Posts Tagged 'No Fail Sugar Cookies'

Heart Cookie Pops

For as much as I love making decorated sugar cookies, I often wish the process could be shorter.  It takes several hours (not all hands-on time, thankfully!) to even get to the point where you have cookies to ice.  Icing then takes a minute or so per cookie and they have to rest for at least four hours (!!!) before you can pipe anything on top.  I get exhausted just thinking about it.

So when I saw this recent cookie pop project in a Fancy Flours e-mail, I knew I had to give it a try.  The cookies were so cute, but they didn’t have any icing.  I am completely in love with my regular cookie recipe (No-Fail Sugar Cookies), so I decided to use my usual recipe with their technique.

I have made hundreds and hundreds of sugar cookies over the last five years, but I had never colored the dough before.  Talk about an easy way to dress things up!  I used Wilton’s gel paste food coloring in rose, and I added it after the butter and sugar were creamed but before the egg, vanilla, and flour mixture.  Once the dough was chilled and firm, I rolled it as usual and cut it with a 2-inch heart cookie cutter. I put each heart on top of a popsicle stick (my stash of white candy sticks is MIA, so I used what I had) and pressed the dough gently so it would adhere.  Fancy Flours suggested silver dragées in the corner of each heart but I had pearl ones; again, I used what I had.

My perfect baking time for 2-inch cookies was 8 minutes at 350°F.  I cooled the cookies for five minutes on the baking sheets before carefully transferring them to wire racks to cool completely.

Heart Cookie Pops

Pretty cute, huh?  And I loved that they were done once they were cool…  No additional decorating necessary!  Here are a few notes for any of you who want to give this one a whirl:

  • Based on the scale of dragée to cookie, I’d say Fancy Flours used a 1 1/4-inch cookie cutter.  I used a 2-inch cutter.
  • I think the white candy sticks look nicer, but the popsicle sticks will provide better support for a larger cookie.
  • I experimented with dragées around the entire perimeter of the cookie, but the results weren’t good.  Some of them dissolved a bit and shrunk during the baking process, which was really obvious when there were 10 or so per cookie.  One is perfect (and less time-consuming to place).
  • You could make a really cute Valentine’s Day “bouquet” with these if you stuck the bottom of the sticks into craft foam (maybe shaped like a heart and painted red or pink?).  They’d make great gifts individually wrapped and tied with a bow as well.

Update 2/15/11: I baked some mini (1 1/2-inch) heart cookies yesterday afternoon and the dragées held up beautifully.  I think the shorter baking time (5 1/2 – 6/1/2 minutes for the minis) made all the difference.  Heart-shaped Red Hots worked well as decorations for both the mini and larger cookies.

Recipe link: No-Fail Sugar Cookies

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Stars and Stripes Cookies

I have a feeling I’ll be making several batches of these cookies over the weekend. Aren’t they cute?

Stars and Stripes Cookies

I created the effect by icing the cookies with red and blue royal icing and then immediately piping white royal icing over the wet first layer.

What kinds of goodies are YOU making for the Fourth of July?

Recipe links: No-Fail Sugar Cookies and Fancy Flours’ Royal Icing Tutorial

Sugar Cookies

I took a sugar cookie workshop at my local Sur La Table earlier this month, and I came out with an absolutely fantastic sugar cookie recipe. The workshop teacher said the recipe is all over the Internet as “No Fail Sugar Cookies” and she’s right – a Google search turned up multiple copies of the recipe. I wish I had found it sooner because these cookies are *exactly* what I’ve been looking for – soft and dense with great flavor.

I started by creaming 2 cups of room-temperature butter with 2 cups of sugar. I added 2 room-temperature eggs, one at a time, followed by 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, I mixed together 6 cups of flour, 3 teaspoons of baking powder, and 1 teaspoon of salt. I gradually beat the dry ingredients (about 1 cup at a time) into the wet ingredients until just combined.

My teacher chilled her dough in one large piece, but I divided mine into 4 pieces so it would chill faster. I formed each piece into a ball, flattened it a bit, wrapped it in plastic wrap, and put it in a zipper bag. I let it chill in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.

When I was ready to roll the cookies, I put down a piece of parchment paper (no flour!). I squeezed the dough a bit to soften it, then laid it on top of the parchment. I put another piece of parchment paper on top of the dough and then used my rolling pin over the parchment. This way, nothing sticks. I rolled the dough to 1/4 inch thickness, peeled off the top piece of parchment and cut my shapes, dipping my cookie cutters in flour between each cut so they wouldn’t stick.

I placed the cookies on parchment-lined baking sheets and baked them, one sheet at a time, for about 11 minutes at 350 F. My cookies were a bit large, so smaller cookies would have a shorter baking time. Check them frequently and take them out just when the edges start to color.

Once the cookies had cooled, I iced mine with a modified royal icing. You could use powdered sugar-milk glaze or even store-bought frosting, too.

christmas_tree_cookie1.jpgsnowman_cookie2.jpg

These are soft but sturdy cookies with a terrific shortbread-like taste. They make great gifts, too. I’m just learning to ice and decorate, so I look forward to having more fun with these in the future. Let me know if you want to come over and practice! 🙂

TIPS: The very best thing I learned during the cookie workshop is how to roll your dough evenly. The instructor placed two 1/4-inch-diameter wooden dowels on each side of the dough before rolling it. The dowels are placed vertically and the dough is rolled horizontally so the rolling pin is perpendicular to the dowels. This way, your rolling pin can never go lower than the 1/4-inch dowel. It seems so simple, but it’s amazing! You could use EvenDough bands instead, but a $0.60 dowel cut in half works for me.

Update 2/1/10: You can keep baked, unfrosted cookies in the freezer for up to a month.  If you want to eat them soft, just bring them to room temperature.  My recent (naughty) habit is eating them crispy, straight from the freezer.

Recipe link: No Fail Sugar Cookies




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