Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Royal Icing

As promised, I made just a few millions of little gingerbread cookies with royal icing for some goodie bags John wanted to bring into work. In case the cookies sucked, we sprinkled in some Cadbury chocolate pieces, York peppermint patties, and Lindt truffles. Luckily, they didn't suck. I actually used two different mixes to make these, mostly because I knew I had to make a ton, but also because I can't quite handle the smell of pure molasses in my house after a terrible baking experiment when I was eleven.

The royal icing was homemade. It's pretty easy to make.
  • 3 T. egg whites
  • 1-2 t. vanilla extract (clear if you want pure white frosting)
  • ~3 T. warm water
  • ~2 c. powdered sugar

This one is saying "help meeeeee"
Beat the egg whites in a clean bowl until foamy. Then add in the vanilla and water and gradually add the powdered sugar as you continue to mix on medium-high speed. The amount of water/sugar you add will depend on the consistency you're trying for. I just wanted to pipe a simple design on each cookie, so I did add more sugar to get a stiffer consistency. For the flooding/glazed look method, you'd probably need to double the water. Put the icing in a piping bag immediately, or cover your bowl because this stuff hardens pretty quickly!

5 bags down... only 35 to go... 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Drunk Turkey

I haven't posted anything in awhile because I haven't had much time to cook or bake lately! This makes me sad, so immediately after this, I'm going to whip up a few batches of gingerbread cookies, because John would like to bring in little gifties for his co-workers on Tuesday. 
Even though Turkey is mostly a Thanksgiving food, I know a lot of people who also eat it for Christmas, so I thought I'd share my recipe for the perfect turkey.

I like to cook my turkey in a bag, mostly because I know it speeds up the cooking time, and when you only have one tiny oven and a ton of dishes to prepare, every minute counts. Also because it seems to lock in the moisture of whatever I decide to douse/baste my turkey with. The last few times I've made turkey, I like to get it drunk. You will need:
  • 1 12 lb turkey
  • 2/3 bottle of champagne (go cheap)
  • 1 stick butter, cubed
  • 2 apples, cored and sliced
  • garlic powder
  • salt & pepper
  • oven roasting bag
First, thaw your turkey, get the nasty bits out, and rinse it out and off. Pat dry. Use your index finger to loosen the turkey skin and cube of butter under the turkey skin all over the turkey. It will look like it has a bunch of tumors growing out of it. "It's not a tuma." At some point you have to truss the turkey, and I can never remember if I do this before or after the next few steps. I always use this video for help with trussing. Maybe go ahead and truss the turkey now. I used black string even though it looks sort of crappy. 

Put the apples inside of the turkey. You can use chopped onions if you want. I usually just use whatever extra stuff I have lying around since this is more for flavor/aroma and you don't end up eating the food in the turkey cavity. I certainly don't. Sprinkle the turkey with garlic powder, salt and pepper. 

Put the turkey inside one of those oven turkey bags (follow the instructions for the bag because you need to shake some flour inside so it doesn't explode) and place in a roasting pan. Pour the champagne over and around the turkey, and seal up the bag. It might make the garlic/salt/pepper step seem a little pointless, but I promise that the flavors stay with the turkey. 

Bake at 350 degrees for about 2 hours. Then, remove the bag from around the turkey. I usually do this by making a few incisions with scissors, then I pull on the bag gently until it comes loose from the turkey. Bake for 1 more hour, basting every 15-20 minutes, until the internal temperature is 180 degrees. The last hour outside of the bag is to brown up the skin a bit. It might not be the prettiest turkey, but I think it is pretty delicious. Let stand for 20 minutes before carving. 
I leave the carving up to John. He does a really good job, especially when he has one of those electric carvers at hand. 
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