September’s Cookie of the Month

It’s time for another installment of IPB Living’s Cookie of the Month! I’ve been toying with the idea of making frosted sugar cookies in fun Fall shapes since… well, since summer started. I felt like it needed to be at least a tiny bit close to Fall before making them, but then this week two things happened. One, nhl.com started publishing NHL team-by-team season previews. Two, Elizabeth posted about making the cutest little frosted butter cookies in adorable football shapes. Hockey and football = close enough to Fall for frosted sugar cookies cut into pumpkin and leaf shapes!

I used Dorie Greenspan’s sugar cookie recipe from “Baking From My Home To Yours”. Dorie makes some fun-sounding suggestions for adding ginger, cinnamon, or cardamom to make the cookies more interesting (and intriguingly mentions that her grandmother would sometimes top them with poppy seeds), and I knew that any of our fun extracts would work beautifully here, but in the end I decided I should start with something plain and simple. If I liked the recipe, I could make it again with ground ginger or with lemon extract. Of course, my commitment to keeping them plain ended when I realized that, after adding the correct amount of vanilla, I was left with only about 1/3 of a teaspoon in the bottle. I’d chosen the Tahitian vanilla since it’s my favorite and leaving 1/3 of a teaspoon of Tahitian vanilla in the bottle seemed stupid. So I dumped the remainder in and declared the cookies “Tahitian Vanilla Sugar Cookies”.

The dough was crazy easy to make (I doubled the recipe) and I only had one mishap with separating the yolks from the eggs unsupervised for the first time in my life. I wrapped the halves of the cookie dough in plastic wrap, and traipsed off for a long lunch. The recipe said to cool the dough for three hours but after my last experience with rolled dough, I knew Gene the Wonder Fridge cools dough fast. The last time I had a bitch of a time rolling the rock-hard dough. This time? Not so much. Even though the recipe warned me that the dough would be very soft, I was still shocked when after cutting my beautifully rolled dough into wonderful shapes I could not move the cut dough or peel off the excess at all.

The recipe said to put the cut dough back into the fridge for 15 minutes or so. Of course, because I’d doubled the recipe, half of the dough made a disk too large to fit on a sheet in the fridge. So I had to junk everything I’d done and then split the halves into half and start again. A mild annoyance, surely, but after 15 minutes I discovered the chilling system did indeed work.

Chilled, the dough peeled like a dream! I had the excess removed, the cookies transferred to a tray, and the tray in the oven without too much trouble at all. After just 11 minutes in the oven, the cookies came out looking gorgeous!

As well as that first tray went, though, I found myself switching into “don’t waste a day off from work” mode and somehow devised the least efficient system for chilling, cutting, and baking the cookies. Roll the dough, cut the dough, chill it for 15, bake it for 11, and repeat, one tray at a time. For some reason figuring out how to streamline this process seemed like way to much work. But the time the sixth tray came around, I had finally figured it out and it wasn’t taking 90 minutes to prep and bake nine cookies. Woo-hoo!

Before I knew it, I had stacks and stacks of cookies just waiting for frosting.

After dinner, Schnookie whipped up some simple confectioner’s-sugar-and-milk frosting. With the help of some food coloring, we soon had a Fall palate of pumpkin orange, pumpkin-stem green, maple-syrup-candy brown, and… well… bright pink. We needed more Rutgers-red like the football cookies, but ended up with noxious Barbie-from-the-80′s pink. Still, we had a blast frosting them.

The end result is a very nice, simple sugar cookie. I think it would be nice with some extra spice or flavor, but even without, the cookies are delicious. They also have the perfect balance of crisp and chewy that every sugar cookie should. And the time and trouble it took to cut and frost them was worth having…

Three different kinds of pumpkins…

… Two different shapes of oak leaf…

… And a back-to-school apple!

A very, very tasty back-to-school apple.

The months of anticipating fabulous frosted Fall cookies were totally worth it; this cookie-making-and-decorating-and-eating experience was awesome!

Recipe:
From “Baking From My Home To Yours” by Dorie Greenspan”

Grandma’s All-Occasion Sugar Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 stick and 2 tbs butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350.

Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.

Beat butter on medium speed until smooth. Beat in sugar and mix for two minutes or so until light and creamy. Add egg and yolk and beat. Add vanilla and beat some more. Gradually add the flour, mixing on low speed, until flour is just incorporated. Dorie suggests stopping the mixer just before the flour is completely incorporated and finishing the remaining mixing with a rubber spatula. The dough with be “soft, creamy and malleable”.

Divide the dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours. These cookies can be treated as roll-out or slice-and-bake. Either way, you’re looking for cookies 1/4″ thick. If you’re doing roll-out cookies, roll the dough between sheets of parchment paper and remember the dough will be very soft. Consider chilling the dough after cutting it for 15 minutes or so to make peeling away the excess and transferring the cookies to tray easier.

Bake the cookies for 9 to 11 minutes. The cookies will not turn colors, but will by firm when finished. If you’d like, dust the cookies with sugar after removing from the oven. Let cool for a minute before transferring the cookies to a rack to cool completely.

17 Comments

Filed under Cookie Of The Month, Cookie, Cookie, Cookie Starts With C

17 responses to “September’s Cookie of the Month

  1. those are so adorable!! I didn’t know you could make the icing with milk (I just used water and confectioner’s sugar when I made them), so I’m going to have to try that next time. The thing about cookie cutter cookies is that they are so cute and so tasty that you forget how much of a pain it is to roll the dough and cut the cookies and roll again and then it’s too soft. But there’s something about a cookie shaped like a pumpkin or an apple (or a football) that makes it so much more entertaining to eat them.

  2. An entertaining cookie is always better than a boring old round one! I actually really enjoy rolling and cutting cookies. It had a mini melt down when I realized I was going to have to start again, but it only lasted about five minutes. Then I was happy to putter for hours cutting out shapes and rolling dough with the nice marble rolling pin Schnookie unearthed in the great Dishbox Unpacking Expedition of 2008.

  3. I suspect it probably doesn’t make any difference at all whether you use water or milk in the glaze — I’d actually never thought to use water!

    And thank goodness I’ve got Pookie around to want to deal with all the fuss of rolling and cutting and chilling and baking, because even though I ADORE how cute cookie-cutter cookies are, I know I don’t have the patience for them. Those of you who do have my utmost admiration; without you, the world would be a cheerless place! :D

  4. ahh the mini meltdown. I am no stranger to those. I wish I had a nice rolling pin… actually? I don’t have one at all, and borrow my mom’s. (Or just bake the cookies at her house, haha.)

  5. I highly recommend the “borrowing someone else’s house for cooking because they have the specialized tools you don’t” approach to cooking. Like when we’d go to our friends house to make french fries in their little deep-fryer. (Only, instead of using their fryer ourselves, we’d go over and demand they make fries for us, but you get the idea…) (And then we got our own little fryer, but since no one is making the fries for us, we don’t use it very often.)

  6. hg

    Gene the Wonder Fridge

    What a great name! My fridge is on it’s last legs, leaving frozen food stuffs not so frozen and it is wobbly/crooked thus I have dubbed it Rocky. When a new one comes along, I will try to find a name that measures up to Gene.

    Anyway… Awesome cookies! I think those would travel well in a care package. Or something. :D

    hee hee

  7. If there were any cookies left, HG, I think they would have traveled well. We’ll try to remember that next time… :P

    Rocky is a wonderful name for an on-the-brink-of-death fridge! Gene the Wonder Fridge is named for Gene in “Wet, Hot American Summer”, the guy who humps the fridge. When I first saw this model fridge in a showroom, I just turned to Pookie and Boomer and said, “Excuse me while I go hump the fridge.” We knew we were naming it Gene long before we actually had it installed. As for the “Wonder Fridge” part, well… it’s an amazing fridge. What can I say?

  8. I think my favorite cookie might be the frosted sugar cookie. These look delicious! I especially like the pumpkin trio. So very fallish! Too bad it is still 900 degrees outside!

  9. It’s almost too fallish to handle!

  10. hg

    on-the-brink-of-death fridge

    You really couldn’t have said it any better. You know how fridges click when they turn off? (Although I’m sure Gene doesn’t make a peep). Well, old Rocky sounds like gunshots. Or like 4 dump trucks backed into the building. Mr.A’s parents are re-doing their kitchen and he’s trying to get the old fridge from there to be the new fridge here. HR had an idea that maybe it was too close to the wall and wasn’t getting any circulation in the back so I used my massive muscles and moved it, placing a fan on top pointing down the back. Helps a bit because now things are a little more frozen inside.

    Anyway, enough fridge saga.

    Yay cookies! Yay Fall!

  11. I’ve used coffee to make frosting as well. Pretty good with a subtle je ne sais quoi in the background.

  12. Oooh! Coffee in a frosting or glaze? That’s genius!

  13. These look so good!

    I am envious of your cookie cutters, I am. :D

    Coffee in a frosting or glaze? That’s genius!

    Concurred, and yummy sounding.

  14. Coffee in a frosting sounds like a fabulous idea! Thanks for the tip, Chaz!

    Caitlin, I am so excited for the cookie cutters. I know a lot of people find futzing with roll out cookies sucks, but I love it!

  15. We put it right in the frosting instead of milk or water. It also gives it a nice off white color. Did I mention its super tasty? I have a problem where I’ll eat it straight up. So, my poor cookies end up naked.

  16. Mmm…dreamy! Those look delicious. Thanks for the recipe. I think I just may make a batch.

  17. They would make great skulls to go with your Day of the Dead theme, carol!

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