Sunday, April 18, 2010

Cookie Crazy

Our recent love has been sugar cookies. We have posted several pictures in the gallery. These beautiful babies are always a hit. Do you want to give it a try? Here goes:

Sugar Cookies

2 C Butter (That's 4 sticks!)
2 C Sugar
2 Eggs
2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
6 Cups of Flour
3 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Salt

Cream butter & sugar (it's easier if butter is at room temperature). Add Eggs & Vanilla.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt (use a's easy!).

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. I added it all in my stand mixer and out of 3 batches, the last one made my mixer sound like it was going to die. So be careful.

Chill for a few hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Lay a large piece of parchment paper on the counter. Drop a glob of the cooled dough onto the parchment. Cover the dough with another large piece of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, roll over parchment to desired thickness. (This is an alternative to flouring your work surface & rolling the dough out over the flour... no flour = no mess!).

Keep the rest of the dough in the fridge while you work with one small section at a time. If it's sticky, it's too warm & needs to be chilled again. For these cookies, you want the dough thick, at least 3/4" or thicker. They will not rise in the oven, so make sure it's as thick as you want it.

Cut out shapes with cookie cutters. Bake for 8-10 minutes. For me, 8 minutes was the magic number, except for the candy cane cookies-- I only did those for 7 minutes.

Let them cool on the pan for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.

Royal Icing

2 C Confectioners Sugar, Sifted*
2.5 Tbsp Meringue Powder
1/4 C. Water

*The sugar MUST be sifted. When you are decorating your sugar cookies, you will be using very small tips & if you don't sift your sugar, they will clog!

Add all ingredients to bowl and beat for 8 minutes on low speed. The icing should be bright white and look almost like marshmallow fluff, but denser (more dense?) than marshmallow fluff. If it looks thick, soupy, shiny, or sheer, beat it for another minute or so at medium.

Royal icing will start to dry immediately, and when it dries, it becomes like concrete! So keep it covered when you are not working with it. If you make it ahead of time or are storing it for a few days, place saran wrap directly onto the top of the icing and then cover the container with the lid.

Decorating the Cookies (A few tips!)

Before you start to color your icing, plan out your decorations. I like to trace the cookie cutters onto a sheet of paper & map out my decorations (colors, sprinkles, etc.).

Color your icing using paste food colors. The recipe should give you a good consistency for outlining the cookies (if it seems too stiff, add a few drops of water). Transfer the food coloring to your decorating bag, set up with a #3 tip (or snip a small hole about 1/16" wide). Outline the cookies.

After outlining, take the remaining icing of the same color & add a few drops of water at a time until the icing becomes liquidy. Test it by putting some on your spoon & holding it above the container-- if it drizzles off the spoon, it's ready! Use a larger tip or snip a slightly larger hole in the bag & flood the cookies inside of the outline. Use a toothpick to smooth it out. If you want to add sprinkles, do so immediately, because as I said before-- royal icing dries fast! Let this icing dry before you add the details.

Once you are done decorating, let them dry for a few hours-- be patient :) Once they are dry, you can stack them or arrange them without ruining the design.

Any questions? You know where to find us!