Have you ever bought a cookbook, wanting to use it immediately, and then just let it linger on the shelf? We bought Cookie Craft three years ago, and we looked at it, and we loved it, but Brian and I were concerned that we just did not have the decorating skills for the masterpieces shown in this book. Cookie Craft is about decoration, much more than baking. It is filled with incredible cookie designs, rich in color and detail. The Thanksgiving turkey cookie, made with candy corn, belongs in a museum
The book itself has just a handful of recipes for cookies and icings. The concept is that a few key recipes, combined with food coloring and your imagination, present you with an unlimited cookie horizon.
Brian and I finally took the plunge and that tiny nibblete pictured above is one of our early successes. In a word, Cookie Craft is excellent. The cookie recipes themselves are so delicious you’ll be sampling them before they are cool enough to ice.
Today’s blog is for the cookie itself, a rolled sugar cookie that may bring back fond memories from old time cooking. Tomorrow’s blog will cover the icing recipe and some techniques.
Cookie Craft is filled with ideas about how to reduce the hassle of making decorated cookies. The rolling, cutting, and icing are steps that often give you second thoughts. That’s why we tend to make drop cookies or pan cookies: just take that batter and cook it off.
Rolling out dough is the stumbling block. You take chilled dough and attempt to roll it out evenly, and you can’t. The middle is thick, the edges are thin, the cut out cookies have different thickness, and baking is difficult unless you sort out the thin and thick. It’s a pain. So Cookie Craft has a wonderful suggestion: make the dough, roll it out right immediately, chill, and then cut and bake. Rolling out the fresh dough is soooo much easier. It’s a brilliant idea and made this project far easier.
This recipe is for a “sugar” cookie but there is far more butter here than sugar. It is in fact the butter that gives the flavor its ultimate quality. So, look for premium butter to make a better cookie.
Rolled Sugar Cookies
Yield: about 30 2 ½ inch rounds
- 1 ¼ pounds (600 g.) carrots, peeled and cut into rounds ⅛inch (3 mm.) thick
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla or 1 teaspoon vanilla plus zest of 1 lemon or an extract of your choice
- Food coloring if desired
Whisk together the flour and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
Using your mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. (If your mixer has multiple attachments, use the paddle.) Add the egg and vanilla (and lemon zest, if you’re using it) or your extract of choice and mix until well blended.
With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until the two are thoroughly blended.
If your cookie design calls for adding food coloring, do so now, and continue blending until the desired color is reached and is evenly incorporated.
Turn out the dough onto the work surface and divide it into two or three equal portions. Form each one into a rough disk. Now you’re ready to roll, chill, and cut out the cookie shapes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
After you’ve rolled and cut the dough and the cookie shapes are on parchment-lined cookie sheets, bake them in the middle rack of your oven for 12-16 minutes or until the cookies start to turn slightly golden around the edges (smaller cookies will be done more quickly). note: If you decide to bake two sheets of cookies at a time, space your two oven racks evenly in the oven and rotate the cookie sheets halfway through baking (that is, switch the position of the top sheet and bottom sheet and turn both so that the front of each sheet is at the back to promote even baking).
Cool the cookies completely on a rack before icing or decorating.
Source: Cookie Craft by Valerie Peterson and Janice Fryer