Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Chocolate Sugar Cookies, Best Sugar Cookies, More Cookies and Royal Icing

Our 20th annual Christmas party is this Saturday and already as it stands, I'm WAY behind in my baking. Each year, I host a friends and family Christmas party and we have anywhere from 60-90 guests, including children. Each year, it is held on the second weekend of December and this is where everyone expects to see one another to wish each other a happy Christmas and new year. I used to cook for everyone and about 7 years ago, someone suggested doing potluck since everyone asks what they could bring anyway. I learned many moons ago that if someone offers to help, take advantage of it! And, so I did and still do! I still make the rib roast and huge proportions of veggies and some appetizers to go along with it. In the past, we've always had a good spread and nobody leaves hungry - NOBODY!

Before the party, guests who have young children are invited to decorate gingerbread and sugar cookies. Up until 3 years ago, each child would take home a self-decorated mini gingerbread house. Then I got lazy and it's just cookies now. Last year, my girlfriend brought store-bought cookies and icing leftover from her company party! It was nice, but not the same. So, here I am, busting my arse trying to get these darn cookies baked.

It's actually a week-long process. A couple of days to get into the mood, then I have to actually take the stuff out, then I have to find my favourite tried and true recipes, then another day to make the doughs, another day to make the cut-outs and bake them all, then another night to make the icing and tint.

For the last two nights, I've been contemplating making my huge batches but sleep won me over. So, today, I spent all day making monstrous batches of cookie doughs doubling and tripling some. Sugar cookie, gingerbread cookie, triple chocolate chip, triple chocolate macadamia nut cookies, and oatmeal raisin cookies, and a Chocolate cut-out cookie (recipe below - all others on other posts under cookies) as well more Cora's Holiday Cookies, too! Lots of butter and shortening went into these, I must remind myself!

The Cora's Holiday cookies were made with the candied fruit and NOBODY in my family liked them. Now what am I to do with these?? There are three more rolls to be baked in the freezer!

I've rolled the triple chocolate and oatmeal cookies into balls ready for the freezer, and Holiday Cookies rolled and frozen into logs. Tomorrow will be rolling and cutting the gingerbread and sugar cookies and making the royal icing and glazes for Saturday. I also volunteered to make the cookie cut-out trains for the my daughter's kindergarten class to decorate at their Polar Express pajama party next Thursday! That's gonna be fun!

If you don't like gingerbread cookies, these Cocoa cookies are a great substitute. This recipe is great in that the dough is VERY easy to work, as is the Best Sugar Cookies.

Cocoa Sugar Cookies
(Canadian Living Magazine, Dec. 08)

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2-1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

- In a large bowl, beat butter with sugar until fluffy; beat in egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, abaking powder and salt; stir into butter mixture in 2 additions to make smooth dough. Divide in half and flatten into discs; wrap each and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. (make ahead: refrigerate for up to 24 hours.)

- On flour surface, roll out each disc to 1/4 inch thickness. Using cutter or template, cut out shapes, rerolling scraps and chilling dough before cutting again. Place, 1 inch apart on parchment paper-lined pans. Freeze for 15 minutes or refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm.

- Bake in 350F oven until edges begin to darken, 20-25 minutes. Transfer to racks; let cool. (Make ahead: Store in air-tight container for up to 1 month.)

**I'm not sure why you have to refrigerate before baking (I didn't and they were great). My husband is a big fan of chocolate and he said these were REALLY GOOD!**


The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/The-Best-Rolled-Sugar-Cookies/Detail.aspx

This is my favourite sugar cookie recipe. Very easy to roll out and not sticky.
  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.

Royal Icing
for "gluing" and decorating your cookies


Royal Icing Using Egg Whites:

2 large egg whites

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

3 cups (330 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted

Royal Icing Using Meringue Powder:

4 cups (440 grams) confectioners' (powdered or icing) sugar

3 tablespoons (30 grams) meringue powder

1/2 teaspoon extract (vanilla, lemon, almond)

1/2 - 3/4 cup (120 - 180 ml) warm water

Note: Food Coloring (I use Gel Pastes that can be found at cake decorating and party stores or else on-line)




2 comments:

  1. So tell me.. do you think baking powder in cookies and cakes is too bitter? I try to use baking soda only in my cookie recipes even if it calls for baking powder. How about the 2 tsp of cream of tartar in Snicker doodles.. I wonder if Baking Soda would work as well if i used a few Tb of buttermilk to set it off? I know lemon juice can set of Baking soda too. Mom makes a Screwball cake without any eggs and she uses Baking soda and vinegar in that 51 year old recipe.

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  2. Lorraine, I can't say I'm an expert at baking, cooking or anything for that matter, but from experience, I don't find that my baked goods are too bitter. I think if you put too much and don't mix the baking powder in well, then it may become bitter in some parts. If you just stick to the amounts asked for in a recipe, then you should be fine. I Baking soda should work with buttermilk since it is the acid that activated it. Just don't use too much for cooked if you don't want it to rise too much. You should post that eggless screwball recipe. My friend's daughter is deathly allergic to eggs and this would definitely be of interest to her. Thanks for visiting! Anna

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