Tag Archives: Black Tie Calf Fry

Black Tie Calf Fry and Sugar Cookies (Part. 2)

Imagine my surprise when we actually made it in to the Black Tie Calf Fry in Chadron last night in the middle of a winter storm warning! I was supposed to be ready to go by 4:30. Shane drove up at 4:45 and I was just as he had left me…..no makeup….hair not done…..and in my sweats! He was quite surprised…..mostly because he knows how frustrated I’ve been lately at Mother Nature always ruining our plans. We discussed going for a few minutes and we decided….what the heck! My brother and his two boys were here from Montana so Stone had no intention of going with us. We stopped to drop him off at my parents’ house on our way and visited a bit. Then….off we went. We rarely go anywhere without Stone so this was definitely one for the books!

The Black Tie Calf Fry was a lot of fun! Maybe I should back up a step or two…..perhaps you are unsure what a “Black Tie Calf Fry” is exactly?! Well, let me enlighten you! Overall, it’s the annual fundraiser for the Chadron State College Rodeo team. The “Black Tie” part signifies dressing up for the event…..the “Calf Fry” portion signifies calf fries……or calf testicles, if you will. Yep…..it’s really just another way to say “Rocky Mountain Oysters”.  These are usually collected at branding time when the male bull calves are castrated, which turns them into steers. A lot of people seem to enjoy calf fries…..I’m not one of them. They are too chewy for me. I actually don’t mind eating one or two fresh ones as they cook on the branding stove (my great uncle Walt taught me how to eat these when I was quite young). As far as eating them on a plate at a fancy outing…..nope! So, that explains the Black Tie Calf Fry.

Every year at this event there is one or two featured speakers. I was pleased to see Paul Tierney last night. His daughter, Amy, is on the CSC rodeo team. He was also one of the featured speakers at this year’s event. I had a good visit with him and got to know him a little better. He knows my parents as he used to rodeo back in the day when they did. I love meeting people that are a positive influence. We were talking about other people that fit this bill….Walt Woodard and Tee Woolman. I was telling Paul all about the Walt Woodard Team Roping clinic that Shane and I are putting on in Chadron in May. Paul told me about a recent article about Tee Woolman….I’m going to have to look it up. In fact, he was so in tune with getting the article into my hands he called me at home this morning to tell me where to find it. What a guy!! Here we are last night:

PT & Me

We enjoyed this year’s Black Tie Calf Fry…..it was in a new location and was really nice! I even scored a painting for an unbelievable price by Lori Harrington. Unfortunately, Lori passed away several years ago. I never met her, but my folks knew her pretty well. I was thrilled to get this painting…..it will be great in my spare bedroom once I get it redone. Here is my new painting:


Well, today it’s still snowing……my folks, my brother, and Shane are working heifers today. It’s 9 degrees at 1 pm…..BRRRR!!!! The cows look pretty chilly down on the creek today…..


Our horses aren’t thrilled either, but they were intrigued when the heifer gathering began this morning!

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I’m the camp cook for everyone today…..I actually love this role….especially when it’s cold outside! There’s a roast in the oven so dinner is on its way. I decided this morning would be a great time to finish my Sugar Cookies, so here goes…….

Yesterday, I made the dough and let it sit in the fridge to firm up overnight. Here is the recipe once again as posted on Allrecipes.com.

The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies

  • 1 ½ cups of butter, softened
  • 2 cups of white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 cups of flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.

Okay, here’s how I make these……I bake them at 350 degrees as my oven tends to get a bit hot and I also use parchment paper. If you’ve never used parchment paper…..do yourself a favor and go buy some….you won’t regret it! There is nothing worse than burned cookies…..I had to learn how to bake with this oven, but over time I feel like I’ve come out victorious. 🙂

Here is what I started out with today:



Get some dough out of the bowl and work it into a ball. The dough is usually quite stiff so it takes some hand working to get it pliable.


Put some flour on your roller and go to work. The dough needs to be left at about 1/4″ thick maybe even more if you like thicker cookies (which we do). Roll out the dough…..then put your cookie cutters to work.


Use a spatula to get them to your cookie sheet. Add more dough from the bowl to what you have left and repeat the process.


The fun thing about this kind of sugar cookies is all the possibilities there are……like cookie bouquets or cookies on a stick!




Fun, huh?! Now, put them in the oven….and keep on making cookies! I bake these at 350 degrees for around 10+ minutes. I am constantly checking on them. There is nothing worse than burned cookies….or even those that got too dark. Today, exactly 14 minutes was perfect!


The cookies should almost look undone when they come out. They will be puffy. They should have much color on the top at all…if they do, you’ve gone too far! Here is how a corner should look:


It took me a many times of making these cookies to get my timing down just right. Something inside me wanted them to be “golden”…..I learned after several times that “golden” isn’t pretty on these cookies! This is how the backs should look:


And the tops:


The cookies on a stick are perfect!


Now, it’s time to cool the cookies. I do this as I continue to make cookies…..this process takes several hours (including frosting the cookies) so you need to plan to effectively make these. Towards the end of making the cookies, I start on the icing. This is the fun part!

Sugar Cookie Icing

  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 2 tsp. Light Corn Syrup
  • 2 tsp. Milk
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. flavoring
  • Food Coloring

In a small bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup. Divide into separate bowls, and add food colorings to each to desired intensity. Dip cookies, or paint them with a brush.

Here’s what I did today:

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I used Rum Flavoring today (mostly because I was out of Strawberry….)


I love using gel food coloring. It’s so vivid and easy to work with.

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I actually made 3 batches of the icing…..one in each color:  white, dark pink, and red. It was the perfect amount for the total amount of cookies that I ended up with.


Decorating these cookies is really fun…..I had a blast with these!


I even made some for our friends/neighbors with their brand on them!


And of course, I had to made one for my little sweetheart with his name and brand on it!


Here’s one for my big sweetheart, Shane, with our horse brand on it!


Here’s what I ended up with…..after a couple of hours work!


Here’s a little funny……what do you do with the last piece of dough? You know….the one that is too small to cut another cookie from, but too big to just discard? Shape it into a pancake and bake it with the last batch!


This cookie has always been my “taster cookie”…..I don’t feel guilty eating the ugliest cookie out of the batch! 🙂 *Just a little oddity about me and my baking secrets….haha!*

I hope you all try these cookies. They are quite a bit of work, but honestly…..they are worth it!! I’ve never tasted sugar cookies that are this good…..and they are festive and fun to make based on what holiday you are celebrating.

Well, I’m off to finish lunch over at my folks’ house. I just got a radio call to come and rescue the kids from the corrals…..they are hungry and cold. Here’s Stone and “Bob” (my parents’ dog):


Stone is giving Bob an uneasy look as Bob just swiped some of Stone’s pop-tart. Glad I left those cookies at home….they wouldn’t last long over here with this bunch! Enjoy your Sunday! ~Cheyenne

A Winter Storm Warning = Sugar Cookies (Part 1)

Well, well, well……today is Saturday, February 8th. This evening is the Black Tie Calf Fry (fundraiser) for Chadron State College’s Rodeo Team. Cowgirl Swank is donating a couple of caps for the silent auction and we made plans to go. I was looking forward to it. In fact, I have had my outfit planned for several days…..well, it’s actually the outfit I was going to wear to read my poem “The Storm Atlas” at the Black Hills Stock Show Ranch Rodeo Finals, but we all know how that turned out….Mother Nature intervened and I wasn’t able to go.

Well, she’s at it again…..we are now under a winter storm warning until Sunday at noon. How lovely of her to be so kind once again. I swear…..I’m about ready to call her out to go behind the wood shed!! UGH!!! It’s snowing…..big, fluffy flakes. It’s actually beautiful outside…..but cold. I just got in from filling up the horse’s water tank and feeding them some hay. Shane is over helping my folks sort some heifers. My brother and his two boys should be here soon as there are plans to work some heifers tomorrow. Once in awhile they come down to help my folks. Anyway, tomorrow is the day the vet is scheduled for and it’s going to be the coldest day of the week….of course, doesn’t it always seem to be that way lately?! Excuse me for sounding so glum, but well, I guess I am…..that’s just the way it is!

Even though I get grumpy about our weather, I am still appreciative for the beauty in nature (supplied by Mother Nature, of course). Look at the gorgeous sunrise she displayed this morning!


This was at first light. Sights like this make me happy to be alive….especially after I got back in our warm house and had my first cup of coffee! It’s the simple things in life that are the best!

Several hours later the snow began to fall….lightly at first, and now we are under a warning! It’s amazing how quickly things can change. I do cuss her, but I have a very deep respect for Mother Nature….that will never change.

This picture was taken around lunch time. It was snowing pretty good by then.


Then it really started coming down. The flakes were as big as saucers…..well, maybe not that big, but you get the idea! Our horses were so happy that I took pity on them!


And the heifers were all snuggled in on the creek eating hay.


All is good outside……plus, we have about a month to go before we start calving so the snow and cold weather aren’t a huge concern for us. The ice has been a big issue. Shane has noticed that a handful of our cows have slunk (aborted) their calves. This is always a huge worry. Normally what happens is that they slip on the ice on their way to water up. It’s really just something that happens. It’s disconcerting, but it’s out of our hands for the most part. Every year there is a percentage of every rancher’s herd that don’t calve (for various reasons). We just keep our fingers crossed and pray that the percentage is small……and that the ice leaves quickly!

Stone and I were in the house today. With Valentine’s Day approaching I decided today was a great day to make sugar cookies. I love to share these cookies with our friends, neighbors, and loved ones. I’m really picky about sugar cookies…..any old cookie just won’t do. I like the big, thick, rolled out sugar cookies. It’s fun to cut them into different shapes and decorate them. This is something that Stone and I love to do. I truly cherish every moment like this…..I can always hope that at 18 he will continue to want to make these with me, but I already know how fast time is going so I cling just a little bit harder! 🙂

If you’ve been searching for a great sugar cookie recipe I have just the one for you! I have been making this same recipe for five years and it hasn’t failed me yet! The cookie recipe is unbeatable in my opinion…..as is the recipe for the icing. I found both on Allrecipes.com. They are both keepers and my “Go To” recipes. I’ve even made cookie bouquets from this recipe (stick a sucker stick halfway in the cookie before baking and voila….a cookie on a stick!). Here is the Sugar Cookie Recipe.  The recipe itself is super easy, but these do take some time to make. For instance, I already mixed the dough, but I’m letting it sit until tomorrow in the fridge when I have time to commit to baking and decorating. Here is the printed out version of the recipe:

The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies

  • 1 ½ cups of butter, softened
  • 2 cups of white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 cups of flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth.


Beat in eggs and vanilla.


Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt.



Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.

*This recipe will take until tomorrow for me to complete. I plan to bake the cookies and decorate them then. I will post how that process goes and share with you the most amazing sugar cookie icing out there!*

I think I’m going to see what the plan is now. Shane still isn’t home yet, which means we will most likely be staying home tonight. Lots of times I’ve changed our plans to match the weather forecast. I’ve gotten used to it……sometimes I do get frustrated (especially when it means a lot to me)…..sometimes I just sigh and say, “Oh well”.  I guess this is one of those times…..I certainly can’t do anything to change it. I may just venture over to my folks’ in a while with Stone so we can all enjoy the evening and get in a good visit. Sounds good to me! Stay warm! ~Cheyenne