Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Cut Out Cookies


Baking Day

I decided to try some new cookie designs; snowflakes, reindeer, and an elongated star.
First, I made two types of roll-out cookie dough, my best ever sugar cookie dough and chocolate cookie dough. The chocolate dough is from Allrecipes.com. I wanted chocolate dough for the reindeer. Click on the link below.

Chocolate Dough Recipe

 After the dough was chilled, the rolling, cutting, baking, and cooling began.  Finally, it is time to decorate cookies. The reindeer cookies are first, because I downloaded a picture that I would be following. Also, I was fairly certain they would take the most time to decorate. Which was true. 
After the reindeer were done, I liked the look so well that I decided to just pipe designs on the sugar cookies. In the picture above, you can see the snowflake pattern that I piped straight onto an unfrosted sugar cookie.

Reindeer piped with a #3 piping tip and a red M&M for a nose.
For the eyes, I colored a small amount of thin icing black and
applied a drop to the center of the eyes with a toothpick.


Sallee's Sugar Cookie Recipe


Makes about 3 dozen 2.5” – 3” cookies  



Equipment

  • 2 medium or  large mixing bowls
  • measuring cup for dry ingredients
  • measuring spoons
  • electric mixer with dough hooks
  • flour sifter
  • wooden spoon
  •  rolling pin
  •  waxed paper
  •  spatula
  •  baking sheet(s)
  • cooling rack(s).


Ingredients


  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened             
  • 1 cup sugar                              
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract                     
  •  3 cups flour, sifted              
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder                    
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


Notes: 

1. Do not substitute margarine for all of the butter. It makes a big difference in how your cookies taste. Instead, use half margarine and half butter for a great tasting, but more economical cookie.

2. This recipe can be doubled successfully. However, the vanilla extract needs to be adjusted to 1 1/2 teaspoons, not 2 teaspoons.

Directions for Dough

  • In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy. 
  • Beat in egg and vanilla until well blended. 
  • In a separate bowl, stir together sifted flour, baking powder, and salt. 
  • Add the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar mixture, in small amounts, and beat until dough is mixed well, but not forming a ball. 
  • Now you will use your hands and start kneading the dough in the bowl until it comes together and forms a smooth ball.
  • Be patient. 
  • Divide the dough into 2-3 portions and shape each portion into a flat circle. 
  • Cover and chill for 20-30 minutes before rolling out.


The Cookie Cutters - star, reindeer and snowflake
The reindeer cookie cutter is an upside down gingerbread man. 

Directions for Baking

  • Preheat oven to 350°F 
  • Roll one portion of dough out on waxed paper to about ¼ inch thickness. 
  • If dough tries to stick to your rolling pin or hands, put a very small amount of flour on the rolling pin. 
  • Cut your cookies and space evenly them evenly on an ungreased baking sheet. 
  • Bake for 8 – 10 minutes. 
  • Cool cookies on baking sheet for 1-2 minutes before removing to cooling rack. 
  • Cool cookies completely before frosting.

Notes:
First, do not use dark baking sheets; they will over brown the bottoms of your cookies.
Next, make sure your baking sheets are cool before you put another batch of cut cookies on them to bake. Hot cookie sheets will affect the baking time. 

Snowflakes in blue with a #3 piping tip

Decorating Frosting Recipe

I find myself searching for the perfect frosting on a regular basis. This year was no different, but I knew that I wanted frosting that would be glossy, not too sweet, and pipe easily. I combined two recipes that I like into the one below. It is egg white free and doesn't require any type of egg white powder. It tastes great, pipes well, and sets within twenty minutes. Cookies need to set overnight before packaging

Equipment

  • soup bowls for making each color of frosting
  • dry ingredient measuring cup
  • measuring spoons
  • Plastic decorator bags
  • 2 - 4 couplers and rings for the decorator bags
  • #3 decorator tip for piping icing

Ingredients

  • 1 - 1 1/2  cups powdered sugar            
  •  ½ teaspoon clear, or brown vanilla extract       
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice                        
  • 1 -2 Tablespoons milk or water
  • gel or liquid food coloring
Notes:

1. Use a thinner frosting to frost cookies completely. Make frosting thinner by using 1 cup of powdered sugar with the liquid ingredients. The frosting will dry to a glossy shine and can be touched lightly after twenty minutes.
2. Add liquid coloring to the powdered sugar and vanilla before you add any milk. 
3. The amount of liquid you use will vary so don't add all of your liquid at once.
4. Humidity, gel coloring, and liquid coloring will all effect the frosting consistency. Don't panic, just add a little more powdered sugar to get the consistency you want.


Directions for Frosting

  • In a soup bowl, combine powdered sugar, food coloring, vanilla, and milk, a little at a time until it is a nice consistency for piping. 
  • Stir until all ingredients are mixed well and your color is consistent. ( I mixed mine with a whisk and it turned out nice, smooth, and the color was even.) 
  • Repeat the above procedure for each color of frosting that you want.
  • Cover your frosting with plastic wrap until you are ready to fill your decorator bag and pipe your designs.



Pink and white stars.
 I piped the white without using a piping tip,
just fill your decorator bag with frosting,
then snip the end open and pipe the frosting on.
The pink was applied with a #3 piping tip

Christmas tree cookies
Blue coated candy star.
 I piped the green frosting without using a piping tip,
just fill your decorator bag with frosting,
then snip the end open and pipe the frosting on.