Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Quick Cut-out Cookies

Last night I got home at about 9pm after leaving the office close to 8pm, running to the grocery store to get a few supplies for dinner and then trekking my way home.

I had promised my co-worker that I would help with snacks for her small group again so I needed to come up with a thanksgiving-ish treat for the kiddos that was not too terribly difficult (because I was tired...sorry C!)

I decided to go with cut-out cookies with a swirl frosting. C leads an all girl group so I wanted them to be colorful and fun. I used my mother-in-law's cookie base and then decided to go outside of my normal royal icing recipe and use one that I found in the The Joy of Baking.

It is okay but I really like Laurel's better, so in the future, I'll stick with hers. I'm including the The Joy of Baking one below but I plan on making Laurel's Christmas cookies for the the fam come Christmas so that will come later....stay tuned!

Cookie Base (from my mother-in-law):
1 cup unsalted butter at room temp
2/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla or almond extract (or any other extract you choose)

1) Measure your flour and baking powder, set aside in medium sized bowl (I use a whisk to remove lumps--sift if you are feeling extra industrious!)

2) Cream the butter and sugar together (it needs to turn a pale yellow)

3) crack your egg into a small dish and whisk together with your extract

4) Add the egg mixture to the butter/sugar.

5) Slowly incorporate your flour mixture until combined.

6) Chill the dough in the fridge for a few hours (or overnight).

7) Roll out dough on a floured work surface to 1/4 of an inch (Laurel does 1/8 of an inch--I like mine thicker!), cut w/ cutters. * Laurel actually uses what I call the cheat method (:P)...she grabs a bit of dough and squishes it onto a parchment lined tray and cuts it on the tray and removes the excess there so that she doesn't have to transport the shape to the tray and have it potentially tear.

8) Bake at 350 for 7-12 minutes (all depends on how thick you cut them out and the shape you use...if there are small points or what not be sure to watch closely). Turn the tray half way through the cooking time for even baking.

Frosting (from The Joy of Baking):
4 cups powdered sugar
3 tbsps meringue powder
1/2 tsp extract (your choice--I usually use a combo of almond and vanilla)
1/2 cup-3/4 cup warm water
Food Coloring (I use gel pastes that I've gotten at Williams-Sonoma, but they are also widely available at craft stores or cake/candy retailers)

1) Mix powdered sugar and meringue powder in a stand mixer (or a bowl and use a hand mixer), add water and extract, beat until very glossy and stiff peaks form (this is going to take 5-7 minutes so be's not just takes a while!)

2) Add color.

3) When frosting if you want to outline and fill you will need to make a thicker and a thinner version of royal icing--add powdered sugar to thicken, water to thin (as you deem appropriate).

4) You will need to transfer the frosting to an airtight container or cover w/ plastic wrap as it will start to harden immediately.

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