It's true. Angela and Trish are leaving the salon.
Let me start by saying that it was a privilege to work with "Ange" for the past several years. We shared a laugh about something everyday. I feel I can honestly say that the girl is a peach. She is such a talented stylist/colorist, always smiling, yet hardworking with boundless creativity. Although I am going to miss her terribly, I wish her all the happiness that life has to offer. She has been presented with a fabulous opportunity to own her own salon, so she's going for it....and she's taking her sister Trisha with her. Although she's on the brink of becoming a stylist herself, Trisha quite possibly could be the most talented shampooer a.k.a. head massager east of the Mississippi. Seriously.....she's that good. The clients rave about her.
In any case, the salon quite graciously is putting on an Appreciation Night for Ange and her clients, and Ange asked me if I'd make something. She requested Fruit Pizza, but I had other ideas. Smaller ones.
Using the same concept as the Fruit Pizza, but smaller, and cuter. Would you consider a tart to be cute? I've never really thought so, but in this case.....I do.
Instead of using the pre-made refrigerated sugar cookie dough, I made it from scratch. Not because I'm an over-achiever, but because I needed a lot of cookie dough and it was too expensive to buy the needed packages. Don't hate me......it's an easy recipe, I promise. This recipe will make about 5 dozen 2 1/2 inch round cookies.
The Ultimate Sugar Cookie
3 cups powdered sugar
2 cup (4 sticks) softened butter
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon cream of tartar
First, mix powdered sugar and butter together.
Add the eggs,
baking soda & cream of tartar,
then stand back and beat the living daylights out of it......
....then refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours or until it's firm.
When you're ready to bake, set your oven at 375 degrees then generously flour your board and rolling pin....because this stuff is sticky!
Take your dough from the fridge and roll it out to about 1/8 inch thickness.
Okay, I just noticed that I am referring to the dough as "your dough". Like it's your child.
A pastry cutter is great when working with this type of dough. Do you have one?? I find myself using it for almost every baking project. It has a sharp edge and makes an easy job of scraping up the dough.
I used a round fluted cutter to cut out the shape.
I sprinkled each cookie with a little granulated sugar before popping them into the oven, but that's optional. Depends on whether or not you like that satisfying crunch!
I baked them for about 14 minutes.......but watch them. You want the cookie to have a firm but chewy texture rather than one that's going to abruptly crunch and explode into crumbs when you take a bite.
While the cookies are cooling, get your fruit together and start prepping. For these little tarts I used juicy, red strawberries,
crunchy green grapes,
shiny, shiny blackberries,
and succulent kiwi.
Doesn't this fruit look good? ...and it's so fresh it almost jumped up off the counter and slapped me in the face!
Okay, wash and pat dry all of the fruit. I sliced up the strawberries, grapes and kiwi, but left the blueberries and blackberries whole. Once you've finished slicing, put them all aside while you whip up the cream cheese frosting.
I don't even remember where I got this recipe, but I know this..........it will be the last cream cheese recipe you will ever need. It is the bomb!
Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. cream cheese
5 tablespoons of butter
2 teaspoons of vanilla
2 cups confectioners sugar
Once the ingredients are all in the bowl, turn the mixer on and start singing loudly "beat it.....beat it......no one wants to be defeated". Oops, sorry. That was my little tribute to Michael Jackson. Poor Michael. Feel free to moonwalk if you wish.
You'll know that the cream cheese frosting is ready when its yellowish color gives way to a chaulky white. Geez....it's hard to resist, isn't it? (Notice the spoon approaching the target bowl from the left)
Maybe just a teensy taste........
Okay, let's take a time out for a second. From now on, I have to keep my glasses on when I'm baking. It's just that they annoy me so much. I have prescription progressive lenses. Okay, okay, they're bifocals. Sometimes I just like to pretend that I am not a little near-sighted and a little far-sighted (thanks Mom and Dad) I like to pretend that I'm 21 years old again and have the eyes of a hawk. But just in case my prescription glasses are out of reach, I keep tons of magnifiers around the house. But still I fight it.....I don't need my glasses. I don't need my glasses....I'm doing fine.....see? I don't need my glasses. Then something like THIS happens and I'm brought back to earth in flames. Do you see what's wrong with this picture??
Halfway through the baking process I REACHED FOR THE WRONG SIZED COOKIE CUTTER BECAUSE I DIDN'T HAVE MY DANG GLASSES ON.
Okay, where was I? Ah yes. I filled a pastry bag with the cream cheese frosting and a large fluted tip, although any type of decorating tip will do nicely. Then I piped a small amount onto each cookie, keeping the height of the frosting low.
I placed a piece of each fruit on top of the cream cheese frosting....artfully presented, of course and finished it off with a sprinkling of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Pretty, aren't they??
But wait! What's that you say?? I'm not finished yet? You're right, something's missing.....hmmm....What could make this better??? What makes everything better? Could it be...perhaps.....a smattering of rich, dark chocolate???
Whew!.......and the world is a better place once again.
After melting semi-sweet chips in a double boiler, I spooned the melted chocolate into a clear plastic bag and cut a hole in one corner. The hole should be about the size of the head of a pin. Then, working quickly, gently squeeze the bag and move it side to side to cover each cookie with the melted chocolate. Of course if you're like me, I load up the bag and just throw it on. My kitchen bears the marks of being a true chocolate-thrower. Sort of like a flame thrower, only you won't mind being on the receiving end of this one.
So there you have it.......
Sweet Tarts for a couple of sweethearts!