Ridiculously Involved Cookies!

“Blame it on Girlfriend!  It was her idea!” Jabber pronounced.  “An’ then you have to go get in the act and make the same ones, din’ you?”

Yes.

Did.

Girlfriend volunteered, in a weak moment, to make these gorgeous cookies she found online.

Of course she did.

So, from there evolved the saga.

First, which recipe to use?

Oh dear, oh dear!

She asked Jabber what Jabber had for a sugar cookie recipe and Jabber obliged with one.  Which Girlfriend used.

But Jabber, ultimately, did and didn’t.  I’ll get to that in a moment.

Girlfriend was going to her nephew’s shower–he’s getting married in June!  And, as it turns out, Jabber’s granddaughter is getting married in June, too.

But not to each other.

No.

They each have their own pairing and Girlfriend’s nephew lives in Buffalo.  As in New York.  Jabber’s granddaughter lives in Tennessee.  As in “THE South.”  So, no, they are not marrying each other.

At any rate, Jabber’s house was the site for granddaughter’s shower (see previous post).  And Jabber said, “Well!  Now that Girlfriend has made these cookies, surely I can make them too.”  Jabber HAD wondered about the time involved which Girlfriend did not complain about–but Jabber knew it seemed a very involved process.

Jabber learned.

It was.

So even before showing you the pictures or giving you the recipe and the link to the original site, let me warn you–BE PREPARED FOR THIS TO TAKE A LONG TIME!  And several sessions.

There.

Warning duly made.

Here are pictures of some of the cookies:

  

          

  

“So, how many did ja make?” Jabber asked.

TOO Many!  But never mind.  I got them done, they were stored in the freezer and some were served and some packaged up for party favors.  That was Girlfriend’s idea, too.  (I steal a lot of ideas from my friends–what are friends for anyway?)

So here you go–two recipes to choose from.  Take your choice.  Or do like I did, make both.  You will get about 7 to 8 cookies (these are large cookies) from each batch–so be forewarned!  If you need 50, you’re going to make a lot of batches of either recipe (or both).

Recipe from Jabber:

Zest from one lemon.  Then juice from the same lemon.  Put them in separate bowls.  (Or it doesn’t have to be the SAME lemon, but it does seem more efficacious if it is.  However, if you feel so inclined to zest one lemon and squeeze another, have it.  Just realize you’ll have to use up that zested lemon for something, and soon.)

A zested lemon. Not yet squeezed.

Okay, now I’m squeezing it–one half at a time. With my handy, dandy Orange X. Does a great job.

Have 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter at room temperature (I set this out the night before).

Also measure out:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup superfine sugar (if you don’t have this, whirl some regular sugar around in your food processor–presto! you have superfine sugar)

1 large egg (again set this out about 1/2 hour before so it comes to room temperature)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

*******

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl with electric mixer, beat butter until creamy–this means until it is very well whipped.  The recipe says 30 seconds, but it often will take a while longer.  Add sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy–1 to 2 minutes or more.  Beat in the egg, lemon zest and juice, and the vanilla and lemon extracts until well-blended.  Stir in the flour mixture until blended and soft dough forms.

Form the dough into a ball, and divide into 3 pieces.  Flatten each piece to a disk shape and wrap each tightly in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate several hours or overnight until dough is firm enough to handle.

When you are ready to roll out and bake:

preheat oven to 350 degrees.  On a very lightly floured surface, using a floured rolling pin, roll out one dough disk to 1/8 inch thick.

Keep remaining dough disks refrigerated.

“Wait!  That isn’t a disk!” Jabber exclaimed.

Well, right.  So I didn’t follow directions persactly, Jabber, you get the drift….

Using floured cookie cutters, cut out as many shapes as possible.

    

I do this on parchment paper and remove the excess dough around the cut outs so the shapes hold.   Or you can remove with a palette knife and transfer shapes to 2 large ungreased baking sheets about 1 inch apart.  I use parchment paper.  Lightly brush around the cutout cookies with a pastry brush to remove any excess flour or crumbs before baking.

Bake until cookies are just colored around the edges, about 8 to 10 minutes.  I found that they needed 11 minutes and I turned them front to back about half-way through (at 6 minutes).

Check after you bake the first tray and make sure they are crisp, but not burned–you do not want to underbake these! If they get a bit brown on the edges, the frosting will cover this up.

Remove (parchment sheets) after 1 minute to wire racks to cool.  In about 5 minutes, remove cookies from parchment onto racks to cool completely.  Store in single layers with wax paper in between (or parchment paper) in tightly covered container until ready to frost.  You may also make ahead and freeze these.

You can use excess dough to roll out again, but I found it doesn’t work very well, so be sure to cut out as many cookies as possible with the first rolling.

*****************************

So, those were baked.  I decided to try the other recipe, too….I mean, I’m a Y-Knot, so why not?  Besides, I’ve got lots of time on my hands.  Gotta’ do somethin’!

Here is the other recipe:

1 cup salted butter (softened)  Note this says SALTED butter, the other recipe says unsalted.

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large whole egg

PLUS

1 egg yolk

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, sifted (measure and then sift)

Cream butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy with mixer

Add egg yolk, beat it some more, then add whole egg.  Mix in vanilla and almond extracts.

Add flour and beat on low until well-combined.  Dod not overheat.  The dough will be sticky!

Divide the dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least an hour–overnight is better.

Allow dough to come to room temperature for at least 10 minutes, then knead it until it gets back into a smooth texture.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and sprinkle your work surface and rolling pin with flour.  For best results, roll the dough to 1/4 inch thickness.

Continue sprinkling flour when needed to prevent dough from sticking.  Use cutters to cut cookies into the shapes and then place on cookie sheets covered with parchment paper.*

(I lightly floured parchment paper, cut out the cookies and removed excess dough.)

PLACE THE COOKIES ON THE BAKING SHEETS INTO THE FREEZER FOR EXACTLY 10 MINUTES to allow them to re-chill.  This will keep the shapes perfectly.  Then remove and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.  (Again, I turned the sheets about half-way through baking.)  Watch these carefully.  Check after you bake the first tray and make sure they are crisp, but not burned–you do not want to underbake these!  If they get a bit brown on the edges, the frosting will cover this up.

This recipe is from http://rosebakes.com

When cooled, you may store in tightly sealed containers, separated with wax paper in layers, and/or freeze until ready to frost.

**************

Frosting:

This is a process!  First you will need Wilton’s meringue powder.  Measure 3 TABLESPOONS carefully and place in mixer bowl.  Add in 1 pound (4 cups) of sifted confectioner’s sugar.  Carefully stir the two together and then add about 5 1/2 Tablespoons of warm water.  Mix according to directions in the Wilton’s meringue powder recipe (blend first on low, then mix on medium for about 7 minutes).  If mixture is too stiff, add a tiny bit of warm water and mix again.  If too thin, you can add some more confectioner’s sugar a little at a time.  If I follow the directions (included in the Wilton’s meringue powder) EXACTLY, it turns out just fine.

Another note:  It is best to make this and frost on a low humidity day!  It will take a lot longer to dry if you do this on a rainy day.

Scoop some of the frosting into a piping bag and use a small to medium plain tip on the end of it.   (Note that I just used whatever tip I had, and turns out it doesn’t really matter–you want to outline the cookies.)   Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel so it does not dry out.  Pipe around the edges of each cookie.

Set aside to let dry completely–this may take several hours.  I put my cookies on cookie sheets and left in the oven to dry.

“So they would dry quicker?” Jabber asked.

No.  So the Cookie Monster (aka The Spicy Royal Red also known as “Houdini”) would not make them disappear.  She does love cookies if she can get her mouth on one.  Do not ask how I know this.

Be sure to cover the rest of the frosting in the bowl with a damp cloth and also wrap the piping bag with a damp wash cloth.  Since it may be a few hours between sessions, I generally put the bag in a plastic bag and place both bowl and bag into the refrigerator.  This will work only for a short time!  (Be aware you may need to make another batch of frosting if it separates too much.)

Once the piping is completely dry, take a bit of the frosting and add some water–you want this to be a little tiny bit less thick than the original frosting.  Do NOT make it too thin or it will soak into the cookies and make them too soft!   

You are now going to ‘flood’ the cookies.

“What?  You just made them!  Why are you going to flood them?  Aren’t you going to eat them?” Jabber was frantic at the idea!

No, Jabber.  It’s just the correct term to fill in the frosting–flood it onto the cookies inside the piping.  This I learned from Girlfriend, too.

Spread this inside the piping.  I used the back of a teaspoon (metal) which worked well.

Let dry.  Again, I put them in the oven, overnight.

Make a new batch of frosting and using a clean bag and whatever piping end you wish, you may pipe designs on top of the now dry cookies.

Let dry again!

To Store:

Single layers in tightly sealed containers

OR

When completely dry, you may freeze, ONE LAYER AT A TIME, and then place frozen cookies in layers with wax paper separating each layer.  When you remove, be sure to lay the cookies out before they are defrosted or the piping might get crushed in the container.

*****************

These were wedding dress cookies, but the same technique is used for Christmas or other holiday cookies.  They are fun to do, but it is very time consuming!

  

A note:  both recipes really are tasty!

**************

Many Thanks To Girlfriend who shared the cookie cutters and the ideas with me.  The cookies were a big hit at the bridal shower.

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