Friday, September 2, 2011
Football Sugar Cookies
A little over a week ago, in an effort to encourage my readers to get chatty on my Facebook page, I promised to make a football sweet treat. Tomorrow is the big day when college football starts and I’m more than ready. Life without college football just isn’t right. I wanted to know who YOU root for every Saturday, so I posed the question on Facebook and a few days letter let Random.org take over. Out of all the comments, it chose the one from Jeanie: “RTR!” I was sweatin’ bullets before I pressed the generate button, but luck was on my side!
So I present to you my Roll Tide Sugar Cookies!
Now before you go thinking “yeah right, of course it didn’t land on anything but Alabama,” I was prepared to stick to my word and color icing some ugly shade of orange or that ridiculous purple/yellow combo. I also had intentions of surprising a few folks with some UT cookies, but the orange I used turned out to be more of a flesh color. While I’m not a fan of UT, I’m at least smart enough to know you don’t mess with team colors.
I’ve decorated a lot of sugar cookies, but learn something every time. My football cookie cutter not only cut the dough into cookie shapes, but also left some design impressions. When I outlined the cookies, I also outlined the design and that proved to be a major no-no. The flooding was very difficult around the lacing and spread all over the place since the outlined icing sunk into the impressions. I only iced two cookies fully and then went over the outline again. The writing spread too much, the red icing bled into the white icing, and they just didn’t quite have the look I was hoping for. Next time I’ll only outline the cookie, flood the entire cookie, and once that dries, pipe the rest of the design.
After decorating the two cookies above, I decided to not flood the rest at all since they looked pretty cute without it. I was happy with the detail and writing, but I’ll definitely be doing Football Sugar Cookies part 2 to get them right. Who knows, maybe it’ll be YOUR team for the next batch!
Football Sugar Cookies
Vanilla Almond Sugar Cookies
3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, cold
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. meringue powder
5 tbsp. water
1. For the cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Combine the flour and baking powder, set aside. Cream the sugar and butter. Add the egg and extracts and mix. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat just until combined, scraping down the bowl, especially the bottom.
3. The dough will be crumbly, so knead it together with your hands as you scoop it out of the bowl for rolling.
4. On a floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4" thick sheet, and cut into desired shapes. Place shapes on parchment or silpat lined baking sheets. Place entire baking sheet in the freezer for 5 minutes (this step is important in helping the cookies keep their shapes nice and clean). Remove and bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until edges are just barely starting to turn golden. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely prior to decorating.
5. For the royal icing: Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the sheen has disappeared and the icing has a matte appearance (about 7-10 minutes). Transfer the contents of the mixing bowl to an air-tight container. This will be the stiffest consistency of the icing, and at this point it is still too stiff to use for decorating. Add water a very small amount at a time and stir by hand until fully incorporated. Continue until the icing has reached a consistency appropriate for piping. (Remember, if you are having any difficulty piping, it is still too thick. Add a little more liquid and try again.) Using a pastry bag, pipe around the edges of each cookie. Let stand so the icing will set. Make sure to keep the leftover icing covered at all times when not in use so that it does not begin to harden.
6. Once all the cookies have been edged, transfer some of the remaining icing to a separate air-tight container. Thin out by incorporating a small amount of water at a time, until the icing drips off the spoon easily when lifted and then smooths in with that still in the bowl. If you go too far and the icing is too thin, add more sifted powdered sugar to thicken it again. Once the icing has reached the desired consistency, transfer it to a squeeze bottle (or a plastic bag with a hole in one corner), and flood the area surrounded by the piping on each cookie. If it does not completely spread to the edges, use a toothpick to help it along. Allow to set.
7. Use the remaining thicker icing for piping decoration as desired. Gel icing color is best as it does not add a significant amount of liquid. Liquid food coloring can be used as well – add powdered sugar as needed to compensate for any thinning that occurs.