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Holiday Baking- 4 Ways to Protect Your Kitchen Countertops

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Holiday Baking Dos & Don’ts

As the holidays approach, we all find ourselves searching through cookbooks to find Grandma’s chocolate chip cookie recipe or whipping up batches of our sweet favorites in preparations for a holiday cookie exchange. While many of us are experts in the baking arena, not all of us are geologist. As you begin to preheat your oven, take in a few of these tips and tricks to make sure your kitchen countertops survive this holiday season.

Rolling Out Your Dough

Polished natural stone countertops can make for a baker’s dream! The coolness of the stone keeps the temperature of the dough nice and consistent. If you’re looking to keep the dough extra cold, try setting a baking sheet filled with ice on the countertop for about 15 min. prior to working your dough. The chill from the ice should last you through the mixing and rolling process. No matter the material of your countertops, you should be safe to roll out any uncolored dough on your tops.

Cookie Cutters

While polished countertops are great for rolling out a chilled dough, you may want to consider transferring your dough to a wooden cutting board or sliding a silicone mat underneath before you start using those cookie cutters.  Natural stones are very durable, they are not 100% scratchproof! Don’t let your holiday baking leave your tops scratched for years to come.

Food Coloring

No sugar cookie is complete without the vibrant colors of holiday icing. However, use extreme caution when getting out that tub of food coloring. All natural stone is porous to some degree, marble and quartzite more so than others.  While quartz manufacturers claim to be stain resistant, that is NOT the same as stain proof!  Don’t take the chance on having a little reminants of holiday baking remain in your countertops all year long; put a protective mat on top of your counters when handling food coloring of any sort.

Hot Pans

Nothing is easier than taking a pan of hot cookies fresh out of the oven and setting them on your countertops to cool. But you must use caution when attempting this task and know which material your countertops are made from! Most natural stones such as granite and quartzite can handle some degree of heat.  However, quartz is a manufactured top filled with small granules of resin to give it color and pattern. Any significant heat applied to quartz will cause it to melt &/or become discolored. You can head over to our Stone 101 Blog  to learn more about your specific stone countertop needs.

A Cookie Recipe to Impress

These peanut butter and marshmallow fluff cookies will wow your guests and have them thinking you are the next contestant on ‘The Great British Bake Off.’  Don’t be intimidated to make your own marshmallow fluff; it is the secret ingredient to this recipe.  But one word to the wise… go ahead and double or even triple this recipe! Since it is a sandwich style cookie, you don’t want to be disappointed that your holiday baking efforts in the kitchen didn’t produce enough for everyone to enjoy!

INGREDIENTS FOR THE COOKIES:

1 & 1/2 cups (180g) all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup (127g) creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup (100g) firmly packed light brown sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

TO MAKE THE COOKIES:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well.
  4. Reduce mixer speed to low. Gradually add the flour mixture, mixing just until combined.
  5. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between cookies. Use a fork to make a crosshatch design on top of each cookie.
  6. Bake, one pan at a time, 12 to 16 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on pans for 5 minutes. Then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

INGREDIENTS FOR MARSHMALLOW FLUFF:

1/3 cup water 3oz water

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup corn syrup

3 egg whites 3.5 oz at room temperature

1/2 tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

TO MAKE THE MARSHMALLOW FLUFF

  1. Place egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. In a heavy bottom saucepan add water, sugar, and corn syrup.
  3. Stir to combine and let the sugar dissolve over low heat.
  4. Do not let this mix simmer until the sugar has dissolved fully.
  5. Insert a candy thermometer into the pot and raise the temperature to medium. Do not stir from this point on as crystals will form.
  6. Simmer this mix about 8-10 min until it reaches 240oF (120oC) “softball stage” on a candy thermometer.
  7. Remove your sugar mix from the heat once you reach the correct temperature.
  8. Turn your mixer to medium speed and whip the egg whites to soft peaks. Approx. 3-4mins.
  9. Reduce speed to medium/low and very slowly pour the sugar syrup into the whites in a thin, steady stream.
  10. If your sugar mix has cooled off and begins to firm up, pop it back on the heat to make it liquid again.
  11. Once all the syrup is in, increase mixer to medium/high and continue whipping. The egg whites will deflate and then they will thicken and puff up.
  12. Continue to whip for 6-8 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and glossy.
  13. Add in vanilla and whip until the fluff has cooled.

Lastly, spread the frosting on the bottom of half of the cookies. Top each frosted cookie with an unfrosted cookie so that the bottoms face each other.

Love Local, Buy Cookies

If you love holiday cookies but are wanting to skip all the work, I highly recommend Mel’s Cookies & Cakes! I first tried her sweets at a fundraiser in 2019 for Johnson County Senior Services and fell in love! Her sugar cookies are the most flavorful and soft cookies I’ve ever had. Not only are her cookies divine, but they are also gorgeous as well. She is a top favorite for local venues and charity functions, and I know once you try her cookies, you will be hooked! Hop on her Facebook page to check out her offerings and order yours today!

Happy Holidays!

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