I was going to try some random sugar cookie recipe off the internet, but the cutters had a perfectly fine looking recipe on the back of the package so I thought I'd wing it and go with that. The most appealing part of that recipe? No chilling. Any time I have to chill dough for X number of hours super pisses me off. Rising bread dough for an hour? No problemo. Heck, when I make pitas, that dough has to rise for 3 hours and I friggin' love making pitas! I have no problem with waiting for rising dough at all. So you'd think it would be exactly the same for chilling. But it's not. I hate it. I think the reason I'm cool with having rising time is because it's so satisfying to see how much the dough grows in that time period. Like that dough was working the whole time. Not just sittin' back relaxing, doing shit all. Chilling gives no gratification and when you eventually do take the dough out and get to rolling it, it's nearly impossible because it's too stiff and icy cold which makes it even more unpleasant to work with.
Anyway, this dough recipe was seriously the best I've ever used for rolled out cookies. Which is saying a lot because rolled out cookie dough never produces anything remotely good looking for me. Ever. So the fact that I have tons of cookies that all look perfect like this:
and I only minimally wanted to pull out my hair is saying a lot.
The only lesson I learned when it came to that whole rolling and cutting process was to ensure that I rolled the dough out to a thickness that would create the impression from the cutters. Not too thin and not too thick. I had to scrunch up my first two rolling attempts because of those two problems, but after that, I had it down pat. I think the only other thing that might have made more sense would have been to roll the dough out directly on the cookie sheet. Moving the shapes was very difficult. Using a spatula made it a little better, but it got super frustrating when I'd be just about there and the head would rip off, or even worse, one foot on an otherwise perfect cookie. Patience is something I really have to work on.
So then, while they were cooling, I thought (just for fun -- or extreme torture), I'd give a go at royal icing. Something I've never attempted. I used frozen egg whites that I had to quickly unthaw which ended with me slightly cooking them (I've been trying to use my toaster oven for melting and defrosting lately because I want to see if I can go microwave-less. Apparently it doesn't turn off automatically on toast setting 7. Good to know). So I kind of just strained off the cooked egg white bits and went with that. Amazingly, it still worked, I just didn't need as much icing sugar. I decided to pipe an outline on the back of the WWF logo cookies (since they were essentially a square shape -- E. Z.) and flood the interior with thinned out icing. I thought it would be easier and make more sense to do it on the back of these since the detail is so fine on the front. Even with the proper tools, I think it would have taken an expert piper to get the details in with icing. Naturally, it would have been impossible for me to do it at all with a ziplock baggie. So I didn't have some exorbitantly crazy wigged out piping schemes. I didn't even tint the icing to make it even easier. The only problem was the ziplock baggie. Otherwise, I think it would have worked fantastically and looked totally awesome if I only had the proper tools.
Here's what did happen. I almost immediately sprang a leak in the ziplock bag (since the icing was a little on the thick side) so I had frosting coming out up near my hand the entire time, and I got frosting on the zipping mechanism so it wouldn't close which meant I also had frosting coming out the back, and it was near impossible to get an even line after outlining the first two cookies because of clumpage. There was frosting everywhere. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of all that because I was too frustrated to care anymore and the only good looking one I had, I packaged up for T as soon as it was dry. The rest of the WWF logo ones (completely, although awkwardly and mountainously iced) Idle Husband and I devoured last night.
Just so you know, these cookies are friggin' fantastic! Once in a while IH would bring home a decorated sugar cookie from Second Cup, and I swear to you, these cookies taste exactly like that. So now I'm pretty determined to get them right because I want to send a whole bunch of them to work with IH for his coworkers. I mean, hello? Coolest wife ever award? Yeah, me! That's right!
See that little dab of white on Boss Man's head? I ended up just quickly smearing the leftover icing on the back of all these cookies. It ain't pretty but it tastes good.
Rolled Out Cookie Dough (from Wilton's)
1 cup butter (I used margarine)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 cups flour
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cream the butter and sugar together until nice and light.
Add the egg and vanilla, beating to incorporate.
Add in the baking powder, mix.
Add in the flour one cup at a time and thoroughly mix after each addition. You may have to remove the dough from your mixer after 2 cups of flour have been added and knead in the last cup, but my Kitchen Aid handled the 3 cups just fine.
Do not chill (whoop!) Divide the dough into two balls and roll into a 12" diameter circle about 1/8" thick on a well-floured surface. That's super more important than being precise with the inches (or the circle for that matter), so I suggest you use whatever cutters you're going to use as a guide and roll it till it's right for the cutter (who gives a damn if it's in a precise circle). To get the hang of this, I put the cutters beside the dough and kind of set the rolling pin on top so the dough wouldn't roll down past the thickness of the cutter which would make the dough too thin. Then I'd roll a couple times more so it wasn't as thick as the cutter (since that's too thick) and that'd be perfect. I only had to do this about two times before I could eyeball it.
Dip your cutter in flour for every single use (this is very essential when you have a really detailed cutter like mine were. Sometimes doing it once wasn't enough). Feel free to knock off any excess flour just to be sure it doesn't get in the way of pressing in any details (I did).
Bake 6-7 minutes or until lightly browned (they puff up a lot in the oven which is something I wasn't expecting).
I found my royal icing recipe and tips here.