Friday, February 18, 2011

Cutting it out....

One of my greatest baking fears has always been rolling, cutting and decorating cookies.  I was afraid that the dough would not roll out evenly, that the cookies wouldn't bake properly, that I would suck at decorating.  I have a lot of these little fears but I am slowly but surely facing them all.

This past weekend I faced this fear and made some Valentine's Day cookies!  It was not nearly as hard as I imagined.  I actually had fun making them.  Here is the recipe I used:

Vanilla Sugar Cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup butter (if you are using unsalted butter, add 1/2 tsp salt)
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla

Prep. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Step 1. In mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. (I like to slice the sticks of butter to make the mixing easier.)

Step 2. Mix in egg and vanilla.

Step 3. Add flour cup-by-cup.

Step 4. Split dough into 2 parts. Form each into a brick. Sandwich each brick between two sheets of wax paper, then roll each brick into a sheet using 1/4 inch cookie slats. Refrigerate dough sheets for 20 minutes before cutting shapes. Save dough scraps to make a third sheet of cookies.

Step 5. Bake cookies for about 14 minutes at 350 degrees F. Cookies are done when they start to turn golden on the edges. Transfer cookies to racks to cool.

Cut out and baked!

Most times Royal Icing is used to to decorate cookies.  I don't particularly like the taste or texture of Royal Icing.  It is bland and it dries hard which makes decorating easier and prettier but I just don't like it.  For my cookies I used a glace icing:

4 cups powdered sugar 
6 tbs milk 
6 tbs light corn syrup
1 tsp clear vanilla extract (Do not use this unless you want a pure white icing.  Clear vanilla extract is not real vanilla, it is imitation.  The real stuff is way better, WAY better. You could also use another flavor of your choice like lemon or almond.)

Mix sugar and milk with whisk or fork until smooth. Mix in corn syrup and vanilla. Icing should be thin, forming a drizzle. This consistency is the flood icing, the background for the cookies. Split icing into several bowls - one for each color. Dye icing to the desired colors.

Transfer half the icing from each bowl to squeeze bottles to flood the cookies. (Make sure to leave enough in the bowls for the piping icing.) To make the background of the cookies, make a pool of icing in the center of the cookie, then use the back of a spoon to spread the icing towards the edges. 

Half the icing is left in each of the bowls. This will become the piping icing. Mix powdered sugar into each bowl until icing is the consistency of toothpaste. Transfer icing to piping bags and decorate.

I only used the flooding consistency and swirled in some designs. Someday I will get up the nerve to do some real designs and decorating but this time I went with simple.

I was really happy with how they came out!  What do you think?


Mr. Lucky said...

These cookies ROCKED!!!!

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