Would like to invite you to stop by my baby blog to see how I made my first 3D heart-shaped cookies. Click here.
Hard to believe that in almost 12 years of blogging I’ve never made anything that celebrates St Patrick’s Day. But today I am correcting this huge mistake. Gingerbread, sugar cookies and macarons to bring you good luck and hopefully restore my reputation as a food blogger, particularly with the wonderful people from Ireland.
LUCK OF THE IRISH GINGERBREAD COOKIES
to print the recipe, from last year’s post, click here
I received the shamrock cookie cutter as a gift from a dear friend, and designed this set of cookies with her in mind. The jar cookie was inspired by a video tutorial from SweetAmbs that you can find here. I adapted for my skill level, because I still struggle a lot with fine lines. It is absolutely mandatory to include one four-leaf clover to ensure the best of luck.
GOLD BUTTON SUGAR COOKIE
Same cookie recipe, decoration also found in the video link I included above. Really a lot of fun to make it, although you do have to prepare the golden buttons the day before, they need to dry completely before you can paint them and glue to the iced cookie. If you watch Amber’s video you will see that she uses the base of any icing tip to draw circles on parchment paper, then pipe the button shape with white Royal icing, a little border after it has a chance to slightly crust, and that’s about it. Let it dry overnight, paint with gold luster + alcohol. It took me two attempts to get it right, or at least right enough to be able to use in my cookies…
It is a good idea to make more than you think you’ll need. You can always save it for later, these Royal icing decorations last forever and not every single one of them will be nicely round, at least not when I do them.
Moving on, a really easy but quite effective way to decorate a sugar cookie. For this one, I used my recent default recipe that gives super sharp edges and you can find here.
GOLD SHAMROCK SUGAR COOKIES
Really super easy! You start by drawing a shamrock shape in the center of a baked cookie. You can do a round cookie, square, or hexagon, anything will work. Then, paint a nice and bright gold layer right on the cookie’s surface. For this I like to use Egyptian Gold from Oh Sweet Art. It is the most aggressive (but still food-safe) gold paint out there, and in this case you need it to be bright. Then, simply flood with green Royal Icing and you are done.
This simple method has so much potential! You can paint all sorts of basic shapes using different colors, and flood it to suit the occasion.
Another nice way to decorate is using the marbling technique, in which you swirl colors over a reasonably loose powdered sugar icing, and dip the surface of the cookie over it. The method is carefully detailed on my friend Helen’s blog that you can find here.
Finally, I close the post with my beloved macarons. For this recipe, I used a template found over at Pies and Tacos, but used my default recipe for macarons, but dyed green. A little splash with gold luster, and the filling was a Mint Buttercream from my friend Caroline’s recent post.
SHAMROCK MACARONS BUTTERCREAM FILLING
(from Caro’s Easy Online Baking Lessons)
128g butter, melted
3/4 tsp vanilla
sprinkle of salt
187g powdered sugar, sifted
Peppermint Extract (1/8tsp at a time, to taste)
Melt the butter in a small cooking pot on the stove top on medium to high. Turn the heat down to low-medium heat, letting it simmer and remember to stir. The butter will hiss & pop. If browning reduce the heat again. Continue until silent and then strain through a sieve into a mixing bowl. There will be foamy fat residue sticking to the sides of the bowl and in the bottom of the sieve. Add in the salt. The mixture will sizzle again so be careful.
Add in the powdered sugar and mix by hand until all sugar is incorporated and a smooth paste is formed. This will only take a minute, so no need to get the mixer out again. Leave till it cools down. Now add in the peppermint extract. Place in a piping bag, no need for icing tip. Fill the macarons. Leave them in the fridge overnight for best texture.
to print the recipe, click here
I hope you enjoyed this small collection of goodies, and that we are all moving to better times, as vaccination picks up all over the world. I am ready for some luck coming our way, what about you?
ONE YEAR AGO: When life gives you Eye-of-the-Round
TWO YEARS AGO: Carrot Cake Macarons
THREE YEARS AGO: Soup Saturday: Say Goodbye to Winter
FOUR YEARS AGO: Manchego and Poblano Soup
FIVE YEARS AGO: A Smashing Pair
SIX YEARS AGO: Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
SEVEN YEARS AGO: Crispy Chickpea and Caper Spaghetti
EIGHT YEARS AGO: Spring has Sprung!
NINE YEARS AGO: Chickpea and Fire Roasted Tomato Soup
TEN YEARS AGO: Double Asparagus Delight
ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Sun-dried Tomato and Feta Cheese Torte
December. This is the time for baking cookies in all shapes and forms, but some are definitely more strongly associated with the holiday spirit. This posts opens a series of four chapters. I start with gingerbread, using a recipe from Tanya, tent-baker extraordinaire, aka The Gingerbread Queen. Subsequent posts will cover Sugar Cookies, Macarons, and Springerle. Gingerbread Cookies are not too hard as far as baking project goes, as long as you keep them as cookies instead of components of 3D sculptures (sigh). Because their flavor is so intense, they can be enjoyed with no decoration whatsoever, or with a very simple white Royal icing. So simple that you can even get by using a tip-less piping bag. And of course, sprinkles are always welcome. Always.
(very slightly modified from Tanya’s blog)
640 grams all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons ground ginger
1 + 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
226 grams unsalted butter, at room temp
200 grams granulated sugar
Zest of 1 orange
1 large egg, at room temperature
120 mL (1/2 cup) honey
120 mL (1/2 cup) molasses
2 Tablespoons distilled white vinegar
Whisk together the flour, spices, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside. In the bowl of stand mixer add the sugar with the orange zest and rub them well with your fingers, until fragrant. Add the butter, fit the machine with the paddle attachment and mix until well combined. Add the egg and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl at least twice during mixing. Add the molasses, honey, and vinegar and mix well.
Turn off the mixer and add about half of the dry ingredients. Mix on low just to combine. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Gather the dough together into a ball and then flatten the dough into two disks. Wrap each disk in plastic and refrigerate for about 3 hours or until firm enough to roll without sticking.
Heat the oven to 375°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 3/16-inch thickness. Cut out shapes, carefully transfer the cookies to the prepared cookie sheets and freeze for 5 minutes.
Bake until the cookies are firm to the touch and lightly browned around the edges. A three-inch round cookie will take about 8 to 10 minutes. Cool completely before frosting and/or assembling with royal icing.
to print the recipe, click here
For most of my decorations, I used Tanya’s recipe for Royal Icing with very little water added. For gingerbread, I prefer not to fully cover the cookie, so instead of flooding them, I piped shapes and wanted them to stay firmly in place.
You can keep it all super simple….
or… while keeping it simple couple the design with some gold for a festive twist
The star was left fully white, the others were painted with gold luster diluted with lemon extract. It is a bit hard to see it in the middle ones, because the gold was just applied on the white decorations.
Even if I rather not completely cover a gingerbread cookie, sprinkles (in this case sparkling sugar) are hard to resist… Just add them before the icing hardens. Keep in mind that the thicker the icing, the faster it sets.
Now what if you dislike Royal icing with a passion? Here is a pretty sweet alternative (pun intended).
EASY NON-ROYAL ICING
1 cup powdered sugar
3 to 4 teaspoons milk
2 tsp corn syrup
1/4 tsp vanilla extract (or almond, or lemon)
Whisk whisk whisk whisk…. If it flows as a thick ribbon from a spoon, it will be ready to use. You can flood the surface or make thick ribbons. Leave as it is, or go crazy with….. SPRINKLES!!!!
to print the recipe, click here
This icing will crust well in a few hours, but just to be safe don’t mess too much with the cookies for 24 hours, especially if you are going to pack them for gifts or shipping.
Stay tuned for Sugar Cookies next….
ONE YEAR AGO: Incredibly Simple Times Four
TWO YEARS AGO: White Chocolate and Raspberry Mousse Cake
THREE YEAR AGO: Panettone Time!
FOUR YEARS AGO: Pistachio Creme Brulee
FIVE YEARS AGO: Fast and Furious Bison Chili
SIX YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, December 2014
SEVEN YEARS AGO: Braised Fennel with Saffron and Tomato
EIGHT YEARS AGO: Revenge of the Two Derelicts
NINE YEARS AGO: Grilling Ribbons
TEN YEARS AGO: Peppery Cashew Crunch
ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Baked Shrimp and Feta Pasta