About Jesicakes

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A BFA Painting and Drawing graduate gone cookie designer and decorator.  I bring my knowledge of art, composition, and color to pastries to create the perfect cookies and cakes for your events or occasions.
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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Decorating Tutorial: Tutus and Flowers

For my little cousin Samantha's 3rd birthday, I wanted to make Tutu cookies for her because she loves ballet.  When I cut and baked all the tutus I needed I still had a lot of extra dough, so I cut the rest into flowers.  Now, I was limited for time, so these are not gluten free, but I'm sure you could find plenty of recipes for gluten free dough on the web.  I haven't perfected it yet with my own flour, but at work we just substitute Bob's All Purpose Gluten Free Flour in our regular recipe and it works great!

But back to the point, this is Jesicakes first decorating tutorial!!  I'll show you how to make these flowers and those tutus.  And the great thing about decorating, is once you learn principles like layering, you can apply them to make any cookie you want.

Royal Icing
Recipe by Martha Stewart
- 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 5 Tbsp meringue powder or 2 large egg whites
- 1/2 cup of room temperature water
- 1-2 tsp lemon juice

In the bowl of a mixer with a paddle attachment.

Add the water and lemon juice and using the paddle mix the water in enough so it is mostly saturated.

Turn on the mixer on low until it is fully saturated.  Then turn the mixer to medium high and beat for about 8 minutes.  The icing should hold it's peaks when you turn off the mixer and raise the paddle.

I find it easier to thin icing than to thicken it, so I'd make the base batch thick.

Transfer to a sealed plastic container to keep the icing in while mixing the colors.  The icing will dry out and harden if you leave it exposed.
Icings Colors and Decorating
-Pink Gel Food Dye
-Yellow Gel Food Dye
-3 #2 round tips
-1 #13 star tip
-4 couplers and 4 coupler rings
-4 pastry bags
-Loose Icings: Light Pink, Dark Pink-Thick Icings: Dark Pink, White, Yellow
-Opal or White sanding sugar and a paper plate (optional)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Lemon Poppy and Apricot Almond Hamentashen

Hamentashen have always been a pastry that I wanted to love but mostly found them lacking in something that made them special.  They sound like the perfect package: slightly cakey, slightly crispy, filled with jam...but always tasting kind of bland (ESPECIALLY those bites without jam!).  Coincidentally the week at work we decide to try making hamentashen ourselves, my friend Jessica sent me a gluten free hamentashen recipe so I took it as a sign of having to try to make them for myself.  At work we made strawberry walnut (which I couldn't have because of the walnuts), chocolate, and lemon poppy. 

Already these were improvements from the plain sticky apricot filling that the hamentashen  I'm used to have.  So I decided to also go with Lemon Poppy and also went with a Apricot/Peach Almond filling.  I also added some orange zest to the dough, egg washed them, and gave them a dusting of cinnamon and sugar to add some more flavor and complexity to them.  The dough was a little tough to handle but once I got it down these were a breeze. 

And let's throw modesty out the window for a moment: These will make you completely forgot the awful, chalky, dry, sticky cookies super markets have the nerve to call hamentashen!  The dough is the perfect middle between cakey and crisp.  The flavor of the dough has a bit of brightness from the orange zest but not too much orange flavor so as to outshine the filling.  The cinnamon sugar dusting gives them a warmth and spice.  And the fillings are delectable.  The Lemon Poppy is the perfect balance of sweet and tart and the Apricot/Peach Almond has it's own bit of tartness from the apricot, sweetness from the peach and crunch from the almonds.  They're the perfect twist on the traditional plain poppy and plain apricot fillings.  Hamentashen are traditionally a Jewish pastry eaten during Purim (which is Wednesday night), but once you try these you'll be wanting to make hamentashen year round!

Lemon Poppy and Apricot/Peach Almond Hamentashen
Recipe via Beth Warren Nutrition from Special Diets for Special Kids by Lisa Lewis
Made Gluten Free by Jesicakes
Makes about 32 4'' hamentashen
Ingredients for Dough
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup canola oil (can substitute vegetable oil)
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp gluten free vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
- 1 1/2 cups sorghum flour
- 3/4 cups white rice flour
- 3/4 cups tapioca flour
- 4 tsp gluten free baking powder
- 2 tsp xanthan gum
- 2 tsp of orange zest (about one orange's worth)
- 1/4 tsp salt

- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp sugar
- extra white rice flour for dusting

Ingredients for Filling*
- 1 cup of lemon curd (I used Dickinson's 10oz jar of Lemon Curd...of course you can make your own but I wasn't feeling that ambitious!)
- 2 tsp poppy seeds
- 1 cup of Apricot/Peach Preserves (I used Smuckers naturals...when picking a preserves I make sure the only ingredients are the fruit, sugar, pectin, and citric acid...no starches or additives).
- 2/3 cups of finely chopped almonds

*this was not enough filling...I needed about another cup or so and happened to have other preserves in my fridge.  Overall I'd say you need 3 cups of the preserves of your choice total.