Saturday, February 18, 2012

My Cookie Journey! and A Giveaway!!

Today I am starting on my journey to be a better cookie baker and decorator. I originally said that I would be posting about my attempt to improve my lack of cookie decorating skills throughout the 5 days of participating in the Random Acts of Kindness Blog Hop. I will do that, but I am also going to continue to work on  improving my limited skills by practicing whenever possible and posting my accomplishments and failures on my blog every Thursday. This ensures that I will make a step toward fulfilling my goal of becoming a cookie decorator, because I will at least be practicing once a week! That day will forever be known as Cookie Journey Thursday!
So, let's get started. Today I am posting the cookie recipe and the icing recipe I usually use. It is very possible that both the cookie recipe and the icing recipe are ones you use. They are all over the internet, and I have read many blogs where cookie decorators use these recipes. The cookie recipe is called "No Fail Sugar Cookies". I found the recipe on the Kitchen Gifts blog. I love the recipe, and I have used it for years, but I made one change that has made it a great recipe for me. The original recipe calls for 6 cups flour. I use only 5. For some reason it just makes a better cookie for me.
5 cups Flour
3 teaspoon Baking Powder
2 cups Butter
2 cups Sugar
2 Eggs
2 teaspoon Vanilla or Almond Extract
1 teaspoon Salt
Cream butter and sugar.....
until light and fluffy.
Add eggs and almond extract, and mix well.
Mix dry ingredients a little at a time to butter mixture.
Mix until flour is incorporated and the dough comes together.
The dough needs to be chilled. On the Kitchen Gifts web site
they recommend this great idea so you can start cutting out
your cookies sooner than later. Take a spatula full 
of dough, and put it in the middle of  a piece of
 parchment paper. Cover the dough with the same size
parchment paper. Roll out the dough to 1/4" thickness.
Place the dough on a baking sheet, cover with plastic, 
and let it chill in the refrigerator. Repeat the process
 until all the dough is used, and all the sheets of 
parchment are in the fridge. By the time you are done,
the first sheet you put in should be done. If not, wait about
1/2 hour. They should be done by then. 
Take out the first batch, cut out, and start baking at
350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
The best thing is that you are not adding any additional 
 flour to your cookies.

If covered properly with the plastic, these can stay in
the fridge overnight. Many times I have made the recipe
before I go to bed, and then I cut them out and 
bake them in the morning.

6 ounces warm Water
5 tablepoons Meringue Powder
1 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
2.25 pounds Confectioner's Sugar

I have been using this recipe for a little over a year,and I 
really like it. It makes up quick, and I have
had lots of comments of how good it tastes.
I found this recipe on the Cake Central website. I love this site.
I can truly spend hours browsing the cookies that bakers have
posted. It's a great site to see what's new and what everyone else is 
baking! There are so many talented people out there!! 
In the mixing bowl from your mixer, pour in the warm water
and the meringue powder. Mix it with a whisk until it is frothy
and has thickened a bit, about 30 seconds.
Add the cream of tartar and whisk for another 30 seconds.
Pour all of the confectioners sugar in the bowl, 
and place the bowl on the mixer.
Use your paddle attachment on low speed, and mix 
for 10 minutes. I usually stop the mixer at least one time 
during the 10 minutes to push down the icing that gathers
on the wall of the bowl.
Your icing will get smooth, thick and creamy.
Place in a sealed container until you are ready to use.

That's it. Tomorrow we will talk about some cookie 
decorating basics like how to outline and fill in.

Don't forget about the
 Random Acts of Kindness Giveaway Blog Hop!

We are giving away a cookie decorating kit full of
useful things you are sure to use!
Click on the link for your chance to win.
Our giveaway ends Monday!!

Thanks for joining me today!
Hope to see you tomorrow!

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