January 29, 2015

Perfect Sugar Cookies

I signed up to bring sugar cookies to sell at the concession stand for the Elementary School musical Wizard of Oz.  (I'll show them to you when we make them.)  We have been practicing with sugar cookies all year.  These are the cookies I made for our first ever Hope for Accreta- Upstate NY Chapter meeting.  I think they turned out pretty cute.

Sugar cookies are not my thing, I'm a pie and bread girl.  My 16 year old son, and my 11 and 12 year old daughters love making cookies.  I love doing things with them and so, we do sugar cookies.
Since we do cookies a lot (they volunteer us for sugar cookies almost every holiday) I figure I'd better learn how to make them cute.  And, we're getting there.  I'm still not Sweetopia   #sweetopia or The Allison Show #theallisonshow.

I tried Sweetopia sugar cookie recipe and it was a big flop for me.  My cookies tasted good but were flat and spread out.  Plus, I'm sorry but I simply do not have time to stick the dough back in the fridge for an hour before I roll it out and then refrigerate each tray if cookies for another hour before I bake them.  I, frankly, don't even have time to bring my butter to room temperature.  Sweetopia also uses a transparency machine that projects her image onto her cookies.  I don't have $400 for that.  So, we're stuck with cute non-perfect cookies here.

Ironically, after scouring the Internet for tips and recipes, I ended up using the very recipe I had in my binder from years ago.  In the picture above, the old recipe is this Sweetopia recipe, and the new recipe is Heidi Doxey's Sugar Cookie recipe posted below.  I should have switched and made the recipe that says OLD recipe, the NEW recipe-- my old recipe was actually JUST RIGHT.  Just right, just right, just right.  (Is Old Hat, New Hat one of your favorite books?  I haven't read the new board book, mine is an old copy.  It is definitely in my top 5 favorite books to read to my kids.  Along with My Nest is Best.  "I love my house, I love my nest, in all the world my nest is best!!!"  You love those books too, don't you?  Man, I should be making money with all my Amazon links.  Ha!)
Anyone know Heidi Doxey?  She was my friend years ago in Michigan and I haven't kept in touch with her.  Tell her hi from me and thanks for the sugar cookie recipe.

Heidi Doxey's Sugar Cookie Recipe

2 cups butter (I never use warm butter, I just cut my butter up into pea-sized cubes before I mix it.)
2 cups sugar
6 eggs
4 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract  (I didn't have this, but it sounds good)
6 tsp baking powder (I left this completely out, because I read online that baking powder makes the cookies spread.)
7-8 cups flour  (I added more four than this, I kept adding four until my dough felt like Play-doh)

Roll out thick (I did mine 1/2 inch might go thinner next time).
Bake at 350* for 8-10 minutes.
Don't let them get brown.
(My cookies were thick and my oven cooks slower, so I cooked them 12 minutes.)
This makes at least 4 dozen cookies.
I used this recipe for royal icing from Sweetopia.

I mixed all the icing,  checked it for thickness (see NOTE below), then poured it into smaller bowls to add coloring.
I had 5 empty icing bags with tips on them, folded tip-down, over 5 large drinking glasses (like a trash bag folded over a trash can).  My bags were bigger than my glasses, so the tips were scrunched at the bottom.  It was fine.  I filled each bag while it was in the glass, I could actually pour the icing right in-- so fun.  Way less messy than it usually is when I try to fill the bags with spoons.
The best idea was securing the bottom of the bags with a twist tie or elastic band before decorating.
Genius.  Really seal those bottoms good so the icing doesn't ooze out.

This one recipe makes a TON of icing.  I almost doubled it... ha!  Don't.
The pictures I took of the icing bags were taken AFTER I had decorated all of our cookies.

NOTE- Sweetopia explains a 10 second rule- here.  She says after you make icing (before you put it in bags, draw a line in the icing with your knife and count to 10.  The line should completely disappear in 10 seconds.

This time, my icing was too thick.  My line never disappeared.  I had already added more water than she said to add and I was too nervous to add more.  I can tell that my icing was too thick because it didn't dry smooth.  Next time I'm going to add more water and trust the 10 second rule.  We used a nail thing to spread the icing a bit once we piped it in, but you can still see bumps as it dried.
Also, I covered one tray of frosted cookies and left the others sitting out exposed all night.  The exposed cookies dried perfectly, the covered cookies were still wet.  (These are the wet ones- they look a little runny.)
I'd suggest making cookies a day or two before you need them and letting them sit out, uncovered, over night to dry before putting them in bags.  I just found one bagged cookie yesterday (about 5 days after I made them).  The cookie still tasted fresh, but the icing was a bit crumbly.  They were perfect for 3 days after making them.

Because I didn't like the first batch of cookies, I baked the second batch of cookies and frosted them all in one shot.  They turned out just fine.  I didn't leave my icing to dry for 6 hours between colors.  I really think it's fine to bake and decorate cookies all in one day.

Some tips about SUPPLIES.
I bought everything online at Amazon.  Later, I went to JoAnns and saw everything that I bought cheaper there.  I would check JoAnns first if I were you, mine had a great selection.  And, it really is better to see what your buying in person.  I bought red glitter for Dorothy's shoes that turned out to be more feathery sugar than glitter.

I bought this food coloring.
And I bought this frosting kit (just to get more tips and bags).
Size 1, 2 or 3 round tips are all you need, with disposable bags, and enough of these coupler rings to make your different colors.  (Size 2 is the best, I want a size 1 for the more detailed cookies we are dreaming up, and size 3 worked for the big filling colors.)
I used some star tips for the colors like white and purple that were more fill in colors.  Star tips weren't ideal, but they were fine.  I found it easier to have a pre-made bag than it would have been to share or switch tips.

My favorite thing has been these little bags.
They are adorable and would be cute to handout regular cookies.
I think I'm going to make cookie valentines for my kids this year.
They perfectly fit one big sugar cookie with a little star.  I folded the top over and taped them on the back with some cute tape.  (I should have taken a better picture, you can kind of see the plate of take-home cookies I displayed at our little party.)

I don't have a ton of cookie cutters.  I raided my Play-doh toys for the little star cookie cutters.  I think adding a small cookie to the bag really made it cuter.

And, that's all the cookie wisdom I have for you.
I'm not an expert, just a mom who has to figure this out so I can sell edible cookies at the school concession stand.  Ha!

This is the reason I make silly cookies...
I have little girls who LOVE to stay up at night making a sweet mess with their mother.
And, I love them.
Our best memories are baked in my kitchen.
I would honestly say that 80% of the time I am interacting with my children, we are in the kitchen.
Cooking, cleaning, decorating, or eating... I bond as I feed.
And I guess, sugar cookies are becoming our thing.
I have a feeling we will be baking A LOT of cookies as we navigate the teenage years.  Ha!
Life with a cookie sure is sweet!

I'm off to make it a great day!

1 comment:

CTR Mama said...

They look great! I despise making sugar cookies, but they are my husband's favorite. The first year we were married, we made 100 intricately decorated Halloween cookies. And then Christmas cookies. And so on. A million years later, they're still a requirement in our house. We have literally hundreds of cookie cutters! I also keep going back to my Old recipe lol. The best thing I did this last time was switch to Wilton squeeze bottles (instead of the piping bags)--easier for my little kids-- and use a thick, hardening glaze (powdered sugar, milk, and corn syrup) instead of the royal icing. They dried hard enough to set and stack but didn't break your teeth to bite into. Thanks for sharing your life with the world! Happy baking :)

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