What do you do when you get tired of writing out recipes constantly requested from family and friends? Well, if you are Jen from My Kitchen Addiction you start a blog so they can print them out themselves. Two years later Jen’s blog has grown into an exceptional resource for anyone who loves delicious home cooked food ranging from appetizers to wonderful dinners with mouth-watering desserts to end it all with panache . A foodie for almost as long the term has been around, Jen showcases her talents with cuisine by way of her own photographs that stir the senses and awaken all appetites. Often accompanied on her forays into the kitchen by her eager and ever hopeful lab Yellowdog, she shares with her readers fare and recipes that have graced many websites including oprah.com and glamour.com. This IT Systems Analyst likes to unwind in her kitchen and for outdoor exercise she loves to run. Firmly believing in one’s need to continue to learn new things, she regularly challenges her cooking skills and in just two short years has participated in over 26 blogger based food challenges or groups. She also hosts one of her own called Kitchen Boot Camp. Anyone who visits Jen’s on-line kitchen will be impressed with the beautifully concise and meticulously organized layout and appreciate how easy it is to find one’s way around. This talented young woman feels blessed and enriched from the community she has found through her blog and believes in giving back. She is an active member of Share Our Strength and every Friday since March of 2009 Jen has been gently steering her readers out of her own kitchen and into other bloggers’ by way of her Friday Favourites feature. I’m very happy that Jen is here today to share her recipe and her story. You can follow Jen on Twitter @JenSchall
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As soon as I got an email from Paula asking if I would be interested in participating in her Frosting for the Cause project, I knew it was something that I had to be a part of. Over the last year, cookie decorating has become a bit of an obsession for me. I’ve learned a thing or two along the way, so I am thrilled to share a few of my simple cookie designs with Frosting for the Cause to help fight cancer!
Though I have been very fortunate that my close family has not had to battle cancer, like many of you, I have had friends and family who have been less fortunate. In the last few months, my husband and I found out that the wife of one of his friends had been diagnosed with breast cancer. We live a few states away, and I have never even met her, but it hit me close to home. Ever since, I have had an overwhelming feeling of wanting to do something to help, but, since we are hours and hours away, I couldn’t drop in with homemade dinners or help around the house.
As I was preparing to bake these cookies, though, it occurred to me that, unlike a pan of lasagna or a chicken casserole, cookies can be sent through the mail. I do it all the time! So, I thought it would be nice to surprise our friends with a care package of decorated cookies.
If I had been able to stop by the house in person, I would have gone armed with flowers and some freshly baked cupcakes. So, I used those as the inspiration for my cookies. I stuck with a pink and white color palate in honor of her fight against breast cancer. While I was at it, I also did a few pink ribbon cookies, too, as an added bonus.
For the cookies, I made my “standard” vanilla bean sugar cookies… They are quick and easy to mix up and bake, and they always turn out well!
Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies
(Adapted with permission from Bake at 350)
• 3 cups all purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 egg
• 1 heaping teaspoon vanilla bean paste
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment or lightly grease, and set aside.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the sugar and the butter. Beat on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla bean paste, and beat on medium speed until incorporated, an additional minute or so.
Gradually add the dry ingredients, mixing on low speed. The mixture may be a bit dry and crumbly once all of the dry ingredients have been incorporated. Don’t worry, the dough will come together after refrigerating. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Once the dough has chilled, roll it out in batches until it is about 1/4 inch in thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut out cookies, and place on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes, until slightly golden.
Cool on the baking sheets for a minute or two, and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely before decorating.
To decorate the daisies, I started out by outlining the edge of the cookie with stiff pink royal icing (using a #2 round tip). Then, I piped a circle in the center of the cookie with stiff white royal icing (using a #2 round tip).
While the outlines dried, I prepared flood icing in the same white and pink shades. I filled in the flower petals with the white flood icing and dropped in pink dots with the pink flood icing.
Once the white flood icing had set for 2-3 hours, I used the stiff pink royal icing to pipe a circle inside of the original white circle in the center of the cookie. Once the pink border was set, I filled the center of the cookie in with pink flood icing.
To decorate the cupcake cookies, I started by outlining the cupcake wrapper with stiff pink royal icing (using a #2 round tip). I also outlined the frosting part of the cupcake with stiff white royal icing (using a #2 round tip).
Once the outlines had dried, I filled the base of the cupcake in with pink flood icing and the frosting part of the cupcake with white flood icing. I let the flood icing set for 2-3 hours. Then, I piped a white outline around the frosting on the cupcake and added swirls to the icing.