Tuesday, December 09, 2014

December Daily 8 ~ Christmas Cookie, Round 1 + Sugar Cookie, Gingerbread and Frosting Recipes

Last night Ellie, Kohlton and I had our annual Christmas Cookie decorating evening, though we got a late start, so I did not actually decorate my cookies yet.
I have a new set of cookie cutters that I purchased from Crate and Barrel back in February. I was very excited to use them. I also noticed that they have a new kitchen towel with the same animals on it.

I also happened upon a lovely new cooper bear cookie cutter that I found on Amazon (it is funny to me that it is not from William Sonoma). I might have to get that one, too, although it is kind of expensive. I found another one that I like just as well that is half that cost. I also like this one. I love good quality cookie cutters.

Here are to recipes I usually use. I am going to include a new recipe for a Royal type frosting that is supposed to be good and tastey. I have not tried it, yet.

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:
from: JoyofBaking.com

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 (* I use all butter, and no shortening. The shortening makes a nice consistency, but a funky taste in the mouth.)
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

* These cookies are excellent for decorating and hanging up. They are very hard and very spicy. We don't usually eat these cookies. They become Happy New Year cookies for the squirrels in January.

• 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

New recipes that I want to try from the Carrottopmom blog.

Classic Sugar Cookies

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours. Roll dough on lightly floured surface, until approximately 1/4 inch thick (for larger shapes, I prefer approximately 1/2″ thickness). Cut into desired shape, and place on cookie sheet with parchment paper. If you are going for a shaped cookie, place cookies in freezer for 10 minutes. This will help prevent the cookies from spreading, and will help maintain their cut shape.
Bake 10-12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until very lightly browned, and puffy in the middle. Let stand on cookie sheet three minutes before removing to cool on wire racks. Allow cookies to cool entirely before frosting.


Sugar Cookie Icing

2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
assorted food coloring
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. (See picture below, showing consistency.) If icing is too thick to spread, add more corn syrup.
Divide into separate bowls, and add food colorings to each to desired intensity. Spread the frosting onto cooled cookies. Allow cookies to sit for 2-3 hours before stacking.

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