Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cupcake cookies

So I decided to change it up a little and make cookies this week. I've always liked those Cookie Bouquet kind of artsy cookies, so I figured I would attempt to make these! I'm too poor right now to afford a baking class so google has been my BEST baking teacher. So keeping with my love of cupcakes, I really wanted to make cupcake shaped cookies - I've seen these before w/ some really cute designs, but I didn't have the cookie cutter shape, and I did not want to wait. I googled around my area for bakery supplies places, but no luck. I thought of Williams and Sonomoa, but they didn't have any.. then I remembered this store Sur La Table had a bunch of random cooking things - I had been in there a few times but never got anything or paid much attention. (It is now my new favorite store by the way!!) I looked it up online and sure enough they had the cupcake shaped cookie cutter I wanted. I called up the closest one and they had it :) Made my day!

So, for the sugar cookie I decided to stick to one of my favorite cookie recipes from Alton Brown. It's perfect for keeping the shape of the cookie cutter you choose. I would recommend adding either vanilla or almond extract (my fave) to the batter.

For icing, I looked up how to make royal icing and how to use it to color in and make designs. I'm not comfortable yet working with eggs and icing and I found an alternative which is to use meringue powder as substitute. It worked great by the way - at least I think it did, I didn't have anything to compare it to since it was my first time. Some tips about the royal icing: I added some almond extract, but I wish I had added some more for flavor. When I was researching stuff about royal icing, I read to keep it covered with a damp paper towel to avoid it hardening so fast - that helped out SO much! I also filled Ziploc baggies with the different colored royal icings - I'm the queen of improvising if I don't have a tool around or an icing bag. All you do is cut the corner a bit, when you are ready for it.
It was a long process - going to get the cookie cutters, making the dough, letting it chill, cutting them out, baking them, letting them cool, making the icing, icing them, decorating them, letting the icing harden, and finally wrapping them up for my friends. But it was worth it! And I learned a lot. The dough can be made ahead of time, the cookies keep for a few days in an air tight container and you can frost them when you are ready. I'm hoping to make some cookie favors my my aunt's engagement party in a few months, so I need the practice.

I'm to go bake with one of my best friends Ash... I'll post all about it next time. <3 Cara Lee

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