Recently, my son’s school had a bake sale table at a fundraiser. Half of the proceeds went to the Haiti Relief Fund. Since I love baking but don’t do it unless it’s a special occasion, this was the perfect opportunity to try out some new and old recipes.
Decorated iced cookies are so special, and I was really inspired by this post on Bake at 350, because Bridget shows how you can make any shape of cookie you desire even if you don’t own that special cookie cutter by making your own template out of card stock or cardboard. Cut the dough around the template with a paring knife.
Since the school’s logo is a rocking horse…
Note: This is isn’t for the faint of heart. As mentioned on Bake at 350, this takes about four times as long as cutting the dough out with a cookie cutter!
I chilled the cut outs for about ten minutes in the freezer before baking them to keep a crisp, even edge.
Then, after baking, I outlined the cookie in red — part of the rocker broke off, but royal icing is the perfect glue, so no worries.
Next, I filled the outline with thinned out frosting — my son, Jamie, likes to help in this step — and look! The crack is now hidden!
Then, I put the finishing touches on in white on the red ones and red on the white ones after letting the cookies dry over night.
Good enough to eat!
2 1/2 cups all-pupose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 16 tablespoons, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature
1. Whisk flour, sugar and salt together in a bowl of a standing mixer. Then fitted with a flat beater, add butter 1 piece at a time while the mixer is on low speed. Continue to mix until mixture looks crumbly and slightly wet, about 1 minute. Add vanilla and cream cheese and mix on low until dough just begins to form large clumps, about 30 seconds.
2. Remove bowl from mixer and turn dough on counter top. Knead together a couple of turns to form a large cohesive mass. Divide in half and pat into two 4-inch disks, wrap each in plastic, and refrigerate until they begin to firm up, about 30 minutes. (Can be refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen up to 2 weeks; defrost in refrigerator before using.)
3. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out 1 dough disk to even 1/8-inch thickness. I use parchment paper on the bottom and Saran wrap on top. Remove Saran wrap and make cut outs using cutters, or paring knife. Slide dough on parchment onto baking sheet and chill until firm, about 10 minutes in freezer. Meanwhile, repeat with second disk.
4. Place cut out shapes on parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them about 1 1/2 inches apart. bake until light golden brown, about 8-10 minutes (baking time will vary depending on size of cookies — be sure to keep checking them as they brown quickly towards the end!), rotating baking sheet halfway through baking time. Repeat with second portion of rolled dough. Cool cookies on wire rack to room temperature.
Depending on size of cookies, makes 2-4 dozen cookies
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, issue number 65
8 oz. confectioners sugar
2 teaspoons powdered egg whites (not reconstituted) such as Just Whites
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1. Beat together all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment at medium speed until just combined, about 1 minute. Increase speed to high and continue to beat icing, scraping down side of bowl occasionally with a rubber spatula, until it holds stiff peaks, about 3 minutes.
Frosting keeps in a covered container in the refrigerator for a week. Stir before using.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
Adapted from Gourmet