Monday, December 1, 2014

Snowflake and Snowman... cookies and marshmallows

As I started writing this blog post about wintery sweets, there was a blizzard in the east coast. Snow, snow, and more snow. Everywhere. People were snowbound.

At first I felt a little envy. Living in south of Texas for so long, I kinda miss snow.

Every winter, I tried but failed to convince my husband to embark on a family winter trip. You know, just drive or fly into a city where there'd be lotsa snow.

I don't want to ski. I just want to sit indoor, looking out the window and enjoying the sight of white snow while sipping my hot coffee. I mean, if my family is outside building snowman, then I'd watch them do that... indoor. Well, I might put on a winter coat and join them. Seriously, I just want to see wintery white snow.

So the blizzard in the east coast was during the second week of November. The cold blasted its way south of Texas too. No snow... just very cold... well, 30's degree is a blizzard in Texas. My family and I luv the cold. My poor aunts came for a visit that week, and we ended up having a colder temperature here than in New York. (I convinced them that the weather here was warm and didn't get cold until after Thanksgiving. But I forgot to mention that I never trusted Texas weather.)

With snow in the news and with the cold breeze in the air, I was inspired to bake something sweeter. I baked my aunts all kinds of cookies, pastries, pies, cake, and bread. Brek told my aunts, "Mommy's baking is hard to resist." They agreed, and I could tell that they enjoyed the sweets.

After my aunts went back to New York, I felt a little bit lazy but still wanted to bake something wintery. So I tested the William Sonoma's Russian tea cake recipe. I kept this recipe in mind for a long while now and never got to test it until now. I made them into snowflakes. Very easy and very tasty.

About a few weeks later, I received the William Sonoma's Holiday catalogue. In it was a bag of snowflake marshmallows. If I can make a living making things out of marshmallow, I'd be rich. Got inspired and made my own, using my vanilla marshmallow recipe. My kids luv my homemade marshmallows so much that Brek even told Camden, "It's homemade so you can eat as much as you want." Well... not really... but ok.

Snowflakes Marshmallows
makes about 12, depending on the size

1 vanilla marshmallow recipe
a lot of powdered sugar
variety of snowflake cookie cutters
  1. Make the vanilla marshmallow as directed in the recipe.
  2. Spread the freshly whipped marshmallow on 6 by 8 pan for thick marshmallows or 8 square pan for thinner marshmallows.
  3. Once ready, cut the marshmallow using variety of snowflake cookie cutters. TIP: Cut the marshmallow into a small circle then dot it with melted chocolate to make snowman.
  4. Sprinkle the snowflake marshmallows with powdered sugar to prevent sticky. Enjoy!!!
STORING: Keep the snowflake or snowman marshmallows in an air tight container for up to a week.

Snow Flakes Cookies
adapted from William Sonoma's Russian Tea Cakes
makes 12-14

1/2 cup (2.5 oz.) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup (2 oz.) palm shortening
1/4 cup (1.5 oz.) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 (1.4 oz.) ground blanched almonds
1/4 cup (1 oz.) powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
snowflake plunger cookie cutter
  1. Line a baking sheet with a nonstick mat or parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix it with your fingers until combine. NOTE: The cookie dough will be sticky. Use a fork if needed.
  3. Knead the dough in the bowl. Set aside.
  4. Sprinkle some flour onto the snowflake plunger cookie cutter. TIP: Use other Holidays plunger cookie cutters such as gingerbread boy or Christmas tree.
  5. Press the dough into the cookie cutter.
  6. Place the cookie cutter onto a prepared baking sheet and press out the snowflake cookie dough.
  7. Using a soft bristle pastry brush, dust off the flour on top of the snowflake dough.
  8. Repeat until all of the snowflakes cookie dough are formed. TIP: Remember to dust the cookie cutter with flour. If the dough is stuck onto the pattern of the plunger cutter, use a toothpick to clean it.
  9. Place the cookie dough in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
  10. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325F degree.
  11. Bake the snowflake cookies in a preheated oven until golden brown, about 18 to 20 minutes.
  12. Let cool in a baking sheet until the cookies are a room temperature.
  13. Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar and enjoy.
STORING: Keep these snowflake cookies in an air tight container for up to 3 days. The snowflake cookie dough freeze well for up to 3 months. Bake as directed without defrosting.

Allergy Info: The snowflake and snowman marshmallows are free from or can be made without dairy, corn, legumes (soy), wheat, nuts, or fish. If you are allergic to eggs, use the maple syrup marshmallow recipe.

The snowflake cookies are free from or can be made without dairy, eggs, corn, legumes (soy), or fish.

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