Thursday, June 7, 2012

Venus Transit Sugar Cookies

I try to hide my extreme nerdiness from you as much as possible here at CosmoCookie, but sometimes there is just no denying it. On Tuesday, Venus transited across the Sun, a phenomenon that will not be visible again for another 105 years. I spent Venus Transit Day with friends and solar telescopes on campus.

*Transit photos courtesy of James Keane, amazing artist.

I also might have made transit sugar cookies with Solar royal icing and Venus nonpareils.

I also might have made transit chocolate chip cookies.

Go ahead... Judge me... I can take it.

I promise that my next post will be on ice cream. However, I (clearly) cannot promise that I will not geek out on you again.

Sugar Cookies
adapted from Martha Stewart

yields 2-3 dozen cookies, depending on the size of the shape

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar; mix until light and fluffy. With mixer running, add egg, milk, and vanilla; mix until well combined. With the mixer on low, slowly add reserved flour mixture. Mix until just combined.

Transfer dough to a work surface. Shape into 2 discs, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with nonstick baking mats or parchment paper; set aside.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes, and transfer to prepared baking sheets, leaving an inch in between. Leftover dough can be rolled and cut once more. Bake until lightly golden, about 10 minutes; do not allow to brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Decorate with Royal Icing, optional.

Royal Icing

2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon meringue powder
3-5 tablespoons ice water

Combine ingredients in bowl and beat with an electric mixer for about three minutes. Add water until desired consistency.
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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Blackberry Limeade Bars

My friend KC emailed me the other day, saying that she had made the strawberry lemonade bars. It always makes me happy when people make the recipes that I post. She was asking about other flavor combinations and suggested blackberries and limes. Done and done. So here we are. Thanks, KC!

Tart, sweet, and smooth, these blackberry limeade bars scream summer. They cut clean and transport well (place in a tupperware and lay with sheets of waxed paper). I used key lime zest and juice, because, I'll admit it, I'm a lime snob (and they are so cheap to buy in Tucson). Take advantage of blackberry season while you can with these delightful, jewel-toned gems.

Blackberry Limeade Bars

yields one 8-by-8 inch pan of bars

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Blackberry Lime Layer
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon lime zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups blackberries, fresh or frozen, thawed
3 large egg whites
1 large egg
2/3 cups freshly squeezed lime juice

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line an 8-by-8 inch baking pan with parchment paper.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar.  Beat on medium-high speed until smooth, 1-2 minutes.  With the mixer on low speed, mix in the flour and salt just until incorporated.  Add the dough to the prepared baking pan.  Press into an even layer over the bottom of the pan.  Bake for about 25 minutes or until light golden brown.  Remove from the oven, maintaining the temperature.

While the crust is baking, make the top layer.  Combine the sugar, flour, lime zest and salt in a large bowl and whisk to blend.  Puree blackberries and press through a fine mesh sieve, mashing with a spatula, to extract as much juice and pulp as possible, straining out the seeds.  Add the egg whites and egg to the bowl with the dry ingredients and whisk well to blend.  Whisk in the blackberry puree and lime juice until smooth.

Pour the mixture over the crust and bake until the center is just set and not longer jiggles when gently shaken, about 30 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool to room temperature.  Cover and chill well in the refrigerator, at least 2 hours.  When ready to serve, use the parchment paper to lift the bars from the pan.  Place on a cutting board and slice into bars.


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