Thursday, April 5, 2012

Special Easter Treat


Easter is one of my most favorite holidays. One of the reasons I like it so much is the fact that I am a "kid at heart". I love colored eggs, decorated baskets, jelly beans, and hollow chocolate bunnies. I look forward every year to my sister's annual Easter Egg Hunt. It is so much fun!


Every year, at the Easter Egg Hunt, my sister and her husband hide approximately 500 colored eggs all over their backyard. Friends and family show up ready to engage in some highly competitive Easter egg hunting. We all line up and wait for my sister to blow a whistle to start the game. When, the high pitched sound is heard, all of us take off grabbing as many Easter eggs as we can. 

When, the hunt is over, everybody counts their booty of eggs. The winner gets a grand prize from The Dollar Tree store. In fact, we all get prizes from The Dollar Tree store, but not as nice a prize as the winner gets.


This year, I want to make a special Easter treat for the masses. I have many ideas. Cookies, cupcakes, candy, etc. are all possibilities. I'm leaning towards cookies. I have an amazing butter cookie recipe handed down to me from my mother. 

It is a vintage 1950's recipe.

For the decorations, I shall be whipping up a classic Royal Icing. For the cookie cutters, I'll be using some Spring themed ones that I picked up at a baking supply store a few years ago.



Easter Butter Cookies

Ingredients:


1 cup soft butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
3 cups sifted all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt


Recipe:


Cream butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar gradually. Stir in vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Stir in flour and salt.




Chill two hours.


Use pastry canvas (or wooden cutting board) and covered (or not) rolling pin. Flour both lightly. Roll out one-quarter of the chilled dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes and with wide spatula transfer to cookie baking sheet.


Place cookies one inch apart. Bake in moderate oven (350℉) about 10 minutes, to a light brown appearance. Remove from cookie sheet and cool on rack. Frost and decorate.


Royal Icing

Ingredients:

2 1/3 cups sifted Confectioner's powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 egg whites

Recipe:


Mix sugar and cream of tartar together in a bowl. Add the unbeaten egg whites. Beat with an electric mixer or rotary beater until mixture stands in stiff (rigid) peaks.


To keep the surface of the icing from hardening while decorate cookies, cover bowl with damp cloth.


Now for the really fun part!

Decorating

Gather small bowls of different colored sugars, nonpareils, silver dragees, red hots and anything else edible that you think would be pretty.


Smear a dollop of the Royal Icing onto a cooled cookie. Take a spoon and scoop your choice of colored sugar and sprinkle on the frosted cookie, letting the excess sprinkles fall back into the bowl.


Enjoy yourself and let your imagination go wild! It gets messy when you let your creative juices flow!

Eat the broken "mistake" cookies!


Arrange the cookies on a plate as you finish decorating.



I am very pleased with my Easter Butter Cookies. As they were baking in the oven, the familiar childhood buttery scent filled the kitchen. Sweet memories!


Have a very wonderful Easter holiday, everyone!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Working


This week, I'm working for "Spamalot". I spend every evening styling wigs and doing quick changes between scenes. There is a lot of running up and down stairs during the show, so by the end of the night, I am exhausted. It's a lot of fun to see the sparkling costumes and to be part of the activity backstage. 

I love doing hair for the theatre!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

My Dog, Penny























This little dog is the greatest joy of my life! She is a rescued mixed Cairn Terrier. I was extremely lucky, when someone asked me to take a look at this abandoned bedraggled dog, several years ago. 

It was a very cold and snowy day in February, my first day off in weeks. I really didn't want to drive anywhere, but Penny needed a home right away. About an hour later, I looked into her expressive eyes and knew that I was in love. 

Thank you, Penny, for coming into my life and being my best friend!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Rainy Day Cupcakes

Today, I'm baking cupcakes! It's raining here and I'm in the mood to bake. I'm using a store bought organic vanilla cake mix for which I am adding dried lavender flowers and lavender extract. The frosting will be an organic vanilla frosting mix for which I am adding lemon zest and lemon juice. I've never made these kind of cupcakes, so this is a new experience.














Lavender Cupcakes with Lemon Vanilla Frosting


Ingredients:


1 box "Simply Organic" Golden Vanilla Cake Mix
2 large eggs
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup of water
3/4 tsp lavender extract (instead of vanilla extract)
1 Tbsp dried lavender flowers


Recipe:


Set the oven to 350ยบ F.


Combine the 2 eggs (slightly beaten), butter, water, lavender extract and dried lavender flowers in a mixing bowl.


Add contents of the organic vanilla cake mix.


Stir until just evenly moist.


Pour into silicon baking cups on a baking sheet or greased cupcake baking pan, each cup about 3/4 filled.



Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick placed in center comes out clean.


Cool completely before frosting.


This recipe makes a baker's dozen (13) of cupcakes.


Oh my goodness! I wish that you could smell the heavenly aroma of these cupcakes baking in my oven. I'm so excited to see the freshly baked cupcakes!  Can't wait to start making the frosting! :)





Frosting


Ingredients:
1/3 cup softened butter
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk (instead of cow's milk)
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/4 tsp fresh lemon juice


Recipe:


Empty packaged frosting mix contents into a mixing bowl.


Add softened butter and almond milk.


Beat smooth at high speed of mixer or by hand. If necessary, beat in more almond milk, a few drops at a time, until icing has desired consistency.


Stir in lemon zest and lemon juice.


Spread frosting onto the cooled cupcakes.


Decorate with a sprinkle of lavender colored sugar.



So, there are the finished cupcakes! They tasted delicious! I had about six of them (couldn't stop myself) with a cup of hot chamomile tea.


Nice way to spend a rainy day! :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Spring, Already!














The crocuses are blooming! So, exciting! Enough of this winter thing for me! It's time to get out of the bulky coats and heavy boots. I feel rejuvenated by the change in temperature. I'm ready to get my toenails painted and run barefoot in the grass!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Baking


Ever since I was a little girl, I've loved to bake. My mother is a wonderful baker and I spent a lot of time watching her and learning her techniques. She always let me get "hands on", so I could feel like I was part of the process.

At  Christmas time, she liked to bake butter cookies and let my sister and myself chip in on the job of decorating. She would set out bowls of Royal icing and knives to use to spread the icing onto the cookies. Also, there would be many little bowls of a variety of toppings. Colored sugars, chocolate jimmies, rainbow sprinkles, silver nonpareils and red hots. Each bowl had a spoon to use to pour the toppings.

 My mother like to call us the "Sanitary Cookie Decorator Company". We had the best time decorating those cookies. If one of the cookies broke while we were spreading the icing, we got to eat it.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

About Me

Today, I'm going to share with you things about me and my life. For more than 35 years, I have been working as a theatrical hair stylist on motion pictures, television shows and Broadway touring companies. It has been a very exciting career and I have enjoyed the experience very much. 

When, I am not busy styling hair for the actors, I like to fill my time creating art, reading books, watching movies, and baking cupcakes. I live in a circa 1900 cottage near the water. On my walks with my dog, Penny, I love to see all of the sailboats docked at the marina.



Living so close to the water has really been great. I never get tired of it. It helps me to relax when I've had a hectic week on a movie set or backstage in the theatre. 

Painting is another way that I unwind. I love to buy a fresh white canvas to transform by the use of colors and textures. Ideas sprout into my head and I can't wait to pick up a brush or painting knife to create my artistic vision. Here is a painting I did a few years back, when I couldn't stop thinking of mermaids.




















Besides painting, I really like to take photographs. I'm drawn to flowers, sailboats, and sunsets mostly, but occasionally something else will be just too irresistable not to shoot. For instance, these puppies.
























Another thing I really enjoy is sharing with people. So that brings us to the point of this blog...sharing.