Flood Frosting Sugar Cookies

Day 3 of the Holiday Sugar Cookie Series

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I’m going to preface today’s post, a happy conclusion to the Holiday Sugar Cookie Series, by saying that it would not have been possible for me to even attempt any of this without Ree’s inspiration and the amazing cookies over at the Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle. So I’m going to to say this now — check out their blogs!! I mean seriously they are inspirational._MG_1258

There isn’t any recipes involved with today’s post, just some ideas. To help you slackers that haven’t made your cookies yet, here are a few tips for the cookie baking process.

As far as your equipment is concerned, this is what I used. A lot of these things I had laying around or could be repurposed — although I did use this as an excuse to buy more tips, couplers, and some squeeze bottles.

Now I know some of you have been following since day 1. So gather your cut-out sugar cookies, and get the following set up. Everyone else, come back a day after you’ve made your cookies and right after you’ve made your royal frosting. Or keep reading for the fun of it.

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Start by arranging all of your equipment. Line cups with paper towels, fit couplers to piping bags, and arrange pipping bags so that they are inverted into cups and are held up.

Outline icing

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Start by filling a two-cup measuring cup with some of your fresh royal frosting. Add the color of your desire, and mix. If you’re using a mister, mist two or three times, otherwise add around 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp of water to the icing and mix to combine. Repeat this process until your frosting is like toothpaste.

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Do not get impatient and add more motor or else your icing will fall apart. Once it reaches the toothpaste consistency, take about 1/2 cup to a 3/4 cup of icing out and add it to a pipping bag. Tie with a pipping bag tie or rubber band.

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Flood Icing

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Continuing in the same mixing cup, continue to thin out the icing using 2-3 mists at a time (no more than 1 tsp) of water until it reaches the thickness of shower gel. If you draw a ribbon, it should be able to fall back onto itself in two seconds. Take this, and fill it into your squeeze bottles for easy squeezing. This should be thinner, but not thin enough to the point where it will just ooze all over the cookie.

Decorating Time

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Now its time for the fun part. Outline your cookies with your outline frosting and let it set for a few minutes, until they are just sett. Then, fill your cooking with your flood icing. Don’t worry about reaching all the edges. When you have most of the center filled, use a toothpick to help you along.

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You’re done!

Yay! Flood-icing sugar cookies, with just a little patience and a little more practice, can produce stunning results that really is a lot more effortless than they may appear. To get you started with a few cookie ideas, I’m sharing two of my designs with you. As I mentioned in my cut-out sugar cookie post, these cookies started out as party favors. I wanted to make snow-globe-like cookies, one more fitting for Christmas, and the other for the new year.

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For the Christmas snow globe cookie, I made my cut-outs utilizing a round cookie cutter. When the cookies came out of the oven, I gently outlined a Christmas tree onto the cookie using a tree shaped cookie cutter. When the cookie cooled down, I simply traced with my outline frosting and then filled with my flood frosting. I then used some red filling frosting and dropped droplets into the tree to create some ornaments. When my tree was set and done, I outlined the entire snow globe using a white outline icing. It was then filled with white and embroidered with blue droplets to act as glitter.

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I then proceeded to made a new year cookie by filling a cookie completely using grey and decorated it with the same blue droplets as the christmas tree snow globe. Once those were completely set (I did this the next day), I traced the numbers 2013 onto the cookie using a food coloring marker and then traced that writing using an outline frosting. This was then filled using a different color to create a foreground/background effect.

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Peeling peaches in 2 minutes

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Yesterday my grandparents came to visit me. They insisted on taking me grocery shopping. As we walked into Costco, a whiff of aromatic peaches hit me as I walked pass the aisle of goods they place near the entrance. I pulled the cart and started going backwards, eyeing the delicious fruits and grabbed two cases. Although they weren’t the cheapest peaches, they proved to be one of the juiciest peaches I’ve ever tasted.

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When I went home, I knew I had to do something with these peaches except I didn’t know how to do anything with these peaches. I was feeling experimental since peaches weren’t something I enjoyed on a regular basis. I knew I had to try making something I’ve never made before. This ended up being peach cobbler.

My biggest problem: peeling the peaches. The peaches I had were ripe, soft, and juicy. There was no way I could take a fruit peeler without making a huge mess. I headed over to Our Best Bites, and thankfully Kate was able to give me some direction. Turns out her method works for basically any stone fruit including nectarines, peaches and even tomatoes. Thanks Kate!

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How is this done? Simply bring a pot of water to a boil. Score the peaches gently with an “X”. Drop the peaches in the water for 30-45 seconds, longer if the fruit is harder, or less ripe, and drop it in a ice bath. Once its cool enough for your to grab it, all you need to do is rub or peel the skin from the X you marked. The peaches were so easy to peel, the skin was coming off as I picked each one up.

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The end result? a perfectly peeled peach. I ended up having to eat a peach on the spot. I mean: I ended up  needing to test a peach to make sure they weren’t cooked by the water. (They weren’t).

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Thanksgiving in under 6 — You can do it!

For those of you slackers (guilty as well here) and still need an ideas for Thanksgiving, check out the recipes that I made last year. This is for all of you who are a bit slow and those of you who suddenly don’t have Thanksgiving plans anymore. Just kidding! I’m actually still finalizing thanksgiving plans myself; my original anticipation to use this menu didn’t really work out given that rapid growth in Thanksgiving plans.

This year, Thanksgiving came a few weeks early for my friends. I was eager to test out some recipes, and work out a 6 hour plan to get Thanksgiving dinner ready and on the table. So this year, I present to you a thanksgiving dinner, with a turkey, 3 side dishes, and dessert for a smaller family of 5 or 6 in under 6 hours.

For the purpose of this post I couldn’t get cranberries. In fact, people from my local market kind of judged me when I told them what I was doing. I ended up cooking some crushed cranberry sauce in a pan with orange juice, ginger, and lemon juice. A recipe will be coming soon though!

Before I get into the “action plan” here is a list of recipes that I’ve posted that I will be using in this 6 hour plan.

This is the exact menu that I prepared for my friends last thanksgiving. Here’s the action plan:

1:00 PM make the pie

2:00 PM prep mashed potatoes, do not bake them

3:00 PM begin prep work for the stuffing

4:00 PM prepare turkey

4:40 PM start baking turkey, finish stuffing and prepare for baking

5:00 PM start baking stuffing

6:40 PM baked potatoes while turkey is resting

7 PM Dinner is served

This year I will be trying a few new things for Thanksgiving. I’m excited to be able to share these recipes with you when I do finish everything. I wish all of you the best Thanksgiving yet, I hope my recipes will be able to strike some inspiration. Eat fast because Black Friday starts as early as 9 PM at Target this year!

Handling Portobello Mushrooms

Portobello mushrooms are familiar because of their large meaty caps. Conveniently, they are the size of hamburger buns – making them perfect as an addition or substitute to hamburgers. Their fleshy texture makes these mushrooms popular in various forms of cooking. But before we get into the tasty portobello mushroom, lets quickly go through some mushroom handling tips!

General Mushroom Storing and Cleaning Tips

Don’t store mushrooms for too long in your fridge to keep them fresh and delicious. They keep best in a partially covered bag, preferably somewhere that is well circulated like the crisper in your fridge.

There are a lot of opinions on how to handle mushrooms. Most of these surround around mushrooms “absorbing water”. At times like this I turn to science (or let people like Serious Eats handle it). Turns out, mushrooms are most likely ok with being around water. I like to rinse my mushrooms if they are extremely dirt-y and gently wipe with a paper towel before I cut them. I also prefer to trim off a bit of the dried mushroom stems that can be quite tough to chew some times. Although a fungus, mushrooms are grown on sanitized organic matter. In other words, the “dirt” is technically all edible. In other words, don’t worry about dirty dirt.

Handling Portobellos

Technically speaking, portobello mushrooms are not that different from crimini mushrooms. To be exact, crimini mushrooms are portobello mushrooms, just a lot younger. It goes without saying that Portobello mushroom stems can grow to be quite tough. That’s why the first step is to remove the stem of these mushrooms but grasping firmly where it connects to the mushroom cap and snap gently.

Next, are the gills of portobello mushrooms. Although they are “edible”, the gills create a brown color and may even add a different texture to the dish. I prefer to remove them from my dishes. The easiest way to do this is to use a spoon and scrape starting where the stem came off. Scrape in the opposite direction the gills grow, or “against the grain” if you will. For me, this meant going counterclockwise.

When this was done, I wiped my mushrooms down, and trimmed off the bottom of the mushroom so that any remaining gills that wasn’t scraped off is trimmed off. LIke this!

That’s pretty much everything there is to it! Simple right? Now you can use your portobello mushrooms in anything, or just sauté a cap with some olive oil, butter, salt, and pepper and enjoy a la carte! And just in case you’re wondering… this totally serves as a preface/teaser to something tasty… here’s a sneak peak of whats to come!

an all new boomie’s kitchen

Today is July 15th, the half way point to NaBloPoMo. Throughout the past two weeks, I’ve been constantly challenging myself to cook different things and to share what I’m fond of with my fellow readers. But today,  I am pleased to announce the plans I have for boomie’s kitchen – the future of this blog.

Although its been over a year since I first started boomie’s kitchen, it wasn’t until this summer that I really felt the passion that I had for food as when I started this blog. I’ve learned from a year’s worth of trail and error, what my style is, and what I hope to share with you all.

First and foremost, I will be be giving this blog a brand. A coworker, and good friend of mine, has kindly offered to design a logo for this blog, details on this to come soon–I promise! The logo will be watermarked on all my pictures as I hope to expand my portfolio in photography. In addition to a logo, this blog will be transitioning from the boomieskitchen.wordpress.com to a standard website boomieskitchen.com.

In addition, my philosophy from the start has been providing recipes that may or may not seem complicated, and turn that into broken down versions to home cooks/bakers. To follow through and better serve my readers, I plan on implementing a recipe request feature and a Q&A recipe request feature.

Finally, I can’t undergo revamps without mentioning my top most viewed recipes – macarons. I will soon be creating a Q&A section for macarons that will outline all my techniques, tips as well as flavors that I’ve tried in the past.

To wrap this post up, I wanted to explain the random pictures in this post. These are recipes that I’ll be posting within the next few days… stayed tuned because I’ve got plenty to share with all of you!

Want vs. Need: Stand Mixers

Instead of posting a recipe like I have been for the past few days, I wanted to stray away from my norm and take some time to talk about my most trusted kitchen companion – the stand mixer. More specifically, I wanted to help my readers decide if a stand mixer is “worth it” for them.

The obvious benefit of having a stand mixer is the “up right” stand construction. In other words, a stand mixer allows you to work hands free while the attachment works at whatever you have in the mixing bowl. This is useful when you need to, say, add in boiling hot sugar syrup to beating egg whites to make an italian merengue for macarons.

Another obvious benefit of the stand mixer is the power it provides. The KitchenAid stand mixer all are powered with motors that have a throughput of over 400W, in other words – a power house. When it comes to kneading dough for French Baguettes, whipping heavy cream, or even creaming butter from the fridge, a stand mixer can handle all three one after the other and still be OK. A hand mixer might be able to cream butter, but whipping and kneading? Forget it. And of course we do have our own hands… but know I’d be worn out after kneading a dough for a baguette.

What made me start looking into the kitchen aid was my new found interest in macarons and bread baking. Although I could have whipped egg whites with my hand mixer, my hand mixer would get dangerously warm each time before I could get stiff peaks. Kneading dough by hand took way too long and it was too difficult especially since i was interested in working with wetter doughs.

Most stand mixers come with three attachments, the paddle, the whisk and the dough hook. Many also come with features such as timers and rotating bowls. In my experience, I haven’t needed any features than the speed adjustment. I do, however, use all 3 attachments equally.

Now, I’d like to take moment and leave a word of caution of “cheaper” stand mixers. Many times, these stand mixers have a plastic construction. I’ve also seen “stand mixers” that are really just hand beaters fixed onto a mount. Although these alternatives do add the convenience of working hands free to the traditional hand mixer, they do not provide the power real stand mixers do.

Like I’ve said, I use my stand mixer – a lot – and I haven’t had a problem with it. A good stand mixer is a good investment, like a good phone or a good (as ridiculous some may find this as it is) car. It’s not uncommon to hear stories of stand mixers to outlast other kitchen appliances. And although I personally prefer the Kitchenaid, there are other brands out there such as Breville and Cuisinart. All three companies make excellent machines with minor differences. I highly suggest checking out the different machines and making a judgement based off of your own needs.

What kind of mixer do you use in your kitchen? Has this post changed your mind about stand mixers? Let me know in the comment section below!

Almond Flour Showdown: Trader Joe’s VS Bob’s Red Mill

Almond flour is the one distinctive ingredient used in french macarons. As a budding baker one year ago, I attempted to address some questions regarding the almond flour used in macarons. Over one year later, one of the top viewed posts on this blog is my post on almond flour for French macarons.

Today I want to revisit the reoccurring question that many emerging bakers have – does the type of almond flour used in macaron batter matter? To address this question, I decided to run a little experiment of my own, I made Pierre Hermé’s Pistachio macarons from another post using almond flour purchased from Trader Joe’s and Bob’s Red Mill.

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Laudurée Macaron Citron VS. Pierre Hermé Macaron Pistachio

Boomie’s Kitchen Macaron comparison between Laudurée and Pierre Hermé

One cannot be a true macaron connoisseur without having heard the brands Laudreé or Pierre Hermé. Both highly regarded bakeries for the macaron, they have different approaches both in methodology and ideology. There is a lot of discussion between who’s macaron reigns supreme. I decided to take on the ultimate challenge of reproducing both recipes in my own kitchen and deciding for myself. Understanding that I won’t be able to produce the exact same results, I’ve decided that today I will be focusing on the shell of the macaron and developing my stance on the “Pierre Hermé vs Laudreé” issue based off of their unique techniques.

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