Shital's-Kitchen: Back to Basics!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Back to Basics!

Language, grammar, and writing have never been my subject of interest. I would rather prefer Math, geometry, and Science. Maybe that is the reason I became a Science teacher.

With wonderful language colleagues/teachers around me, I recently developed an affinity for language. Learning new vocab words, grammar punctuations, and pronunciations is so interesting. And, guess what? I am practicing worksheets again. I had never enjoyed language so much.  

My colleague Ann, a wonderful, energetic English enthusiast, came up with this plan, where I could be a guest student in her class, while kids could teach me few concepts and strengthen their grammar foundation. This was a brilliant idea!

Last Friday, my grade 5 students presented a wonderful lesson on 'Comma in sentences'. They created Google presentations, and spoke about appositives and Oxford commas too.  Surely, it was a great day!

While I got to refresh my grammar concept, I baked some goodies for my teacher students :) I watched an episode of a Basic Sugar cookie recipe by Alton Brown, a celebrity chef who explains the science of cooking. Here is the video worth watching:

 By using Alton Brown's recipe, but eliminating eggs, I was all set to bake these delicious cookies.

1 cup unsalted butter, 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, 3/4 tsp. baking powder.

In a large bowl combine butter and sugar and whisk till it is light and fluffy.

Sieve flour and baking powder. Sieving dry ingredients allows us not only to get rid of granules, but also incorporates air to make our cookies light. Sieving is an important part of baking :)

Add 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.

Slowly fold in flour in whipped sugar and butter mixture.

I use my hand to get everything together.

Divide into 2 or 4 parts, wrap in a cling plastic sheet, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Here is a 'comma' shaped cookie cutter I created :)

Like Alton Brown explained, I used powdered sugar to dust the rolling surface, and rolled out to 1/4 inch cookies dough.

Press in the cookies cutter to yield maximum cookies.

Gently lift each cookie, and place it on a baking tray lined with a parchment paper.

Bake at 375 F for 10-15 min. 

Comma shaped cookies were ready to bite in :)

I now wanted to to write a little note of appreciation on the cookie. 
To prepare an eggless royal icing was an experiment. I was not sure if this would actually work. 
Royal icing for cookies is made by mixing egg white and confectionery sugar.

In a bowl of sugar, I added a tsp of milk. What I was looking for is a thick icing to pipe letters over the cookie. I also wanted the icing to dry up. and to be able to stack those cookies. Add a bit of vanilla or extract of your choice.

Here was a lump free, smooth, and thick icing. A nice stretchable icing that could be piped easily, and would maintain its shape without spreading.

I used a ziplock bag and a thin piping nozzle to pipe letter. Piping nozzle is optional. Fill the ziplock bag with icing, snip the corner, and you are good to go.

Wah lah! Experiment successful!

Now, I am all set for baking and decorating eggless cookies for Diwali!

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