Friday, March 4, 2011

Sasha's Kitchen: Anti-Sweet Heart Cookies

I happen to love eating Necco candy hearts around Valentine's Day. I have been eating them each year since I was a kid and its funny how they change over the years, sometimes incorporating new technology. This year, I saw one that said "tweet me." Anyhow, apologies for not doing this in time for Valentine's Day, but as a bit of a spoof on these sweet heart candies, I decided to do some "bitter heart" cookies with funny sayings like "Bite me," "Unfriend," "One Night Stand," "You Smell," "Go Away," and "Just Lust." Pretty silly, I know, but its a sarcastic take on a hallmark holiday. Sometimes you just need to laugh a bit and these will certainly accomplish that.

Did I also mention that they taste delicious? Perfect butter cookies with royal icing!

Sasha's "Bitter Heart" Cookies
4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups sugar

Bag of royal icing mix from New York Cake
gel food coloring

Beat the butter and sugar until smooth in your stand mixer. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Then add the dry ingredients and beat until it forms a smooth dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour. Roll out the dough and cut into heart shapes using a heart shape cookie cutter.

Bake the cookies at 350 for 15 minutes, one sheet at a time. Allow to cool.

Mix the royal icing mix according to the package instructions (with water). Divide into three portions and dye with a drop or two of gel based food coloring in pink, purple or orange. You could also use other colors that those Necco hearts come in, of course like yellow or green!

Coat the cookies with the royal icing doing your best to spread the icing evenly. I used a small spatula to do this.  Allow the frosting to harden for about four hours, or overnight. Then, using a black food marker (another awesome thing from NY Cake), write all your surly, sarcastic or inner-high school bitchy sayings on the cookies. Enjoy - they taste great even without the sarcasm!


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sasha's Kitchen: Clementine Souffle

I never thought to make a clementine souffle until I had one at Capsouto Freres, home of the best souffles in Manhattan. It was so amazing that I figured that I would come up with my own recipe for a souffle that captures the delicate sweetness of the juicy clementine. This recipe makes four individual souffles, and it is just perfect - delicious and with just the right amount of clementine flavor, but not overly sweet.

Sasha's Clementine Souffles
6 clementines, juiced
2 eggs (whole)
4 egg whites
2 T flour
1 tsp cornstarch
1/3 cup plus 2T sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Preaheat the oven to 400. Mash the clementines and squeeze out the juice. Discard the remaining fruit and keep only the juice from the six clementines. Add the flour, sugar and eggs and thicken over low heat. Add the cornstarch and allow to thicken for an additional minute until a cream like mixture.  Using the whisk attachment of the mixer, beat the egg whites on high for about 3-5 minutes with the cream of tartar until fluffy with stiff peaks.  Fold in the egg whites to the juice mixture with a spatula. Add to souffle dishes sprayed with Pam or butter and sprinkled with a bit of sugar.  Bake at 400 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes until they rise nicely. Eat right away. Yum!
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