Patriotic Sugar Cookies

Every heart beats true for the red white and blue! These cookies were actually sent to a congressman’s office back in November during the election campaign, but I figured that with all the craziness going on in DC, now was as good a time as any to post them.

I had fun with a basic red, white a blue starts & stripes theme.

That one up there reminds me of Captain America a tad too much.

I added a touch of white luster dust to smooth out the details. Working with bold colors is very unforgiving and the dust helps soften them.

I like the diagonal ones the best. The stars were tricky to pipe freehand but I finally got the hang of it.

Surfing Cookies

It took long enough, but let’s celebrate the sun FINALLY coming out after a long winter.

These were actually Christmas/Holiday cookies for some of my dad’s surfing pals, but I didn’t think my East Coast readers would appreciate the bragging about SoCal weather had I posted them back in December.

Hawaiian shirt cookies and edible surfboards.

The floral print on the Hawaiian shirt cookies was done using a marbling technique. I put icing drops of one color onto the still wet base and used a toothpick to draw each dot in to make a petal. I always want to make a tutorial, but you have to work fast with this technique and I never have enough hands to keep the camera frosting-free!

The little pocket on the breast of the shirt is my favorite.

I had fun with the surfboard designs. I just piped wavy lines and filled them in what whatever color pastry bag I was holding.  I was running out of royal icing at the end so I eeked out whatever was left and I just made it!

Don’t they make you want to head to the beach and lay out in the sunshine?

Here’s to springtime and summer!

Jewish recipes, hamentaschen, lemon bar step-by-step

Lemon Bar Hamentaschen: Step-by-step

Purim is coming up! It’s a Jewish holiday filled with celebration, silliness, and, of course, food. In celebration (and because they’re delicious) I made some hamantaschen. They’re basically just a three-cornered cookie with some sort of filling in the middle. These amazing recipes have been making their way around Facebook, and I was inspired by the lemon bar variety.

So let’s get started! We start with a basic sweet dough. This one is butter free, baking this entire recipe dairy free – yay! The dough is tougher and sturdier than your average cookie dough and also less-sweet. I used this dough recipe here. Roll the dough out right away and cut into circles. I didn’t have a circle cookie cutter, so I used a drinking glass. Worked just as well.

Because I was using a liquid filling, I didn’t fold the cookie around the filling. Instead, I folded the cookie first to make a little cup.

Just pinch in each corner.

Make sure to press firmly so they don’t open up in the oven.

Nice little cups ready for filling.

I made a standard lemon bar filling using eggs, flour, sugar, and lemon juice. I cooked it over the stove to thicken it before filling the cookies.

Spooning it in.

Then I gave the corners and extra pinch just to make sure they stayed where they were supposed to.

And here we go! Beautiful right out of the oven. I did a little dance when I saw how well they kept their shape!

These treats are surprisingly easy and super impressive. From idea to oven in only about 45 minutes.

A little sprinkle of powdered sugar on the top and they’re ready to go.

By the way, these little guys travel pretty well, too.
And taste great! Not too sweet, not too soft, not too crunchy, not too messy. Easy to pick up and eat and a good size, too.
Happy Purim!

Sesame Street Cookies

I LOVE THESE COOKIES! They’re covered completely in glitter. Really, what can go wrong?
I made these Sesame Street cookies for a second birthday party. They were due the day after another huge project, so I got started early and made royal icing transfers a few days ahead of time so I would be able to take my time and make them as perfect as possible.
First, I traced the shapes with black royal icing onto wax paper. I used a picture underneath the wax paper so I could follow the lines.
Flood with icing on one section, dump on the glitter, and wait a few hours for the icing to dry.
 Don’t you love edible glitter?
Brush the excess off (I use a makeup brush designated for food, not cosmetics) and fill in the rest of the colors

I tie my pastry bags with twist ties so I can put them down and not worry about them exploding and making a big mess.

When they’re dry, you can just peel them off the wax paper.
Flood a cookie with any color icing and, while the icing is still wet, plop the decoration on top.

There was a little bit of bleeding because of the intense black and because they sat for a few days, but I love how they came out.

The glitter gets everywhere, but it’s worth it.

How can you resist?

You Can Make Checkerboard Cookies Too!

When I was practicing for the wedding last month I though I’d help you learn, too. I think that most baked gooks look harder to make than they actually are, and these are a perfect example of that. It’s pretty impressive looking dessert that anyone can make with just a little time and patience. Today we’re making some checkerboard cookies using a standard sugar cookie recipe. Just use your favorite recipe and leave out the leavening agents for a great flavor with crisp, clean edges.

Divide dough and knead in your colors. Roll it out really thick (about a centimeter) and cut each color into equal-sized slabs. Mine were about 10 x 7, but the dimensions don’t really matter as long as they’re the same size. My hands were too covered in food coloring to take pictures until this point, so use your imagination for the measuring bit.

Freezing the dough after it’s rolled makes it easier to work with and helps it keep its shape. Use a ruler to make sure everything is exact.

Stack the pieces and trim the edges.

Eat scraps quickly before anyone notices. I promise not to tell.

Slice your dough in half so you have two equal sized strips.

And stack those on top of each other, forming a log.

I brush each strip with egg white before stacking because it makes everything stick together nicely.

(Yes, my nails are painted an obnoxious color. Don’t judge.)

Measure and cut long strips that are about as thick as you originally rolled each color. This means that when you look at the piece you sliced at eye level, the boxes are square. This means that if your original solid rectangle was 1 centimeter thick, you should try to make these strips the same thickness. You can slice thinner or thicker, but if you do so you’ll have rectangles at the end, not squares.

I was very precise with these because I wanted the checkerboard pattern to be perfect! Use a ruler and a big knife, being careful not to slant inwards as I have a tendency to do.

Stack the strips on top of each other, making sure to flip half of the strips over so the colors are alternated.
Now you can just slice and bake! This log made about 25 cookies. Again, I freeze the log at each step to make it easier to work with. I also froze the cookies on the tray after I cut them and before I baked them. This helps them keep their shape because it prevents them from puffing up and spreading too much.
Experiment with different colors and try adding a pretty border, as shown below, by wrapping the finished log in a thin sheet of extra dough. So easy to make piles and piles of them!

I currently have a log of this in my freezer just waiting for a special occasion. It keeps for quite a while, so just make up a few and keep them around. I like to make and freeze a few logs before I leave for school so that my mom has something handy when she wants to impress visitors. Try bagging them up and using them as party favors or gifts! The classic combo is chocolate and vanilla, but don’t let that stop you from making them in any color or flavor combination.

Happy baking!

Bats, Pumpkins, jack-o-lanters, and spider webs. Spooky!

Halloween Cookies

It might be a bit early for most people to celebrate Halloween, but the camp I work at had a theme day, so of course I brought cookies to help everyone get into the mood. I ended up making about 90 cookies and they were gone about 20 minutes after I left the box in the staff lounge.

I love how these cookies worked so well together as a set. Seeing them all together on the plate just made me so happy!

How could I resist making goofy faces on all the jack-o-lanterns?

Boo!

The spiderwebs were made by piping the spider blobs on top of (mostly) dry marbled royal icing.

I had so much fun with the evil bat faces.

I never thought a spider would look so cute!

Patriotic 4th of July red white and blue sugar cookies

4th of July Cookies

Alright, I admit. I went a little crazy with these. I got home from work at 4:30, started these right away, and worked through dinner until 10:30 at night. What? You mean that doesn’t happen to everyone? But they were so much fun! Just about ever cookie is unique. I decorated with dragees, piping, and marbling techniques. Take a look at how I did the cookies with the marbling:

Immediately after outlining, then flooding the cookie, I piped circles of color onto the cookie. I tapped it against the table a few times to make it settle, then immediately dragged a toothpick in the direction I wanted. Ta da! This method is very forgiving and quite a bit of fun to do because of the endless possibilities.

Anyways, lots of stars and stripes.

Tons of swirls

And, of course, lots of red white and blue!