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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Spring Sugar Cookies

My "Hunger Games" Winner  choose to sponsor her Mom and send her some Sugar Cookies. (Isn't she sweet?)

I love making sugar cookies and I love looking at all of the beautiful cookie designs from Sweet Sugarbelle, like this, and Bake @350, like this, and LilaLoa, like this, and Swetopia, like this. Well, there are many more cookie decorators out there and I could go on and on comparing myself to them, but I'm totally depressed now.... 

I so WANT to make cookies this beautiful! I believe I have the skill to make them (until I prove otherwise). What I lack is the patience! The patience to outline and wait. To fill and wait. To outline again and wait. To fill with another color and wait overnight. Then come back and add detail work and sprinkles. I just don't have the patience. I want to just get it DONE!!

Oh... and SPACE! Counter space to lay the cookies out and allow them to dry.

So, I'm still at a basic level of decorated cookies. One day decorate. Outline, flood, sprinkle.

This is the recipe that I like:
1 1/2 cup powered sugar
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Beat the sugar and butter until creamy. To keep the powered sugar from exploding all over the kitchen, wrap a towel around your mixer. Add in the vanilla and almond extract and egg. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients and sift into butter mixture. Stir to combine.
Lay down a piece of waxed paper on a cookie sheet. Dump out the cookie dough on to the waxed paper and cover with another piece of waxed paper. Flatten with your hand and place in the fridge  for 2 hours.

Heat the oven to 375. Roll out the dough between the waxed paper. I leaned this from the cookie queens - don't over flour your counters which will add unwanted flour to your dough. Use a guide to roll the cookies to 1/8 - 1/4 inch thickness. Two paint stir sticks stacked up is a good tool. Roll out the dough, cut, and then pop them in the freezer for 15 minutes before baking (Another tip gleamed from the Cookie Queens). Getting them extra cool prevents them from over spreading and losing their shape. 

Bake for 7 - 8 minutes and allow to cool. 

While I was following all the guidance and advice from the Cookie Queens, I was also tweeting and posting pictures on Instagrams.... and guess who commented on my pictures???? Yep! Bridget and Callye!! I could not believe it! And they had confidence in me - SQUEEEEE! 

For the Royal Icing, I followed Georganne's recipe HERE. It was very straight forward and easy to do. I think that my icing turned out nearly perfect :)

I made my batch of RI and then half filled a piping bag with a Wilton #2 tip and white THICK icing to outline the eggs. I put about 1/2 cup of RI into twos small bowl and colored one yellow and the other purple. I then outlined the flowers and the butterflies. When the outline was done, I thinned the large batch to a flood consistency and then stirred in the thick icing. The Yellow turned out great, but the purple created a bit of a marbled look to it. I kinda liked it. 

I did add some sprinkles to the wet icing, but I left most of them bare. 
For the black on the butterflies... I must admit... I cheated.
I used Wilton's Cookie Icing in black to pipe on the body and antenna. I have mixed feeling about this. The icing can't be mixed and stirred, which resulted in a runny consistency at first. The bodies weren't great, but by the time I got to the antenna, the icing worked very well. I'll know better for next time.

For the eggs, I played with the wet on wet technique. I'm most comfortable with this because there is NO waiting needed. Simply outline and flood, then add the other colors.
I made poka-dots and crisscross designs. 
And then added parallel lines and dragged a toothpick through to create the points. I love how it looks like the color was painted on. 

To make the center dots on the flowers, I pipped a RI dot on wax paper and added the sugar. I left it to dry overnight then added them with a touch of RI as glue. 

You can see in the picture below that I added dots around the rim of the flower... yeah... well I didn't wait long enough. Even after 4 hours, the icing was still very soft under the crust and I could not safely remove all of the sugar that I wanted just on the dots.
I learned... PATIENCE!

I learned overall, that I don't have to compare myself to the "pros". They had to start somewhere also. 
I think that I am off to a pretty good start. Can't go wrong with all the great help and advice that is out on the intraweb! Thanks, Ladies!

I link up at THESE great parties.
My entry into Wow Me Wednesday sponsored by Appliances Online and Bosch Washing Machines

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