Grinch-Inspired Crinkle Cookies

 

I’m loving all things “Grinch” right about now.  We recently took the kids to see the new “Grinch” movie and every where you go, there’s little reminders of it.

After making them their own Grinch-pancakes, I decided to make some of these Grinch-inspired Crinkle Cookies.

They’re super easy to make.  And I like the fact that I initially made up a big batch a dough, just a small batch of cookies, put the rest of the dough in a Zip-lock bag in the fridge, and have just been taking it out in little amounts to make them a small batch of cookies to enjoy at the end of their night with their hot cocoa.

If you’ve ever made snowball cookies, these are quite similar.  You mix all of your ingredients together until fully combined, roll them in the powdered sugar, set them directly onto your cookie sheet & bake.

Unlike the snowball cookie batter, these don’t need to be refrigerated before you roll them and bake them.  My Russian teacake dough, usually needs to set in the fridge for about a good hour before I can really roll them and have nice firm balls that will set up and not crumble when I go to roll them a second time.

If you have heart shaped sprinkles that are ready to go, then of course use them.  If you don’t, try taking a few red Wilton candy melts wafers and break them into small pieces to decorate the top of your cookies to make them officially, “Grinch-ed”.   Creamy, buttery & even a little bit crunchy.  You can’t go wrong with that.

The printable version is here:

 

The Perfect Pie Crust Recipe

A homemade pie crust – one that is made from scratch, and by you (not your mother, or your grandmother, your husband, one of your kids, your neighbor or your aunt) can seem like a daunting task.  It’s certainly easier (but far less rewarding) to just buy one from the store.

I have finally found a recipe that I can follow, that’s not crushed graham cracker crumbs or cookies of some sort.  I mean, a real McCoy, 100% legit, Martha-Stewart-I-see- you, type of a pie crust.  Finally, this is it!

My grandmother had shared her pie crust-making secrets with me years ago.  Truth be known- I never bothered to follow her specific instructions until now.

“Meeka,” she’d say, “You’ve got to make sure that your butter is cold, and the other ingredients are room temperature (like your flour, sugar, etc.)” and “You have to be sure and use ice water.”

Ice water.

Okay, that sounds simple enough.  This should be easy to follow.  Right?  Ice water seems easy enough to come by.   Unless, you choose to translate the term, “ice water” into “lukewarm water” or at best, “cold water straight out of the tap.”  It should produce the same results, right?  Not.

Even with the clearest of instructions, I have never once followed her recipe to a “T”.   Consequently, my pie crusts have never turned out just right.  They have never been anything that I could be proud of.  I have always wanted a 100% homemade pie from start to finish.  And now, I have finally, finally found the crust recipe, that I have been looking for!

Homemade Pie Crust Recipe

(This recipe makes one pie crust)

1 1/4 all-purpose flour

1/2 cup of cold butter (cut into cubes)

1/2 teaspoon of sugar

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1/4 of ice water

Directions:

Starting with very cold butter, cut the butter into cubes.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients and add in all of the cubed butter, and begin to blend with a pastry blender, until crumbly.

Add ice water, one tablespoon at a time.  *Note: This should be ice water, and not room temperature water, nor the coldest water that you can manage to get from the tap.

Add ice water, one tablespoon at a time, and continue to mix with the pastry blender gently.  Add enough water until the mixture begins to form into a dough.

 

Once the dough begins to stick to the pastry blender, scrape all of it off and back into the bowl, with a fork and then scoop everything into a gallon size ziplock bag.   This is my little trick to keep my hands clean while having full control over kneading the dough.  Additionally, I don’t mind the kids helping me to make the dough, nor do I have to worry about the cleanliness of their hands when they’re kneading the dough on the outside of the bag.  #momwin #bakerwin

Knead the dough for about 5 minutes and then flatten into a disc.

Firm up the edges, for a perfectly round disc-should you prefer.  And then refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

I doubled the recipe and made two pie crusts, hence why I had extra flour & butter when I began to mix with my pastry mixer.

After 2 hours, remove the dough from plastic and place it on a floured surface, flour the top of the disc, and begin to roll out with your rolling pin.

If you’re fancy enough, roll the flattened dough up around your rolling pin and then unroll it on to your pie plate.  (I did not do that with this one, but did it with my top crust).

Crimp around the edges of the pie crust using about a finger spacing in between.

Line the unbaked pie shell with aluminum foil and then fill with dry uncooked beans.  This will help your pie shell not to fill with air bubbles while it bakes.

Bake on 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and your ready to go.  See?  Now that wasn’t so bad after all.

Will you try this recipe?  Maybe even get it under your belt before the holidays?  I want to hear from you.  Drop me a comment below or email me at: thingsshemakes@gmail.com

 

Homemade Knock-Off Coconut Ice Cream

This homemade knock-off ice cream recipe is a delicious & affordable treat that you can make at home, to enjoy this summer.

One of my very favorite things to make during the summer is delicious homemade ice cream.  My kids love when I take them out for a nice cold treat when it’s hot out, but I thought, how much better to get them involved in the process in making their own delicious treat?

The steps to making this particular recipe is simple and starts with one of my favorite appliances, my Cuisinart ICE-20 Automatic 1-1/2-Quart Ice Cream Maker, White

Which clearly, needs the outer cover to be replace, because I’ve used this thing quite a bit (since 2002).  So, it’s seen a few days of homemade ice cream recipes & then some.

I found this particular brand of ice cream at the local Publix supermarket & loved it!  It had a subtle coconut flavor and itty-bits of fresh coconut texture.

Since I had most of the ingredients on hand.  I decided to go for it.  The only thing that I needed to make this recipe happen was heavy whipping cream.

So with that here we go.

Homemade Knock-Off Coconut Ice Cream Recipe

Ingredients:

1 cup of heavy whipping cream

3/4 cup of plain yogurt

1/4 cup of whole milk

3/4 cup of granulated sugar

1 cup of Trader Joes Organic Unsweetened Coconut Flakes

A churn style ice-cream maker (with an ice cold freezer basket)

In a large mixing bowl, combine, heavy cream, coconut flakes and sugar until fully blended.

In a separate bowl blend plain yogurt and milk until smooth.

Combine milk & yogurt mixture to coconut and cream mixture and fully blend.

Once, you’ve got that done, begin setting up your ice cream maker.

*Note: After each time we use our ice cream maker, I wash out the inner basket, dry it completely and place in a plastic bag, back in the freezer.  

The purpose of placing in the plastic bag is so that nothing gets inside of it.  And the purpose of keeping it in the freezer even when you have no upcoming plans of using it, is so that when you are ready to whip up a batch of ice cream, you’re good to go, without waiting a day or two for the basket to freeze.

After your ice cream machine is all set up, another little trick that I’ve learned is to pour the cream mixture in without the final lid being on.  So, pour the mixture in before you place the lid on it.  I have always put the final lid on like a cap and then have had to come back to clean mix off of the edges and sides of it.  Now, I realize that I could have skipped that clean up step all-together.

Since your basket is already frozen, this should take no more than 20-30 minutes.  If your basket is not frozen solid and just cold, your ice cream may never fully form.  Even putting that liquid into the freezer as is, will not turn it into full-on, ice cream.

Because we added plain yogurt to this, the texture is extra creamy and the little bits of the Trader Joe’s coconut flakes makes the texture of this, just that much more awesome!

I may or may not have been taking little samples from this batch before my ice cream was even done.

The bonus for me was that I kept the container from the previous “store” batch for this, and reused it once my ice cream was through.

This was simply delicious.

Will you try this?  I hope that you try this.

Homemade Knock-Off Coconut Ice Cream Recipe

Ingredients:

1 cup of heavy whipping cream

3/4 cup of plain yogurt

1/4 cup of whole milk

3/4 cup of granulated sugar

1 cup of Trader Joes Organic Unsweetened Coconut Flakes

A churn style ice-cream maker (with an ice cold freezer basket)

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, combine heavy whipping cream, granulated sugar, and coconut flakes until completely blended.

In a separate and smaller bowl, combine plain yogurt and milk until smooth.

Add yogurt mixture to coconut cream mixture and completely combine.

Set up ice cream machine, complete with completely frozen freezer basket.

Before attaching the cover/lid, pour cream mixture into the basket, and then set cover/lid in place on top.

Hit the “on” button to churn mixture for 20-30 minutes or until completely thick and creamy.  After 30 minutes, ice cream should be set.  Use a large metal spoon or wooden spatula to serve ice cream immediately or store in an airtight container in your freezer until you’re ready to eat.

Enjoy!

 

My Giant Samoa Cookie

I made this version of a giant Samoa cookie for our Girl Scout End Year Celebration last year & have made it again, this year.  Now, I  want to share it with you!

Giant Samoa Cookie

Ingredients:

Cookie Base-

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Samoa Topping-

  • 3 cups shredded coconut, sweetened

  • 1 1/3 cup chocolate chips, melted

  • 425 grams soft caramels

  • 3 tablespoons milk

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat until combined. Add the vanilla. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.

  2. Shape the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

Watch the video here to get a visual of this technique.

  1. Roll the dough out on a floured surface to 1/4 inch-thick. Use a bowl or plate to cut it into a large circle (make sure it will fit on your baking sheet!). Transfer the circle to a sheet of parchment paper, then place on a baking sheet. Slice a smaller circle out of the center to create a ring. Prick the surface with a fork, then bake at 325F for 20 minutes, or until the edges are just starting to brown. Cool completely on the baking sheet.

  1. Evenly sprinkle the shredded coconut onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes, until the coconut is toasted. Set aside.

  1. Spread about half of the melted chocolate onto the underside of the shortbread cookie, completely covering the base. Transfer the cookie to the freezer or fridge for the chocolate to set, while you make the topping.Place the soft caramels, milk and salt in a pot and set to medium heat. Stir constantly until the caramel has completely melted. Pour the caramel into a bowl with the toasted coconut, reserving about 1/3 cup of caramel. Mix the coconut and caramel mixture together.

  1. Spread the remaining caramel onto the non-chocolate side of the shortbread cookie. Generously spoon the coconut caramel mixture on top. Drizzle the remaining melted chocolate on top of the coconut. Enjoy!

So that’s it!  These are all pics from my very own creations.  All of the pictures in this post were from this year & last.    I hope that you enjoy & that you make it for your next Girl Scout celebration!