Saturday, December 17, 2011

Soft Sugar Cookies with Frosting

I'll admit it. I'm a total sucker for those grocery store sugar cookies in the plastic container with different colored frosting for every imaginable holiday. Orange and black for Halloween? Yum. Red, white, and blue for Fourth of July? Don't mind if I do. Pink, white, and red for Valentine's Day? Do you even have to ask? Loaded with preservatives and artificial ingredients though, I'm sure they're not the greatest food in the world health-wise. And while I'm sure the home-made version isn't toooo much better for you, at least they are slightly more natural? Maybe? At least that's what I'm telling myself.

These cookies totally live up to their name is softness. They have a rich buttery taste, and are completely satisfying. And with the endless combinations of frosting and sprinkle colors, they can truly work for any holiday!

Soft Sugar Cookies with Frosting
Makes 24 cookies

For the cookies:
4 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
4 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
3/4 teaspoons of salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) of butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups of sugar
3 large eggs
5 teaspoons of vanilla extract
For the frosting:
4 cups of powdered sugar
1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract
5 Tablespoons of milk (and more, if needed)

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat together on medium-high speed until soft and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla. Turn the mixer to low, and add the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Place dough in non-metal bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for one hour. (I had some straggler dry ingredients at the bowl when I was done, if you do- don't mix them in with the dough.)

After the dough has chilled, scoop a heaping Tablespoon of dough into your hands and roll it into a ball. Place on the parchment-lined baking sheet, and flatten the ball slightly with the bottom of a glass.  Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the cookies 2-3 inches apart. Bake for about 10-12 minutes. You don't want to even let them get to a golden brown- and if so, just slightly. Let cool on the baking sheet for several minutes, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, place the confectioners sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the melted butter, vanilla, and milk to the bowl and beat until smooth. Whisk in additional milk if icing is too thick, one teaspoon at a time, until you reach your desired consistency. Color frosting with gel food coloring, and frost cookies. Top with sprinkles, and store in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Adapted from Annie's Eats, original recipe here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pumpkin Cream Sauce with Sage

I love pumpkin in all of its forms- I love it in sweet desserts, I love it savory dishes, I love it in hearty breakfasts. I haven't exactly kept this love of pumpkin I have a secret. And likewise, I can't keep this sauce a secret. I was totally surprised by this one; I threw it together as a one of those "I have these ingredients on hand- it sounds like they could go together- I hope dinner ends up edible" dishes. Oh man, was it edible. I may or may not have eaten the extra sauce up with a spoon.

I've had sauces like this in restaurants, and hoped I could recreate something similar. It has a rich, slightly sweet flavor, and was so good over a mushroom ravioli. We also had it over gnocchi, sausage ravioli, mushroom fettuccine (yes, we had it that many times- it's a great way to use up leftover pumpkin), but the winner was the mushroom ravioli. I'm sure we'll be trying it many other ways as well!

Pumpkin Cream Sauce with Sage

3 heaping Tablespoons of pumpkin puree
1/4 cup of heavy cream (or half and half if you want to keep it lighter)
1 Tablespoon of chopped sage leaves
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
dash of black pepper

1/4 cup of fresh shaved Parmesan cheese

Directions: Heat pumpkin, cream, sage, salt, and pepper in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir to combine, and bring to a slight simmer. Allow to cook for a couple minutes, and stir in the Parmesan cheese. Continue to stir, as the cheese melts and sauce thickens. Serve over pasta or ravioli, and garnish with a bit of shaved Parmesan. Enjoy!

A Little Domestic Bliss original ;)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Indian Spiced Roasted Squash Soup

I don't think there is anything more comforting than a warm bowl of soup on a cold day. We have been having a freak warm streak lately, but it has finally cooled down enough to properly savor a nice warm bowl. I have been trying to find some different versions- a bit of a twist if you will- on the classic recipes. And since I am still buying squash after squash like it's going out of style, this Indian-spiced roasted squash soup recipe I saw in Cooking Light was perfect!

This is not the greatest picture- soups are so difficult to get a good shot of- but it is definitely better than this picture looks! It had just the perfect amount of spiciness, and the sweet yogurt garnish balanced that perfectly. It is definitely a new twist on an old standby.

Indian Spiced Roasted Squash Soup

1 yellow onion, chopped
8 ounces of carrots, chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
1 medium acorn squash, quartered
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
dash of black pepper

32 ounces of vegetable broth
1 teaspoon of curry powder
1/2 teaspoon of garam masala
dash of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt

6 Tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt
4 Tablespoons of honey

Directions: Preheat oven to 450. Place the onion, carrots, garlic cloves, butternut squash, and acorn squash on an olive oil-greased jelly-roll pan. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with pepper, and toss to coat. Roast for 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

Put the vegetable mixture into a large stock pot on the stove.  Add the vegetable broth, curry powder, garam masala, cayenne pepper, and salt. Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes.

Combine the Greek yogurt and honey, and stir until smooth. Drizzle over soup and serve. Enjoy!

Adapted from Cooking Light, original recipe here.