Saturday, July 6, 2013

Fourth of July Flag Sugar Cookies

We go to the same Fourth of July party every year, and every year I try to make something different. Last year I took key lime pie bars. This year, I made sugar cookies decorated like a flag. These were inspired by the lovely Sugarbelle.

I made two batches which yielded almost 150 cookies. I used the same recipe for sugar cookies as I always do - only because it's the best sugar cookie recipe ever. It's soft, not too sweet, and pairs perfectly with the sweet royal icing (to which that link above also leads). Days after being made these cookies are still delicious.

With the first few cookies that went into the oven, they weren't flattening out enough to be frosted, so we turned them into some impromptu chocolate macarons.

I made several batches of the icing, and after many hours of standing I finally finished. In the morning, after the icing had set, I arranged them to look like a flag.

The red could have been a little darker but overall, I think they turned out really cute! They were pretty tedious, though. That's why I rarely make sugar cookies, and that's why it will be a HELL of a long time before I do a job making 150 again. That's an absurd amount of sugar cookies!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Father's Day - Lemon Bars/Key Lime Pie Bars

I never know what to make for Father's Day because neither my dad nor my husband have much of a sweet tooth. I know, I know - they're inhuman. So for this year's dessert, I decided to go with a recipe I've been eyeballing for a long time. Just as I was about to make it, my mom asked me to make a certain recipe in addition. So I ended up making two different kinds of bars.

The first was something I'd made before - key lime pie bars. (Here's the link to when I made them the first time.) The crust on these bars is to die for - and I suppose you could take that literally, since they're probably unhealthy as hell.

In addition, I made something I'd never made before, but had been wanting to for a long time - Ina Garten's lemon bars. These turned out absolutely delicious! The bottom layer was almost like a sugar cookie. They were sweet but very tangy as well, which is just the way I like my lemon confections. Oftentimes lemon-flavored stuff is way too sweet and it's just too overbearing for my palate. These, however, were absolutely perfect.

Just for the record (and so I don't get sued or something), neither of those pictures are mine. I forgot to take pictures, unfortunately. :(

These citrus bars are a great combo for any get-together. They are both delicious, tangy, and light enough to eat after a big meal. Everyone at our party was raving about them!

(Adapted from My Baking Addiction)
Yield:  16 bars

  • 1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers (about 2/3 of a sleeve)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 3 cups sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup key lime juice (I used Nelly and Joes Key Lime Juice)
  • 1 tablespoon grated lime zest
  1. In a small bowl, combine the crumbs, coconut and sugar; add butter and blend well. Press onto the bottom of a nine inch springform pan.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes; cool on wire rack.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, combine condensed milk, sour cream, lime juice, and lime rind. Mix well and pour into graham cracker crust.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 5 to 8 minutes, until tiny pinhole bubbles burst on the surface of pie. DO NOT BROWN! Chill pie thoroughly before serving. Cut into 16 bars; garnish with powdered sugar.

(Adapted from Barefoot Contessa)
Yield:  20 bars

  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.
  3. Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.
  4. For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.
  5. Cut into squares and dust with powdered sugar.