Saturday, February 21, 2015

Cut Out Sugar Cookies with Icing

Theatre has taken over my life, but I don't mind it one bit. The theatre department at my school is working on You're A Good Man Charlie Brown, the first musical production that this school has put on in about a decade. With the show dates coming up at the end of March, there have been rehearsals four or five times a week. I've been at almost every rehearsal to help with the music as accompanist and as moral support for the director ;). Despite some rehearsals running late which result in my coming home basically at bed time since my commute is about an hour, I enjoy it. I've always thought that taking part in theatre in college was the best decision I ever made because it really opened me up and made me a better person. I look forward to going to rehearsals because it's become a stress reliever for me! I laugh so much and I get to play piano, one of my favorite hobbies. I wish I could that every day.

We had rehearsal this past Saturday on Valentine's Day and I wanted to bake something for the cast and crew. I thought about making Charlie Brown themed cookies and then I found a t-shirt shaped cookie cutter on Etsy! I immediately bought one and knew I had to make yellow t-shirt cookies with black zigzags. The recipe I used from Sally's Baking Addiction really hold up their shape and do not expand at all.

Charlie Brown themed sugar cookies

I only got to frost half the cookies this way because I ran out of frosting and time due to poor time management on my part but it actually ended up being enough for the whole cast and crew since it's a small group anyway. This would be a great activity to do with your friends or with your kids if you have different cookie cutters and are stuck inside thanks to the several snowstorms we have had this week alone! It was nice to have a week off from school and get a second winter vacation but I'm starting to get cabin fever now. I hope everyone has been staying warm! I shared both the sugar cookie and icing recipes below.

Sugar Cut Out Cookies
From Sally's Baking Addiction

3/4 cup butter, slightly softened to room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamed and smooth - about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 or 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract and beat on high until fully combine, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

Whisk the flour and baking powder together in a medium bowl. Turn the mixer down to low and add about half of the flour mixture, beating until just barely combined. Add the rest of the flour and continue mixing until just combined. If the dough still seems too soft, you can add 1 tablespoon more flour until it is a better consistency for rolling.

Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Roll each portion out onto a piece of parchment to about 1/4″ thickness. Stack the pieces (with paper) onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day. Chilling is mandatory. If chilling for more than a couple hours, cover the top dough piece with a single piece of parchment paper.

Once chilled, preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line 2-3 large baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. The amount of batches will depend on how large/small you cut your cookies. Remove one of the dough pieces from the refrigerator and using a cookie cutter, cut in shapes. Transfer the cut cookie dough to the prepared baking sheet. Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used. Bake for 8-11 minutes, until very lightly colored on top and around the edges. Make sure you rotate the baking sheet halfway through bake time.

Allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before icing. Make the icing and decorate the cooled cookies however you'd like. I find they stay soft for about 5 days at room temperature.

FREEZING: unfrosted cookies freeze well up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Frosted cookies do not freeze well at all. You can freeze the unbaked cookie dough before rolling for up to 3 months. Then allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Then allow to come to room temperature for about 1 hour. Then roll and continue with the recipe as directed.

Sugar Cookie Icing
Adapted from Allrecipes

1 cup confectioner's sugar
3 to 4 tsp milk
1/4 tsp almond (or vanilla) extract
1 tbsp light corn syrup

I found it best to use the mixer for this recipe instead of just a spatula and my hand. In a small bowl, stir together confectioner's sugar and milk until smooth. Stir in almond extract and corn syrup until glossy and smooth. Add food coloring and stir well. You can dip the cookies or use OXO Good Grips 8 Piece Baker's Silicone Decorating Bottle Kit! I got my set from the Food Blogger's Cookie Exchange last year and it does work really great and is super easy to clean in the dishwasher! That's what helped me make the zigzag lines on Charlie Brown's t-shirts.

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