Friday, May 29, 2015

A morning in the kitchen

It's been very hot and humid for May in northern New England.  This morning was the first cool, breezy one in days, so I took the opportunity to bake some cookies for our pastor's retirement service this weekend.  I have several varieties already in the freezer, but needed to bake a few more.  I hit upon the idea of making these Fruity Pastel Cookies that I usually bake at Christmas time.

I had been talking with a friend about some strawberry cookies I'd made with a strawberry cake mix.  We were saying that it might be fun, for summer, to make them with orange cake mix for a Creamsicle® effect.  And so that's what got me thinking about these fruit-flavored cookies, colored and flavored with a package of Jell-o®.  They are a cookie press cookie -- spritz -- as I usually make them.

And that's why I chose them for this occasion -- cookie press cookies are fast and easy and the recipes usually make quite a few.

However.  One attempt with the orange dough made me toss the cookie press aside.  I've worn out several cookie presses over the years, and the one I have now is a lovely KitchenAid model.  It looks beautiful and works fairly well, but it produces cookies that are just too big.  To my mind,  pressed cookies should be daintier looking so they stay crisp.  If the cookies are too large they just taste sort of doughy and just not as good as they should.  You can see in the photo above how big the cookies came out.  If I had pressed all of the orange dough, I would have ended up with about a dozen cookies!  Clearly, this was not the best idea.

So I resorted to rolling the dough into balls, dipping the tops in sugar and then flattening them with a glass.  I tried using a cookie stamp but that didn't work very well either.

I went on to make lime cookies and cherry lemonade ones.  I hadn't intended to make any pink cookies, but when I found the cherry lemonade Jell-o® in the pantry, it just seemed meant to be.  I began by topping these with white sugar, but it sort of disappeared into the cookies so I switched to red.

So a couple of hours later, I ended up with this:

I've been cooling the cookies on the dining room table because of the possibility of ants on the kitchen counters.  I haven't seen any today, but you never know.  It's hot weather and it's New England.  The ants are about!

So I put down newspaper under the cooling racks so I could just leave place mats, runner, etc. right in place and not get crumbs all over them.  Works pretty well.

My morning in the kitchen was not yet complete, however.  I needed to cut up and cook some rhubarb for my dad.  I pulled the rhubarb at his place a few days ago and brought it home to prepare it when I had more time. 

He likes it simply stewed with some strawberry gelatin powder mixed in to give it a strawberry rhubarb flavor.  Makes it a little prettier, too, since his rhubarb is not all that red.

(The rhubarb has now been cooled, packaged, and delivered to the recipient.)
And that was my morning in the kitchen.  Busy, but productive.


  1. Those cookies look delicious! I am glad that you told us how you shaped them because the first thing that I noticed is how perfect they all look. The newspaper is a great tip, too!

  2. I always like the good old roll-the-dough-into-balls and flatten it with a glass method. It never fails. These cookies don't look exactly perfect, but they are more or less uniform and I like that for serving at an event. I detest making drop cookies (and will make them work as molded ones whenever possible) because you just never know what shape they will decide to be. I have a cookie scoop and it works fairly well, but I still find drop cookies unpredictable.

    Yes, good old newspaper! I use it a lot, from making patterns to placing under cooling racks to catch crumbs.


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