Tomorrow I am volunteering at school again. I am decorating cookies with the little ones and I just know we will have so much fun!!! I went out and bought every type of sanding sugar and sprinkle I could find!!! I came home and baked a huge batch of butter cookies and cut them out into snowflakes. I went very simple but the flavor is so good!!!
These cookies have great flavor and texture. They also hold their shape perfectly. I can’t tell you how many recipes I’ve been through over the years looking for the perfect cookie for cutting out into shapes. This is the one. I have shared it before so I added the chocolate variation today. It’s wonderful. Deep chocolate flavor with a slight hint of espresso. This recipe is the one you need if you have the urge to paint some cookies!
By the way, on a totally unrelated note…Penelope the pig is doing so much better!!! She is back on her feet and exploring her world. We are having so much fun with her! She oinks (not loudly but really cute) while she is with me in the kitchen. I love that oink! I find myself smiling just watching her. House training is going pretty well too! She’s the smartest pig in all the word….ok maybe not the whole entire world but top three for sure!
It’s such a hectic time….let’s get right to the cookies shall we? We can chat about Coco the hen and Penelope the pig getting to know each other over breakfast later! Yes, that happened…
Butter cookie dough for cut cookies (both chocolate and vanilla) Adapted from Cookie Craft
2 1/2 inch cookies ~ about 30
3 1/2 inch cookies ~ about 16
4 1/2 inch cookies ~ about 12
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt (fine)
2 sticks of butter (softened)
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract plus the zest of 1 lemon
In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients and set aside.
Using a standing mixer cream together the butter and the sugar. Beat until light and fluffy.
Add the egg and the vanilla extract (and zest if using). Mix until well blended.
Add the flour mixture (on low speed) mix until completely blended but no more. you don’t want tough cookies!
Now, lay a sheet of parchment paper on your counter. Place the dough (in a neat ball) in the center of the paper. Cover the dough with another sheet of parchment. Roll the dough out to just over an 1/8th inch in thickness but not quite a 1/4 inch. The dough should stay within the edges of the paper. Keep the paper smooth watch for ridges on both sides.
Move the now rolled out dough to your 1/2 size baking sheet (standard size). Chill the dough for at least an hour.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut your cookies into the desired shapes while the dough is still chilled (you get the sharpest edges that way). Place the cookies with about an inch between them on the baking sheet and bake them until they are lightly golden around the edges. The time will depend on the shape and size of the cookie.
*** For the Chocolate variation reduce the flour to 2 1/2 cups and add a 1/2 cup cocoa powder and 1 teaspoon of espresso powder. Continue with the recipe as above.
I used a snowflake cutter today. There are so many great cutters ( I own more than 50 myself) I love cookie cutters!!! The snowflake I chose today is a very simple one because 3 and 4 year olds will be doing the decorating. These types of cutters can get really intricate.
Here they are with the chocolate dough…which is so very good!!!!
I don’t love royal icing. I really like the way it looks but I just don’t love the way it tastes. How much fun is it to receive a cookie that is painted to perfection but doesn’t taste good? It’s extremely important to me that the cookies taste like you want another. That is key. I use decorator icing. It dries hard and tastes good. Problem solved.
Decorator icing....can be tinted using food color paste. The colors stay nice and bright.
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 teaspoons milk
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract or almond extract
paste food coloring of your choice
- In a small bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup.
- Divide into separate bowls, and add food colorings to each to desired intensity. Dip cookies, or paint them with a brush.