Baking my heart out!

Gingerbread

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So, for the first time ever I decided to enter a few baked goods into the Virginia State fair this year. I've never done any sort of baking contest but I love to cook and I'm often complimented on my foods. I entered 3 categories, zucchini cake, shortbread cookies and cakes-other. I never actually made a zucchini cake before but I make a pretty good zucchini bread so figured, what the heck, I'll give it a try. I also entered my pistachio shortbread cookies which I've made for years at Christmas time and lastly in the general cakes division I entered my carrot cake, which is my favorite cake I make that I've made for many, many years.

Today I went to the fair to enjoy the festivities and to see if I happened to win anything and I got a ribbon on all 3 of my entries :D I couldn't believe it! My zucchini cake (which I never actually made like that before) won first place in that category! Then my pistachio shortbread cookies won second place in the shortbread cookie category! Lastly, my carrot cake won third place in the cakes-general category! I was a little disappointed it only got third cause I really think it's a wonderful cake but honestly, going against all the other types of cake I guess that's pretty good. If it were a specific carrot cake category I might have placed higher.

I'm super excited, I can't believe for my first try I got ribbons on everything I did! That's so awesome :)

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my little pony collector

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Wow @Gingerbread those look so good I just want to jump in and eat all the cake and cookie you made can't help myself you said ribbons
Congratulations

Quote from The Last Round Up
You won an amazing amount of ribbons!
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Skybreeze

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That’s exciting!! Congratulations on your winnings.

Now I must insist on you sending shortbread my way. Shortbread is the bestest cookie ever created by hoomans ever and yours sound delightful. Even more so now that they’re ribbons winners. ;)
 

Leave a Whisper

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Congratulations Gingerbread! Those look and sound scrummy. I'm glad you had a good time and I'm not surprised that you won. :satisfied:

Say...you wouldn't be opposed to sharing that pistachio shortbread recipe would you?
 

Gingerbread

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Of course ladies :) It's an easy one too!

Pistachio Shortbread

1 C butter, softened
2/3 C sugar
1/2 tsp almond flavoring
2 1/4 C all purpose flour
1 C pistachios, finely chopped

Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add almond flavoring. Add flour and HALF the pistachios. Dough may get dry and crumbly and if you don't have a stand mixer I recommend getting in there with your hands and mixing it until no visible flour remains and it starts to soften up and come together. Form the dough into 1 or 2 logs depending on how big you want your cookies, don't make them too big or they won't cook right. 2 rolls about 1 1/5" diameters or 1 roll at about 2" diameter should be safe. Spread the second half of the pistachios on a sheet of wax paper, roll the dough logs in the pistachios, coating the outsides completely. Then just roll up your dough in the wax paper and wrap that in plastic wrap. Refrigerate several hours or overnight. Preheat oven to 325 F. Unwrap dough which will have hardened, Slice cookies into a little less than 1/2" slices. Arrange on ungreased cookie sheets about 1" apart. Bake for 15-20 min until edges just start to brown or tops just start to crack. Remove from oven and let sit on cookie sheet for a couple minutes before moving to wire rack to cool.

My tips: I buy the pistachios already unshelled for convenience but can only ever find them salted. So I used unsalted butter. I'm not sure how much it might effect taste if you changed either of those that's just the way I've always done it. At Christmas time when I usually make these I put 3-4 drops green food coloring in when I add the flavoring, it makes them look festive. I use my food processor for chopping the pistachios, several pulses until they get finely chopped but not completely powder-ized. I cook my cookies on baking stones, whatever you use you want to really watch them at the end, if the edges brown pull them out and if the tops start to crack a little they should be ready. They don't change shape too much cooking so it's kinda hard to tell. If they cook too long they are drier and more crumbly if they don't cook long enough the middles will still be soft and not that nice crisp you get with a shortbread. My husband likes a chocolate drizzle over the top of them and sometimes I do that on some for him. I've used white and semisweet drizzles and both have been good but I prefer them naked.
 

evilbunnyfoofoo

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I'm late to the party but huzzah! I'm so proud of you!

I knew you loved to bake, but wowzers! You'll need to add a little ribbon to your avie!
 
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