I think it's only fitting that my first blog post is in tandem with a holiday, 'cause there's nothing I love more than decorating...and baking for a holiday! So here I give you some festive shamrock cookies!
The secret to any decorated cookie is a good cookie dough. And I have no better recipe than this one. It has simple ingredients, great flavor and great structure for holding cookie cut out shapes. Unfortunately, I don't have the step-by-step pictures for making the dough, but it's pretty easy. The only hard part is waiting for the dough to chill before rolling out!
So here's the recipe:
BEST ROLLED SUGAR COOKIES
- 1 1/2 sticks butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt. Place half of the dough between two sheets of wax paper and roll out to a thick slab. Repeat for the other half. Chill the dough for at least 1 hour (or overnight).
Preheat oven to 400. Turn one slab of dough onto a floured surface and roll to 1/8 - 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into any shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on and ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 6 minutes. Cool for 1 minute on cookie sheet before transferring to cooling rack. Let cool completely before icing/frosting.
Yields 4-6 dozen cookies, depending on cookie cutter size.
And here are the baked cookies. Now for the fun part...the decorating!
I had made this recipe a few weeks ago to make some cookies for a friend's baby shower. She is adopting from the Congo and so I made cookies in the shape of the state of Maryland (where she lives) and the African continent (where her daughter is). I made royal frosting and dyed it yellow and blue - two of the colors in the Congolese flag (see the decorated cookies in the Gallery page).
Well, the recipe made WAY too much for what I needed, so I just saved the frosting for another time. A few days later, we had a snow day (yet another one) and seeing how it was the day before Mardi Gras, I thought, "I'll make some Mardi Gras cookies!" The colors of Mardi Gras are green, purple and gold. Since I already had the building blocks of those colors, I used my knowledge of the color wheel and magically made the colors I needed. But once again, I was found with leftover frosting, particularly green. And so, my brain jumped to the next holiday...St. Patrick's Day! And what a perfect excuse to use this green frosting but to make shamrock cookies! And now we've come full circle.
So one of the handy shortcuts I've learned over the years is the value of a plastic zipped bag as a piping bag. Simply snip off a corner and insert your tip and coupler. Fill with your frosting and go to town!
For these cookies, I used two different kinds of green sugar sprinkles: dark green and light green. Mainly because I didn't have enough of the dark green for all the cookies. Plus, it will make for some nice contrast when the cookies are plated. Once I put the light green sprinkles on, their color sort of got absorbed by the frosting color, so it looks more like a frosted sparkle - but I think they still look pretty.
Well, that's a wrap, I think, on this first blog post! Thanks for reading and I look forward to sharing more recipes, stories and pictures with you!