About The Saturday Chef

Midwest, United States
I am NOT a professional chef. I am what I affectionately dub a Saturday Chef—a weekend warrior of the culinary variety, fortified by the education I have gleaned from two high school cooking classes, the Food Network and my own gastronomical experiments. While I’m not ashamed to spend all day making bagels by hand, and proudly call myself a foodie, I’m not a food snob. I enjoy an Extra Value Meal as much as the next girl. My culinary escapades are still relegated to the weekends, but my love for cooking is stronger than ever, galvanized by more successes than failures, and the beautiful fact that the more I cook, the more people there are to feed. So please stay tuned for fun recipes, inevitable disasters and hopefully, a lot of good food.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Gingerbread Snowflakes (and More Merry Treats)

Christmas is coming.  The goose getting fat.  Or that's just me from all the taste-testing and coopie swaps. 
I spent the better part of two days in the kitchen baking a dessert basket for my family.  I got a little carried away and ended up making so many delicious sweets that my kitchen resembled a buffet fit for Mr. Claus himself. 

I've never made gingerbread cookies before.  I've made edible houses with it (that probably were unsafe even for gumdrop people) and I've smelled the artifical gingerbread in latte and candle form around this time of year.  The cookie itself is spicy and unique and not at all sweet.  Rolling them out is a mini work-out for the arms.  Decorating them is always a sugary good time!   And the benefits?  Frosting with painfully sweet icing is almost a must and your house smells like all things Christmas.  It'll have even the greenest grinch singing carols in no time. 


Gingerbread Snowflakes
by Marth Stewart
6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1 cup packed dark-brown sugar

4 teaspoons ground ginger

4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves

1 teaspoon finely ground pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

2 large eggs

1 cup unsulfured molasses


1.Sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder into a large bowl. Set aside.

2.Put butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until fluffy. Mix in spices and salt, then eggs and molasses. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Divide dough into thirds; wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.

3.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface to a 1/4-inch thick. Cut into snowflakes with a 7- inch snowflake-shape cookie cutter. Space 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, and refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.

4.Bake cookies until crisp but not dark, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.

5.Put icing in a pastry bag fitted with a small plain round tip (such as Ateco #7). Pipe designs on snowflakes; immediately sprinkle with sanding sugar. Let stand 5 minutes; tap off excess sugar. Let icing set completely at room temperature, about 1 hour. Store cookies between layers of parchment in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days.

Royal Icing

2 egg whites
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3 cups confectioner's sugar

Beat egg whies and lemon juice in an electric mixer until frothy. Add sifted sugar. Beat until smooth.

Sprinkle cookies with colored sanding sugars immediately after frosting. 


Best.  Blizzard.  Ever!

Other Treats and Recipes!


Recipe for Salted Caramel Puffs is HERE.


Recipe for Chocolate Toffee Pretzels is HERE.


Recipe for Fantastic Five-Layer Bars is HERE.


Add some cellophane bags, festive ribbons and VIOLA!  You have a gift for the entire family.