Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's YUM.

One of my favorite things to bake is cut out sugar cookies.  I always make them for Christmas.  Every Christmas Eve the whole family joins up around the table of bare sugar cookies to ice and decorate them.

But, I also like to make cut out cookies for other occasions too.  This year, I made some really awesome cookies in honor of Valentine's Day (which also happens to be my anniversary).  Since we had two (yes TWO) special dinners with friends this weekend, I had lots of folks with whom I could share my cookie creations.

First step - make the dough.  I always use the same recipe.  It's from an old Fannie Farmer's cookbook I inherited from my grandmother - I discovered this recipe because she often wrote notes next to the recipes she had made and indeed, this one had a note that said "good sugar cookies," so I tried them and she was right.  It's been my exclusive recipe ever since!

The cookbook also lists lots of variations on the cookies.  I use the basic recipe which is:
1/2 cup butter, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 egg, 1/2 t vanilla, 1T milk, 1-1/4 cup flour, 1/4 t salt and 1/4 t baking powder.  I make it in the kitchen aid mixer and when it forms a ball I wrap it in waxed paper and put it in the fridge to chill (about an hour).

Once the dough is cold, I roll it out with extra flour and use the appropriate seasonal cookie cutters to cut them out.  I bake the cookies so they have only a hint of brown on the edges.  The cooled cookies rest until they have hardened and then the decorations can begin.

I started with some of this.

I rolled them out like this.

When I run out of cookie trays a pizza pan works too~
The cookies cool on newspapers.
The decorations get going!  I make my decorating icing with confectioners sugar and water - only a few drops of water are needed for a pile of 10X sugar!  I add food colorings and use spoons, knives and even chop sticks to decorate.  I also top the wet icing with goodies like M&Ms, chocolate jimmies and DOVE candy hearts.

This time I went a step further and melted some chocolate.  I used semi-sweet chocolate chips (Trader Joes brand) and a white chocolate bar also from Trader Joes.  I melted them in a dry bowl over a small amount of water in a pot on the stove.  I used a very low simmer.  I iced the cookies with one chocolate and drizzled the other chocolate over it.  10 minutes on the back porch to cool and firm up and they cookies were ready to eat.  They were DELICIOUS and tasted like Pepperidge Farm milano cookies.
I had some chocolate left over after I iced the cookies so I dipped some Trader Joes mini almond biscotti in the melted goodness as well - the results were TRES DELICIOUS!


Sydney said...

if you can imagine, the cookies taste even better than they look!! YUMM! thanks

Jeannie said...

Great variety of cookies .. and lots of work. (And I recognize the recipe in the Fanny Farmer cookbook. I think that might even be my "Great" remark on there. Loved that cookbook. Glad to see it's being used!)

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