We have been baking cut out cookies for years, well by we I mean my husband and oldest daughter. He grew up making cut out cookies with his Mom and....I didn't. For years this has just been something that they have done on Christmas Eve, while I watched and waited and sometimes slightly got in a little on the decorating part. A few years ago I began getting more involved in this cookie making...the cupcakes brought it out in me!...and now we bake and decorate cut out cookies for every holiday or season! We...meaning usually my daughter does all the mixing, rolling, baking, and I decorate,
but today I was nervously on my own!
The recipe that I like to use the most is adapted from Martha Stewart- Essential Recipe No. 2: Sugar Cookies (I have changed it slightly but you can follow the link to the original recipe, if you wish)
1 stick margarine (softened)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup regular granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 tsp mint extract (or vanilla or whatever you want...they are your cookies!)
3-1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
Oven preheated to 350
(1) In my stand mixer with the regular paddle, first I mix the margarine, applesauce, and sugar until fluffy. Then, add in the egg, salt, and extract of your choice, until mixed. Slowly add in the flour, about a cup at a time. (2) Once this starts getting thicker I like to switch to the dough hook to finish up. (3) Once everything is in the bowl and combined, I put about a third to half of the dough on a piece of wax paper, and cover with another piece of wax paper. Martha Stewart showed this on her show a couple of years ago and while my daughter likes to flour the counter and make a mess and so may you, I like to roll the dough this way for less clean up!
(4)I then roll the dough to about a quarter of an inch or whatever suits my mood. (5) I use my cookie cutter to cut as many shapes as possible. (6) Then I remove all the negative dough and put back in the pile to reroll.
Bake the cookies in a 350 degree preheated oven for 7-10 minutes, these particular cookies took 9 minutes. (7) Once removed from oven let them cool 2 or 3 minutes on the cookie sheet and then move carefully to wire rack. (8) When all cookies were baked and totally cool, I stacked them to prepare for decorating. Today this recipe made 42 shamrocks and 1 indeterminable shape...already devoured!
It took years for me to even figure out what type of icing should go on the cookies! I started with the little tubes at the grocery store and cake frosting, moving on to a messy glaze, then last summer discovered royal icing. However, last Christmas I learned about the Wilton Cookie Icing. This stuff last forever, is microwavable, and quick and easy with no mess to clean up! I also had some St. Patrick's Day Sprinkles on hand so figured I may as well throw some of those on too!
The solid green cookie above I had to use a little paring knife to clean up the mess I made, that stayed put when I picked up the cookie...I had hoped it would not!
One of my favorite ways to decorate with this icing is with a little swirl, zig-zag, I don't know what to call it. (9) For this particular cookie I started by coloring 1/2 each heart shape in the leave and half the stem green, (10) then the other half white, (11) and then got a tooth pick and dragged it back and forth between the colors, not lifting up the toothpick until I am ready to go to the next little heart leaf.
Then I did some just half green and half white.
Below is a finished Shamrock
These take about 2 hours to dry, just touch them and see, if it isn't dry you can just eat it and pretend it never happened! Have fun with it!
Here are the 40 decorated Shamrocks!
(A few hours after the cookies posed for this picture...half disappeared!)
Here are some more cookies I have made with the Wilton Cookie Icing
Find more great St. Patricks Day Recipes at Luck of the Irish Holiday Party Blog!