Friday, December 16, 2011

Gingerbread Cookie Party: Chocolate Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

TeamBuilding Unlimited/Murder on the Menu offers lots of different types of Holiday Party Entertainment and team building -- from Mysteries to Charity Challenges to Culinary Team Events! Gingerbread Cookie Decorating is an all-time favorite.

TeamBuilding Unlimited provides the specially baked Gingerbread Cookies, Icing and Frosting, Tools, Decorations, and Technique instructions. You supply the Creativity! Your Gingerbread Men and Women can be whimsical, holiday oriented-- the sky's the limit! Last year one of our clients had a Gingerbread Decorating Throw-down!

Gingerbread Cookie Decorating is a fabulous way to 'spice' up your Holiday Party or Your Own Home Party!

 Because we're always DyingforChocolate, here's a Holiday Recipe:

Chocolate Gingerbread Cookie Recipe
This awesome recipe from Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito - Food & Wine Magazine

3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/3 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons sweet butter, softened
1/3 cup solid vegetable shortening (Crisco)
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 cup molasses
2 ounces dark chocolate (65-85% cacao), melted and cooled

1. In medium bowl, whisk flour with cocoa powder, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat softened butter with the shortening at medium speed until mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds. Add brown sugar and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
2. Add egg tocookie batter and beat until incorporated. Beat in molasses and then melted chocolate. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, beating between additions. Divide dough into 3 equal parts. Shape each part into a disk, then wrap each one in plastic wrap and refrigerate cookie dough until chilled, about 2 hours.
3. Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. On lightly floured work surface, roll out 1 disk of dough 1/4 inch thick. Using 4- to 5-inch cookie cutters, cut dough into shapes and transfer to prepared baking sheets. Reroll dough scraps and cut out more cookies.
4. Bake cookies for about 7 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking until tops are dry. Let cookies cool in pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Repeat process with remaining dough.

You can make Royal Icing or try this Recipe for Mascarpone Filling that doubles as Decorating Icing. Put it in a bag and pipe!  Or use Wilton Decorating Icing in the bottles.

Decorate your cookies. Let stand until icing dries, about 30 minutes.

Make Ahead: chocolate-gingerbread cookies can be kept in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mini-Pies at Your Next Special Event

A few years ago, I mentioned on this Blog that Pies were taking over Cakes at Weddings (Wedding Pie: Make Mine Chocolate). Pies, especially Mini-Pies have been popping up at all kinds of special events! They're part of the "Small-Food Movement".

I grew up with Tasty Cake Cakes & Pies, so Mini-Pies are not new to me. What is new is that they have become the new Cupcake or Macaron. Call them what you will from personal pies to cutie pies to Pie on a Stick! They're delicious, fun, and versatile! They're making their appearance at the most elegant of parties! They also make great wedding favors!

With the holidays upon us, you might want to make them yourself. Mini-Pies are perfect for parties and holiday gifts.  Check out Dani Cone's Cutie Pies: 40 Sweet, Savory, and Adorable Recipes (Andrew McMeel 2011). Great recipes and tips for Mini Pies from Cutie Pies (single-serving pies baked in a muffin tin), Flipsides (handheld turnovers-pie on the go), Pie-Pops (pie on a stick), Pie in a Jar (baked in mason jars), Petit-5's (baked in a mini muffin tin), and full size pies.

Check out for a Recipe for Two Bite Chocolate Cream Pie