Thursday, October 29, 2009
Halloween and Woodland Creature Sugar Cookies
I love cookie cutters. I love frosting sugar cookies. I love sending them off to friends. A few weeks ago I went in to sur la table, a dangerous adventure, and ended up buying (among other things...) 3 Halloween cookie cutters. I consider them an investment.
My friends Lisa and Roo came over and we made delicious butter cookies from a recipe in Cook's Illustrated that I had used to make Valentine's day cookies for Brad when he was out in L.A. and I was stuck in Boston. It is a delicious recipe that bakes up well - so long as you watch them VERY carefully, otherwise they will burn.
Brad then joined us and we frosted them with some simple butter cream frosting from the recipe on the back of the C&H Powdered Sugar. Delicious. Who doesn't love making and decorating cookies?
This is Fox in Boots. Brad decorated him. He is my favorite. And I'm not being patronizing, I promise.
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar (superfine if you have it - I didn't)
1/4 teaspoon table salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces at cool/room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cream cheese
*The original recipe says to use a stand or hand-held mixer - I found this unnecessary and actually rather annoying, it kept spraying the flour everywhere. I've written it to be done by hand but you can use a mixer if you want.
1. Mix flour, sugar and salt together until combined. Mix in butter one piece at a time; continue to mix until mixture is crumbly and slightly wet. Add vanilla and cream cheese and mix until large clumps form.
2. Knead dough by hand in bowl for 2 to 3 turns to fom a large cohesive mass. Turn dough out onto countertop and divide in half. Pat into two 4-inch disks, wrap each in plastic and refrigerate until they begin to firm up, 20 to 30 minutes. (Dough can be chilled up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 weeks; defrost in refrigerator before using.)
3. Adjust oven rack to middle position (I have to put a few layers of foil on the bottom shelf to keep my cookies from burning but I think it's just the combination of my oven and my non-stick pan.) heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out 1 dough disk to even 1/8 inch thickness between two sheets of parchment paper. Slide rolled dough on parchemnt paper onto baking sheet and chill until firm, about 10 minutes. Repeat with the second disk.
4. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with the first portion of rolled dough, cut into desired shapes and put them on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until light golden brown, 8-10 minutes. Repeat with second portion of rolled dough. Cool cookies on wire rack to room temperature.
5. Decorate using whatever frosting/sprinkles you would like. Enjoy!