#47 Ghost and Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

Happy Halloween Everyone!

I apologize for the delay in posts the past week, lots has been going on work, school and personal life wise. I want you all to know that I appreciate the support and love that I get from you guys. When I started this blog, all I knew was that I loved baking and I wanted to show my friends and family the things that I made. I hope all of you go after the things that make you happy like I did. It may just seem like a little blog about dessert to you, but to me its so much more than that. Thanks for the support :).

I needed to study this past Sunday for a test on Tuesday. I hadn’t baked anything in days and it was starting to make me a little stressed. Is it weird that I was more stressed about not baking something than I was my test? The solution: put computer with the slides for my test next to me while I baked a double batch of sugar cookies.

This right here is the most amazing thing you will ever own if you ever roll out dough. In the past before we had this lovely invention I would attempt to roll out dough on a wooden cutting board that was way too small for the job. The solution to all my problems (in terms of cookie making) is a circular piece of wood covered in canvas – tada! It’s main purpose is for rolling out the dough for Lefse, which is a Norweigen flat bread made from potatoes. My mom makes it every year, maybe we’ll get a post out of it this year! It’s so good!

TIP: When rolling out dough, put a sheet of plastic wrap on top of it. I use the one that I wrapped the dough in while it was chilling in the fridge – reusing things = less waste = happy environment (PSA from your friendly environment lover). It comes out perfectly smooth with no flaws, and the rolling pin wont stick to it! This way you just need to put a little flour on the bottom, and not all over the dough, which can dry it out. It’s little things like this that make this process so much easier.

Pipe an outline, let it dry for 30 minutes

The thing about gorgeous sugar cookies, like the ones you see on Bake @ 350, is that no body tells you how long this process is! I kid you not, I spent probably a combined 5 hours chilling, baking, cooling, piping, decorating these damn cookies! Oh and don’t forget the massive clean up. In the end I like to think its worth it, but man is it just an exhausting process!

Torey shows up during decorating to say hello and take random pictures
Finally done! 

I hope you all have a fun, crazy, but safe, halloween!

Sugar Cookies 

Ingredients:

1 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 ½ t. almond extract
1 t. vanilla
1 t. salt
2 ½ c. sifted flour

Directions:
Cream butter. Add powdered sugar. Blend in egg, almond extract, vanilla, salt and flour. Chill dough until firm. Roll to ¼” thickness on well-floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters. Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375° for 8-10 min. Cookies should not brown. Frost and decorate when cool. Yields about 40 cookies.

I’ve tried a bunch of different frostings for sugar cookies and the most traditional way is Royal Icing which uses egg whites, but I find that this recipe with Meringue powder is a million times easier, and tastes better in my opinion.

Royal Icing

Ingredients:
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. meringue powder (Found at specialty food stores like Sur La Table or the craft store Michael’s)
5 tbsp. water

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on low speed until the sheen has disappeared and the icing has a matte appearance (about 7-10 minutes).  Transfer the contents of the mixing bowl to an air-tight container.  This will be the stiffest consistency of the icing, and at this point it is still too stiff to use for decorating.  Add water a very small amount at a time and stir by hand until fully incorporated.  Continue until the icing has reached a consistency appropriate for piping.  If you would like to add color, I suggest using gel and not liquid because it changes the consistency of the icing.

To flood cookies: Thin out the icing so that it is about the consistency of thick honey. Some people use squeeze bottles, which is the best way of doing it, but if you don’t have any you can just spoon it onto the cookie. Use a toothpick to push the icing into all the spaces. Let sit for a few hours to completely set up. Do not put into air-tight container until frosting is completely hardened.

 

Recipe from Annie’s Eats

Enjoy,

Madeline

#46 “Black and Orange” Cookies

My father has worked in video games since I was young, so I’ve always had video games around me. Even with that video game noise of my brother playing Final Fantasy and Zelda in the background of my life, I never was really that interested in it all. (Except for the Karaoke games and Little Big Planet because that sock puppet is just too damn cute). Recently, my parents have been playing Bejeweled on their iPad’s, non-stop. They compete with each other to see who can get a higher score, and I’ve been making fun of them for the past few months. Well, finally after all of that poking, I decided I should give it a try to see what they’re so obsessed with. I’ve been sucked in. It’s disgusting really. The worst part about it is that my parents are BETTER than me, a lot better than me. I think that is what is fueling this problem. My name is Madeline, and I have a bejeweled problem. I tell you this in hopes that it will fix my problem through pure embarrassment.

Now that I have that dirty little secret off my chest, lets get to the food.

It’s mid-october, which obviously means black and orange halloween things are going to be shoved down your throat for the next few weeks. You could try and hide from it, and act like you don’t like it, but lets just own up to the fact that themed holidays are just THE BEST.

I want to make everything black and orange, and I think I successfully-ish did so with these cookies. My only problem is that I didn’t have Dutch Processed Cocoa which produces are much darker chocolate side of the cookie. That is what gives it the true “black” in black and white cookies. So if you don’t have Dutch Processed Cocoa, its completely acceptable to use normal cocoa, it just wont be as dark.

I have loved Black and White cookies since I first made them a few months back. So since it is the Halloween season I needed to change it up a bit and died the white side to orange. I know, its blowing your mind right now.

You should be expecting lots more halloween themed desserts for the rest of this month…just a heads up. 🙂

BLACK AND WHITE COOKIES
from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 Tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
2 large whole eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup heavy cream
Black and White Icings (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line two large baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper; set aside. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, shortening, and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes,scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add whole eggs and egg yolk, one at a time; beat until combined after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the cream. Beat until just combined.

Use an ice cream scooper to scoop dough 3 inches apart onto prepared sheets. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until the edges just begin to turn golden and the centers are cakey and tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack (turn them upside down) to cool for 10 minutes.

On the flat side (bottom) of each cookie, use a small offset spatula (or a spoon) to spread cholocalte icing over one half of the cookie, creating a line straight down the center. Spread white frosting on the other half. Set cookies back on wire rack until icing is set, about 30 minutes.

Black and Orange Icing

4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (I only had limes but it still tastes good)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
Orange food dye (I used gel dye, but you can use liquid too)

Whisk sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon water in a bowl until smooth. Add more water, if needed, until mixture is slightly thicker than honey. Set aside half of sugar mixture and add a few drops of orange food dye. Stir cocoa into remaining sugar mixture to combine (for black icing); thin with water if needed. Use immediately.

 

Enjoy!

Madeline