Saturday, September 27, 2008

Autumn Sugar Cookies

I saw some pictures of decorated sugar cookies on Tastespotting the other day and I had to check them out. Bakerella claimed that she was inexperienced and intimidated by decorated sugar cookies which certainly struck a cord with me because despite my love affair with cookie cutters, my attempts at decorating the cookies have been rather pathetic at best. However, Bakerella's cookies were absolutely gorgeous and she attributed her success to the book Cookie Craft. I picked the book up the next day and set out on my own adventures in decorated sugar cookies.

Things I learned:

1. it's a very time consuming process and requires at least 2 days or you could go crazy or kill your back or both

2. decorating the cookies is the fun, fast and easy part. prep and cleanup isn't nearly so fun, fast, or easy.

3. you have to make the flood frosting the same day you plan to decorate

4. dye the flood frosting before putting it into the squeeze bottles

5. I will never get the shade I'm aiming for with the dye

6. the color of the frosting darkens considerably once it dries

7. using a number 1 tip to pipe the outline is annoying and painful, but the line practically disappears. Using a number 2 tip is probably best, but a number 3 will do as long as you don't mind the outline being visible.

I still need to practice with the whole process, but the book really did explain everything and made the whole process doable. Plus, these are the most attractive cookies I've made to date and they taste good too. I didn't use the cookie recipe in the book, I used the sugar cookie recipe from Carole Walters' Cookie Book which I've made before and liked quite a bit. It also has the distinct advantage of being mixed in the food processor which really makes the process quick and easy.

I did use the frosting recipe the book gave (below) and I followed their instructions pretty closely which is probably why I was as successful as I was. With their explanations and the illustrations in the book the whole thing was pretty easy. In fact, the hardest and most frustrating part was dying the frosting. The keys are:

1. have all the equipment on hand -- I had to buy a few more piping tips and squeeze bottles,

2. plan the whole process out so that you have time to bake and cool cookies, make and dye frosting, and decorate the cookies being sure to allow several hours of drying time for the flooded cookies.

Next up: Halloween cookies. :)


For Piping:
4 cups (1 lb) powdered sugar
2 tsp powdered egg whites
6 tablespoons warm water
1 tablespoon lemon juice or 1-2 tsps extract

Put all the ingredients in the mixer and blend on medium high for 5 minutes. Put the frosting into airtight containers immediately or it will dry out.

For Flooding:
4 cups (1 lb) powdered sugar
2 teaspoons powdered egg whites
12 tablespoons warm water
2 tablespoons lemon juice or 1-2 tsps extract.

Put all the ingredients in the mixer and blend on medium high speed for 5 minutes. Cover immediately.


Ben said...

they look pretty! well worth the effort, even if it's only eye-candy.;-) The orange maple leafs are particularly striking.

burkie said...

speaking of cookie cutters, i realized last night that while i have a few, i don't have any nice round ones (i was making donuts). i guess i need a set of those concentric circle stainless steel biscuit cutters. i used a custard cup for the outside cup, and a small flower-shaped cookie cutter for the inside hole-cut. it works, of course, but sometimes you just want the -right- tool. your cookies look good! but..where's the football? :)

biscuitpusher said...

I hear you about having the right tools... we finally broke down and bought the nice set of concentric round cutters and I like them quite a lot. I used them to make biscuits last night...

I don't have a football cookie cutter... but I do have over 30 Halloween cookie cutters. :)

Maks said...

But the muffins rose beautifully! :) And smelled wonderful when I took them out of the oven... I love the smell of blueberries!