Wednesday, June 24, 2009

[Cookie 021] Sugar Cookie Cutouts

Decorated cookies

Well, would you look at that. With all my efforts, my little ol' blog turned 4 months old a few days ago, and I've made a total of 21 cookies. Hmm, let's get the old calculator out...

I have 154 more recipes to go.

I have 35 more months until I graduate college. Or, roughly 141 more weeks.

Thus, if I am to bake only 1 recipe a week, I am behind. Significantly! I should be at #34! Ahh!!! I need to get goin'! Turn the heat up, so to speak. Gas the stove, all aboard, heave-ho you know?

Sugar Cookies

So in the name of progress, do let's continue! Onwards to the recipe de la semaine! Sugar Cookie Cutouts. Nothing says progress like Royal Icing, rainbow sprinkles, and hot pink kitties, am I right?

Sugar Daddy

A little background to the reason I chose this particular recipe. My first cousin once removed (I think that's correct...) is turning 8 this week, and for her present, my mom and I decided it would be cute to bake her a batch of cookies and mail them off along with some cookie cutters and decorating tools for her to make a batch herself. We hustled over to Sur La Table, had fun picking out some great cutters (though some are pretty ridiculous...a handbag that looks like a pentagon or something, as if!), and then baked these guys up.

Siftin' Flour

Once again, Martha produced a great recipe for a classic cookie. The recipe makes the quintessential sugar cookie, and the recipe is simple and fun. It can be a little challenging rolling out the dough after it's been in the refrigerator for a while, but as long as you let it warm up a bit you should be fine.

Cutout Sugar Cookies

The decorating part, obviously, is where the real fun--or frustration--comes into play. To make the Royal Icing, she suggests using Meringue Powder instead of real egg whites, which I did in fact go out and buy (at JoAnn's, if you were wondering). My only issue was the consistency of the icing. It was a little too runny, but that's easily remedied. I always mess that part up anyways, and it's either too runny or too thick. Whatever!

Sweet Hearts

I had fun decorating these, especially adding little blue polka dots and hearts into the icing, like in the picture above. I made a gigantic, sticky, horrendous mess of my kitchen--but I cleaned it all up, mom and dad if you're reading this. Then I let the cookies dry out completely, packaged them up, and shipped them off to the birthday lady!

Sugar cookies

Sugar Cookie Cutouts
Makes about 2 dozen 4-inch cookies

Ingredients

Makes about 2 dozen 4-inch cookies

  • 4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Royal Icing (optional)
  • Gel-paste food coloring (optional)
  • Fine sanding sugar or sprinkles (optional)
Directions
  1. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.
  2. Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Gradually mix in flour mixture. Divide dough into quarters; flatten each quarter into a disk. Wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees with racks in upper and lower thirds. Let one disk of dough stand at room temperature just until soft enough to roll, about 10 minutes. Roll out dough between two pieces of plastic wrap to 1/4-inch thickness. Remove top layer of plastic wrap. Cut out cookies with a 4-to-5-inch cookie cutter. Transfer cookie dough on plastic wrap to a baking sheet. Transfer baking sheet to freezer, and freeze until very firm, about 15 minutes. Remove baking sheet from freezer, and transfer shapes to baking sheets lined with nonstick baking mats. Roll out scraps, and repeat. Repeat with remaining disk of dough.
  4. Bake, switching positions of sheets and rotating halfway through, until edges turn golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.
  5. To decorate, tint icing with food coloring, if using. Flood tops of cookies with icing. While icing is wet, you can pipe polka dots with icing in contrasting colors on top; stretch dots into flourishes (hearts) with the tip of a wooden skewer for a marbleized look. Flock wet icing with sanding sugar if desired. After icing cookies, let them sit out overnight to set. Cookies can be stored in between layers of parchment in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.
Royal Icing
Makes 2 1/2 cups

Ingredients
  • 1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 5 tablespoons meringue powder
  • Scant 1/2 cup water
Directions
  • Combine all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until smooth, about 7 minutes. If icing is too thick, add more water; if too thin, beat icing 2 to 3 minutes more or add more confectioners' sugar a tablespoon at a time. Use icing immediately, or store in an airtight container up to 2 days (icing hardens quickly when exposed to air). Beat well with a rubber spatula before using.
****

{End Results}
Baking Difficultly: 2/5
Ingredient Accessibility: 4/5 (Would've been 5/5, if not for meringue powder)
Tastiness: 3.5/5
Attractiveness: ??/5 (It's all in your hands...)
Is it worth it?: This is a perfect sugar cookie recipe! Do it!

14 comments:

Barbara E said...

What's next? I'm getting hungry and you've got lots to do.

Jennifer said...

those are SOOOO cute! I love decorating cookies!

Ben said...

Congratulations for your 4 months of blogging and that's a lot of cookies to bake! I'll stay tuned to check out all your delicious creations.

Lizzie said...

Thanks guys!

Linda B. said...

They were yummy, yummy, yummy. Em is dying to use her birthday presents. We're shooting for this weekend so we can have cookies ready for your mom.

Lizzie said...

Ooh I'm so glad you guys liked them! Can't wait to hear how Emma's turn out!

Linda B. said...

I made the dough just now (different recipe though) for rolling out, cutting, decorating, and baking tomorrow. Usually the kids help/do the ingredient measuring and mixing themselves but I just wanted to get it done quickly tonight since I'm sure tomorrow will be a long, messy process.

Lizzie said...

good idea. also, tell me how the sugar cookie recipe works out! good luck!

Erin said...

I really like this sugar cookie recipe too! I've used it before, and it's yummy!

Sophie said...

These are so cute, very nice job making them look super cute! :)

Anonymous said...

where are dem lobster Cookiezzzzz

Chaya said...

I love your blog. I want to follow your journey baking all those cookies. Do you eat them all?

Lizzie said...

chaya-

Let me explain: First, I eat the dough, in its various incarnations, tasting it as I add each ingredient. Then I bake the cookies, and in the meantime lick the bowl clean with my mom. Then, I try a cookie fresh out of the oven (or two). Then, I continue to eat the cookies over the next few days, trying to discern the differences in flavor as the cookie ages. So, in short, I absolutely eat them...but maybe not ALL :)

Glad you like my blog!

Mr. P said...

I love that book!

I just found this blog, and wish I'd had that idea first. Except I've already graduated. So it would be impossible!

Good luck with it. I'll be back!