Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sugar Cookie Crisis


2 sticks of butter, softened
2 cups white fine sugar
2 eggs beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
half a teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice and the zest of two lemons


Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least an hour (or overnight).

Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on un-greased cookie sheets.

Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.

Problems - when things go wrong.

1. Cookies change shape:-

Find an adult with a steady hand and a sharp knife. Ask the adult to use the knife or the original cookie cutter to stamp out the correct shape whilst the cookies are still warm when they come out of the oven. Try to use words and an ordinary voice to your adult helper. All adults are old and if you shout at them they are less efficient, which means slower. If you want an adult to move fast, try small quiet words.

2. Cookies are hard:-

American cookies are crisp on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. If your cookies are like bricks, don't panic, you've actually made English Biscuits by accident - clever you! They're still tasty, just different. If you don't want to make European biscuits again, next time try not to handle the dough too much. 'Handle' means touch, roll, poke and squeeze. If you accidentally handle them too much you can always put them back in the fridge for another hour to become firm again.

If the dough turns grey and oily it probably needs a chill [in the fridge]

3. Cookies don't match the picture in the book:-

Find your adult helper and a camera. Make the adult take a picture of your superior cookies, print out the photograph and tape it over the book's inferior picture - now they match perfectly.

4. Cookies are double or triple the size indicated by the recipe:-

Most foolish people think that more is better.

Recipes are often wrong. This is very bad. You have my every sympathy.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Pre-trifle - Jelly Custard

You will need:-

One packet of red jello [check flavor carefully]

32 fluid ounces of Bird's Custard made up

Make the jello first and leave to set in the fridge for an hour until firm

Meanwhile make up the hot custard and leave to cool with a sheet of greaseproof paper or Saran Wrap / Cling film over the surface so that it doesn't form a skin.

When the jelly is set and the custard is cold, pour the custard evening over the jello and refrigerate for an hour.

Try and eat both substances together with a bit of red and a bit of yellow on the same spoon.

Once you have mastered this technique you can advance to the next stage and add a layer of whipped cream on top - 3 flavors, 3 textures, 3 colors, 3 smells. Up for the challenge?

Only a few wee mouthfuls away from Trifle......or so we hope.