/veggie combos, leftovers from last night's dinner, forgotten items from the crisper drawer, etc.  And last, but certainly not least, they're equally delicious served both warm and at room temperature.  So that makes frittatas tasty, versatile, and convenient!  I hope I've convinced you to give them a try.

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Start by roasting a mixture of vegetables in the oven as directed in the recipe below.

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In a 12-inch cast iron skillet, saute ham and scallions in a little butter.  Remove from heat.

Note: this recipe can be reduced in half and baked in an 8 or 9-inch cast iron skillet.

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Add the roasted vegetables to the skillet with the ham and stir well.  Lightly press the vegetables into an even layer - don't press too firmly, there needs to be lots of air spaces for the egg mixture to seep into.

Wondering what that red thing is?  It's a silicone handle cover so I don't burn my hands on the hot skillet.

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Whisk together eggs, cream, milk, parmesan cheese, scallions, kosher salt, and pepper.

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Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables.

Carefully transfer the skillet to a 350F oven for 30-35 minutes or until the eggs are no longer giggly in the center of the pan.

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Remove from oven and sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese and chopped chives evenly all over.  Return to oven for 3 or 4 minutes to melt cheese.  If you like your cheese browned, carefully place under broiler for a minute or so.

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Allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  

Items used to make this recipe:


Frittata with Ham and Roasted Vegetables

makes 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 cups chopped bell pepper (I used red and orange)

  • 2 cups seeded and chopped zucchini and/or summer squash

  • 2 cups chopped mushrooms

  • 1 cup chopped red, white, or yellow onion

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic


  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • 2 cups cubed ham

  • 2 scallions, sliced


  • 12 large eggs

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

  • 3/4 cup whole milk

  • 2 scallions, chopped

  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (use the good stuff)

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

  • 1 teaspoon chopped chives

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425F and place rack in center position.

  2. Place chopped peppers, zucchini/summer squash, mushrooms, and onion on half sheet pan.

  3. Coat vegetables evenly with olive oil, salt, and pepper, tossing as needed; shake pan to spread vegetables in an even layer.

  4. After 15 minutes, remove vegetables from oven and add minced garlic; toss well and spread veggies out in a single layer and return to oven for 15-30 minutes until they are caramelized (the time will vary depending on which vegetables you use).

  5. Remove vegetables from oven and set aside until needed.

  6. Reduce oven temp to 350F.

  7. In a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat, saute ham and scallions in butter for about 5 minutes or until ham browns a bit; remove from heat.

  8. Add roasted vegetables to the skillet; stir the ham and vegetables together well and lightly press into an even layer (don't pack it tightly - you want to leave lots of air pockets for the egg mixture to seep into).

  9. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, milk, scallions, parmesan cheese, kosher salt, and black pepper; pour evenly over vegetables.

  10. Carefully place skillet into 350F oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until the eggs are cooked through and no longer giggly in the center of the pan.

  11. Remove from oven and top with shredded cheddar and chopped chives; return to oven for 3-4 minutes until cheese melts. If you like the cheese to brown a bit, place under broiler for a minute or two (watch it carefully to prevent burning).

recipe inspired by ina garten