Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dalahästar and Disco Dust

Bet most of you have NO clue what Dalahästar are! Here's the Wikipedia description:

A Dalecarlian horse or Dala horse (Swedish: Dalahäst) is a traditional carved and painted wooden statuette of a horse originating in the Swedish province of Dalarna. In the old days the Dala horse was mostly used as a toy for children; in modern times it has become a symbol of Dalarna as well as Sweden in general. Several different types of Dala horses are made, with distinguishing features common to the locality of the site where they are produced. One particular style has, however, become much more common and widespread than others. It is stoutly carved and painted bright red with details and a harness in white, green, yellow and blue.

(If you want to see what they look like, HERE is a picture of the world's largest Dalahäst)

A few weeks ago, we had a Mom's night in at a friend's house. Eight Swedish women chatting it up for a few hours. Tons of fun. It turns out almost all pf us are going home in July/Aug to visit family. Most of them to Stockholm area, and a few of us to the southern parts. Anyways, I wanted to impress surprise them with some home made cookies. For Ann, the hostess, I made some tulip cookies. I made them into pops, the fake way. I.e. taped the stick to the plastic bag instead of sticking the stick into the actual cookie. Used disco dust for the edges of the flowers. That dust is some messy stuff! I was glittery all night!

Tulips, in all their glitteryness:


And, the horses:

Ann posted a picture of the horse cookies on Facebook, and another Swedish lady, who wasn't at the party asked where Ann had bought these. I guess they look nice enough to pay for ;)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cookies with 'enemy' bags (or tags)

So I work for a huge reatil chain here in Vegas. We opened in Oct 2007, and quite a few of us are still there. However, last week, one of my sales associated left us for another big retail store, also here in Vegas. I'm pretty sure you can guess which one. I wanted to send her off in style, and hope my baking skills will bring her back to us! 

The cupcakes are lemon-flavored and have buttercream frosting and yellow sprinkles on top. The shopping bags are made of Royal Icing. I drew rectangle shapes on the back of parchment paper and used a small circle for the handles. I forgot to use shortening on the parchment paper on the first bags, but they came off the paper anyways. I wrote the name of the store with an edible foodmarker.

I was clever enough to assemble them at work. The frosting 'ate' the yellow bags after a while, so I'm glad I waited to add those.

My co-worker was very happy with them, and brought several home after her shift.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Care packages for friends!

A while ago, I came across some adorable cookies, on Loren's blog The Baking Sheet. I shouldn't say I have waited for someone to get sick, so I could bake them, but you know what I mean. A guy at work got sick, and I promised him cookies. But, by the time I had made the cookies, decorated them properly and all, he was well again. Then another online mama friend seemed to need them. Her hubby had a stroke, and had his gall bladder removed within two weeks, so she's getting part of the batch. The 'left-overs' went to my co-worker, as an 'in-case-you-get-sick-again-care-package'. It was much appreciated. :) Today I have to send off the bigger package to Denver. I hope they'll survive. If not, I'll send her before-pictures!
Prescription sheets, band-aids and Tylenol PM. The word Tylenol is written with AmeriColor's Food Writers.
I need to practice on straight lines, and corners. My hand is pretty shaky when I pipe, but practice makes perfect, right.

All wrapped up and ready to go! I think she'll like the window box too!

Here's the care-package for my co-worker Martin

Disclaimer, T, if you for some reason read this, pretend you never saw the cookies, and act surprised when they arrive in the mail! ;)

Friday, February 25, 2011

I found the most adorable little baking supply store!

And it's no more than 10-15 minutes from my house! She doesn't seem to have her own website but I did find this link to her store on a Henderson, NV website.

Tempting Treasures by Jan

She had tons of stuff I can't even find at Michael's or JoAnns. And I much rather support a small local business, than big corporations, anyways! She was sweet as can be, and I will most definitely shop there again. I even found disco dust! Jan said it's been hard to order since X-mas (probably due to all the hyp on various cookie blogs. Can't wait to use it. Also found a cool flower cookie cutter, which makes a hole in the middle. I got some icing colors too, but here is a picture of the neat stuff I found:

From left to right: Pink disco dust, Silver-y disco dust, Pastel Dragees, Oyster Dragees, Flower cookie cutter, Tulip cookie cutter, Silver dragees.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Danish Apple Crumble, Made By a Swede in America...

I have made this recipe hundreds of times and never gotten a bad result. (although the edges DID get a bit burnt, because the American gas stoves are different than my previous Swedish electric one. Still awesomely good!)

It's an old Danish recipe, and meant to be baked in a cast iron skillet, but I just use Pyrex glass pans. I first tried it when I worked as a nanny in Sweden, after high school and fell in love with the simplicity of the recipe, and the hard, yet chewy crust. 

I use a cold Swedish vanilla sauce but creamy vanilla ice cream works really well too. After baking it, let it sit for a while before serving, to make the crumble chewy and yummy. You can microwave left overs, but I like to keep them in the pan and heat it back up in the oven for more chewy goodness.

Cut the apples into wedges and arrage in your pan. I normally use a 9" x 13" pan but only had three apples to work with, so I used a smaller one this time. Generously sprinkle cinnamon on top of the apples.

Crumble the 'dough' on top, making sure it's all covered nicely. The towel underneath is hand-woven by my late grandmother.

Serve with cold vanilla sauce (this one's out of a box from Sweden) or vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

Skaidrite's Apple Crumble

Heat oven to 425F

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 sticks + 1 tbs butter or margarine
1 3/4 cup flour

5-6 sour apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges.

Mix sugar and butter until well blended, with hand mixer. Add flour and blend until dough forms small lumps. Let it chill while preparing your apples. Arrange apples in an ungreased 9" x 13" pan. Sprinkle cinnamon on top of apples. Crumble the dough over apples, covering the entire surface. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Let it sit for about 10-15 minutes before serving.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Be still, my heart!

I'm sitting here with Cox's tech support, trying to get my email to work, and figured I'd write a blog entry in the meantime.

I finally got around to making Valentine's cookies, on the 14th! Did some early in the morning, and had to stop and head to work to help out for a while. Then I finished the batch at night. Work was blessed with most of them the day after Valentine's and the family got some of them the day of.

I completely stole the idea from Glorious Treats but I used sugar cookies instead of chocolate. I think they are adorable. Even the district visual from L.A. was impressed.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Well, THAT was a learning session...

I have waited for Friday, Feb 11th for MONTHS. SO excited about Gnomeo and Juliet, the animated movie. A couple of weeks ago I ordered a gnome cookie cutter - THIS ONE from I baked gorgeous gnomes the other day and set out to decorate them yesterday. Epic fail. I learned the following:

1) Do not decorate right before you have to get ready for work. Baking/especially decorating does take some time, and the final masterpiece isn't much of a masterpiece when rushing.

2) Buy TONS of couplers and tips; you'll need one per color and a few extra when they roll behind your stove or elsewhere non-reachable.

3) If your royal icing is too hard, it doesn't flood whatsoever and the spreading you'll do with a tooth pic becomes uneven and ugly.

4) If your royal icing is too runny, it'll get streaky, run over the edge of the piped edge icing, and it'll also drip onto the almost-good-enough-to-take-pics-of-cookies you've already made.

5) Zip-lock bags work almost as well as real decorating bags, but they tend to leak around the coupler because they are thinner. Still, a good substitute if you find yourself out of decorating bags.

6) Adding water to the icing you already have in your bag is not a good idea. Very messy, especially if you add TOO much water.

This is what the sad mushroom looked like, with too runny icing. He's meant to look like Shroom, from the movie.

The white icing was too hard and didn't flood nicely into the corners and edges and the blue icing is obviously too runny and not well blended (see lesson 4 and 6!)
But, the best lesson of all:

7) They were just as yummy to eat and the hubby and the kids loved them just the same. Awh! I guess it IS the inside that counts, after all!