Butter Cream Icing

February 5, 2008
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The icing on the cake … yea … this is it. I have known children—I happened to be one—who ate the icing and not the cake. SAM

3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons heavy cream plus additional if necessary
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a mixer bowl on high speed, beat confectioner’s sugar, butter, cream, and vanilla extract until smooth. If necessary for easy spreading, add additional lemon juice 1 teaspoon at a time.
Makes 1 cup or enough for one 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

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Crab Puffs

January 21, 2008
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Serve this easy and elegant appetizer on a buffet table or have your waiter carry it to your guests on a tray. SAM

4 egg whites
2 cups mayonnaise
2/3 pound crabmeat, well drained (2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon hot-pepper sauce
1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
1 (20-inch) baguette, cut into 3/8-inch rounds and toasted

With an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold in the mayonnaise and crabmeat. Add the paprika, hot-pepper sauce, onion flakes, and parsley. Place 1 tablespoon of crab mixture on each bread round and place on a large, ungreased baking sheet. Broil until puffed and lightly browned.
Makes 6 dozen puffs.


Pecan Shortbreads

January 20, 2008
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This light shortbread is made with confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch for smoothness. Pecans add richness and crunch. The Lemon Butter Icing is the, well, icing on the cake. All in all, the perfect wedding cookie. SAM

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup finely chopped pecans
Lemon Butter Icing

With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter until light and fluffy. In a small bowl, combine the confectioners’ sugar, cornstarch, and flour and beat gradually into the butter. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 2 large baking sheets and set aside. Over waxed paper or a marble slab, scatter the pecans. Form the dough into 48 small balls and drop onto the pecans. Flatten with the bottom of a small glass dipped in flour. Place the cookies, nut side up, on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 15 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool and top with Lemon Butter Icing.
Makes 4 dozen cookies.


Cayenne Cheese Rounds

January 14, 2008
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Every good cook has his or her favorite cheese snacks. Some call them ‘straws,’ some call them ‘rounds.’ Whatever, they’re a must for any buffet or cocktail party. This recipe has an especially taste-tempting balance of hot pepper and mellow cheese and egg. Warning: make more than you think you’ll need. SAM

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon hot paprika
1/2 cup butter, cut in 1/2-inch pieces (1 stick)
2 egg yolks
4 tablespoons ice water

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cheese, pepper, and paprika. With a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks and add the ice water, beating until frothy. Stir the egg mixture into the cheese mixture to form a ball of dough. Dust with flour, cover, and chill until firm, about 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Form the dough into 48 small balls, place on a lightly floured surface, and flatten with a fork dipped in flour. Place rounds on ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 10 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire racks.
Makes 4 dozen.