Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Decorative Cookies...How To (plus extras)

I got a ton of emails and comments (here and on FB) asking about how to make the decorative cookies I've been making....

I'd love to share...goodness knows I would have loved a place to start when I tried making these back for the teacher gifts in May (that turned out great if I do say so myself)

Check out the Christmas Tree cookies I just finished for Mini Me's party tomorrow.....

Here are the basic cookie recipes and icing that not only taste out of this world but hold up when you are taking them on the go. I wouldn't recommend substituting any of the ingredients. You can find most Wilton products (like the Meringue Powder and gel dyes) at Walmart at a great price.

After trying about 5 sugar cookie recipes this is by far my favorite esp for making these type cookies

Basic Rolled Sugar Cookies
This is my favorite all-around cookie recipe and the one I use most often.
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup superfine sugar, or granulated sugar, processed in blender or food processor for 30 seconds
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. Almond extract or emulsion, optional
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour.
Cream butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes with mixer set at medium speed (see Dough Preparation and Baking tutorial for more information on creaming times). Add yolk, beat well. Add whole egg, vanilla and optional almond extract and beat until well-incorporated. Add flour; beat at low speed just until flour is mixed in; do not overmix. Divide dough in halves or thirds and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least one hour and up to 2 days.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Dust work surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll dough to 1/4" thick, sprinkling with additional flour as needed to prevent sticking. Cut into desired shapes and place on parchment or silicone-lined pans. Bake in preheated oven until cookies appear dry on the surface and are light golden brown on the edges, about 10 minutes (very large cookies may take up to 12 or 13 minutes). Remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks and cool completely before decorating.

This is by far my favorite icing recipe. This works great for glazing and decorating to travel. Lasts a few weeks (thanks to the crisco hee hee)

Meringue Powder Buttercream
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 T. meringue powder
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 4 ½ cups powdered sugar (1 lb. 3 oz. If you have a scale)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract (use clear vanilla if you want a pure white icing)
  • ¼ tsp. almond extract
Place half of the powdered sugar and the meringue powder in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk together well. Turn on mixer (use whip attachment) and, while motor is running, slowly stream in the water. Mix until everything is incorporated. Turn mixer to high speed and whip until stiff peaks form. Add flavorings and mix well. Change to paddle attachment (for stand mixer) or dough hook (for Bosch). If using a hand mixer, use the same beaters you were using before. Add remaining powdered sugar and shortening and whip for 2-3 minutes more.

Note: Don't skimp on the whipping time after adding the shortening. You really need to whip it well to prevent separation later.

Now that you have the basic's what I do. My steps take me 3 can rush it if you want but I feel 2 days for decorating give it great time to set so they won't smush!

I can get about 16 cookies per cookie batch w/the big 3-4" cutters. Less if you are making cookie bouquets (I roll those even thicker...1/2" in thickness) These are just under that.

Bake and then I immediately take a flat spatula and press down to flatten cookie...(No rounded edges) Cool on racks.

Prepare icing. I usually make 2 batches esp if I am doing many colors. I found the Wilton Gels work best for vibrant colors. For browns and red I usually use a whole jar! I love color!!! (again Walmart)

You want your icing spreadable...if you find you are having a difficult time w/your decorative tips add a few drips (yes drips) of water and stir until it's perfect. You don't want to have to press too terribly hard when decorating (1. could pop your bag...2. hurts your hand hee hee)

Let's get started glazing and icing!

For glazing techniques...

First outline your cookie in the color of the glaze you want. (I like to let this sit a few hours to set before glazing)

To make the glaze take some of your icing in a bowl and add drips of water ...a few at a time and stir.
You are looking for glue consistency colors look more tree green than the images...I think the time of day and location make them look like the Incredible Hulk or slime.. (grins)

Then start to add a few spoonfuls of the glaze on your cookies and spread around gently to the edges of your outline.

Let this set overnight (or at least a handful of hours)

Get your icing in bags and start decorating! Again I like these to set overnight when finished before packing!

I wish I was an artist because I can see how this could be a gorgeous blank canvas to work on. I'm the basic stick figure kind of girl, but I have fun nonetheless!!!

Feel free to email if you have great tips to pass along or more questions....

On to more of my busy projects.....Here are some more of my pom pom crafts I've been doing for the girls (mini me and cousins) for gifts this Christmas. I'm on a roll!!!! i did tank tops and flip flips...gonna add a matching headband too!

Hey guess who's getting bigger than Santa? OHHHH that would be me. I wonder if there are any openings at the mall? I'm 33 weeks ladies!

I am definitely feeling this little boy in all areas of my body! My back and feet need a break by 11pm...whew! The joys of motherhood! SO far so good. Reid is still head down and I got to feel where his back and butt were at my appt on Monday. I was rubbing my baby's bum! Lovin it! :o)


Together We Save said...

Oh wow - thank you for sharing your cookie how-to!! Your are so pretty can you just make me some? LOL

Jumping Jack said...

Those cookies look awesome! Do you read Bake @ 350? She makes cute cookies and has a lot of really good tips!

The flip flops and tank turned out so cute! I wish I had little girls to make those for! Love them!

You're still lookin' good! Glad you're feeling good too.

californiadreamin said...

Thank you for the cookies and I love the belly pic :) Wish I could get my little man head down, he wants to lay transverse! grrrr

Britt said...

You look adorable! I think I'm gonna have to try and do the Pom Pom thing too! How do you find the time lady?!?

LeAnna said...

Your cookies are adorable! I'm a stick figure girl, too when it comes to art. But I think your trees look awesome!
Cute belly, can't believe you're down to a less than 2 months!

Stef said...

That is genious, making the outline. I have always wondered how people get their cookies to look so perfect. I'm totally going to try that next week!

Kerri said...

Your trees are super cute!
And, what a cute belly! I always wanted to be a cute pregnant woman...but when you gain are hardly cute!

Kerri said...

Your trees are super cute!
And, what a cute belly! I always wanted to be a cute pregnant woman...but when you gain are hardly cute!

Lisha @ DeLovely Life said...

Oh my goodness those cookies look amazing! Thanks for the recipe. I'll attempt them after I make some rum balls. You look lovely! Nothing cuter than a preggo belly.

Shannon said...

Laura your belly is so cute! Now all you need is a beard and red suit! Just kidding, you're adorable and look NOTHING like the Jolly Fat Man!

Those cookies look great and after you emailed me I decided these are way to much to undertake this year! Maybe in the future!

Yours look terrific though! The kids tomorrow are going to love them!

And go Momma go, so crafty lately! Maybe this is your form of nesting with baby #5...???

Hugs to you busy bee!

Jessica said...

Those cookies are presh!! I may be attempting these for our Christmas Eve party!

Thanks for the tips and those flip flops and tank top is CA-UTE!!

Precious belly, you only have a little longer!

Southern Cinderella said...

1. Those cookies look AWESOME! Maybe mine will look somewhat like that this year, I can only hope!

2. Your POM-POM making skills are FABULOUS! I'm quite jealous! The headbands I'm sure will be adorable!

Have a great week :)

Jenn @ West Sac Honey said...

Yum those cookies look delish your such a good little cook!

Can't wait to see the new addition to the fam already!

Janine said...

Look at you looking so good at 33 weeks!!! Wow. Way to go.
Thanks for the recipe. Those cookies look fantastic.

Lori said...

you're 33 weeks already?! you have to be kidding me-- that was so quick!

those cookies came out great.. you are so talented!

Shannon said...

Okay just saw a commercial for these and yours look just like the ones on tv! Girl you are good! Bravo to you because these aren't easy to make!

Was today any calmer? Hugs!

JDub said...

Aww - you look great!!! I love it!

Thanks for the cookie how to. I made my dough last night - can't wait to see how mine turn out...Maybe I'll post a picture :)

Angie said...

Your cookies look amazing. I want to try a new sugar cookie recipe this year...last year mine tasted like flour...thanks for sharing. I am doing this recipe for sure. I don't know if I can make my own icing though...Hummmm. Maybe.

hugs to ya!

Becca said...

I have always wanted to know how to do this. I'm bookmarking it so I'll remember for Valentine's cookies.

Morningtower said...

Abby says you are very crafty. I say you are an overachiever, and you're making us look bad!!!! How dare you do such wondrous things on a regular basis with 4 small munchkins and one on the way????? (Seriously, those Christmas Tree cookies are amazing!)

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