Sunday, January 25, 2009

Craft #1 - Sugar Cookies

Today I completed craft #1 of 2009: Wheat Sugar Cookies decorated using the Pipe & Flood icing technique. I think they turned out well for my first attempt. I knew they would take a while, but I was surprised when I looked at the clock and 4* hours had slipped by. (The recipes are listed at the bottom of this post).

These cookies were wheat sugar cookies because, well... we only have wheat flour at our house right now.

This was my first time using an official piping bag. While it looks like a ziploc bag, these were sold as piping bags. (The coupler and #2 tip came from a small cake decorating kit I bought from Marshall's.)

I used Wilton's Royal Icing recipe for the frosting. I think it could have been a little thinner to start. Next time I'll add a few more drops of water before piping. I used red food coloring to get the icing colors: 1/2 bottle for the red icing, 4 drops for the pink and no coloring for the white icing.

The finished product.

Fabulous Sugar Cookies

Ingredients: (I halved the recipe and still ended up with ~40 cookies)
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks - 24 tbsp.) butter1
1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 tbsp. lemon zest
5 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
Powdered sugar, for rolling

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (Since I didn't bake the cookies right away, I didn't do this until much later.)
2. Cream butter and sugars in a mixer for 5 minutes. (who knew you were supposed to cream butter and sugar for 5 minutes?! Not me.)
3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly.
4. Add vanilla, almond, and lemon zest.
5. Sift in flour, baking powder, and salt a little at a time. Do not over mix; this process should take about one minute.
6. Chill dough for up to a week in the fridge, or roll out and cut right away. (I really recommend chilling the dough first; it significantly helped to reduce the stickiness factor.)
7. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and bake cookies for 7-8 minutes.

Wait until cookies are cooled before icing. I used stiff consistency royal icing for the edges, and filled in by "flooding" (also with royal icing).

Wilton Royal Icing
(Yield: Approximately 3 cups) I halved this recipe too. I didn't measure how much frosting I ended up with - but probably 1.5-2 cups.
- 1 lb. powdered sugar (4 cups)
- 3 level tbsp. meringue powder
- 5-6 tbsp. lukewarm water

1. In large mixing bowl, combine powdered sugar and meringue powder. Using electric mixer, mix until well blended.
2. Add water. Beat on medium-high speed for 7-10 minutes, or until icing loses its sheen.

This recipe makes stiff to medium consistency royal icing, depending on how much water you use. To thin it out, just add more water (add the water little by little -- teaspoon by teaspoon at max) because a little bit goes a long way toward thinning it.

*In all honesty, it took me much more than 4 hours to complete this craft from start to finish; frosting alone took me 4 hours. I started this project two weekends ago when I made the cookie dough, then last weekend I baked the cookies and today I frosted the cookies. While I'm not sure I would recommend stretching out a batch of cookies this long, it sure was nice not to spend an entire day (or weekend) working on them.

Goodbye cookies! You were a fun first project.
The cookies are all packaged up and will be treats for my co-workers tomorrow.
Update: These cookies disappeared (every single last one them) within the first 40 minutes I was at work. No joke.

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