The Bible is the place I go to for strength, encouragement and wisdom. It's never-changing, despite the shifting sands of an uncertain, ever-vacillating world. Never failing to give me proper perspective on life and hope for the future, it's stood the test of time and is as true today as it was a thousand years ago.
There's one verse that, though the Bible certainly needs no embellishment from me, I'd love to revise just a bit; it's found in Psalm 127, verse five. It speaks about children and it goes like this; "Blessed (happy) is the man whose quiver is full of them" .................
................. this is my revision, not biblical, but certainly true for us; "Blessed (happy) is the man (and the grandparents) whose quiver is full of them".
Those of you who are regular visitors at The Café know that our quiver is quite full with three sweet little girls and a recently added new grandson. I can't begin to tell you how very blessed and very happy we are with these precious little ones.
But guess what? ................... (drum roll please!) ................... The Café's "quiver" is about to get fuller! I've been waiting for 2013 to roll out to make this fun announcement. Our son, Nick and daughter-in-law, Lindsay are expecting their first child in March. We're thrilled about this new addition to our family. They've been busy as little bees getting the room ready. Lindsay and I will be making the drapes sometime this next week. It's all very exciting and we're counting down the days.
The cool part is that Nick and Lindsay live only a few miles from us. We're so happy with the thought of being able to see this little girl (yes it's a girl!) grow up right before our eyes. Our other grandchildren live in London and, though we get to see them quite regularly, we miss them like crazy in between visits.
And we do, most definitely, know what to do with little girls here at The Café! We've got a huge trunk full of princess, ballet, and every other type of girlie dress up clothes. There's lots of jewelry, baubles, bangles, fancy hats and high heeled shoes. We've got Disney-princess bikes, games, puzzles and coloring cooks. The girls have a wonderful time playing with our dolls, strollers, baby beds and tea party sets.
Oh, and if you take a peek in my baking cupboard? Well, you'll see every type of sprinkle, jimmy, confetti, sanding sugar, nonpareils, and food coloring, all in varying shades of pink, pink, pink .............. and more pink. You see what I mean? ............... we really do know what to do with girls!
I pulled out an old classic recipe for this announcement and gave it a new twist. A friend of mine, many years ago, brought a plate of these Melt Aways w/ Brown Butter Icing to a gathering of friends. They were small with an off-white icing spooned over the top. Honestly, they weren't anything you'd take a second look at. But, oh my... when I took a bite, I was simply blown away. They're crisp, buttery and the most melt-in-your-mouth treat I've ever had. I begged her for the recipe, she obliged and it's been a treasure here in our home ever since.
I had some new fun with the Melt Aways this time. I made my own version of the brown butter icing, added a bit of gel food-coloring and loaded it into a pastry bag with a Wilton 2D tip, also known as a "rose" or "drop flower" tip. I held the tip perpendicular to the cookie and, starting in the center, simply piped a swirl to the outer edges. It does comes out looking like a rose, don't you think? A bit of my pink decorating "loot" was showered over the tops for a fun effect.
There's a great tutorial here that shows this simple, but beautiful, technique. Oh, and don't skip the brown butter; it adds a delicious flavor to the icing you won't want to miss. I brown my butter in the microwave, a super easy way to do it, without making a huge schweinerei on the stovetop.
Melt Away Cookies w/ Brown-Butter Icing
Ingredients for the cookies:
1 cup butter, softened
½ cup powdered sugar
½ cup corn starch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
sugar, for rolling
Ingredients for the icing:
½ cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon almond extract
3 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoon milk - you might need a bit more
Instructions for the cookies:
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line two sheet pans with parchment baking paper.
2. Beat butter until very light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
3. Add powdered sugar and cornstarch and beat until well-incorporated, about 1 minute.
4. Add vanilla and almond extracts, flour and and a pinch of salt. Mix until well combined.
5. Using a small cookie scoop, make equal size scoops of dough. Roll each scoop into a ball and roll in sugar. Place on prepared sheet pans and flatten with the bottom of a glass*. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and place on a cooking rack.
Instructions for the icing:
1. Place butter in a microwave-safe, medium size bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Place in microwave and cook on high power for around 4-5 minutes, depending on the microwave. Watch carefully after three minutes; every microwave is a little different. Once the butter begins to turn golden brown, remove from microwave. It will continue to cook a bit more as it sits.
2. Add powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons of the milk along with the vanilla and almond extracts. Start slowly beating. Once powdered sugar is fully incorporated, increase speed on mixer to medium high and beat for about 3-4 minutes. If is too thick, add a bit more milk and beat for another 30 seconds. (You want icing to easily flow from a decorator tip without being runny). Add food coloring as desired. Start with a tiny amount, especially if using gel-type food coloring. You can always go darker, but once you've added too much food coloring, it's impossible to go back!
3. Fit a decorating (pastry) bag, or a heavy-duty ziplock bag with one corner snipped off, with a large drop flower tip (if using Wilton, it's their 2D tip).
4. Starting at the center of a cookie, with tip perpendicular to the cookies, begin piping. Continue to pipe in an outward swirl until icing covers most of the cookie. Repeat with remaining cookies. (See tutorial here.)
Makes 2-3 dozen cookies, depending on size.
* ~ If your cookies crack a bit on the sides when you flatten them, just add a few drops of water to your dough or very lightly wet your hands before rolling. When you flatten, do it slowly, this will help to keep the dough from cracking also.