Monday, December 03, 2012

Making Christmas Cookies - Part 1 (Recipes Included)

Sugar Cookie Recipe

2 1/2 cups butter (at room temperature)
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
seeds from 1 vanilla bean (or 3 tsp vanilla)
5 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

1. Cream the butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer on low to medium speed. (Use the paddle attachment). Mix until thoroughly incorporated – for about one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a plastic spatula and mix again for a few seconds more.

Over mixing the butter and sugar in this step will cause too much air to be incorporated into the dough. If you’d like a light and fluffy cookie, that’s ideal, however the dough will spread more during baking; not ideal if you’d like the cookie to hold its shape.

2. Add eggs slowly and mix. Scrape down the bowl with your spatula at least once and mix again.

3. Cut open your vanilla bean and scrape the seeds out. Add to mixing bowl. Alternatively, add liquid vanilla extract. Stir briefly.

4. Sift your dry ingredients together. (Flour, baking powder and salt).

5. Add all of the flour mixture to the bowl. Place a large tea towel or two small tea towels between the edge of the bowl and the electric mixer so that the flour won’t escape. Mix on low speed for 3o seconds. Remove the tea towels and observe the dough mixing; when it clumps around the paddle attachment it’s ready. It’s also important at this stage not to over mix the dough (the glutens in the flour develop and the dough can become tough).

6. Roll the dough out between 2 large pieces of parchment paper. Place on a baking sheet and into the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.

7. Roll out the dough further if you need to, and cut out cookie shapes. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Re-roll scraps and repeat.

8. Put cookie dough shapes back into the fridge for 10 minutes to 1 hour to chill again. They will then hold their shape better when baked.

9. Preheat your oven to 350°F or 176°C.

10. Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes or until the edges become golden brown. The baking time will depend on the size of your cookie.

11. Let cookies cool to room temperature and decorate!


Royal Icing Using Egg Whites:


2 large egg whites

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

3 cups (330 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted

For Royal Icing with Egg Whites: In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the egg whites with the lemon juice. Add the sifted powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined and smooth. The icing needs to be used immediately or transferred to an airtight container as royal icing hardens when exposed to air. Cover with plastic wrap when not in use.


Butter Cream Frosting

from:the Created By Diane Blog

1 cup butter

1 cup shortening

6 cups powdered sugar

2-4 Tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract. if you are making white frosting use clear vanilla.

Beat butter with mixer until pale and fluffy, add sugar and milk along with extract mix until smooth and creamy.

*If the weather is super hot, over 100 and I’m afraid the buttercream will be a mess, I sometimes use all shortening.

**If I want a very rich butter taste, I use all butter and no shortening.

*** for Chocolate Buttercream I use ½ to 1 cup of unsweetened cocoa in place of some powdered sugar.
Gingerbread Snowflakes
via: Martha Stewart

• 6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
• 1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
• 4 teaspoons ground ginger
• 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
• 1 teaspoon finely ground pepper
• 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
• 2 large eggs
• 1 cup unsulfured molasses
• Royal Icing
• Fine sanding sugar, for sprinkling
1. Sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder into a large bowl. Set aside.
2. Put butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until fluffy. Mix in spices and salt, then eggs and molasses. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Divide dough into thirds; wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface to a 1/4-inch thick. Cut into snowflakes with a 7- inch snowflake-shape cookie cutter. Space 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, and refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.
4. Bake cookies until crisp but not dark, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.
5. Put icing in a pastry bag fitted with a small plain round tip (such as Ateco #7). Pipe designs on snowflakes; immediately sprinkle with sanding sugar. Let stand 5 minutes; tap off excess sugar. Let icing set completely at room temperature, about 1 hour.

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