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lemonsugarcookies11_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

Anyone who’s been with this blog through the winter holidays knows that I have the same cookie lineup every year, but I continue to audition new prospects because never let it be said that I’m one to rest on my cookie laurels 😉

This is the first audition – a soft sugar cookie (which American readers will recognize as Lofthouse style). It has that same addictive cakey quality as the store-bought version, but with the twist of lemon poppyseed. It’s based on a compilation of recipes online with a few changes of my own. Sorry for the crappy picture, we’re really short on daylight at the moment!

I like the Scandinavian white-on-white coloring, but if you want to get crazy with frosting colors or sprinkles now would be the time!

Soft Lemon Poppyseed Sugar Cookies, Makes about 36 3″ cookies

  • 1/2 c. butter, at room temperature
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t. lemon extract or bakery emulsion
  • Zest from two lemons
  • 3 c. flour
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 T. poppyseeds

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 c. butter, at room temperature1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. almond extract
  • 4 c. powdered sugar
  • 6 T. heavy cream

Combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy.

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Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition. Then beat in the lemon flavoring and zest.

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Combine the remaining dry ingredients and half of them to the bowl. Beat well. Then beat in the yogurt.

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Add the second half of the dry ingredients and beat for another minute.

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Scoop the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, wrap it up as a ball and refrigerate it for at least an hour. When you’re ready to bake preheat the oven to 425. (I know, hot for a cookie recipe!)

Turn the dough out.

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Roll it out to about 1/3″ thick and cut. (I only worked with part of the dough at a time so I could make sure I kept the thickness consistent.)

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Put the cookies on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

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Bake for 6-7 minutes. I took them out right around the 7-minute mark.

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While the cookies are cooling make the frosting. (I didn’t do the step by step here to keep the post length down.)

Beat the sugar and butter together, drizzling in the flavoring and half the cream. Mixture will be thick. Continue beating, drizzling in the remaining cream as you go, until you reach your desired spreading consistency. I have a stand mixer so I just turn it to high and let it run for about five minutes at this point. The longer you beat the creamier your frosting will be.

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When the cookies are completely cool frost them.

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You can leave them out, uncovered for an hour or so, and the frosting will crust over just a bit. I froze mine on the sheet and then stacked them between sheets of waxed paper in a freezer container to freeze until the holidays.

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Four years ago: 12 Days of Cookies
Three years ago: Russian Braids
Two years ago: Apple Clafouti
One year ago: Holiday Biscotti


lemoncookies7_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

Although most of our snow is melted spring is taking its own sweet time getting here. I thought I’d encourage it along with these bright cookies from Maida Heatter’s Book of Cookies. They are the soft cakey old-fashioned kind. I added an easy lemon glaze to pump up the lemon flavor. These would make pretty Easter cookies if you coaxed them into an egg shape.

Soft Lemon Cookies, Makes about 36 3″ cookies.

  • One stick of butter at room temperature
  • 1-1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1/3 c. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 t. almond extract
  • One whole egg
  • Two egg yolks
  • 1-1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 t. baking powder

Lemon glaze:

  • 1 T. softened butter
  • 2 c. powdered sugar
  • 3-4 T. fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350. Cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest together well. Then beat in the eggs until the mixture is light and fluffy.

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Add the rest of the ingredients and cream well for two minutes.

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Drop by tablespoons onto a well-greased cookie sheet.

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Bake for about 12 minutes, until there is a pale golden edge around the bottom.

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Cool on the pan for a minute, then transfer the cookies to racks to cool completely. They will be barely crispy on the outside and cakey on the inside.

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Stir the butter, sugar and 2 T. of lemon juice together for the glaze. Add more lemon juice to thin it if need be. Top each cooled cookie with a bit of glaze.

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Store covered at room temperature between layers of waxed paper.

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Two years ago: Low Fat Chocolate Chip Cookies
One year ago: Oatcakes (Oatmeal Crackers)

buttercream7_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

I once used this on a wedding cake for a lovely cardiologist’s daughter, despite the fact there’s over a pound of butter IN ONE BATCH, he had two servings. It’s that good! I only make it on special occasions now, but back in the wedding cake heyday I made two or three batches a day. There’s nothing like it: warm ivory in color, silky, delicate, with a beautiful sheen and mild flavor that enhances any type of layer cake. I do recommend storing the icing and the finished cake in the fridge. The buttercream will set up rock-hard, so take it out at least 15 minutes before you’re ready to serve it.

This recipe is from Dede Wilson’s Wedding Cake Book. I’ve made it more times than I can count, and it has never failed. You do, however, need a large Kitchenaid with the 5 qt. bowl. The meringue will come right up to the top.

Classic Italian Buttercream, Makes about six cups (enough for one 10″ layer cake)

  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1-1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 t. vinegar or lemon juice
  • 8 egg whites
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1-1/2 lbs. butter at cool room temperature, soft but not melting (that’s not a typ0 – six entire sticks of butter)
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. almond extract

Combine the water and the 1-1/2 c. sugar in a saucepan with the vinegar over medium heat. We’ll be boiling it to 248 degrees.

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While the sugar syrup is bubbling, put the egg whites in the mixer bowl and beat them to soft peaks. Beat in the 1/3 c. sugar and continue beating to stiff peaks. Your goal to to have the syrup at temperature and the egg whites ready at the same time. It’s okay if the whites are done early, just turn the mixer down to 2 and let them wait.

When the sugar syrup has reached 248 it will get a thick film of bubbles on the top, kind of like this:

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Turn the mixer up to high and drizzle the sugar syrup into the whites. They will puff up to the top of the bowl.

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When the bottom of the bowl is comfortable to the touch you can start whipping in the butter a tablespoon at a time. I just start hacking the sticks into chunks and let them fall into the bowl. You’ll lose a lot of volume right away but don’t worry. When you get to your last couple of sticks it will all magically come together into fluffy clouds of deliciousness.

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Lastly beat in the flavorings and assemble your cake.

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The cake sandwich with a blob on top ready to spread.

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Then I add a skim coat to the side and put the cake in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. This will lock all those unsightly crumbs into the bottom layer of icing.

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Then add the second layer of frosting to the side.

One year ago: Date Conserve

 

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  • Chef's Table (!)
  • Chocolat
  • Chef
  • Grand Budapest Hotel
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  • Ratatouille
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
  • Master Chef (NPR)
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