Sugar Cookies from Halloween & Day of the Dead’s Past


I’ve been living without a functioning kitchen now for over FOUR months now. This means no cooking and no creative outlet. Since I cannot bake or cook or do much else creatively speaking (because everything is on its way from Jordan and isn’t set to arrive for months), and given that I’m at home from work due to the storm, I searched through my pictures of Halloween’s past to reminisce about the beautiful cookies that I could have been baking and decorating if I had a full larder and was equipped with my cookie making supplies.

Inspiration? Jack Skelington
If you plan on making lollipop sugar cookies, make the cookies a little thicker than normal and insert cookie stick into dough before baking.
Dia de los Muertos beauties–my personal favorites
I wish I had a friend like me who bakes and distributes cookies for holidays!

In case you’re inspired enough to want to bake, here’s the recipe for the cookies and the icing:

No Fail Sugar Cookies

Preheat oven thirty minutes before you begin. (This recipe makes a lot of cookies, so I usually cut the recipe in half or save half of it to freeze and use later.)

Ingredients:

6 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
2 cups butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract or desired flavoring (I like almond myself)
1 tsp. salt

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Mix well. Mix dry ingredients and add a little
at a time
 to butter mixture.  Mix until flour is completely incorporated and the dough comes together.

Chill for 1 to 2 hours (or see Hint below) 

Roll to desired thickness and cut into desired shapes.  Bake on ungreased baking sheet at 350
degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until just beginning to turn brown around the edges.  This recipe
can make up to 5-dozen 3” cookies.

HINTRolling Out Dough Without the Mess – Rather than wait for your cookie dough to
chill, take the freshly made dough and place a glob between two sheets of parchment paper.
Roll it out to the desired thickness then place the dough and paper on a cookie sheet and pop it into the refrigerator.
Continue rolling out your dough between sheets of paper until you have used it all.  By the time you are finished, the
first batch will be completely chilled and ready to cut.  Reroll leftover dough and repeat the process!  An added bonus
is that you are not adding any additional flour to your cookies.

Royal Icing 

Makes 3 cups of base consistency icing

3 3/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
3 T meringue powder
6 T warm water

Beat 4 to 5 minutes
By hand, stir in optional flavorings and desired tints.

Add 8 T of warm water if you want flow consistency.

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Easy Mexican Egg and Cheese Souffle for Cinco de Mayo


Just in time for our Middle Eastern celebration of Cinco de Mayo, this recipe is based on Rick Bayless’s “Egg and Cheese Souffle” from Rick and Lanie’s Excellent Cooking Adventures.

I halved the recipe, therefore it can easily be doubled. I also added things to the original recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 3 large egg
  • 1 t dry mustard and a small dollop of Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 c milk ( I always use nonfat successfully)
  • 6 slices cakey white bread (I have used all kinds of bread to the same degree of success)
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese, your favorite
  • small handful of crumbled feta cheese
  • additional ingredients you like such as a handful of sliced cremini mushrooms, and/or sliced roasted red bell peppers, and/ or chopped ham and/or fresh spinach (for this one today I went peppers and mushrooms)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut the crusts off of the bread. Cut each slice into 16 cubes. Throw the bread cubes and cheese in a large bowl. Mix everything else in a smaller bowl and combine with the bread cubes. Grease an 8 by 8 casserole and place the custard in it. Top with a sprinkling of cheese and chopped fresh herbs. Bake about 45-50 minutes until strata is puffed and golden.

Let stand about 5 minutes and serve.

This is a great recipe for breakfast, lunch, dinner or brunch.

Serves about 4 people.