Thursday, May 26, 2016

Texans Bake Best.

Texas has given way to some of my favorite creations: Blue Bell ice cream, Shiner beers, the best damn BBQ, and H-E-B...I know it seems silly, food, beer, and a chain of grocery stores (throwing shade your way, Walmart/Arkansas), and I realize that most people are inclined to adore the gifts of their home state, but Texas is clearly ranking superior in a lot of categories. I can't begin to explain to you why all of us Texans are so boastfully proud of our home state..John Steinbeck probably summed it up best when he said Texas was a state of mind. You have to be there to see it, feel it, experience it, and it is unlike anywhere else in the world. We've got rolling hills, gorgeous deserts, and some days we even experience all four seasons at once! We're also pretty damn proud of the fact that it can take an entire day to drive out of our state. We like things big in Texas--big trucks, big hair ('Tease it to Jesus,' we always say), big smiles; if you're looking for something big, chances are we have it, Texas-size. Take our cakes for instance. We have Texas sheet cakes because regular cakes simply weren't large enough, so we made sure to make them in a size so large they could only appropriately be named by comparing them to the size of bed linens. This is actually not true, but it would be pretty awesome if it was. Texas sheet cakes are supposedly called such because the cakes are cooked in a sheath pan and are only about an inch thick. Because Texans are geniuses, someone decided the cake-to-frosting ratio of normal cakes simply wasn't cutting it and perfected the sheet cake so you pretty much get a 1:1 ratio of cake and frosting. I would worship at the feet of whoever it was that took the initiative to make this happen. We all know we only eat cake for the frosting, unless you're one of those weird people who peels their frosting which case, know there's a special circle in hell for your deviant behavior. I have never made a traditional Texas sheet cake (although I've probably eaten at least 100 of them), and surprisingly, today is still not that day. Today is the day I took the mad-Texas science a step further. Today is the day that Kate Bakes Cakes makes yellow Texas sheet cake with chocolate frosting cookies. So when the time comes that someone is searching through the annals of history to figure out what brilliant Texan created such a concoction, let my blog do the talking!
Can you eat a dream?
The answer is yes. Yes you can. These provide all the flavor of a yellow Texas sheet cake, but in handheld form you can take with you literally everywhere you go. See, cake severely limits your ability to eat on the go. Who has time for plates and utensils in this day and age? This is starting to sound like an infomercial. I digress. Texas sheet cake icing is literally a gift from, well, some unknown Texan I talked about earlier who may or may not have either been some sort of diety or witch because this stuff is pure magic. It's like Magic Shell but for cake/cookies--hardened on the outside yet somehow ridiculously soft on the tongue. And the actual cookie? Proud to report the conversion from cake to cookie turned out ridiculously well. The outside is nice and crisp, but the inside is literally a piece of cake. This may be the crowning achievement of my original recipes. Did I peak before 30? Yes, but are we really that surprised a blonde narcissist with an over-inflated ego and real-life Disney villain qualities peaked before 30? No. No we are not.
So we'll carry on, business as usual.
I looked at the various recipes for traditional chocolate Texas sheet cakes, white Texas sheet cakes, caramel Texas sheet cakes, seriously, we go big or go home when it comes to the sheet cakes. I researched the science behind converting a cake batter to cookie batter. And by research, I mean a cursory search that had this whole cake to cookie thing figured out in under 30 seconds. So I'd like to pretend this was an arduous process resulting in my genius, but like most of life's confusing situations, it was solved with the help of Google. To make your very own batch of melt in your mouth, not in your hands yellow Texas sheet cake cookies, gather up:
  • 2 2/3 cup of flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 TBS baking powder
  • 1 cup of room temp butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 TBS vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 eggs at room temp
Start by preheating the oven to 350 and blending the flour, salt, and baking powder together in a medium bowl. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar for a few minutes until light and fluffy. Then add in each egg, one at a time, scraping down the bowl each time. Add in the vanilla and almond and blend. Then add in half of the dry mix, blend, scrape the bowl, and add the rest of the dry mix, blending until well incorporated.
Like little ice cream scoops of happiness.
Once your dough is made, line two trays with Parchment paper or spray with cooking spray. Use a cookie scoop and scoop away! This makes 32 cookies...or in my case and the name of science, 31 because I needed to sample dough to ensure the taste was alright (Come and get me, raw eggs in cookie dough. This is my house!!). Now, I don't like thin cookies...I like cookies thick like a slab of steak from H-E-B's butcher. I swear they're not paying me in anyway, I just love the store that much. So to keep my cookies from going totally flat and thin in the oven, I stick them in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to help keep a puffy form. These should bake for about 8-10 minutes, or until bottoms are turning golden and tops are firm.
Like a blonde field of dreams.
I baked these 12 at a time, one tray at a time with no issues. Let them cool fully before making your icing! Otherwise the icing won't harden, and that is simply not sheet cake icing then. It's just a puddle of delicious melted sugar. Still good, but not what we're looking for. FUTURE HELPFUL TIP: icing is messy. With or without a cooling rack, ensure you have Parchment paper underneath your cookies to save yourself a counter top disaster later.
What, still no booze in these? Whose blog is this?!
While I suppose you could add some Baileys in place of milk, since this was all still in the name of science, I did not. I feel like this is a really good excuse for anything, really... Didn't wear a bra anywhere you went today? In the name of science. Wanted to see what happened when you left a child near an angry cat? In the name of science. In the name of science, to make this icing, you need:
  • 1 cup of butter (room temp will help it melt faster)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup of milk (or 1/4 cup milk and 1/4 cup Baileys if you're feeling frisky) 
  • 6 cups of powdered sugar
Start by melting the butter, cocoa, and milk in a medium sauce pan on medium-high heat. Once melted, turn off the burner and add in one cup of powdered sugar at a time. You will get an arm workout here; you're gonna need to whisk like crazy to get out any lumps. Lumpy frosting = some other state's problem (Oklahoma, most likely), not Texas's. 
Now get ready to pour some frosting on me. I mean the cookies. I was having a Def Leppard moment.
To ice, simply spoon a large spoonful of icing on top of each cookie, doing your best to make sure you get it on all sides as well. I wanted to make these even more Texas-y, so what did I do?
The stars at night, are big and bright...
Deep in the heart of Texas! Sorry, not finishing that line ends with a lifetime prison sentence for any Texan. Probably a true fact. I iced four cookies at a time and then quickly dusted each one with star sprinkles. Mostly because they're for the Lone Star State, but also because we're moving soon and I don't think my husband is going to appreciate me taking up an entire box worth's of space in a U-haul for my decorative sprinkles collection. Once all your cookies have been frosted, back away slowly. Resist temptation. DO NOT TOUCH until the frosting has set after about an hour. I suppose you could place these in the fridge or freezer to speed up the process. I ate an orange and contemplated the impressive amount of sheer willpower I've grown since starting to record my daily food intake. I also may have cried a little, but I'm not sure the two were related (I'm positive they were).
You were worth the calories this close to swimsuit season, Texas sheet cake cookies.
Y'all...a blog about Texas and my first y'all wasn't until the end, clearly I need to brush up on my Texan...these cake cookies are the best thing to happen to Texas since Stephen F. Austin or Schlitterbahn. That good. Start to finish I was done in about 45 minutes, and that's including 15 minutes of staring longingly at my fridge while the dough chilled. The hardest part about making these cookie cakes was the hour wait to let the frosting set. I was a good little girl and waited until after dinner to eat one. I was proud. Proud of how damn good these are. The frosting is able to be handled without getting all over the place but still soft and melty when eating. The cookies are firm on the outside and smooth like buttah on the inside. Yellow cake/chocolate frosting is always a winner in my book, but these little fellas took it up a notch. Try these, you won't regret it. It's easy as pie and as Texas as sheet cake cookies! Like I said, everything's bigger in Texas, especially flavor. 'Til next time, my fellow eaters!
And just like any true Texan, you'll be sad when they're gone.

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