Monday, February 17, 2014

Heart-shaped food

The girls and I made heart-shaped sugar cookies for Valentine's Day.

We decorated them with royal icing (I used this meringue powder and this recipe) and sprinkles.  I colored the icing with juice from frozen berries - I just nuked them until they burst and then strained out the juice and used it in the recipe instead of water.  I also added some lemon juice to mask the flavor of the meringue powder, which I think is pretty gross.  The meringue powder, it turns out, contains some artificial crap, so I think I will go back to egg whites for royal icing.

Z didn't seem to mind the taste.

My original plan was to surprise Jeremy with the cookies at work.

However, Zoia apparently has the chicken pox, and as our housekeeper cannot remember whether she ever had it (?!), she is staying away for the next week.  So we are homebound and can't in good conscience give anyone our pox cookies anyway.

More for us, I guess.

I also made some heart-shaped garlic knots to go with our dinner last night (recipe to follow).  They were pretty quick to make - I decided I wanted to make them 90 minutes before dinner and even with the yeast rising time, they were ready in time.

Brushed with garlic oil and drizzled with parsley and kosher salt.  If I had had parmesan cheese on hand I would have used that too.

Heart-shaped herb-garlic rolls (makes 15 small rolls).

1 T active dry yeast
3/4 c warm water
1 T sugar
1.75 c flour
1 T salt
2 T olive oil
2 tsp dried basil
1 Tbs garlic powder
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried thyme

3 Tbs olive oil
1 large garlic clove
1 tsp salt (if you are using kosher, double the amount)
2 Tbs minced parsley
grated parmesan cheese (optional)

Stir yeast and sugar into the water, allow to sit five minutes, or until bubbly.  If it doesn't get bubbly within about 10 minutes, your yeast is bad; start over with new yeast.  Stir in salt, flour, olive oil and spices, and knead, adding additional flour if necessary, until the dough is smooth and elastic (I use my KitchenAid with dough hook for this).  Allow to rise for 30 minutes.  While the dough is rising, preheat your oven to 400 and grease a cookie sheet or prepare it with parchment paper.

After dough has risen a bit (it does not have to double), take golf-ball sized globs of dough and roll them into snakes between your hands.  Connect the snake at the top and push into a heart shape.  I found that pinching the dough at the bottom point of the heart, and the inner point, helped it keep its shape.  When they are all rolled, allow to rest for 10 minutes or so, then put in the oven for 18-20 minutes.  While they are baking, make the garlic oil: mash the garlic with the salt until it is paste-like, then mix into the olive oil and allow to sit.  Chop your parsley and grate your cheese.

When the rolls are done, brush them immediately with the garlic oil and sprinkle with parsley and cheese.  If you are not eating immediately, put the rolls in a bowl or basket lined with paper towels and cover with a kitchen towel.  Mine stayed piping hot for 30 minutes this way, and were still warm an hour later.

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