Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Back To School Cookies & Tutorial

This week I made some cute back to school cookies for my niece and nephew. They went back to school today, 2nd and 5th grade.

I start the whole process by sketching out what I want. I love to doodle cookie ideas, I have a whole notebook that is dedicated to just baked good designs. After doing some preliminary sketching, and google-ing of cute pictures, I will do a final draft. A lot of times, I will traces my cookie cutters to really design exactly what I want my cookie to look like, especially if it is a more complicated cookie.  For this one, I winged it. I try to make sure they are as true to scale as possible though.

Then we bake the cookies. I don't own a crazy amount of cookie cutters (probably only about 100... it's sad that I don't consider this a crazy amount) so I have to improvise. For the apples I used 3 cutters, a plaque cutter, circle and a comma. For the pencils I used a spade and a rectangle. Then, just place the bits of dough together on the cookie sheet and they should bake together pretty nicely.

As for my recipe, I found it on a blog and it is fantastic. With a royal icing sugar cookie is it so important that you have a good cookie recipe, because royal icing doesn't taste delicious, in fact, it shouldn't really have a taste when paired with your cookie, it should just disappear.
Next onto decoration. Royal icing is the best. I love it. For everyone who is scared of it, don't be. It is perfect for these cookies. Once you get the consistencies down, it can be a cookie's best friend. Below is another great blogger's recipe for this.


Outline. Let dry at least one hour to prevent bleeding.

Flood section by section. Let dry for about an hour between sections. I do multiple non-touching sections at a time. See below. Shiny v. Non-Shiny


Vanilla-Almond Cut Out Cookie
(Bake at 350)

3 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar (I use sugar that I've stored vanilla beans in)
2 sticks (salted) butter, cold & cut into chunks
1 egg
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp pure almond extract

"Preheat oven to 350.

Combine the flour and baking powder, set aside. Cream the sugar and butter. Add the egg and extracts and mix. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat just until combined, scraping down the bowl, especially the bottom.

The dough will be crumbly, so knead it together with your hands as you scoop it out of the bowl for rolling.

Roll onto a floured surface and cut into shapes. Place on parchment lined baking sheets (I recommend freezing the cut out shape on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before baking) and bake for 10-12 minutes. Let sit a few minutes on the sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack."

Royal Icing
(Sweet Adventures of Sugar Belle)

2 lbs 91bag) confectioner’s sugar
1/3 cup + 1 TBSP meringue powder
3/4 cup water
1-2 tbsp oil free, colorless extract

"Add the dry ingredients first. Use your mixer’s whisk attachment to incorporate the sugar and meringue powder.

Add the extract to the water and slowly add it to the dry ingredients while mixing. At first the icing will be very liquid-like

Continue to mix it at medium-high speed until it is fluffy and stiff peaks form, about 7-10 minutes. Mixing times are approximate, keep your eye it icing and stop mixing as soon as it becomes stiff. Over mixing and oil-containing extracts can keep the icing from setting up, so keep this in mind as you work"

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