Monday, October 27, 2008
Something New For You and Me
I get some weird comments and e-mails related to this blog. I got a rant once from an anorexic who was angry about the story I'd posted. Um, sorry, but this is a food blog. Not much of a surprise to get recipes and food stories. I got a request to put a link to someone's blog and when I checked out their blog it was dedicated to nail art. Entirely in Japanese. Well, that really doesn't have much to do with my English speaking readers who want recipes, so, no. And I recently got a request to review a website on my blog. They offered to pay me, whether I gave it a positive review or not. It was a furniture site. Hello, this is a food blog!
Therefore, it's with a bit of trepidation that I open up mail from someone I don't know. But my fears were totally unjustified when I opened an email titled Strauss' Confetti Cakes for Kids. It was an offer to try out the new book by the same title. Hmmm, free cookbook? Letmethink- YES!
I'd seen this book before on Amazon, but hadn't put it into my shopping cart because, and let's be honest about this, I'm not a cake decorator. I marvel at the amazing cakes I see on other talented baker's blogs, but I'm lucky if the frosting goes onto my cakes evenly and doesn't rip holes in the cake. Sprinkles on top is about the upper limit of my decorating ability.
When my copy of Confetti Cakes for Kids arrived in the mail I dropped everything else and sat down to thumb through the book. I was surprised. It does have a variety of showstopping projects - cakes, cupcakes, and cookies - but it also had very basic information so even a novice like me could use the book.
I decided to try out a simple recipe and see what my untalented hands could do. I used the recipe for sugar cookies. The difference in this recipe was not the ingredients, but the instructions. Lots of chilling. Make the dough. Chill. Roll the dough. Chill. Cut out the cookies and then put the whole pan in the freezer for 15 minutes before baking. This certainly helped the cookies keep nice, crisp shapes.
Then there was the icing. I have only used royal icing before for gluing together gingerbread houses. The book shows step by step how to make an icing fence on the perimeter to keep the icing in place, then flood the inside of the fence with icing. Aha, so that's the magic trick to keep the icing from dripping off the cookie! I think my icing was too stiff, but with a bit more practice, I think I could have some fun with this.
I made up half the dough to take pictures with, then turned my kids loose on the other half and they had a blast cutting, baking, decorating, and then, of course, eating!
I know they're not showstoppers, but this is the prettiest my decorated cookies have ever looked.
And if you're way beyond basic iced cookies and want a bit more of a challenge, take 4 minutes to watch the author, Elisa Strauss, create a spectacular cake.
Now for the really exciting bit - Anna, the kind and gracious lady who sent me the book, offered me 5 copies to give away! Woo hoo! Free cookbooks for you, too! This offer is limited to the United States and Canada. Leave a comment (not anonymously, please) saying that you'd like a book, and you'll be entered. You have until November 1st to leave a comment and I'll anounce the winners next Monday.