Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Amanda's Saving Money the Homemade Way - Sugar, Sugar and more Sugar!

I bet that title caught your eye, didn't it? Now that I have your attention, I would like you to picture the following scene. It shouldn't be hard- most of us have been there.

Your children have a Valentine's Day/ Christmas/ Halloween/ Whatever Party at school tomorrow. You decide to bring out the supermom within and make your world famous sugar cookies for their classrooms. You spent a lot of time preparing the dough and rolling out and baking them. It is now 9 pm. You have no icing, but you planned on making your yummy home-made icing recipe. You reach for your powdered sugar and find you have about half of what you need. Oh No!! You go next door to your neighbors house hoping she will have some, but she does not. What do you do?? Go to the store to get icing or powdered sugar? Send them un-iced? That would be fine except you know you like them better iced and so will the kids. You really really don't want to go to the store.... what do you do?

Yes- that was my scenario the night before my kids Valentine's day parties. As I pondered the situation, I thought I remembered reading something about how to make your own powdered sugar. Curiosity got the best of me and I researched it and found that it would be quite easy!!!

Powdered Sugar:
Here is how you do it. You need:

1 cup white sugar
2 TBSP Cornstarch

Place in a blender and blend until smooth! It will look like this:
I tried it in a blender and small food processor. It worked better in the blender. The taste was exactly the same as store bought powdered sugar and was so so close to the exact texture. I think it might have been the same texture exactly if the blade in my blender was a little newer/sharper. Some of the reviews I read stated that they used a coffee grinder (which I don't have) and it turned out exactly the same as store bought. Even though mine wasn't totally smooth (thought it was very very close), it worked great in the recipe!!!

The recipe above made about 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar:

Will this save money? Is it cheaper then just buying powdered sugar- quite possibly. Either way though, it definitely will save the time and expense of going to the store late at night when you are in a bind!

Sugar Cookies

So, I thought while I was writing, I would include my recipe for Sugar Cookies. Though I will admit, it isn't "my" recipe- it was passed on to me by a friend. I can say this honestly though: Throw away all your other sugar cookie recipes- this is BY FAR the BEST sugar cookie I have ever tried and it is so easy and does not use too many ingredients.

1 LB. butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 TBSP vanilla
6 cups sifted flour**
1 tsp baking soda

**make sure to sift the flour before measuring- it keeps the dough light and soft- even after rolling and re-rolling! Also, I have used butter and stick margarine- butter is easier to roll out, but it does work with stick margarine too. Don't use tub margarine.

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat well. In a separate bowl, mix the sifted flour and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture one cup at a time. When mixed well, divide dough into two sections and wrap cookie dough in waxed paper. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or over night. Roll out and cut shapes and place on cookie sheet. (If really firm, you can set out at room temp for 20 min or so to make easier to roll out.) Bake at 350 for 10 min. Cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely. Ice as desired.

-note- this recipe can be halved- just use two eggs.

How about icing?? Here is a really yummy recipe perfect for these cookies:

Cream Cheese Icing:

1/2 cup butter (1 stick- NOT margarine)-softened
1 8 oz pkg cream cheese- softened
4 cups (or 1 LB) powdered sugar (store bought or homemade!)
1 TBSP milk
a few drops food coloring as desired

Beat together butter and cream cheese. Add powdered sugar. Add milk and beat to desired consistency. Beat in food coloring. Here is a pic:

My icing was a little softer than usual because I used light cream cheese instead of regular, but it still worked great and tasted great! So, if you want a softer icing, use light cream cheese, or for an icing that will stand up a little firmer, use regular.


Do you like to use those sugar sprinkles on your cookies? It is ridiculously expensive to buy those little bottles in the baking aisle. Make it yourself for virtually free! It literally takes just seconds! Simply put a little sugar in a sandwich bag, add a few drops of food coloring, close the bag and smush the sugar around with your fingers on the outside of the bag. In less then a minute, you will have this:

Sprinkle on your cookies and here is the finished product:

After finishing these, you can strap on that "Supermom" cape and wear it with pride! No one even needs to know that your kitchen is a disaster, you were up past midnight, your house is a mess, your husband feels neglected and that your hair sticking out all over your head makes you look a bit scary! All they need to know is you created something wonderful from the most basic cheep ingredients you had around the house and you came through for your kids who carry them proudly into school (hopefully not dropping them....) to share with their classmates.



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