I can’t remember the last time I participated in the Weekend Cooking meme sponsored by Beth Fish – but I have sure missed it! Along with not reading or blogging or writing – I have done very little baking these past few months. But I hope that I am coming out of the funk and will soon resume my normal pleasurable pastimes.
I don’t know about you, but every year I vow to start Christmas baking and holiday crafts early so that I can enjoy the festive spirit for a longer period of time – and so that I am not stressed to complete everything at the last minute. And every year my good intentions never materialize. Today, however, I decided to experiment with sugar cookies in the hopes that I could overcome the learning curve before December rolls around. I have always loved a decorated cookie and have often looked with awe – and a bit of jealousy – at these edible works of art. I have subscribed to the Decorated Cookie Blog for several months now and she has inspired me to try my hand at a simplified version of these artistic treats.
A couple of years ago I purchased a delightful little book, Cookie Craft Christmas, which I reviewed here. In that post I discussed my problems with the flow technique of decorating. Since that time, I have purchased some plastic squeeze bottles to help with the icing mess – and I must admit that they work very well IF I have the icing at the right consistency. That was learning curve #1: the flow icing needs considerable more water than the original recipe calls for. I must admit that the transfer process of icing to bottle is rather messy and time consuming, but the ease in decorating the cookies makes it all worth it.
I really enjoy the sugar cookie recipe that is included in the book: the dough is not too sweet and very easy to handle – and I LOVE the suggestion of rolling the dough between sheets of wax paper. This helps maintain a clean surface and a clean rolling pin. The dough is the perfect consistency and after just 30 minutes in the refrigerator it is ready to cut into shapes. I decided to go with a fall theme, and the recipe made about 2.5 dozen leaves and a dozen acorns. The perfect amount for our small family. I would anticipate that the recipe could be easily doubled to accommodate a large holiday get together.
It was a good thing that I did not have any other plans today, as I spent most of the afternoon (12:30 – 5:30) in the kitchen. The cookies were neither difficult nor time consuming, and clean up was a breeze, but it took a bit more time to make the icing. The piped icing recipe was fairly accurate – although I had to add a bit more water, and it made more than enough icing to pipe outlines on all the cookies.
However, I failed to read the directions closely – which stated that the flow recipe made enough to decorate 2-3 batches of cookies. Needless to say, I had LOTS leftover. But I decided to go ahead and pre fill containers with Christmas colors in an effort to save time and frustration in December. I should think that it would be safe to keep around that long as the only ingredients include water, meringue powder, and powdered sugar.
Anyway, it was fun experimental day and I am now excited to have a family baking day when both my girls will come over and help decorate these traditional Christmas cookie treats.