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  • How to Make Easy Snowflake Sugar Cookies

    How to make Easy Snowflake Sugar Cookies

    Yield: about 40 cookies

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook: 10 minutes

    If you don’t have almond extract, feel free to omit. It simply adds an extra element of sweet flavor to the recipe.

    Ingredients

    For the cookies:

    3 sticks (339 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
    2 large eggs
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1/2 teaspoon almond extract
    4 1/2 cups (572 grams) all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder

    For the icing:

    2 cups (250 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    4 tablespoons water or milk

    Directions

    Make the cookies:

    In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until well-combined and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, vanilla, and almond extract and beat until combined. On low speed, slowly add in the flour and baking powder and beat until incorporated.

    Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Place one dough portion between two sheets of parchment and roll out to 1/4-inch thickness. Repeat with the remaining portion of dough. Place the two sheets of dough on a baking sheet and chill for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day. You can also freeze for 30 minutes.

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

    Remove the dough from the fridge and cut into shapes with a cookie cutter, rerolling any scraps and cutting more shapes. Transfer the shapes to the prepared baking sheets.

    If the dough is warm, freeze for 15 minutes or until firmed again.

    Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cookies are set and begin to brown. Be careful not to over-bake. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Baked un-iced sugar cookies can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

    Make the icing:

    In a small bowl, use a fork to beat together all the ingredients except the food coloring. The mixture should be very thick but still pourable.

    Transfer the icing to a squeeze bottle using a funnel. You can also scoop into a pastry bag fitted with a very small plain tip. Before you begin icing any cookies, take a few moments to practice on a piece of parchment paper to get the feel of the icing.

    Holding the bottle or bag tip directly over one corner of a cookie, create lines and dots to enhance the snowflake shape as seen in the photos. If desired, garnish with edible dragees, glitter, or sprinkles. Let the icing set before serving.

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  • Pumpkin Bread Rolls with Cinnamon Butter

    How to make Pumpkin Bread Rolls with Cinnamon Butter

    Yield: 15 bread rolls

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook: 2 hours 40 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the bread:

    1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
    1 cup whole milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm
    1/4 cup granulated sugar
    3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces or 43 grams) unsalted butter, melted
    1/2 cup (4 ounces or 113 grams) pumpkin puree
    2 large eggs, divided
    1 teaspoon salt
    3 3/4 cups (16.88 ounces or 479 grams) all-purpose flour

    Sliced pecan pieces, for the “stems”

    For the butter:

    1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1/4 cup powdered sugar
    1/4 cup honey
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    Directions

    For the bread rolls:

    In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, stir the yeast, milk, sugar, butter, pumpkin, one egg, and salt until well combined. Gradually add the flour and knead on medium-low speed until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn off the mixer and let the dough rest for 3 to 5 minutes. Continue to knead the dough on medium-low speed for another 5 minutes, or until the dough is soft and smooth. If it seems too sticky, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.

    Transfer the dough to a large greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

    Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 15 equal pieces and shape into balls. Use the palm of your hand to flatten each ball slightly. With a pairing knife, cut 8 slices around each ball, being careful not to slice all the way into the center, to make the pumpkin shape. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

    Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Using the wooden end of a small utensil or your finger to poke an indentation in the center of each roll to create a space for the “stem.” In a small bowl beat the remaining egg with 2 teaspoons of water and brush all over the rolls. Bake the rolls for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Place a sliced pecan piece into the indentation of each roll.

    For the cinnamon butter:

    In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter for 30 seconds, or until pale in color. Add the powdered sugar, honey, and cinnamon and beat until well combined, light, and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately or store, covered, in the fridge for up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before serving.

    Serve the rolls warm with the cinnamon butter.

    Adapted from my Ultimate Dinner Roll recipe

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  • How to Make and Store Brown Sugar

    How to make and Store Brown Sugar

    Yield: Any amount needed

    Prep Time: 5 minutes

    Ingredients

    1 cup granulated sugar
    1 tablespoon unsulphured molasses for light brown sugar, 2 to 3 tablespoons for dark brown sugar

    Directions

    In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the sugar and molasses until completely incorporated. Use or store in an airtight container. Use a brown sugar saver to keep it from hardening.

    If it does become hard, you can still add the soaked brown sugar saver to soften it. You can also add a slice of bread for a few hours, which will soften it again.

  • How to Make Bagels

    How to make Bagels

    Yield: 8 bagels

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook: 30 minutes

    If you don’t have instant yeast, you can always substitute with the same amount of active dry yeast. Simply add the active dry yeast to the warm water and let it proof for 5 minutes before proceeding with the recipe.

    If you can’t barley malt syrup (which I find on Amazon or at Whole Foods), use brown sugar.

    Ingredients

    For the dough:

    1 tablespoon instant yeast
    4 cups (17 ounces) bread flour
    2 teaspoons salt
    1 tablespoon barley malt syrup
    1 1/2 cups lukewarm water

    For the water bath:

    2 quarts (64 ounces) water
    2 tablespoons barley malt syrup
    1 tablespoon granulated sugar

    For the topping:

    1 egg white
    Desired toppings, see above

    Directions

    Make the dough:

    Combine all the dough ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Knead on medium-low speed for about 10 minutes (or knead vigorously by hand for 12 to 15 minutes). The dough will be stiff and hold its shape without spreading. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise until puffy but not necessarily doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

    Transfer the dough to a work surface and divide into eight pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth, round ball. Place on a silicone mat-lined baking pan or lightly greased baking pan (do NOT use parchment paper) and cover the balls with plastic wrap. Let them rest for 30 minutes. They may puff up slightly.

    Prepare the water bath:

    Meanwhile, prepare the water bath by heating the water, malt powder, and sugar to a gentle boil in a large, wide pan. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

    Use your index finger to poke a hole through the center of each dough ball then twirl the dough around your finger to stretch the hole to a 2-inch diameter. Place each bagel on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Transfer the bagels, 4 at a time, to the simmering water. Increase the heat to bring the water up to a gentle boil if necessary. Cook the bagels for 2 minutes, gently flip them over, and continue cooking for another minute. Use a skimmer to remove the bagels back to the baking sheet and repeat with remaining 4 bagels.

    Top and bake:

    Beat the egg white with 1 tablespoon of water and coat each bagel with the mixture. Sprinkle any desired toppings evenly over the bagels.

    Bake the bagels for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they reach their desired brown color. Remove the bagels from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.

    Serve or store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Stored bagels are best served toasted. You can also freeze the bagels in an airtight container for up to 2 months.

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