Sunday, November 27, 2011

Baby Shower Cookies

baby shower cookies
I think it's gonna be a girl

I'm not a huge fan of sugar cookies compared to other more homely and yet more delicious cookies. But. . . they are so damn PRETTY that I make them anyway. The recipe I made recently, however, was really rather delicious (even better as uncooked dough balls stolen from the fridge during the night). Possibly the best sugar cookies I've ever had. So I'm going to go ahead and share the recipe. The cookies come out tender and just a bit chewy.

How many does it make? I'm not sure. Lots. I think I ended up with three dozen for the party, but there were at least another three dozen that were eaten raw, eaten because they didn't come out of the oven in a pretty shape, or eaten because I somehow ruined the icing. So, maybe 6 dozen.

baby shower cookies


4 cups/500g AP Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking Powder
1-½ cup/340g Butter
2 cups/400g Sugar
2 whole Eggs
2 whole Eggs Yolks
2 tbsp Vanilla Extract* 


In a separate bowl, measure out flour, salt, and baking powder. Whisk well to distribute baking powder.
Beat butter and sugar until well combined. 
Add in 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks and mix until combined. 
Add in vanilla extract and mix until combined. 
Slowly add flour to butter mixture (a bit at a time lest it blow up in your face) until JUST combined. You don't want to agitate the flour too much and promote gluten formation, lest the cookies come out tough.

Put dough in some Saran wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.** 

When you are ready to bake, heat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough out, cut out cookies, and bake for 6-8 minutes. Cool completely before icing.

*Some might like to swap out some Vanilla for some Almond extract, but for me that's also known as 'boyfriend poison' and I don't want to kill my boyfriend at this point. They'd probably be good with lemon zest, too.

**When I was younger and just learning to bake, I thought that chilling the dough was done for the express purpose of making it cold. This is true in some cases, but not all, and so it's not something that you can always afford to shirk, or try to short-cut by sticking your dough into the freezer. Letting your dough sit allows it to become evenly moist and can mean the difference between a dough that rolls out wonderfully and one that tears and crumbles. This is especially true for pastry doughs, but also true for these cookies. Leaving the dough overnight would be a great idea (plus, aged dough tastes better). 

baby shower cookies
The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah...
Do you need an icing recipe? I don't have one for you. I don't remember what I did. It's royal icing. I do recall that I added a double dose of vanilla because my friend K, whose baby shower I was attending, is a vanilla whore. Well, probably not. She has enough money to buy it for herself rather than sell herself on the street for it. The point is, she likes it. Other than 2 tsp of vanilla, I probably used 3 cups of powdered sugar, 2 (boxed and baby-safe) egg whites and possibly some lemon juice.

What really matters with royal icing, if you haven't made it before, is to get the consistency right so that it doesn't drool out of your piping bag and all over the table, forcing you to lick it up and get icing all over your nose. If you drag a knife through your icing and count to ten, the surface should be come flat between 5 and 10 mississipis. If it takes too long, add a bit of water, or milk, or something appropriately liquidy (liquidy but appropriate?). If the icing become flat again too quickly, add more sugar.

baby shower cookies
Now you've got that song in your head.

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