Thursday, August 19, 2010
All summer long I have been trying to perfect my sugar cookie and decorating skills. So for Brian's party I decided to make baseball and bat cookies as party favors. I put them in the cellophane bags, but since he's not really a ribbon kind of guy, I made a thank you tag out of paper and stapled it to the top. I loved them. Plus they tasted and looked great too.
Before I started this cookie project I searched the internet for ideas and tips on how to make this a little easier. Best tip I found, hands down, was to roll out your dough, while still soft, between two pieces of parchment paper. It makes no sense to refrigerate your dough until hard, and then try to roll out this huge lump of dough. Which actually won't roll out until it softens up again, but by then it's too soft to to actually cut out the cookies. (Which is exactly what happened when I tried to make the wedding cake cookies.) I also bought some Evendough bands to put on the end of my rolling pin so that my dough would roll out evenly. Using these was so much easier than just eyeballing it myself. And since the dough was soft, I just applied a lot of pressure and the dough rolled out evenly. And without having to cover my counter with countless cups of flour, this system made it so much cleaner too!
I would roll out multiple sheets of dough and put them in the freezer. Within 20-30 minutes they were hard enough to cut out. Peal back the top sheet of parchment paper, dip your cookie cutter in flour and cut away. The colder the dough, the crisper the edges of your cookies will come out. Any left over scraps easily mix into each other because they don't have the excess flour on them. This was, seriously, the best system. Easier, faster, cleaner! I could make cookies all day at this rate.
My Dad happened to be in town again and was more than happy to help me with the cookies. He took the bats, while I had to pipe perfect circles around the baseballs. Not an easy task. I found that if you hold the piping bag a few inches above the cookies you actually have a better chance of getting the frosting where you want it to go. If you look closely, my circles are far from perfect. But once we put on the baseball stitching you could hardly tell.
For great video how tos on making royal icing, outlining and flooding sugar cookies visit www.universityofcookie.com I found them super helpful, and it's nice to watch someone on video!