Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Gingerbread Creations at the Grand

Every year at Christmas Christ Kitchen holds a professional gingerbread contest.  Numbers were down this year, but I will share with you a few of the best.

The best, in my opinion was the Nativity Scene done by the Hall Family.  Every detail was amazing, and it is all edible!

A wiseman...

Another Wise Man

 I loved the camel.

 The details on the stable were amazing.  See the little bird.

 The Palm Trees

 I liked this little trove of water.

The lambs were so cute.

There was even a little dog!

My second favorite was done by a local cupcake shop, Sweet Frostings.  It was a depiction of  Family at Christmastime.  There were three scenes.  There was a Christmas Tree and Fireplace Scene, a bringing home the Christmas Tree Scene, and a Holiday Baking Scene.

The Christmas Tree and Fireplace Scene

The bringing home the Christmas Tree Scene, which I thought was charming.

These two just make me smile!

The third scene was a holiday kitchen.

I like the blue appliances.  The cabinets had dishes in them!

The little dog in front of the stove was so cute.

This is a fun event to go to every year.  I will close with a few pictures of the gorgeous Christmas trees in the Grand Hotel.

Thanks for dropping by; hoping you are having a wonderful holiday season with you and yours.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Molded Spiced Brown Sugar Shortcake Christmas Cookies

Dear Red Couch Readers, I have always been fascinated with cookie molds and presses.  When I was a child, my mother bought a couple of Rycraft cookie presses, and I fell in love with them.  I even remember the store, Orange Tree Imports, in Madison Wisconsin, where she bought them. It was a kitchen store, that I thought was very magical.   What not to love about a beautiful embossed butter cookies. On a sad note, the family that owned the Rycraft Company retired this year.  Apparently, there is a company that bought some of their stock, and there are other outlets for molds.

I recently bought these molds at World Market.  They cost $3.00 a piece, which I thought was very reasonable for the detail.  Some day I would like to buy some German Springerle molds.  They are much more costly.

Even though I love molds and presses, I have had a bit of problem with them, but I am happy to tell you that I have figured out the secret of getting the cookie out of the mold!  I guess I am a slow learner, and may not be telling you anything new, but here goes.  The secret is to lightly dust the cookie mold in flower and then press a ball of dough, that also has a light dusting of flour on it, and press it into the mold.  Read the recipe below for further instructions.  I am so happy to know how to do this!  No more cookie dough sticking to the mold!

I took my brown sugar shortbread recipe, and added some spices for Christmas.  Be aware that the spices will darken the cookies, so if you are looking for a whiter cookie, omit the spices.  Also note that if you use a recipe with eggs, or baking soda or powder, you will lose some of the embossing.

Molded Spiced Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookie Recipe

1 cup softened butter -- do not use margarine
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Beat the butter and both sugars with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until light and fluffy.  Beat in the vanilla, then beat in the salt.  On low speed, gradually beat in the flour just until incorporated.  Dip the mold in flower and then tap off the excess flower.  Make a ball of the dough and then lightly roll the part of the dough that will be pushed into the .  Press the dough into the mold and level off the dough on the back.   Lightly tap the mold on the edge of your missing bowl or something similar, and the mold will begin to release.  Carefully take the mold out and place on ungreased baking sheet.  Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, depending on the thickness of cookies and size of molds. Watch carefully so that you don't over bake!  I love a moist shortbread.  Cool cookies on wire rack. This recipe made about a dozen of the World Market Molds.

I hope you try some molded or pressed cookies for Christmas.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Getting the Christmas Tree Tablescape

I walked into Wal-Mart and could not resist these plates by Better Homes and Gardens.  I do not need new Christmas salad plates, but they beckoned and I answered.  I love the scene that it evokes, of times when we used to get a fresh tree.  In my childhood we did have wood-paneled station wagon, not quite as cool, and we used to go cut down our trees.

I set the table with these green napkins that I bought at Wal-Mart several years ago and the napkin rings I bought from the Style Sisters.

Here's a side view of the table.

Another view of the table.

I added a little candy cane interest with these candles and...

the candy canes on the table.

This table makes me smile!

I will share the recipe for the Cranberry Cheese Cake Bars soon.

Thanks for dropping by!

Posted with Tablescape Thursday.