In the Kitchen with Hank Edwards

Shhhh.  We're sneaking up on Hank today with a celebration in honor of his new Loose Id release, Plus Ones.  Today';s the big day!  I've got a recipe here for petits fours, everyone's favorite party snack.  Okay, my favorite party snack.  I've slipped in the cover art, blurb and buy link for Plus Ones as well, so give it a look over.  Looks like a delightful comedy with a HEA, my favorite summer reading!

During a rush of gay weddings, Paul and Evan are never available to date one another, instead falling in and out of a variety of beds. As wedding season ends, can they admit their love for each other?

Available at:  http://www.loose-id.com/Plus-Ones.aspx

And on to the recipe!  Petits Fours: These dainty icing-coated miniature cakes add a special touch to showers, open houses or teas. Try this easy Petits Fours recipe I found while looking for dessert ideas.Next tiem I"m hosting an event, these are on the menu!

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon  salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup Land O Lakes® Butter, softened
6 Land O Lakes® All-Natural Egg whites
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup milk
3 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon almond extract or vanilla
3 drops food color, if desired
 Candy flowers, if desired
 Frosting flowers, if desired
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 13x9-inch baking pan; set aside.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Set aside.

Beat sugar and butter in large bowl at medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally, until creamy. Add 1 egg white at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition just until mixed.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire racks 10 minutes. Loosen edge of cake by running knife around inside edge. Carefully remove cake from pan; cool completely.

Trim edges from cake; cut each cake into 24 (1 1/2-inch square) pieces.

Combine sugar, cream of tartar and water in 3-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a full boil (12 to 14 minutes). Cover; boil 3 minutes. Uncover; continue cooking until candy thermometer reaches (228°F. to 234°F.) or small amount of mixture dropped into ice water forms a 2-inch soft thread (15 to 20 minutes). Remove from heat; cool to 110°F. or until bottom of pan is slightly warm to touch (do not stir) ( 1 hour). Stir in powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon almond extract and food color, if desired.

Place wire cooling rack over waxed paper. Place 1 cake piece on fork; drizzle icing over top and sides of cake, making sure each side is covered. Place onto wire rack; let stand until icing is set. (If icing becomes too thick, reheat over low heat until thin consistency and easy to drizzle (2 to 3 minutes)). Garnish each petit four with candy flowers or frosting flowers, if desired.

- If you do not have a candy thermometer use these guidelines for the cold water test: *Use a clean spoon. *Drop small amount of mixture into a cup of very cold water. *Test hardness with fingers. At 223°F. to 234°F the mixture should form a 2-inch soft thread.

(This recipe was reprinted from landolakes.com. http://www.landolakes.com/recipe/2203© 2011 Land O'Lakes, Inc.)

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To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. ~e.e. cummings, 1955