Friday, October 7, 2011

Sugar Cookie Cutouts

One of my favorite people is getting married this Saturday. :) Yesterday we had the wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. I wanted to make something for her so I decided to make some sugar cookies. I've only made these once before, just a few weeks ago, and they turn out yummy. The most frustrating part is the decorating the cookies part. I'm still trying to figure that out.

This recipe is from the Martha Stewart Cookie Book. To make the cookies, sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.

Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a 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 in half; flatten each half into a disk. Wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least an hour or overnight.

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 ten minutes. Roll out dough to just under 1/4 inch thick, using flour to sprinkle on work surface to keep doughs from sticking. The recipe says to use 4-5 inch cookie cutter, but I used these little alphabet cutters that I've had since forever and never used.

I thought these would be perfect!

Put the cut outs on parchment lined baking sheets. Roll out scraps and repeat, with the remaining disk of dough.

Chill cookies in freezer until very firm. about 15 minutes.

Bake, switching positions of sheets and rotating halfway through, until edges turn golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Since my cutouts were smaller, about 10 minutes was enough. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.

Sugar Cookie Cutouts Recipe.
-4 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
-2 cups sugar
-2 large eggs
-2 tsps pure vanilla extract

The royal icing is what's been frustrating me. It's messy, it's time consuming, it's ridiculous. I've been using gel paste coloring to try to color my royal icing, but my red turned out hot pink and the orange was not very orange. Perhaps the gel dries out the icing and I need to use food coloring drops. I haven't really started to pipe decorations yet..I guess I cna get to that when I'm more comfortable mixing the icing.

The royal icing in Martha Stewart's Cookie Book calls for 1 pound confectioners sugar (which equals to 3 3/4 cups, I measured it out of a 2 pound bag up by cup), sifted, 5 tbsp meringue powder and scant 1/2 cup water. I used this recipe the first time and I found that the amount of meringue powder made the icing taste a bit funny. Usually Royal icing uses raw egg whites, but some people (like me) are scared of salmonella (rather not risk it) so meringue powder is used as a substitute. So I looked up on the internet alternatives for royal icing recipe and found one that calls for 4 cups confectioners sugar, 3 tbsp meringue powder, 1/2 tsp extract (vanilla, lemon or almond) and 1/2-3/4 cup warm water. Which tastes a lot better! :) So after alllll that, trying to pipe outlines then scrapping it, here's the final product:


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