Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fancy Sugar Cookies with Oven Envy

I rarely bake sugar cookies. My kids love them, but they also eat just about every other kind of baked good, so since sugar cookies are the most labor intensive, I avoid making them when at all possible.

My sister and her Vegetarian Martha Stewart like friend Cathy, on the other hand, are known for their amazing decorated sugar cookies. If there is a holiday and there are cookies, these two collaborate and crank out some fancy sugar cookies shaped for the occasion. These two bakers have all kinds of crazy ass cutters. Cathy even made bloody finger cookies for Halloween. Gross.

Rachelle and Cathy shared their top secret recipe and skill set with us for the blog. I captured all the details so that this holiday season you guys can rock the cookie jar with these delicious and festive cut outs.

Keep in mind that my sister has the ultimate kitchen for baking cookies. She custom built her kitchen to include this double convection oven wall. Two giant convections with four racks each,

so you can bake 8 trays of cookies at once. It is like a commercial operation when you have this kind of baking power. I had oven envy at the sight of the trays evenly baking away times eight. No wonder she willingly volunteers to make sugar cookies. Duh. If I had this professional equipment I might just switch from chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin.

Here is the basic recipe,you can tweak it to use the gluten free all purpose flour, and in my case, I substitute almond extract so the cookies have more flavor.

They use a method of rolling out the dough on wax paper,
then flipping the dough to another sheet before cutting and placing them on the baking sheets. It seems tricky at first, but works so well, there is no need for messy floured counter tops.

These bake until just barely golden brown along the edges, then they cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to the wire racks. If you take them off too soon, they are too soft and will tear, and if they cool too long on the sheets, they stick and break when you transfer them- it is a system of trial and error to get the timing just right.

The icing is a thin dipping style

that is used to coat the tops evenly. Once they are frosted
you can sprinkle them or decorate them as you wish. Add the toppings just before the icing sets, if you do it too soon the colors will run, if you wait too long the sprinkles or sugars won't stick because the frosting is already dry and sealed. Again, you must experiment with the timing to make them look pretty.

These stars were for Grandma's 100th birthday party. They looked really beautiful on the trays with the desserts. I overheard my cousin say they were store bought, and I promptly corrected her- thinking they are from a bakery is the highest compliment to the bakers.

I think I will attempt to make Hanukkah cookies this year using this recipe and method. I will have to make fancy green dreidels because I am still envious of the oven.


Aaryn said...

chanukah is my time to make sugar cookies with white icing and blue sugar sprinkles

I have a dreidle and menorah cookie cutter

Rachel said...

I do love me some sugar cookies but I don't like to make them... way too much mess & work. Maybe I'll torture myself this holiday season & give it a try. Would play-dough cut-outs work just as well as cookie cutters... that is the closest thing I would have if I wanted to make shapes! A little play-dough mixed in with cookie dough surely couldn't hurt too much could it? LOL!

Sabrina said...

Can you post the icing recipe? Mine always, ALWAYS turns out too thick for dipping no matter what I do and it's making me insane. I'm making turkey cookies for Thanksgiving, hopefully.

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