Bonjour mes amis,
Hard to believe we’re already at the end of the week! Mine started off with a bang with the 3rd Tri-Annual Impact Awards! This round was organized by the very talented EBM11 class and featured a Masquerade theme and had everything from contortionists and aerialists to drag queens and a very talented group of dancers performing a flash mob, not to mention the delicious menu of finger foods prepared by the many volunteers from EBM12, Mike and myself.
When the 11s approached me to bake for the IAs, I was so honoured! It’s kind of what every home-chef dreams of, and I can’t thank them enough for another opportunity to get my baked goods out there — who knows, maybe my goal of owning a bakery will come sooner than later! Even more than that, I was excited to get the chance to help them out with the Awards Show that they all helped me with so much in August (Ellie, you are an angel.)
One of the main things I’ll always remember about EBM is the shared back scratching. I’ve gotten the chance to collaborate with so many people with diverse backgrounds and interests this year, and I hope that it’ll continue for years to come.
At the start of a producing career, most of us don’t generally have a lot of money to spread around. One thing I’ve learned you can do, is paying people in return favours and baked goods, and I’m proud to say, I’ve baked and volunteered a lot this last year. So as I always say, pay it forward people! You never know what you’ll get in return! (Unless it’s from me, then it’ll generally be something you can count on having mass amounts of butter and sugar in it.)
So back to what we’re actually talking about — All and all I had an awesome time baking the cookies for the show, and an even better time waitressing — regardless of how little I knew about what ingredients were used in quiche… So let me share with you the first of the two recipes of the delicious cookies Mike and I prepared for the event — Stained Glass Cookies.
As you all know, I never have a recipe without a story, so here is the inspiration behind the stained glass…
I’ll take you all back to my often mentioned trip to Europe, this time to the streets of Paris, France… There are so many amazing memories from this trip, and many more recipes to come..
We arrived in Paris early in the morning after an overnight train in from Munich and immediately hopped on a bus to do a tour around town. I think my eyes were bulging out of my head the entire time, with my jaw dropped to the floor as we drove through the streets of Paris and I recognized all the various landmarks I had dreamed about since my childhood.
We parked and hopped off the bus, (I remember this mostly because my friend Annie stepped into a huge pile of bright yellow runny dog shit, which was the start of many, many jokes for the remainder of the trip — you’re a trooper Annie.) and made our way down to Notre Dame de Paris, and upon arrival I was left completely speechless from the grandeur of the building.. The amount of detail in the architecture left me totally awestruck… (not to mention the badassness of the gargoyles– damn Disney making me think they might come to life…) but that was only the beginning.
We went inside and I could not believe my eyes. I have been in a lot of churches in my day, having gone to catholic school, but I had never seen anything like this. The stories told through the artwork in the stained glass windows and those of the many people who sat in the wooden pews were racing through my mind as we made our way through the cathedral. Before making our way back into the bustling streets of Paris, I made sure to sign the guestbook, light a candle and collect a coin for my grandmother. It was such a wonderful start to the three days we spent in Paris, and I’ll never forget it — not to mention all the stuff I bought in the streets surrounding the church.
The next day we made our way to Montmatre and la Basilique du Sacre Coeur and there I was again, completely amazed by everything around me. I found myself lost in the stained glass images and the beautiful colors that had stayed so bright for so long…
I found Paris so fascinating when I was there. The people, the culture, and for the existence of religion and sex all in the same area, (I bought multiple decks of nudie cards which provided hours of fun on a train from a store that sold religious figurines). I love Paris.. Can’t wait to get back there one day.
So how did this all come together you ask? Well when Christine and the 11s had asked me to help out with baking for the Impact Awards, they asked me what kind of cookies I thought would be best suited for a winter masquerade? There were only two things that came to mind when I thought of Masquerades — Paris and color, and I knew my girl Martha Stewart had the perfect solution for me with Stained Glass Cookies.
Now my friends, it is time for the recipe — one batch makes approximately 30-35 cookies.
- 2 cups of sifted all purpose flour, plus more for your workspace.
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature — seriously, this is delicate dough and it needs to be that consistency.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (Mike and I added 2)
- 7 oz or approximately 30 hard candies such as Lifesavers, JollyRanchers, etc. We used JRs for their Masquerady colors, but if you made these for Christmas, you could use LifeSavers mmmmm.
1. Sift dry ingredients together in a bowl, set aside.
2. Mix putter and sugar together with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, approx. 3 minutes. Add your egg and mix until smooth, approx. 1 minute. Add flour mixture and mix until it is combined, adding vanilla when finished. Wrap the dough in plastic-wrap and refrigerate for about 45 minutes, until the dough is cold and firm.
3. Preheat your oven to 325 F. Roll out your dough on a floured surface to about an 1/8th of an inch thick. Cut out your shapes using whatever cookie cutters you like, and then cut out the middle of the cookie with a paring knife, or mine and Mike’s solution, a painting trowel — nice and sharp.
(Side note : if you check out a craft store you can get a variety of sizes of cookie cutters, and you can just cut the middle out that way instead!) Grab a spatula and transfer the cookies to a sheet lined with parchment paper. Now re-roll your dough and make as many shapes as you can!
Just an FYI, the masks didn’t work because this dough is really touchy. We tried to put one on top the other and combine the dough in the middle but it would just crumble apart every time. Lesson learned.
4. Sprinkle candy into the centres of each cookies being careful not to get any on the sides because it leaves melty candy drops everywhere, which don’t look so fancy. (Side note : You can mix the colors together to create awesome effects!) (Double Side note : I’m just re-reading the recipe now and it says to re-refrigerate the dough before baking them. We didn’t do this, and they turned out fine, so…yeah)
5. Bake the cookies until the candy has melted and filled the cutouts and the edges start turning a bit of a pale brown — I should mention that this is a very subtle color change, so just keep an eye on them. It takes about 11-13 minutes for them to cook. We alternated the racks back and forth because of the size of my oven….
Stay tuned to the blog for the chocolate crackles story and recipe shortly!