Friday, April 11, 2008

cheer party - desserts

cheer cookies!

here's the follow up you've been waiting for...the sweets! i made two desserts for this year's cheer party, the classic cheer sugar cookie and a first time trial of a red velvet cupcake recipe.

the sugar cookies are Martha's recipe and you really can't go wrong there. the icing is what usually gets people's attention, and that's my own recipe, i guess. i like the icing to get a little hard on top but to stay soft near the cookie and i use meringue powder to achieve such a consistency. i don't really measure, either...(tsquare, pretend you never read that) but i'll do my best to give you a guide.

basic sugar cookie icing
1/4 c meringue powder (available online or even at jo-ann's/michaels)
2-3 tbsp milk
4-6 c powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
water as necessary
food coloring (paste/gel preferred)

1. mix the meringue powder and milk until combined
2. add powdered sugar in increments, slowly combining & alternating with tsps of water to achieve desired consistency
3. add vanilla and food coloring
4. spoon into pastry bag and pipe onto cookies

the icing should be thick enough to hold it's own - if it's too runny it will drip down the cookies. i like to pipe a guide line along the edge of the cookie and fill the center as needed. twirl the cookie to fill the gaps and allow to dry for several hours. the icing will be almost hard on the outside, but not so crunchy that it chips a molar.

my all brunette cheer team in cookie form

the cookies were a success. i'll be honest, though, the cupcakes...not so much. i'm pretty picky about cupcakes and i wasn't fond of the "baking" flavors of the recipe. i found this one on cupcakeblog - one of my favorite websites for recipes. she admits up front that this didn't turn out magically for her either, but that it was good enough. i did alter it a bit (both for cake flour and amounts of cocoa) and in addition to what might have been an already weak recipe (she says so, not just me!), i think my changes may have put it over the edge.

the start - dry goods and red tinged wet ingredients

the batter - "red" velvet looks more like plain old chocolate to me....

this was my first problem. it didn't even look red! i will say, part of my problem was that i ran out of gel coloring and had to resort to liquid...the color never got very strong and couldn't hold up against extra dark cocoa. anyway, i figured we'd have a new chocolate cupcake to try, so i forged ahead. (i'm obviously not sharing the recipe since i don't know exactly what went wrong or what to adjust...)

baked up

yes, they look pretty good. decent domes even (but hard to control, they really puffed!). then i tried one. the top was pretty hard and the inside was, well, not really chocolate-y. it didn't taste of much more than baking goods. it was too late to redo, so i whipped up some vanilla bean cream cheese frosting (also from cupcakeblog) and figured it would mask any less than perfect cake with is creamy goodness.

i was right. even if people really didn't like the flavor, the mini cupcakes were still gobbled up. i don't consider this a complete failure but i still maintain that i've never made a red velvet cake. i guess that means i've got more cupcakes to bake...i'm sure no one will mind!

we don't taste that great, but our tiny size and flecked frosting still make us irresistible


Nathanial said...

This is husband. I liked the cupcakes. Guests asked if they were produced by a local cupcake shop! Surely not the failure she says... isn't it mostly about the icing anyway?

Thomas said...

I want to eat them all . . .