Thursday, October 22, 2009

Got Cookies?

I like cookies. No, I REALLY like cookies. To the point where I think they should be a separate food group. To promote moderation of my insatiable appetite, I’ve somehow convinced myself that I should “earn” the right to consume cookies, only if I’ve created them from scratch. If I don’t make them, I don’t eat them (usually). It works until I get the overwhelming urge to make a batch, whether they be chocolate chip, sugar, or oatmeal. Then I not only eat about 6 in one sitting, I also taste chunks of batter. I’m guilty, I admit it.

Cookies are a signature of childhood and can be created in a variety of shapes and flavors. While I enjoy making the traditional cookies, I wanted to venture into custom decorated cookies. I needed to practice piping, more particularly, detailed piping, but I was a little hesitant. After all, the only C I received in all of secondary school was from Sister Mary Katherine in art. Seriously? Anyways, I eventually got up the nerve after I reading a book by Peggy Porschen, titled “Pretty Party Cakes”. The pages contained photos of the most beautifully decorated cakes, cupcakes and cookies. I would start small, practicing piping on cupcakes and cookies, then eventually move up to mini and full-size cakes.

I originally intended to make the cookies for a baby shower, but ran out of time. In a Foodie's world, it's never too late to practice. My daughter, who enjoys crafts and has a knack for creativity begged me to assist in making my first batch of decorated cookies. I agreed reluctantly only because I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to food, even though this was my first attempt. I allowed her to help to keep her occupied.

We mixed our tried and true recipe of cut-out cookie dough, baked and cooled. Then we mixed a large batch of royal icing using different colors and consistencies for outlining and filling. Granted, we created a big mess over the hour and a half session, but the time spent with my child was well worth it, and the cookies tasted pretty good as well!

Wilton's Roll-Out Cookies
1 c. unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. almond
2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In mixer bowl, cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and extracts. Mix flour, baking powder and salt; add to butter mixture 1 cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Divide dough into 2 balls. On a floured surface, roll each ball into a circle approximately 12 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch thich. Dip cookie cutter in flour before each use. Bake cookies on ungreased cookie sheet 6-7 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned.

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