FLORAL CHOCOLATE STICK COOKIES

I am not sure if stick cookies are a fad or here to stay, but I find them quite adorable. Easy to handle, not too big, and fun to decorate. These are intensely flavored, pretty much like an Oreo without the filling. No need for special skills with the Royal icing, it goes on the cookie as a humble flooding layer. Let that fully set overnight (really important), then use a very fine food pen to draw the design you like. Food pens and luster powder close the deal. For a demonstration on how to paint with luster powder, you can visit this post. The process is the same. Cookie cutter from Sugarbelle.

CHOCOLATE CUTOUT COOKIES
(from Baking a Moment)

113g cold unsalted butter cut into small cubes (1 stick)
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
135g granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg
30g cornstarch (1/4 cup)
50g unsweetened cocoa powder (1/2 cup)
180g all-purpose flour (1 + 1/2 cups, you may need a little more)

Cream the butter, oil, sugar, vanilla and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, just until the mixture is smooth. Add the egg and mix just until incorporated. Mix in the cornstarch, cocoa powder and the flour. The dough should start to clear the sides of the bowl as you mix it in low-speed. If needed, add a bit more flour.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Roll the dough and cut into sticks or any shape you like. Freeze the cut shapes for 10 minutes, then bake for 9 to 12 minutes. They are done when they feel firm around the edges. Cool completely, then decorate as you desire.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: To make the drawing you can transfer the design from a printed picture using tissue paper, or use a mini-projector, which makes the process quite straightforward. I am the lucky recipient of an AKASO mini-projector, early Birthday-anniversary gift from my beloved. As I mentioned recently, he is taken, so you can stop your shenanigans.

I am very fond of simple designs with an Oriental flair. There are countless images available around (like these from Cake Central). Stained-glass compositions are also a wonderful source of inspiration. I’ve been collecting images to play with in cookie-format. Once you decide on the image, it is just a matter of playing with colors. The food pen goes on smoothly and the luster powder brings a very subtle texture. I like to join both in the same design, which I did in the cookie with red flowers.

The red flowers were painted with food pen (Americolor Gourmet Writer), the leaves are luster powder Khaki, and the centers Super Blue, both from OhSweetArt.

I am still trying to find my way through the path of mini-projector and cookie painting. The gray cats were painted with luster powder, the black with food pen. The flowers were also a mixture, food pen for the orange and green, luster powder in gold for the center.

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JOY COOKIE CLUB: VALENTINE’S DAY!

This post inaugurates a new series, the Joy Cookie Club, inspired by a favorite book/movie of mine, Joy Luck Club. If you have not read it, buy two boxes of Kleenex and do so. I bake sugar cookies every week to include in a box that gets donated in the Common Table project of our town. It gives me the opportunity of trying new styles and learn cute tricks with the generous professionals who share their expertise on youtube and instagram. For the basic recipes, I used either Neat Edges Sugar Cookies or Gingerbread. For Royal Icing, my favorite recipe is Tanya’s. You can it in her blog here. Now let me walk you through some of the cookies I made in the past 6 weeks.

STYLE #1: ZIG ZAG WITH BORDER

This is a pretty striking cookie that is so so easy to make! One thing that is hard when we start decorating sugar cookies is the edge. It always ends up a bit messy. By adding a border, you can say goodbye to that problem. Just pipe Royal icing and immediately touch the surface of the cookie on a layer of your favorite non-pareils (or sanding sugar). Let that dry for a few minutes, flood, quickly add lines of contrasting colors and work a needle or toothpick up and down, curving it gently to follow the overall shape of the heart. Detailed instructions here.

STYLE #2 – WAVY HEART

I consider this one a work in progress, as I could not quite match the beauty of the ones made by @thegracefulbaker. The design is actually quite simple. You pipe fine lines dividing the heart in wavy sections, then flood areas that are not touching. Wait for those to crust, maybe 30 minutes or so, and flood the others. If the consistency of your icing is thick enough, the sections will be more “puffed up” and it will look quite striking. I did not get there, but I still like the look.

STYLE #3 – DIVIDED HEART

I love this one so much! Flood one side with red, another side with white. Let them both crust for 30 minutes or more. You can even continue the following day. Add the lines, the dots, and once it’s all crusted, you can use a little diamond dust to make it truly special. For the lines and dots, you’ll need slightly thicker royal icing, either straight from mixing the batch, or very lightly thinned with water. Do not use flooding consistency. But, a similar style can also work with a simpler, wet-on-wet decoration

You can also mess up one side with a brush, and add a totally different texture to the icing. In that case, brushing some white luster powder mixed with vodka is a good move. The picture does not show it very well, but it added a nice shine to the white portion.

STYLE #4 : CRACKLED HEART

A variation of the wavy design, I let the final flooded regions crust for only 15 minutes, and used a little fondant ball tool to press the design. Once it was fully crusted, I brushed gold luster powder mixed with vodka only on the crackled part.

STYLE #5: ROSE BUDS

I was terrified of trying those, as they seemed way beyond my skill level. You can find countless youtube tutorials showing how it’s done, and in fact it is not that hard. You start by flooding in white (or any base color you like). Immediately add two or three concentric dots with the colors for the rose bud. Very slowly swirl them with a needle until you get the design you like. Add little dots of green and pull them with a needle to give them a leaf shape. Let it all dry completely and if you want, add additional bells and whistles. You can draw veins in the leaves, pipe their shape with thick royal icing, and add fine white lines on the rose buds for a completely different, almost modern look.

STYLE #6: CHEETAH HEARTS

I do sound like a broken record, but what can I do? I loved making those also… Super simple, which makes them even better. Flood with white, add large, irregular dots of your color of choice, immediately add edges, also irregular of a second, darker color. Since cheetahs are kept in zoos or far away from your home, no need to fear their revenge, you can go crazy with the color combination… Or even crazier, pairing them with a dinosaur!

STYLE #7: HEART WITHIN A HEART

Are you going to roll your eyes to the ceiling if I tell you I loved making these? Ok, I won’t then. Start with a plain cookie, use a small cookie cutter to draw a small heart in the center. If you are brave, do it free-hand. Flood with red. Let it crust for 15 minutes, surround it with white. Let it fully dry, pipe the edge of the inner heart with white icing, and cover it with non-pareils or sanding sugar. It is a simple, but very elegant look.

STYLE #8: HEARTS WITH DECORATIONS

The only thing that changes is that you need to flood the cookies and let them dry overnight. Then, you can glue to the surface Royal icing transfers in the shapes you like. Either made by yourself or using store-bought sprinkles.

I made the two rosettes with very thick Royal icing dyed pink, and brushed with golden lust powder. But as I mentioned, you can simplify your life and glue little decorations made by Wilton and available pretty much everywhere these days.

STYLE #9: WATERCOLOR SERIES

For these you absolutely need the coating to be fully crusted and dry, 24 hours is best. Flood the cookie with white. Mix food dye colors with a little vodka or everclear, and brush lightly on the surface of the cookie, making the design and colors you like. For a detailed tutorial on youtube, click here. I went with a tequila-sunrise motif. Add a border with royal icing and sprinkles if you so desire. You can also use food-safe pens and draw colorful lines all over the surface, or use a fan brush to add a band of gold, for a simple but effective design.

I hope you enjoyed this small collection of sugar cookies, and consider making them for someone you love.

Flour, sugar and eggs: $ 8.75
Assorted cookie cutters: $12.00
Food gel color: $10.00
Matching cookie to earrings and shirt
AND BEING FREE OF BRACES????
PRICELESS

ONE YEAR AGO: Uttapam, White Lentil and Rice Flatbread

TWO YEARS AGO: Valentine’s Day Sweetheart Cookies

THREE YEARS AGO: Fesenjan, Fast-Food Style

FOUR YEARS AGO: Lavender Macarons with White Chocolate Ganache

FIVE YEARS AGO: Raspberry Chocolate Truffles

SIX YEARS AGO: Red Velvet Cupcakes

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Happy Valentine’s Day!

EIGHT YEARS AGO:  A Few Blogging Issues

NINE YEARS AGO: Dan Dan Noodles

TEN YEARS AGO:  Sophie Grigson’s Parmesan Cake

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Antibiotics and Food

SPRINGERLE PAINTING 101

Some of my friends have been asking me to make a little video on Springerle painting. So I finally did one, using a stand for my cell phone and a little hyperventilation. If you need a recipe for the dough, check my recent post on the subject with a click here. All luster dust I use for the cookies are from ohsugarart.com.

I hope the video gives you a general idea of the whole process. I used a small, simple cookie to demonstrate the technique, but of course the exact same approach is used for larger cookies. The colors dry very quickly and you can move from one to the next without any need to wait, which is not the case with Royal Icing, unless you are doing wet-on-wet. When I am painting a series of cookies, I like to pick one color and use it on several of them, clean the brush and change to another color. That streamlines the whole thing.

Most of my molds come from KitchenVixenMolds, Gingerhaus, and TexturraWorkshop.

ONE YEAR AGO: Mincemeat Pies, when the third time is a charm

TWO YEARS AGO: Shibari Bread]

THREE YEARS AGO: Incredibly Simple Times Four – January 2018 

FOUR YEARS AGO: Two Salads and a Blog Award!

FIVE YEARS AGO: When Three is Better than Two

SIX YEARS AGO: Somebody Stop Me!

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Zucchini Pasta with Cilantro-Cashew Pesto

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Bran Muffins, Take Two

NINE YEARS AGO: Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

TEN YEARS AGO: Mogo Mojo

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Slow-Roasted Chicken Thighs: an Ice-Breaker

BUSY BEE SUGAR COOKIES

Not too long ago I made some macarons decorated with little bees (view post here). I really wanted to send some to a friend, but in the past I’ve been burned badly trying to ship macarons. What to do? What to do? Turn them into sugar cookies instead! Much more mail-friendly. I adapted the decoration to give those bees a flower to fly to, and to get busy. Then I got busy myself… The cookie dough recipe is a recent incorporation into the Bewitching Kitchen. It produces very sharp edges and I also like the texture of the cookie after baking.

NEAT EDGES SUGAR COOKIES
(adapted from Baking a Moment)

1 cup (227g) unsalted butter,cubed, cold
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
zest of 1 lemon or half an orange
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups (420g) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (60g) cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia extract (or vanilla, or lemon extract)

to decorate:
your favorite recipe of Royal Icing (I use Tanya’s)
sprinkles
food-safe pen

Heat the oven to 350 F and line baking sheets with parchment. Sift the flour, cornstarch and salt, and set aside. Mix the sugar with the zest rubbing it well to release the oils. Cream the butter with the flavored sugar, just until smooth and combined.

Mix in the eggs and Fiori di Sicilia (or other flavoring extract) until incorporated. Add the flour mixture on low-speed, in three portions. The mixture will seem very dry and sandy at first, but after a couple of minutes the mixer it will start to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Remove the dough from the bowl, cut in two pieces and wrap one in plastic. Roll the second piece of dough out between 2 sheets of parchment paper, to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Cut into rounds, press a detail flower using another type of cutter, and freeze for 10 minutes. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the cookie. I like to have a slight golden tone at the edges.

Cool on a rack and decorate as desired. For the bee decoration you’ll need yellow, and white Royal Icing with flooding consistency, and orange Royal Icing in orange (very small amount, just for the bee’s body).

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: At the risk of sounding repetitive, I must say I had a considerable amount of fun making these cookies. Perhaps because I made those according to my own imagination, did not follow any design found in the internetic world. I am usually not fully satisfied with my bakes, but this batch of cookies ended up just the way I wanted. What more can a poor baker wish for?

For Royal Icing, I used my default recipe, which you can find in Tanya’s blog. I started flooding the white flower, let it crust. Added a layer of additional icing to the center, and some sanding sugar. Then I flooded the yellow part. Waited for it to crust and piped the bee body. Then, patience was called for. I placed the cookies away from sight and did not touch them until next day. You really want to have the icing fully set before moving on to the next step. A food pen does the rest, details of bee body, wings, and flight path. Finally, I painted the center of the flower with gold.

As to the cookie dough recipe, I’ve settled on this one for the past 6 weeks or so. I’ve tweaked it quite a bit, and this version is probably my favorite, although by now you probably know I rarely leave a recipe alone for too long… The amount of cornstarch can vary from 1/2 cup to 1/3 cup (60 to 40g), and the edges will show a slight difference in sharpness depending on how much you use. I suggest you play around with it and decide what is the magical combination that suits your needs and taste. I prefer to add a tiny amount of baking powder, rather than leaving the recipe without.

Before I leave you, a little announcement. Since I’ve been making sugar cookies on a weekly basis, I will publish posts that group my favorite designs under the title “Joy Cookie Club.” There will be no recipe, just a brief description of the techniques used to decorate them. I hope you will enjoy those posts, the first one should be published in the near future.

ONE YEAR AGO: Mincemeat Pies, when the third time is a charm

TWO YEARS AGO: Shibari Bread]

THREE YEARS AGO: Incredibly Simple Times Four – January 2018 

FOUR YEARS AGO: Two Salads and a Blog Award!

FIVE YEARS AGO: When Three is Better than Two

SIX YEARS AGO: Somebody Stop Me!

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Zucchini Pasta with Cilantro-Cashew Pesto

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Bran Muffins, Take Two

NINE YEARS AGO: Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

TEN YEARS AGO: Mogo Mojo

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Slow-Roasted Chicken Thighs: an Ice-Breaker

CHOCOLATE-DIPPED CINNAMON COOKIES: VEGAN & DELICIOUS

Today I share a recipe for delicious cookies that happen to be vegan. No eggs, no dairy, but no sacrifice of flavor and texture. The recipe comes from Modern Vegan Desserts, written by a professional patissiere, Petra Stahlová. I invite you to read my review on her book (as well as musings on vegan baking in general) by visiting the Home Bakers Collective site, with a click here.

CHOCOLATE-DIPPED CINNAMON COOKIES
(published with permission from Petra Stahlová)

62g soft vegan butter (I used Country Crock plant butter)
62g icing sugar
15g almond flour
54g aquafaba
82g plain flour
3g ground cinnamon
200g 70% dark chocolate

In a mixer, beat the softened butter and the icing sugar until light and fluffy, then mix in the almond flour. Gradually mix in the aquafaba, adding a tablespoon of plain flour after each addition of liquid. Once all the liquid has been mixed in, carefully stir in the rest of the flour and the cinnamon with a spatula.

In a bowl, cover the batter with cling film so that it directly touches the surface, and leave to rest for half an hour at room temperature. Put the dough into a pastry bag with a 10mm diameter tip. Place either a silicon mat or some baking paper on the baking tray and pipe out 2.5 inches long lines onto the sheet. Don’t squeeze the bag too hard; the width of the batter should correspond to the diameter of the tip, i.e. 10mm. Leave half-an-inch space between the cookies, as they will spread out during baking.

Heat your oven to 375F (convection on, if available) and bake for about 7 minutes until the cookies are golden brown. Afterwards, leave the cookies on the baking tray for half a minute to firm up and then transfer them onto a cooling rack.

Temper the chocolate, then dip the cooled cookies and put them on either a silicon mat or baking paper to let the chocolate crystallize. Decorate with sprinkles, if so desired.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I made these cookies for Mondays with Sweetness, in which I share bakes with our departmental colleagues. Since there is one adorable person who is allergic to eggs, I am always trying to find bakes that she will be able to enjoy. Nobody could tell these are vegan. The cinnamon flavor is perfect, the chocolate complements it well, and with the golden sprinkles they get a festive look. If you don’t feel like tempering chocolate, you can get by with candy melts but there will be a little compromise in flavor. I usually take the opportunity of tempering chocolate to make some extra decorations that might come in handy in future bakes.

I close this post inviting you to read more about Modern Vegan Desserts,
so please stop by the Home Bakers Collective.

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NINE YEARS AGO: The Green Chip Alternative

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