Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Baking: REWIND

It has been quite a while since my last post, and while I haven't been baking as much as I would have liked to, I HAVE been whipping up a few goodies!  Here are two cookie recipes from October! Enjoy!

I baked these in October to help raise money for the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research.  
If you're ever looking for a killer bake sale treat, look no further than Annie's Eats!  This woman is an absolute genius in the kitchen.  If you're a fan of those deliciously soft sugar cookies you purchase by the dozen at a grocery store, you will LOVE these!  I made this recipe exactly as listed and my cookies were the first item to sell out!
For the cookies:
4½ cups all-purpose flour
4½ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups sugar
3 large eggs
5 tsp. vanilla extract
For the frosting:
5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/3 cup (5 1/3 tbsp.) unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
7-8 tbsp. milk (plus more, as needed)
Food coloring (optional)
Sprinkles (optional)
In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.  In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar well, adding one egg at a time followed by the vanilla.  Continue to mix these ingredients on medium-high for about two minutes more.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until well combined.  Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, roll 1/4 cup ball of dough and flatten slightly on the tray leaving about two inches between each cookie.  Bake for 10 minutes.
To make the icing, place all the ingredients in your stand mixer and mix until well combined and creamy.  Ice the cookies when they are cool and add your choice of sprinkles!
Towards the end of October I set out to master rolled sugar cookies, a feat which I have never taken on before!  Baking the cookies was the easy part. Decorating the cookies was a whole different story.  I have never used royal icing before as I have been using my grandmother's unbelievable buttercream icing recipe since I started baking.
If you have a lot of time on your hands and you're up for a challenge I suggest giving rolled sugar cookies a go!  They are a fun and creative way to practice your decorating skills.  I am certain it will get easier for me each time I make them.
The ROLLED SUGAR COOKIE recipe I used can be found here.  The recipe says it will make 5 dozen cookies, but I only managed to get 3 dozen using Wilton comfort grip cookie cutters in the circle and pumpkin shapes!
I recommend letting your cookie dough sit in the refrigerator overnight.  This will make your cookie cutting so much easier!
When you're ready to roll, sprinkle flour over a clean counter or cutting board.  Place your chilled dough on top of the flour and sprinkle more flour on top of it.  Place a piece of wax paper over the dough and roll with a rolling pin until dough is about 1/4-1/2" thick.
Cut out your cookies and place them on a cookie sheet.  I like to bake 6 cookies per sheet at a time.  DO NOT over bake!  Your first batch will probably be a test run.  You don't want any brown edges or bottoms on these guys!
When it's time to ice your cookies, I recommend this ROYAL ICING recipe by Bake at 350.  In fact, I recommend Bake at 350 for all of your sugar cookie decorating needs.  Bridget is unbelievably talented and her blog features hundreds of sugar cookie decorating ideas with step by step photo instruction!
Here is the finished product!  I followed this photo demo and was pretty darn pleased with the results!