New House Kookys, part 2….

And here they are…

An igloo, a key, a red windows, an Southwest style adobe house, the kitchen sink, and a pink siding house. This isn’t my last attempt. I think cardstock patterns (key, igloo) are not bad alternatives if you can’t locate metal cutters in a pinch, or just don’t have the budget.

House_cookies--all
Igloo
Red_window
Key
Pink_house--roof_detail
Overhead_3qtr_view_of_pink_house
Pink_house_closeup
Overhead_pink_house_view_2

Use any rollout recipe you like, but I think old-fashioned simple, sweet or spiced is best. Not just the look, the nostalgic smell to them…

Honey Butter Kookys

1 1/2 cups flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 sticks butter

1 cup honey

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp soda

Cookie cutters: doghouse cutters, fondant cutters in oval and square shapes, square biscuit cutters, cardstock, scissors. I also picked up some candy, gel writing tubes, raw sugar, and colored sugar crystals, and cupcake icing.

Chill 35 minutes. Take out, roll out onto wax paper, top with another piece of wax paper. Chill again for 30 minutes or longer if needed. Colder dough is easier to work with, especially in steamy weather climes. Put out more wax paper and tape it down for a work surface. Sprinkle with all purp flour. Roll to at least 1/4″ thickness. Peel off with wax paper on it and re-chill if needed.

Cut out shapes in dough, using the utmost dough “sheet” for cookies before re-rolling. Next take each shape and add unique details–lines spaced about 1/2 inch apart for to imitate wood siding.

If you have the budget, plastic fondant molds can be purchased that allow you to imitate brick. I think I will play with that next time I try this.

This go round, I am tried cardstock technique after sketching all the housing details I could think of in a sketchbook; I am also seeing how greased rickrack will work for roofing detail on a mini-house.

Meanwhile preheat oven to 350. Bake for 11 minutes. Allow cookies to thoroughly cool before trying to decorate them. Refrigerate

New House Kookys

“The Kooky things I’ve been up to, Spring always means change…”

In this previous blogpost about 3 months ago, I hinted you could celebrate things that aren’t typically celebrated with cookies. ‘Where was I going with that? A new house.

For some reason, you see Christmas ornaments that commemorate a new house purchase, but not baking supplies. ‘Come October, the gingerbread house kits at art and kitchen and art stores will abound. The rest of the year, they are hard to find. And they all look the same anyway.

And yet, every year thousands of people move. According to census bureau stats from 2010, there are 131,791,065 occupied housing units in the USA, and 51,277,394 people moved into one between 2005-2010. While it’s convenient to move during summer when the kids are out of school, not everyone has kids, and it’s possible to move any time of year. Movers and realtors wouldn’t have it any other way.

Ironically, one selling tactic used by real estate agents is providing freshly baked cookies. The smell of fresh-baked cookies, and serving those cookies, makes a house smell inviting more like home. If they don’t bake, the agent can get a “fresh baked cookies” scented room spray and go to town all over the house before their next walk-through starts. But I do think actual cookies are a better choice.

I set out to change this omission. Here are some photos of my new construction so far…

Batch_2_cut_out
Batch_2_after_baking

How ‘She’ Does It cookies

This is a post that gives a nod to a great idea that wasn’t mine.

If you personally know someone who juggles a lot of activity—family, work, exercise, high-maintenance hair—seemingly without much help, they have to have tricks up their sleeve. This might be one of those tricks.

Let’s say you get a last minute request for snacks or bake sale items from a family member. Even if you love to bake, having to do it high volume and the on the spot can be complicated, dreadful and loathsome. What to do?

The trick is not baking cookies, or buying  pre-baked and pre-decorated sugar bombs from the store grocery.  It’s not even getting sticky with rice cereal marshmallow treats….It’s taking crunchy storebought cookies and making sandwich cookies out of them. This project is also convenient if you are living in temporary housing with no oven in sight, but you are invited to a party and need to bring a treat of some sort.

One of the many Christmas cookie magazines* that comes out every fall mentioned this pretty awesome tip , which I’ve expanded into more step-by-step list of instructions.

Buy:

  • Regular crunchy packaged cookies
  • Rubber gloves
  • Plastic sandwich and snack containers
  • Sandwich bags
  • A variety of flavored toppings: chocolate, Nutella, mocha frosting, other thick creamy frosting, peanut butter
  • Two (2) jars of marshmallow fluff
  • Pack of Cardstock or construction paper for stacking bags of prepped cookies later
  • Optional: sprinkles if you are feeling whimsical, or delirious, or both.
  1. Take it all home, unbag it, and clear a kitchen counter.
  2. Take the bowls or recyclable sandwich and snack containers out of their packaging and set them out individually, without a lid.
  3. Put at least two (2) dollops of marshmallow fluff in each bowl
  4. Add one (1) dollop of each flavor topping to each bowl.
  5. Mix each bowl with its own spoon.
  6. Put a clean butter knife, rubber or silicone spatula in each mixed topping fluff bowl.
  7. Put on the gloves.
  8. Split the cookies into pairs, and then divide the pairs evenly in among each topping fluff mix. Each type of flavor of frosting mixture gets its fair share of cookies.
  9. Spread the frosting mixture on the flat side of one cookie in each pair.
  10. Mush the flat side of the other cookie on top of the spread topping.
  11. Repeat until all cookies are proper sandwiches.
  12. If you bought sprinkles, pour them on a plate. Roll the frosting side of each sandwich in the sprinkles.
  13. Refrigerate cookies to let frosting get stiff, nonsticky and cool; about 20 minutes.
  14. Then take sandwich bags and put 2 pairs’* of cookies in each bag–*=its you or your project’s preference here.
  15. Stack them on a plate or in a large enough “to go” plastic container. IF you’re worried about the bags getting gooey from stacking, use cakeboard or sheets of cardstock between each layer of bagged cookies. Refrigerate overnight.
  16. Remove gloves.
  17. Rinse off what little cutlery and non-recyclable tableware you used to frost the cookies, put it in the dishwasher.
  18. If you used almost all recyclable sandwich containers, you can rinse and throw these in your big community recycling blue bin.  If your community has no recycle bin, wash and reuse the those sandwich containers or wash and pass them on to someone else in the future.
  19. ‘For godsakes get some sleep. The magazine didn’t suggest this but I don’t think they’d disagree either.
  20. In the morning, pull the plate of cookies out of the fridge. Put the bags of cookies in a plastic container if you haven’t already.
  21. Send them off to school or work with the person who requested them, with a gentle “please don’t ask me the night before” look on your face.
  22. Take a nap if you can, if not there’s always more coffee until it’s five o’clock, or time to go.

*=I don’t remember which magazine it was, but I can narrow it down to about 3 it was most likely to appear in: Christmas cookies, a BHG special interest publication; Taste of Home Christmas cookies (full size magazine, not the quarter size magazine, with tear-out card pages sold at checkouts near the breathmints); Cuisine magazine Christmas cookies.  If I do find it again I will update this post. Most of these magazines are re-issued every year with a new cover, and slightly changed recipes.

CAVEATS: Obviously, if you are providing snacks to children who may have nut allergies, peanut butter, almond butter, marzipan, almond paste, nutella are all out of the question for ingredients. Also don’t use German chocolate cake frosting as it has nuts in it.

Come to think of it, nut allergic children probably can’t eat mass-produced cookies. Machines that make cookies are also machines that crush nuts, or share a factory space with nut-crushing machines.

Summer, summer, summer….things heat up

Maybe one day in the future all the thinking a blogger does about their blog will show as a status update without being typed in. If that were the case now, there would be a modest billion here at bakingkookys.com.

I have been living without an oven to truly call home for 2 months now. We’ve been in real estate limbo until last month, staying with family or at longterm stay hotels. It didn’t work out, they probably could and should have said something sooner, but at least we finally got some sort of answer. ‘Florida’s own Tom Petty wasn’t kidding when he said the waiting was the hardest part. But, moving on, we had a plan, it’s a good one that still makes sense for us. We’re shopping for somewhere else, and we like several places we’ve seen.

I have newer ideas to bake and post. I have a goal of being seasonal and timely on this blog. I felt awkward and I was very concerned about making a mess in kitchens that weren’t mine while we are guests; but it’s been so long now I am eager to get back in the game. I am jumping back in this weekend, and planning to take precautions. For my first venture, its something very summery, and will involve chocolate and licorice.

My last post about cookies that celebrate unconventional events is on hold, maybe I will do it in August. August is sweltering, but it’s “my month” and I hope everything is going more smoothly at that time.

In other news:

  • At this time, I have written 9 stories for Eat This Charleston’s online feature, Local Bites. All those links appear here. I’ve had an excellent time meeting new people and telling their stories for this series.
  • I am working on a recipe book that will be e-published before Fall arrives; I get ideas for novels and other books that just have to be set aside for the time being.
  • I started writing Julia Cameron‘s morning pages with my morning coffee. It is a great way to clear your head of little distractions so you can get on with your creative work. I included a link via her name so if you haven’t heard of her you can check her out. The Artists Way was originally printed in the mid-80s and its such a classic most mainstream bookstores and libraries have a copy.

So anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to.