December 27, 2011 by Mike
Each year, my employer is nice enough to give their employees (in addition to their yearly two weeks of earned vacation) seven days off between Christmas and New Year’s. With all this time off I figured I’d match a big batch of Christmas themed cookies to give out to friends. I got inspiration from Sugarbelle’s brown sugar roll-out cookies! I loved how woodsy and rustic the cookies were– very reminiscent of a Northwest cabin getaway. I thought my Seattle friends would appreciate cookies like these. My batch wasn’t as perfect as her’s but I think I came close.
I used her brown sugar spice recipe with some modifications.
- 3/4 c. unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 c. dark brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp. whole milk
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3 c. all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs, extract, and milk. Mix until it is all well incorporated. Add all the dry ingredients a cupful at a time until all of the dry mixture is incorporated. The dough should be soft but not sticky. If the dough is sticky to the touch, add small amounts of flour until it isn’t.
- Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.
- Roll to 1/4 inch thickness and chill again before cutting into shapes. (I chilled the dough for an hour because I found this dough to be softer than my basic sugar cookie recipe. A softer dough made it difficult to cut out clean shapes.)
- Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes until tops are not shiny. Remove from the oven before the first indication of the edges turning brown.
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.
A few weeks ago, I found an awesome find at Walgreen’s. For only $10 I bought this Betty Crocker 101 cookie cutter set. It’s perfect for anyone just starting out because it has cutters for almost any occasion. I was able to find a shape for each of the designs I wanted to make for this batch.
Sugarbelle didn’t explain how she made the pine cone but I think I figured it out on my own. Here’s one of my dry runs at the design I practiced on wax paper. (sorry for the blurry camera photo picture)
The batch of cookies came out really well. The only thing that gave me problems was making the dark red color. I didn’t quite get the color I was looking for and I could see the colors I mixed together separating while it dried. Maybe that was due to royal icing that was made too far in advanced (see what happens when you try to be proactive?). I think I’ll try to make the icing the day-of when I’m ready to decorate.
Category: Cookies, Decorating Tips, Holidays, Roll-out Dough
Tags: brown, Christmas, green, red
December 14, 2011 by Mike
I found a Christmas light bulb cookie cutter online and just had to buy it. It reminded me of the vintage C9 lights we put on our house outside when I was a kid. (If you also had them as a kid, remember how hot they would get?! We never put them on our tree inside, fearing it would set the branches on fire.)
Anyways– The previous cookies I’ve done were cut out by hand using a template I handmade. Having an actual cookie cutter this time made preparing the batch SO MUCH easier and faster.
The design itself was pretty basic. I could have done more colors of bulbs but stopped after making just three because mixing different icing colors got a little time consuming. Maybe next Christmas I’ll have the time to make a batch with five or six different colored bulbs.
Category: Cookies, Holidays
Tags: blue, Christmas, green, red, yellow
December 12, 2011 by Mike
This was the second cookie design I made for Matt– a cookie representing his home football team, Arizona Cardinals. I thought about maybe creating a helmet-shaped cookie but decided to go simple and just try to replicate their logo.
The final result came out great! I think I figured out the right consistency the royal icing needs to be to get the best results (think pudding for the outlines and maple syrup for flooding/filling the insides).
Not to sound braggy, but I believe these are my best cookies yet. I didn’t have any frustrating line breaks that I had to deal with when I made the hoodies. And craters didn’t form during the drying process like what happened with the Xbox controllers. I’m very pleased with this cookie. Seeing good results motivates me to keep trying new designs… so stay tuned!
Category: Cookies, Sports
Tags: logo, red
December 10, 2011 by Mike
I made my second batch of custom cookies right before the Christmas break. Micah really appreciated the hoodie cookies I made for his birthday that he asked me if I could make something unique for his boyfriend, Matt, as a Christmas gift. I was excited to try out a new cookie design and ask what he had in mind for Matt.
“Well he kinda likes playing Xbox a lot. Also, his home football team is the Arizona Cardinals. You think you can you do something for both?”
“Sure!” I decided on making an Xbox controller for his gaming habit and the Cardinals’ logo for his team. (I’ll talk in detail about the Cardinals’ logo in the next post.)
I’m very pleased with how these turned out. I made sure that the piping consistency wasn’t as stiff as before when I did the hoodie cookies and that made a HUGE difference. The outlines were smoother and a lot easier to control. I didn’t have the breaks in the piping flow or the ugly peaks that would form when I lifted the piping bag away from the cookie. It was a drastic improvement from my first batch. :)
My only criticism would be the controller buttons on the right side. I think I made the icing consistency too thin which caused the buttons to run a little. Some even formed little craters on the surface while they dried (you can see them in the closeup pic). Air bubbles maybe were trapped in middle when I piped out the buttons. Oh well, that’s just another lesson learned.
Tags: video games, white