Saturday, October 29, 2011

Weekend Cooking: Sugar Cookies - round 1

I can't remember the last time I participated in the Weekend Cooking meme sponsored by Beth Fish - but I have sure missed it!  Along with not reading or blogging or writing - I have done very little baking these past few months.  But I hope that I am coming out of the funk and will soon resume my normal pleasurable pastimes.

I don't know about you, but every year I vow to start Christmas baking and holiday crafts early so that I can enjoy the festive spirit for a longer period of time - and so that I am not stressed to complete everything at the last minute.  And every year my good intentions never materialize.  Today, however, I decided to experiment with sugar cookies in the hopes that I could overcome the learning curve before December rolls around.  I have always loved a decorated cookie and have often looked with awe - and a bit of jealousy - at these edible works of art.  I have subscribed to the Decorated Cookie Blog for several months now and she has inspired me to try my hand at a simplified version of these artistic treats.

A couple of years ago  I purchased a delightful little book, Cookie Craft Christmas, which I reviewed here. In that post I discussed my problems with the flow technique of decorating.  Since that time, I have purchased some plastic squeeze bottles to help with the icing mess - and I must admit that they work very well IF I have the icing at the right consistency.  That was learning curve #1:  the flow icing needs considerable more water than the original recipe calls for.  I must admit that the transfer process of icing to bottle is rather messy and time consuming, but the ease in decorating the cookies makes it all worth it.

I really enjoy the sugar cookie recipe that is included in the book:  the dough is not too sweet and very easy to handle - and I LOVE the suggestion of rolling the dough between sheets of wax paper.  This helps maintain a clean surface and a clean rolling pin.  The dough is the perfect consistency and after just 30 minutes in the refrigerator it is ready to cut into shapes.  I decided to go with a fall theme, and the recipe made about 2.5 dozen leaves and a dozen acorns.  The perfect amount for our small family.  I would anticipate that the recipe could be easily doubled to accommodate a large holiday get together.

It was a good thing that I did not have any other plans today, as I spent most of the afternoon (12:30 - 5:30) in the kitchen.  The cookies were neither difficult nor time consuming, and clean up was a breeze, but it took a bit more time to make the icing.  The piped icing recipe was fairly accurate - although I had to add a bit more water, and it made more than enough icing to pipe outlines on all the cookies.

However, I failed to read the directions closely - which stated that the flow recipe made enough to decorate 2-3 batches of cookies.  Needless to say, I had LOTS leftover.  But I decided to go ahead and pre fill containers with Christmas colors in an effort to save time and frustration in December.  I should think that it would be safe to keep around that long as the only ingredients include water, meringue powder, and powdered sugar.

Anyway, it was fun experimental day and I am now excited to have a family baking day when both my girls will come over and help decorate these traditional Christmas cookie treats.

14 comments:

bermudaonion said...

Oh my goodness - your cookies are gorgeous. I've never had much luck with cookie cutter cookies, so I doubt mine would look like yours.

Lisa@ButteryBooks said...

Those cookies are amazing...you have some serious cookie decorating skills.

Liz said...

Wow! These are beautiful cookies!! Definitely makes me wish I lived closer:)

Uniflame said...

I love this! I really need to bake cookies myself soon! Luckily I have a cookie book for review so that will help me getting back into the game :)

Here is my weekend cooking:
http://shelikesbento.blogspot.com/2011/10/weekend-cooking-just-tacos-by-shelley.html

Beth F said...

I love the look of your cookies! I'm always a bit of impatient baker when it comes to rolling and cutting and decorating. I'm thinking it might make the day easier to have the icing prepared ahead of time.

Hummmm. Now I'm tempted to track down some icing bottles.

TheBookGirl said...

Every year I bake a wide variety of Christmas cookies -- a few family recipes that are a must, and then I look for new ones in magazines, etc. I am so glad you mentioned the decorated cookie blog, as I'm sure that will have lots of inspiration for me :)

Your cookies are lovely. I am interested to see how the icing holds up consistency wise in the bottles.

Belle Wong said...

Using the squeeze bottles is a brilliant idea, Molly. Your cookies look delicious! I always have all these great intentions about Christmas too - maybe this year I'll be able to actually spend more time enjoying the preparation/anticipation time.

Staci said...

I love the squeeze bottles for the frosting! I want to see the pictures of the cookies!

Tami said...

What fun! The squeeze bottles would certainly make it easier and open up the possibilities for decorating. thanks for sharing the idea. Glad to have you back in the blog world.

Peggy@Faithful Friend Cafe said...

Beautiful! I love the bottle idea! I don't bake Christmas stuff much anymore. I just doesn't get eaten. The kids live far away. Makes such difference to have them home. Merry Christmas!

Margot said...

Hi Molly, So glad to see you on Weekend Cooking. Those cookies look amazing. I want to try a different sugar cookie recipe so I'm going to give this one a try. I found some new cookie cutters and I need a good excuse to use them out. (The book is coming from the library.)

Anna said...

Those cookies look so good and sound fun to make. The squeeze bottles are a great idea!

Kaye said...

Wow, those are beautiful! I'm not too sure I would have the patience to make these but I sure do like looking at them.

Trish said...

Beautiful cookies! I'd never heard to roll cookies between wax paper. I'm definitely going to try this trick as my roller always sticks to the dough.

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