Vanilla Sugar Shortbread Wedges

Last year, I took part in the LA Food Bloggers Bake Sale for No Kid Hungry!  I met so many wonderful bloggers and had a great time.  Plus, I had BLD‘s life-changing Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes.  So really, it was a win-win day!

This year, my wonderful husband spotted a newspaper article asking for volunteer bakers for a No Kid Hungry Bake Sale closer to home!  The Redlands Bake Sale for No Kid Hungry sponsored by a Team called the IE Cookie Monsters.  It had to be fate!  You know how I feel about cookies!!

After sending an Email to Team IE Cookie Monsters, I started planning what I wanted to bake. Of course, I had to make brownies. That seems to be a tradition now.  I knew I wanted to do something different, but what?   After a bit of recipe searching, I settled on these easy and delicious Vanilla Sugar Shortbread Wedges.  They are thick, flaky, melt-in-your-mouth, have with a cup of tea on a rainy day, cookies.
Scored Shortbread Wedges

I’m planning on making these again for Mothers Day.  That is, if I can wait that long for another batch.

Vanilla Sugar Shortbread

Vanilla Sugar Shortbread

Ingredients:

2 Sticks Unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

1/4 cup Vanilla Sugar (or regular sugar, with one tsp vanilla bean paste), plus extra for dusting

1/2 cup Powdered Sugar

2 cups Flour

1 tsp salt

Directions:

In a bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter until it turns a pale yellow.  On a sheet of parchment paper, sift sugars together using a fine mesh sieve. Pick up the parchment paper and use it to gently add sugar mix to the butter. Continue to beat until thick and creamy (about 5 minutes).  If you are using regular sugar, add the vanilla paste after you’ve creamed the sugar and butter together.

Sift flour and salt together over the same sheet of parchment paper.  Add to butter/sugar mix, mix until just incorporated.

Wrap dough in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

After dough has chilled, press gently in an 8″ round cake pan.  No need to grease the pan, there is plenty of butter in the dough!  Score the dough into wedges, so it will be easier to cut when it’s done baking.

Bake for 1 hour, or until the top of the shortbread has barely browned.

Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.  Cut the shortbread along the score marks, forming eight large wedges.  Dust lightly with 1 tsp granulated sugar.

Share these with a friend and a cup of hot tea or coffee.

Vanilla Shortbread Wedges

NOTE:  These make very thick cookies.  You can split the dough in half and use two cake pans.  Shorten your cooking time to 35-40 minutes (watch carefully).  You can also roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and use cookie cutters.  If you use cookie cutters, place the dough back in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before baking.  Baking cold cookies will help them maintain their shape.

ENJOY!!

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A Culinary Bucket List for 2013

For the past two years, Samantha at The Little Ferraro Kitchen has created a culinary bucket list. I think this is a fabulous idea! It made me wonder… what do I want to accomplish in MY kitchen this year? How can I push myself out of my comfort zone and become a better cook? I’ve spent the last few days pouring over cookbooks and blogs, putting a few ideas to paper!

So here we go! In no particular order, my Culinary Bucket List for 2013:

Master the Five Mother Sauces (with the help of Julia Child and a few of my Chef friends!) Bechamel, Veloute, Espagnole, Hollandaise and Tomato Sauces, here I come!

Hot and Sour Soup The ultimate comfort food when I am feeling sick. I’ve got to learn how to make this myself!

Creme Brûlée This might have something to do with the mini kitchen torch I got for Christmas. Doesn’t every girl needs her own blow torch AND a reason to use it? 😉

Standing Rib Roast with Yorkshire Pudding A favorite from my childhood and an excuse to finally use the popover pan I bought several months ago!

Lava Cake

Cioppino

Seafood Paella

Eggs Perfected technique in every way! Baked, shirred, poached, soft-boiled, scrambled, hard-boiled, fried, over-easy, rolled omelette (Julia’s way!), custards etc.

Homemade dressings/marinades/pickles/condiments We are trying to break away from store-bought cans and bottles. I am really looking forward to the challenge of how to do this permanently (and deliciously!)

Homemade sausages Breakfast, Chorizo, Italian… Mmmm!

Springerle Cookies I know! It’s hard to believe there is a cookie out there I HAVEN’T made, but here it is. I will find a fun mold and make them this year!

And as a side note:
Improve my Knife Skills What did Chefs do before food processors? Does it make me a kitchen nerd to want to learn all the spiffy techniques and proper cuts the old-fashioned way?

I’d love suggestions from all my foodie friends too. What would YOU like to see me make? Challenge me! Let me know in the comments or on Facebook which things are on your culinary list. Let’s learn together this year!

Magical Orange Gingerbread with Cream Cheese Frosting!

If you love gingerbread, one bite of this cake and you’ll be convinced a fairy godmother must have waved her magic wand to create such perfection!

Magic Gingerbread

So, aside from the Fairy Godmother, why am I calling this “magical” gingerbread? Two reasons:

One, it tastes like Christmas! Imagine sitting in front of a roaring fireplace with a cup of hot tea and a platter of THIS delicious gingerbread to share with your family? Magical memories are sure to ensue!

Two, our Sundays with Joy group had some interesting experiences with the amount of batter fitting (or not) into an 8×8 pan. Obviously from the picture below, mine fit into TWO pans.

Gingerbread

It was a very curious conundrum!

Magical Gingerbread has quickly become a favorite around here! I especially love the unexpected pop of the pomegranate arils on the frosting. It makes a fabulous cake even more… well…. magical!
Joy the Baker wrote about it in her cookbook, but then she posted it again on her blog. Yes, it’s just that good! Here is the link to the recipe:

Orange Gingerbread with Cream Cheese Frosting

I think I may have had another magical moment… I used both “ensue” and “conundrum” in a post. Wow! 😉

Try the gingerbread! You won’t be sorry!

Till next time, foodie friends! XOXO

Next weeks bowling snacks!

Last night most of the bowling teams in our league (including half of ours!) went to a local amusement park for a Halloween Fright Fest.  Mr. Kitchen and I didn’t go.  I didn’t want to bake for just the two of us, so we were sans bowling snacks for the very first time.  I think my scores are worse without snacks.  I didn’t break 100 once.  Tonight, I’ve been searching the web for next weeks Bowling Snack inspiration. Chocolate and peanut butter always make things better right?  Why should bowling scores be any different!  There are some fantastic food blogs out there, filled with wonderful recipes!  I now have a list of things I want to make (and several different things I’d like to change about this blog.  More on the blog later!) Next week, I’m breaking out Kevin & Amanda’s Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie & Oreo Fudge Brownie Bars.  The link will take you to the delicious photos and the recipe!  If you can wait a week, I’ll be posting my version.  I can hardly wait!

Review: IE Food Truck Festival

Yesterday was the IE Food Truck and Brew Festival.  The event was held at the Citizens Bank Arena and we had tickets for the Food Festival AND the Ontario Reign Hockey game afterward.  Dubbed as “Truck & Puck!”  we were excited to spend the afternoon wandering (and eating) and then going to a hockey game.  They started the event at 11 a.m.  We didn’t arrive until after 1:30 p.m. Did I mention we had tickets to the Hockey game?  Did I mention my husband is a big Hockey fan?  No?  We were watching the LA Kings Game before we came to the Arena.  So our priorities for the day were: hockey, food and more hockey!  🙂 By the time we were there it was a “Food Truck Festival” and not a “Brew Fest”.  Apparently several of the breweries who were in attendance mis-calculated the demand and simply packed up and left when their supplies ran out.  As I am not much of a Bud Light Fan (that was all that was left when we arrived), this was a bit saddening.  I was looking forward to sampling some of Stone Brewery offerings.

Among the 58 listed Food Trucks were Nom Nom,

 

 

 

 

 

 

White Rabbit – complete with their own DJ!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and making its first appearance with their new truck, My Delight Cupcakery!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isn’t the cupcake cute?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And if you think the truck is cute, you should try their cupcakes!  Seriously, they are life changing.  Hands down, my favorite is their Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcake, but my Starbucks friends who work next to their shop, will tell you to try their Breakfast Cupcake too.

I shamelessly waited for two hours for a grilled cheese sandwich from The Grilled Cheese Truck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We actually had two sandwiches from the Grilled Cheese Truck…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first was their Signature Sandwich with Pulled Pork, Mac & Cheese and Caramelized Onions.  The second was their Caprese Sandwich with fresh Mozzarella, Tomatoes and Basil.  In addition to their sandwiches, the Grilled Cheese Truck makes their own Aoli sauces!  We got the bacon and the roasted garlic.  Both very, very good!

We also ate from Mun-Chee5.  They had their Tri-Tip Fries, with the works on top!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our niece Erin, was there supporting Gavin’s Foundation as one of “Gavin’s Groupies”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She ate from The Rolling Sushi Van!

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was her plate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After all that food, we needed something sweet, so we stopped for some shaved ice!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Careful of the blue ones, they do strange things to your tongue!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having never been to a Truck Festival before, this was a lot of fun.  There were a few radio stations there, some live bands, a motorcycle riding demonstration and a Kidzone, with a rock climbing wall, roller hockey area and face painting and video games!

Speaking of games, here is the proof we were at the Hockey Game too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If they do this again next year, we will definitely be going!  It was a fun day – full of good food, family and hockey.  Can’t get much better than that!

The Potato Taco Quest!

Every day I learn new things about the wonderful world of food!  Potato Tacos are my newest discovery!  My vegetarian daughter challenged me to turn Taco Tuesday into Potato Taco Tuesday – just for her.   Now, I have to admit, my first thought was potatoes…  in a taco…?  Really?

So I did a bit of research.

Tacos de Papa is a real thing!  No, really!  Stop laughing at me.  IMPERFECT Kitchen, remember?  I don’t know it all (yet).  I can honestly say, I’ve never had a potato taco in my whole life – and that’s a pretty long time!  I love fish tacos, but potato tacos? Here is a picture I found at www.thekitchn.com.   Doesn’t it look good?

After reading all the different recipes and variations online, I feel cheated!  I need to have a potato taco!  I need to MAKE a potato taco.  But first, I need a recipe.  Any suggestions?

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