Saturday, September 1, 2012

Pears, and puff pastry, and cookies, oh my!

Pears, and puff pastry, and cookies, oh my! 

   So, the past few days have been, all but exciting.. Other than the fact that I've cooked a different dessert every night! A night of fancy Poached Pears, with Honey Brown Sugar Sauce. a Cast Iron Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie, some Puff Pasty Ricotta and Chocolate Chip "Tacos", and today, some deeeelicious Butter Cookies. 
   I'll start out by saying, my favorite of the bunch is the Butter cookies. I love something that's not too sweet, a little crispy, just delicious. And of course I dipped some of them in chocolate. (How could I resist!)
I love those tins of assorted cookies you get from someone who's not really sure of what to bring for a dinner or get together. I can't get enough of them! And these don't even compare. Homemade is just so much better. And these are suuuper easy. 

 ~Piped Butter Cookies~
2 1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract

Set oven to 350 degrees.

Start off by creaming butter and sugar until it's pale and creamy. (About 5 minutes)
In another bowl, mix flour and salt together until well combined. Set aside.
After your sugar has been creamed, add in vanilla and lemon, then the egg.
Mix well.
SLOWLY pour flour mixture in, and let mix until just incorporated. (BE CAREFUL! This could get messy if you don't go slow.)

Fill up a pastry bag with a big star tip, with the dough. (This needs to be a strong bag, the dough is thick)
On a parchment lined, (or silpat lined) baking sheet, pipe out cookies in whatever shape you please. Make sure that on each cookie sheet, the cookies are the same shape and size, if not you'll have some uncooked, some over cooked. So use a couple different sheets if needed. 
Bake at 350 degrees, for 10-20 minutes depending on how thick the cookies are. Just watch them after 10 or so minutes, and see if they need more time. They should just be browned on the edges slightly. 
Put them on a cooling rack for a few minutes after they're done, and store in an air tight container once cooled. 

This is where you can be pretty creative with these cookies. I dipped mine in melted semi-sweet chocolate chips, and sprinkled some with chopped pecans. You could use colored chocolate, peppermints, sprinkles any kind of candy you like really. You could also add dye to the cookie dough before you add flour mixture. Possibilities are really endless here.

I know I'm making a big batch of these, putting them in cute tins, and giving them out as Christmas gifts! :) So everybody get ready!!!

Here is my recipe for the fancy poached pears from the crock pot! This is easy, and so delicious! People will think you slaved over these. You can add or subtract for the amount of people you're having over. It's not an exact science or anything. You can kind of just flavor as you please. 

~Fancy Shmancy Poached Pears~
5-7 medium sized pears, cored peeled, and halved
3/4 cup brown sugar 
3/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon

After your pears are prepared, lay them in the crock pot.

In another bowl, mix the rest of your ingredients, and pour over pears.
Cook on high 2 1/2 hours.
Remove your pears, leaving the juice in crock pot.
Using a whisk, add in 
1 tablespoon of cornstarch 
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Whisk together and let cook on high for 10-15 minutes until it thickens some.
Serve your pears in a cup or bowl and drizzle sauce over. Top with some cinnamon whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream and you're set!

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