First Tooth Cookies

There are few events in life that will change the way you look forever – I’m not talking about dying or cutting your hair, covering yourself in fake tan or makeup – none of those things are permanent.  Aside from plastic surgery or physically growing taller, the only thing I can really think of that will change the way a person will look forever is when they start to get their teeth.  And that’s exactly what has happened to my little boy. 
First Tooth Cookies
It is a momentous event you know.  No longer can I stick my finger in his little mouth and have him chew away on it – if I do that now, I might as well be sticking my finger in a rat trap.  Each time I put my finger in there to have a little feel, it’s a gamble as to whether or not it will actually come out intact.  Having a mouth full of baby teeth is like having a mouth full of little razor blades.  They’re tools that will come in handy with everyday life, but they can draw blood if you’re not careful. 
We’ve waited 9 long months for these teeth to show up.  And while many babies I knew were really struggling with their teeth, crying out in constant pain and needing dose after dose of baby pain killers, I was quite relieved and pleased to see that Jayden has gone relatively unphased by the whole teething process. 
We noticed the first bottom one appear the day after he turned 9 months.  A week later the second bottom tooth made its appearance.  I thought that was all the teeth we’d see for at least a month – the body needs to recover from these things you know.  But a week later while we were in Italy, I dipped Jayden backwards while playing with him in the sun and to my surprise I saw another new tooth – but this time on the top!  Within the next two weeks, the total number of teeth we’d see in his mouth had grown to six.  His little smile is looking quite different now – it’s hard to get used to!
So goodbye toothless gummy smiles – we will never see you again.  Instead let’s celebrate with a cookie – a cute little first tooth sugar cookie.  Well, actually let me celebrate with the cookies – Jayden gets some celebratory bread sticks and cheese.  After all, I wouldn’t want him to rot his teeth out  😉

First Tooth Cookies

First Tooth Sugar Cookies
Equipment:
Tooth Cookie Cutter
White Pearl Lustre Dust
Pink Lustre Dust
Craft Paintbrushes
Edible Black Marker Pen


Sugar Cookie Dough – recipe here
Royal Icing – recipe here, although I used a boxed mix to save time.


1.  Roll out the dough, cut, and bake your cookies according to the directions in my sugar cookie post here.  Let your cookies cool fully before you start decorating them using royal icing.


2.  To decorate, pipe the outline of the tooth in white royal icing that’s thick enough to hold it’s shape, but not too dry (you should be able to tell if your icing consistency is right if you run a knife through your bowl of icing and it comes back together in about 10 – 15 seconds).


3.  Now it’s time to flood your cookies – you can do this in two ways:  fill them immediately after you’ve piped the outline, or allow the outline to dry for several hours and then fill.  I prefer it when the outline blends in with the rest of the icing, so I flood my cookies immediately after I pipe the outline.  Give the cookie a gentle shake from side to side a few times to help smooth out the icing.  Leave the flooded cookies to dry over night.


4.  Mix approximately 1/4 teaspoon of white lustre dust together with 1.5 teaspoons of vodka, or other clear alcohol in a little dish.  Using a paintbrush of an appropriate size, dip the brush into the white lustre dust mixture and brush over top of the royal icing to give it a pearlised finish.  Let dry for 15 – 30 minutes.


5.  Use an edible black marker to draw on little faces.  Give your teeth some rosy cheeks by dipping a smaller paintbrush in a bit of the dry pink lustre dust.  Gently apply the lustre dust in a small circular motion for the rosy look.


Look at these little pearly whites all lined up in a row!  Don’t you just want to sink your teeth into them!?

First Tooth Cookies

And to announce the winner of my Sweet Paris giveaway – the winning comment is……..

Congratulations Nicola McCandless!  Please send your mailing details to me at madewithpink@gmail.com, and I’ll have a copy of Sweet Paris sent off to you!
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French Hot Chocolate, Sweet Paris Book Review and a Giveaway


Phew!  After a whirlwind of Diamond Jubilee baking it was nice to get a bit of a break from baking and blogging by escaping to Italy for a few days.  Last week we travelled to Bologna for a short 3 day city break.  It was my first time in Italy and we (my husband, baby and I) had a fabulous time.  The sun was shining, the people were friendly and most importantly the food was amazing, especially the gelato!  

The gelato in Italy is the best ever.  They’ve got an amazing array of flavours, and I think the best one we tried was probably the ricotta and chocolate – who woulda thought!?  A daily gelato (or two!) was essential in helping to cool down in the hot Italian sun, so you can imagine our disappointment when we landed back on UK soil where the wind and rain was there to great us in full force.

The weather has been so rotten in the UK, I’m skeptical as to if summer will actually ever arrive.  The weather so far has been more suited to hot chocolate rather than gelato, and I’m pleased to say I have the perfect recipe!


A month or so ago I was sent a review copy of Sweet Paris by Michael Paul.  The instant I first opened Sweet Paris I knew it was going to go straight to the top of my “favourites” list.  Although I had a fantastic time in Italy, Paris still remains my favourite city to visit and I will definitely be taking my copy of Sweet Paris with me on my next visit there in August.

Sweet Paris isn’t your typical recipe book.  It’s filled with insider knowledge on the best places in Paris to find traditional French desserts and treats such as chocolate eclairs, macarons, strawberry tarts, brioche, creme brulee, salted butter caramel, and of course – hot chocolate.  A brief history of some of the major Parisian patisserie shops are included, as well as a history of many of the featured desserts.  There is a great selection of recipes that compliment the written content of the book as well, and I had a really hard time deciding on which one to make.  In the end I settled on the hot chocolate, and as well as a spur of the moment apple tarte tatin.


Sweet Paris is made up of seven chapters and also includes several pages of addresses so you can easily find your favourite pastry shop while your there.  The thing that really makes Sweet Paris stand out from the other books on my shelf is the photography.  The pages are filled with stunning images of Parisian pastries, pastry shops and every day images of Paris. I could stare at the photos all day long!


Some of the recipes that I’ve bookmarked to make in the future are:  

Classic French Chocolate Eclairs
Traditional Tart au Citron
Bittersweet Tarte au Chocolate
Homemade Blackcurrant Sorbet with Cassis
Classic Caramel au Beurre Sale 


I’d been looking for an authentic French hot chocolate recipe ever since I had my first encounter with it at the infamous Parisian tea salon Angelina.  The hot chocolate at Angelinia was so rich, thick and chocolately I couldn’t finish the whole thing.  Although it was delicious, it’s definitely not something I could drink on a regular basis.  The recipe for hot chocolate in Sweet Paris is just right – it’s still delicious and chocolately, but not overwhelming enough that you couldn’t finish the whole cup!



Old Fashioned French Hot Chocolate 
Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 Vanilla Pod 
600ml (20oz) Whole Milk
250ml (9oz) Single Cream
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
Pinch of Sea Salt
150g (5 1/2oz) Bittersweet Dark Chocolate, finely chopped
100g (3 1/2oz) Milk Chocolate , finely chopped
300ml (10 1/2oz) Double Cream, whipped

Instructions: 

1.  Slice the vanilla pod lengthwise and scrape out the seeds.  In a large saucepan, add the vanilla pod and seeds to the milk, cream, brown sugar and salt.  Warm over low heat and bring to a simmer, but don’t boil.

2.  Remove the milk mixture from the heat, and then remove the vanilla pod.  Add in the milk and dark chocolates and stir gently until they’re melted and the mixture becomes smooth.  Using a hand whisk, whisk the hot chocolate mixture for a few minutes until it’s smooth and frothy.

3.  Return the hot chocolate to the stove and re-heat again to a gentle simmer (not boiling).  Pour into cups and serve with whipped cream on top.

I served my hot chocolate with whipped cream on the side, just like they do at Angelina in Paris.


I also made the Apple Tarte Tatin when I needed a last minute dessert idea.  It was the first time I’d made a tarte tatin and it was delicious and so simple, only requiring a few ingredients.  I took a few pictures of it using my iphone before we gobbled it up.  


I can’t wait to try more recipes from Sweet Paris, and also explore some of the many pastry shops and tea salons listed in the book.  As I mentioned before, I will definitely be bringing my copy with me when I go to Paris in August.


Now here’s some good news – it’s GIVEAWAY time!!! I’ve got an extra copy of Sweet Paris to give away to one of my lucky readers!  


To have a chance at winning, simply leave a comment below telling me what your favourite Paris pastry is.  It could be macarons, eclairs, brioche – you decide!  Additional entries will be given by doing the following:

  • Become a follower on Google+ (I just joined this week!)
  • Become a fan on Facebook
  • Become a follower on Google Friend Connect
Links to all of the above are in the right hand column.  Maximum of 4 entries per person.  The winning comment will be chosen at random.

Open to UK residents only.  Contest closes at 11:59pm Monday June 25th.  Winner will be announced shortly after.  

*** Please note that you MUST leave a comment below in order to be entered into the prize draw, otherwise I have no way of keeping track of who, followed etc.  If you make a comment anonymously then please leave an email address so I can contact you if you win. You should leave a separate comment for each of the 3 things listed above if you want to be entered more than once.  I will be using random.org to choose a number from all of the comments listed below in order to determine the winner. ***


With thanks to Hardie Grant Publishing for my review copy of Sweet Paris. 
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Red White and Blue Dessert Jars

Earlier I posted the recipe for my Diamond Jubilee Petit Fours, but I’ve got a few more street party / picnic treats to share with you as well! 
These two recipes are super easy to make – NO baking required!  So even if you think you’re too busy over the bank holiday weekend to start messing around in the kitchen making treats, I can assure you that you’ve got time to make these!
First up are my Red, White and Blue Dessert Jars – they’re dead easy.  Layers of fresh blueberries, no bake cheesecake and chopped strawberries make these cute little jars the perfect picnic or street party dessert.  They’re highly portable!
Red, White and Blue Dessert Jars
Makes 3 
Ingredients:
8oz (227g) Cream Cheese (don’t use light, as it won’t work the same)
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp (37g) Granulated / Castor Sugar
1/4 cup (60ml) Whipping Cream or Double Cream
1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
Fresh Blueberries
Fresh Strawberries, chopped
3 Maison/Jam Jars
Instructions:
1. Wash and chop (chop strawberries only) your berries and set aside.  To make the cheesecake filling, mix the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla using an electric mixer in a medium bowl until nice and smooth.
2. Whip the cream, and then fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture so it’s fully combined.  Fold gently though – you don’t want to loose all the air in the cream!
3. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes to firm up.
4. Fill the bottom of each jar with a handful or two of blueberries, so the jar is 1/3 full.  Next spoon a few spoon fulls of the cheesecake filling on top of the blueberries so the jar is 2/3 full.  Lastly, add your strawberries on top of the cheesecake layer to fill the remaining 1/3 of the jar. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
See!  I told you these were easy!  I covered the tops of my jars with these pretty Jubilee Jar Covers from Lakeland that they sent me.  I also had a bag of Jubilee peanut M&M’s that I used to fill up an extra jar I had, which helped make my street party feast extra festive!


You may recall I made some baby blue coconut ice for my baby shower last summer, and the Diamond Jubilee was the perfect opportunity for me to make another special version of this retro British sweet.  I’ve kept the white layer, but changed the traditional pink top layer to half red and half blue.

Diamond Jubilee Coconut Ice
Ingredients:
3 1/2 cups (560g) Icing Sugar
2 1/2 cups (200g) Shredded (Desiccated) Coconut
395g Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Red and Blue Food colouring
Instructions:
1. Line the base and sides of a deep (4cm+) 19cm square dish with plastic cling wrap
2. Sift the icing sugar into large bowl. Stir in the coconut, condensed milk and vanilla extract.
3. Press half of the mixture firmly into the base of the prepared pan.  Take the second half of the mixture and divide it into two.  Work the red food colouring into one half of the remaining mixture, and the blue colouring into the second half kneading well in order to distribute the colour evenly. Press the red mixture evenly over half of the white layer, and the blue mixture over the second half of the white layer.  You can use a spatula to help smooth the top out.
4. Refrigerate for 3 hours or until firm.  Remove the coconut ice from tray, peel away the cling wrap, and cut into squares.  The coconut ice will keep for a week if stored in an airtight container.
I served my coconut ice in some pretty Jubilee cupcake cases that Lakeland sent me.  They can be found here in case you’re interested. 


Hopefully my street party treats have inspired you all to make something red, white and blue to help celebrate the Diamond Jubilee in style!  Have a fabulous holiday everyone!


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