Sunday, February 24, 2013

So, Purim... what did we do?

Purim has come and gone.  A great time was had: megillah well read, matanot l'evyonim given, mishlochei manot distributed and received, a wonderful seudah with good friends enjoyed.  So I am sure you are all wondering - what did the Cookie Creators give for Mishloach Manot?  There's only so long you can rely on the old "we can't top it so why try" theory.  But in the interest of Shalom Bayit and sleep, there's a limit on what you can actually produce in addition to order.  What to do, what to do?

This year, of course, Purim is (was) a Sunday.  We had to work that in somehow, and I thought a fun way would be with a cookie decorated with an edible image of the Sunday comics.  There is not much we miss more than having a Sunday, and with that the Sunday paper, especially the funny pages.  From there, it was not too complicated.  We made cinnamon buns and banana chocolate chip muffins, packaged up egg shaped gummy candies, and threw in an orange.  Pop the comics cookie on top, and you've got a pretty decent mishloach manot.
Of course, we won't mention the fact that I am not a big yeast baker, and I have never made cinnamon buns before.  Or that I thought I would be really clever and somewhat healthy with my first attempt.  The lesson I learned was that fat is added for a reason, and that reason is deliciousness.  Just deal with it.  So my second attempt was far more successful, and, thus, went in the packages.  Maybe someday the experience will provide fodder for another post...
Shana tied the whole thing together with a label that sent the message of "Enjoy your Sunday brunch, from the sunny side-up eggs and baked goods down to the fresh squeezed orange juice (you'll have to squeeze it yourself) and the comics, and have a great Purim."  There were, naturally, a few glitches.  We ran out of cookies at some point, and the oranges too, and then had to juggle a bit to make complete packages.  It was not all perfect, though it was fun.  But overall, we were happy, and we survived another year.
Happy Purim to one and all!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Ridiculous Hot Dog Cookies for Purim - and Kosher Connection Recipe Linkup

Purim is a happy, carefree holiday.  If you're a kid, that is.  Costumes, candy, parties, and the cessation of education for at least two weeks.  It's awesome. 
But I get stressed out by this holiday, though I didn't used to.  I finally understood what my problem was recently, when a friend spelled it out for me.  You see, three years ago, we made awesome mishloach manot.  And I can't ever top it, so now I have put myself in a position where expectations are high, and I let everyone, especially myself, down when I give a lame old MM.

So what was so great about that year's MM?  Well, I finally relented and went with a theme beyond "it's Purim, here's some food."  Our theme was fast food, and everything (almost) was cookies and cake.  We made hamburgers,
hot dogs,
French fries with ketchup,

ice cream sundaes,
and chocolate milk - okay, that was real. And if I can't ever live the experience down, well, maybe you can share in my suffering as I share the recipe for the hot dog cookies.  They were bookmarked in my browser in a file called "ridiculous," which, obviously, they are, but you never know when a recipe like this could come in handy.  (I don't actually hve any ideas right now for when that could be, but I am sure they'll come to me.)  So I throw down the gauntlet: make these cookies for your Mishloach Manot, but keep in mind that they will impress your friends and and then everyone will expect to be wowed next year too!

As for me, I am sure we will come up with something, but if you have any great ideas for a theme for us that's not too complicated, we'd love to hear it!

Hot Dog Cookies
Adapted from TLC

150 grams softened margarine (1 1/2 sticks or 3/4 cup)
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt
red gel food coloring
1/2 teaspoon cocoa
Yellow and/or red buttercream frosting or royal icing

Cream margarine with sugars.  Beat in egg yolk.  Add dry ingredients and mix well.  Remove 1/3 of the dough and knead in a small amount of the red gel food color and the cocoa. Chill both sections well, at least a few hours or overnight.  Remove the uncolored dough, leaving the rest in the fridge, and divide into approximately 12 pieces.  Form each one into a long cylinder, then use the side of your hand to form an indentation (mimicking the shape of a hot dog bun).  Divide the colored dough into 12, and form each piece into a hot dog shape, then place each one in a "bun."
Chill in the fridge for about 20 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 350.  Bake for 15-17 minutes, until "buns" are lightly browned on the edges. 
When fully cool, put your frosting or icing in a decorating bag with a small round tip, and apply a squiggle of "mustard" or "ketchup" or both.  If you are so inclined, you can use things like cut-up gummy candies and shredded coconut to add "relish" or "onions."  With or without the additions, they will be adorable. Enjoy!
Wishing you all a happy and joyous Purim - and fun with the preparations!

And now for some real Mishloach Manot inspiration, check out the rest of this month's Kosher Connection recipes!

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