Tuesday, October 13, 2009

SPOOKY Treats and Tips

Alright, so I've been making yummy treats once a week with Sweet P. as an after-school activity for us to do together and a way to cut back the money that goes toward's Big D.'s daily sweet-tooth expenses. It has actually saved us a LOT of mulah and has been so much fun for us girls to do together. Even Little G. gets in on the fun by being our taste tester! She LURVES her cookies and brownies!

Anyway, I've been using super cheap mixes that are always on sale and the brownie mix is only .79 cents at FRY'S!

Follow the directions on the package of your chosen Cookie or Brownie Mix.

TIP #1: FOR COOKIES: Use room temperature butter, whether it's a stick or from the tub. Let it sit out for a few minutes before using, in order to make mixing your cookie dough a WHOLE lot easier! DO NOT MICROWAVE! Believe me, it messes up your cookies somehow, not sure the true reason why!

TIP#2: FOR COOKIES: Pour in your wet ingredients first, and then slowly add in the dry mix little by little. It will make the dough work so much better!

TIP#3: FOR COOKIES: If doing cutout sugar cookies, after working the dough thoroughly, I would put the cookie dough in a ziplock back and let it sit for at least 20 minutes. This will allow for your dough to roll out very nicely and for your cutouts to come apart with ease.

TIP#4: FOR COOKIES: I like to lay a mixture of flour and powdered sugar on the table where I will be rolling out my cookie dough. I then sprinkle it on top, as well, so that I have no trouble with the dough sticking to my rolling pin, and it gives the cookies a little extra sweetness after baking!

TIP#5: FOR COOKIES: For soft, yummy cookies, you want your cookie dough to be fairly thick after rolling it out. This will keep your baked cookies nice and chewy. If you accidently overbake those darned cookies, NEVER FEAR! I have a GREAT tip for you to get them to soften up even after they've gone crispy... My grandma taught me the trick! Place your cookies in an airtight container like tupperware (make sure if you have iced or frosted your cookies that you have let them sit for at least 4 hours before stacking them) and then place a piece of bread inside with them. Close your lid and after a couple of hours your cookies will already begin to soften and get yummy, chewy, and delicious, even if they were slightly burned. Just throw the bread right in there, THAT's IT!

For decorating those delicious treats, I prefer to use Icing because it has a smooth and professional look. My favorite is this Betty Crocker Cookie Icing. Also, it is great to invest in some Icing Writing tubes like these Make sure that you store the icing at room temperature. In fact, refer to the packaging of your particular icing and I'm sure it will suggest the same thing. You don't want icing to be cooled because then it won't run and spread the way that it is meant to.

NOW, for the BROWNIES!!! I went out and purchased a mini-cupcake tin just for this occasion. They are very handy to have no matter what, so I suggest going out and getting one! Especially if you have little ones around. They make great bite-sized treats, and we love bite-sized brownies!!! We also bought the mini-cupcake paper liners to keep from having burnt spots on our edges.

TIP#6: FOR BROWNIES: If pouring your brownies in a pan, try mixing little balls of sugar cookie dough in with it. I just rolled up little 1 inch round balls of dough and then smooshed it down inside the brownie batter so that it was covered and smooshed out like a flat quarter or disc. (sorry I don't have any pics, I may add some at a later time when I make these again) Although you typically bake cookie dough and brownie batter at different temperatures and different time limits, the dough will not burn when mixed in with the brownies. It makes such an awesome marbled brownie that is absolutely DELICIOUS -- and nutritious, right? ;)

Ice your brownies the same way you would ice your cookies, making sure that they are cooled completely beforehand.

TIP #7: FOR BROWNIES: Another fun thing to try with your brownies is to cut out shapes with cookie cutters after they've been baked. What I did in order to not waste any of the brownie that was leftover after cutting out the shapes, was I made sure that I cooked the brownies until they were ALMOST done. The brownie cake needs to be solid, but still very soft, almost like your cookie dough would feel like when playing with it. I let the pan and brownies cool completely before dropping them out of the pan and onto some parchment paper or aluminum foil. Then, I cut out my shapes, place them on a cookie sheet, and any leftover brownie from the cutouts will be molded into one of the cookie cutters, just like you would do when cutting out cookie dough, only you don't use a rolling pin on brownies. You just mold. Rebake the brownies for about 5 or so minutes or until they look like they are crisping up on the outside and you're one! (wish I had some pics of the process).

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