Tag Archives: sugar

The Gentleman’s Sour Cream Sugar Cookie – Pillowy Perfection for Decorating

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Does it seem I make a disproportionate amount of sweets? I think it’s my genetic legacy; my Granny never skips dessert. And when we have family gatherings there’s always a “sampler” – multiple choices. It’s a wonder we’re not all obese.

But holidays and occasions, like Wednesdays or laundry day, warrant special treats, and that’s what I am going to deliver.

I am sure you’re familiar with those plastic containers of sweet, sweet pillowy cookies in the bakery at the market. Well, why not take that idea and improve upon it? I am also going to offer you two icing options: one that will set up and harden, and one that will be smoother and creamier. The choice is yours.

The secret here is the sour cream. It established the light textural component that give this cookie its signature bite.

I had a little kitchen helper during my test run. This is my 2 year old nephew, Tyce. Making cookies with family always makes it more fun.

So let’s get going!

What you need:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup butter flavor Crisco
  • 2 cups white sugar (vanilla sugar would be especially nice*)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 5 1/2 cups flour

Turn your oven on to 375 and allow to preheat. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, cream butter, Crisco, and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla. A teaspoon of almond extract would also be nice here if you like that flavor.

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Add a cup at a time to the bowl with the mixer on low. Mix ONLY until combined.

Working in batches, roll onto a floured surface, 1/4 to 1/3 inch thickness. Yes, that is on the thick side for a sugar cookie. Just trust me here.

Use your favorite cookie cutter and stamp out shapes. Now, given the consistency of this dough, intricate forms are going to really frustrate you. Stick with basics.

Put the cut dough on the parchment lined sheets, and slide them into the preheated oven.

Watch them like a hawk! You will want to pull them when they are still very pale and NOT browned. I pulled mine at only 6 minutes (using a convection oven) and they were perfect. Really, timing is crucial.

Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.

And now the fun begins!

Royal icing dries hard, which is best for intricate decorating. Here’s how you make that:

What you need:

  • 3 cups 10x powdered sugar
  • 3 egg whites
  • vanilla or almond extract
  • possibly a few drops of water

In a very clean electric mixer bowl, using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until they get white-ish. Sift the powdered sugar and add it to the eggs. Add your favorite flavoring component.

Beat until everything is combined. Depending on your needs, determine whether you need a drop or two of water. Remember, you are one frosting these things, so get it to the consistency that you need. Add colors, etc, and use your creativity!

Option #2 is a stiff buttercream that actually tastes better than royal icing, but doesn’t set up super hard.

What you need:

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine softened butter and sifted powdered sugar. Allow to combine, add flavorings. Eyeball the milk quantity; start with 2 tablespoons. If you want it a little looser add a third.

Frost to your heart’s content!

I hope this brings your taste buds and tummies holiday happiness.

xo,

The Gentleman Caller

Full downloadable PDF here: Sour Cream Sugar Cookie

*vanilla sugar: fill a jar with regular white sugar. Insert a vanilla bean and allow to sit for a few weeks. The sugar will take on the aroma.

The Gentleman’s Marmalade

 

The Gentleman Caller’s Orange Marmalade

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Ahhh, the annual tradition of harvesting the oranges and turning them into sweet, sweet marmalade. It’s become something I do every single year, and seemingly can never make enough to get the family and friends in supply until the next harvest.

Now, marmalade wasn’t something I ate as a kid, but once I discovered it as an adult, the fire was ablaze. Citrus has such a different tang than most other fruits, and with crusty bread and a dollop of good butter, you simply can’t beat it.

So here is The Gentleman Caller’s Magical Marmalade.

What you need:

  • 5 high quality oranges
  • 2 high quality lemons
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 1/2 – 1.75 ounce boxes of fruit pectin (I use Sure Jell)
  • 5 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 oz Cointreau or other good orange liqueur
  • 8 – 1 cup jars with unused rubber ring lids and the rings

Fill a stock pot with water. Immerse jars and bring to a boil. Boil for several minutes to sterilize. Remove and allow to cool on a clean towel. Keep the water in the pot on the stove.

Using a sturdy vegetable peeler, take the outer skin off of the fruit. Chop into thin ribbons, no more than 1/16th inch wide by 1 inch long. It will look similar to a chiffonade.

Put 2 1/2 cups water into a sizable saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Add the chopped peels, 1/8 tsp baking soda and cover. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes.

While the peels simmer, use a serrated knife to remove the white under skin from the fruit. Then segment and chop the fruit into 1 inch pieces, reserving juice that may escape.

When the 20 minutes has elapsed, add the butter and the chopped fruit and juice to  the cooked peels. Bring back to a simmer and cook for 10 more minutes.

Add the pectin. Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil.

Once rolling boil is attained, add the sugar.

Bring once again to a full rolling boil for exactly one minute. Remove from heat. Add liqueur. The mixture will give a sizzle when this is added.

Heat the water in the stock pot. Add the rings and lids to the hot water so the rubber can get warm and create the seal on the jar.

Fill the jars carefully to not burn yourself! Wipe any spilled liquid off the rims. Allow a 1/2 inch reserve at the top of the jar. Swiftly affix a lid and screw a ring tightly on top.

Place lidded jars into the stockpot of boiling water.

Process for 10 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool. The liquid will thicken as the mixture cools. Do not invert the jars in this process or there will be marmalade on the inside of the lid (unsightly).

You will hear a  little pop when the seal takes.

Enjoy!

That’s all for now.

The Gentleman Caller

Clickable PDF here: TGCMarmalade

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The Lover’s Mojito (video)

Printable PDF at the bottom of the page!

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

I had my best girl, Kelly Felthouse, over for brunch yesterday morning and we had a delicious balsamic pineapple salad (see recipe). I was about to start putting away the leftover and she said, “You could make this into a cocktail. Like a mojito!” Genius.

So we did. Here are the results.

What you need (for 2 cocktails):

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  • 1 cup (scant) leftover balsamic pineapple salad
  • 5 sprigs fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • seltzer
  • 4 oz Malfy Italian gin
  • 2 oz limoncello
  • square ice cubes

Put 2 tablespoons of sugar in a shallow bowl or plate. Take 2 rocks glasses: dip rim in the pink liquid from the leftover salad, then roll the rim in sugar.

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Go pick some mint.

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In a jar or pyrex or sturdy glass, add the leftover rim sugar to the leftover salad. Add the mint sprigs.

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Muddle away. Get it all good and macerated. Add the gin and limoncello. Dole over ice into the sugar-rimmed glasses.

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Top with seltzer and give it a stir.

Cheers! A perfect summer cocktail. When I was naming this, I had to give a nod to my KelKel. In Trip of Love, Kelly sang the Lover’s Concerto after meeting my character. So I present to you THE LOVER’S MOJITO!

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Cheers to friends – the new ones and the old. And to you for reading. Till next time.

The Gentleman Caller

THE LOVER’S MOJITO