Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ask the Literate Baker: Playing with Cookie Cutters

I've had three cake orders in the last few days, so I haven't had much time for baking for fun.  As a result, I don't have any fun culinary adventures to share with all of you.  Boo-hoo. So I shuffled into my dear friend and colleague Elizabeth's office and whined, "I don't have anything to write about.  Ask me a question."  Being a good friend and sometimes baker, she very nicely obliged...

At a recent party, she got a set of ABC cookie cutters.  If you aren't familiar with the Already Been Chewed cookie cutters, you should definitely check them carries them--they're sure to give you  a chuckle.  She wants to try them out, but she isn't a big fan of gingerbread.  What to do?

Well, the first thing that comes to mind is a good cut-out sugar cookie.  Anytime I do cut-outs, I use the No Fail Sugar Cookie recipe from Cake Central

6 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
2 cups unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract or desired flavoring
1 tsp. salt


  1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 
  2. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. 
  3. Mix dry ingredients and add a little at a time to butter mixture. Mix until flour is completely incorporated and the dough comes together.
  4. Chill for 1 to 2 hours.
  5. Roll to desired thickness and cut into desired shapes. Bake on ungreased baking sheet at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until just beginning to turn brown around the edges. 
  6. This recipe can make up to 5-dozen 3” cookies.
Literate Baker notes:  I use a full tablespoon of vanilla and a teaspoon of almond extract.  Also, the baking time depends greatly on the size and shape of the cutter used.  Mine take up to 14 minutes to bake.
Although the traditional decorating medium is royal icing, you can just as easily use buttercream or even frosting from a can.  Sprinkles, chocolate chips, and  colored sugars work even if you have no decorating experience. The key is to have fun!  I have to confess, I'm one of those no-such-thing-as-too-much types.  I like my sugar cookies slathered with frosting and piled high and crunchy with this, that, and the other;  so much flotsam and jetsam you have to hold it from underneath or it will break under its own weight.  Ahem.  Anyway.

Of course, if you're feeling especially indulgent, there's no reason not to go for shortbread.  You all know how I feel about shortbread.  It rolls out just as nicely and keeps its shape when baked. 

If you go this route, I'd suggest no more decoration that some melted chocolate.  Place 1/4 to 1/2 cup chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl.  Heat for 20 seconds, stir; repeat this process until the chocolate is melted and smooth.  Spoon into a zip-top bag and seal.  Snip off one corner, then gently squeeze the chocolate out to make faces, clothing details, or squiggles.  Super easy and very sophisticated.

Put the baggie in a glass for easy filling.
I hope this has put you in the mood for some cookie love.  Feel free to share your thoughts, ideas, and adventures in cut-outs.  The messier, the better!

Keep it sweet. Pin It

No comments:

Post a Comment