Pretty Pumpkin {Shaped} Sugar Cookies

 I believe everyone is known for making something really well.  A food.  You know, the item everyone requests for you to bring to whatever event.  And, if you don’t {when not specifically requested} it’s almost like they’re disappointed.  Pretty sugar cookies are my ‘thing.’  I used to hate sharing the recipe.  Almost like if I gave it away, what would they need me for?  I’ve gotten past that.  Older and wiser now, don’t ya know?  So, I am going to share with you the best ever sugar cookies!  {And, here’s the secret:  they’re not really sugar cookies!  Actually they are butter cookies.  No wonder they’re so good…}

Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1.5 sticks of butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla {the good stuff}

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.

Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy.  About 3 minutes in a standing mixer, or 6 with a handheld.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  Reduce speed to low, then add mixture and mix until just combined.

Ok, here is where I veer in a different direction from the recipe:

Place one-fourth of the dough into a ziplock bag.  Repeat 3 more times.

Press all the air out of the bags to seal, and flatten ziplock bags into disks.  {Doing this helps the dough to chill faster.}  Place in fridge until firm – around 4 hours.  It can be chilled for up to 5 days.

When it comes time to bake, dust wax paper and rolling-pin with flour.  Rub the flour thoroughly into both the paper and the pin creating a fine barrier.  Have a bowl of additional flour on hand for the dough.

Working with one bag of dough at a time {leaving the rest in the fridge}, work the dough until it becomes pliable.  Once it’s pliable, press the ball of dough firmly into the flour on both sides.  Then place on paper to begin rolling it out.  You are wanting to incorporate some of that flour into the dough.  You will quickly notice that the dough becomes soft and nearly gooey.  That is why you keep the bags of dough in the fridge until you are ready for them, and why you are incorporating more flour in.

Roll out, and then cut with cookie cutter.  You want the dough to be almost thick.  I have laid the penny next to it in the pic so you could have somewhat of an idea of what thickness I am talking about.  I would say that it’s similar to trying to roll out a biscuit.  Your dough disks are not going to create much surface area to work with.  You will only get a few cookies from each dough disk.  Once your dough seems to become too soft to work with, add another dough disk from the fridge and incorporate.

Using cutter of your choice, place on dough to create desired shape.  Carefully use a spatula to transfer cookie to lightly sprayed baking sheet. The shapes will shift in shape from the transfer.  Just make sure to adjust it back once it’s laid onto the baking sheet.  Place baking sheet with cut outs in freezer for 10 minutes before baking.  {This helps them to maintain their shape, as opposed to becoming a runny blob.}

Place in oven, and set timer for 3 minutes.  When timer goes off, rotate 180 degrees.  And set timer for another 3 minutes.  These are just suggestions.  You are looking for the edges to just begin to turn a golden brown on the edges.  The time amount will vary all the time.  It depends on what cookie shape you choose to use.  Obviously the smaller ones cook more quickly, larger ones take a bit longer.  Be very careful when baking them.  When they come out, you do not want the middle to still look wet.  There is a very fine line here between getting them done to remain soft and moist, and them being undercooked.  Keep in mind they will continue to bake while on the cookie sheet after they have been removed from the oven.

Once done, allow to cool on pan before removing.  Sometimes it helps to place the pan back in the freezer to harden them up a bit for removing.

When cookies are at room temperature, they are ready to be iced.

Icing

Ingredients:

  • Powdered Sugar
  • Milk
  • Clear Vanilla
  • Food Coloring

Here is where you are going to have to wing it with me.  I have tried and tried to come up with exact measurements to create the frosting, but have not succeeded yet.  So, this is based more on ‘feel’ than measurements.  And, when I say feel, I don’t mean literally with  your hands or anything.  Just how it looks, and what you believe it’s properties to be.

With either a mixer or hand-held mixer, combine sugar, milk, and vanilla.  For those of you who need approximate measurements, I would say 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, and 2 Tbs milk.  Blend until combined well.

You are going to make two icings – one to outline, and one to fill.  Make the icing to outline first.

To make the icing to outline the cookies, you want it to be thicker than the fill.  It needs to be thick enough to serve as a dam for the other frosting.  But, you also don’t want it too thick because then your hand will cramp all the time as you ice the cookies.  When the frosting begins to lose a touch of its glossy appearance, and somewhat can retain a shape it’s at the right consistency.  If you form peaks with it, you want to see the peak, but it should then very slowly seep back into the bowl.  Remove desired amount, add desired coloring, and place in pastry bag fit with tip.

Add a tsp more milk to the remaining icing to begin making the frosting to fill.  It should still be glossy in appearance, and should not hold much of a shape.  You do not want it to be runny and watery either.  Again thinking of a dam you want it to be thick enough that your other frosting will be able to hold it back.  Color with dye as desired, and place in either  a pastry bag, or ziplock bag.  If using ziplock bag, cut very small amount off one corner of bag so you can use like a pastry bag.

Outline each cookie, trying to remain as close to the edge as possible.  Once each cookie is outlines, then you go back and fill them in with the flood icing.  Once filled in, make sure that frosting is touching all areas of the outline.  If there is a gap, go back with a small knife and drag them together to touch.  If you like, you can shake  s bit of the cake glitter over the cookies at this point.

With your outline frosting, begin to add detail to the cookies.  One line down the middle, and curved lines on each side for the ribs.  And, a touch of green at top in you like.  Add another layer of cake glitter when done.  Allow to set for 30 min, or place in fridge for 10 before arranging for display or packaging.  I always like to package mine up individually.  I like they way it looks, and it keeps them nice and fresh quite a while.

I hope you enjoy this recipe.  If you have a go at them, let me know.  If they do not taste as good as you can make them look, send me a message.  I will help trouble shoot with you. 😉

If you liked this post, please sign up through the google friend connect, or rss feed.  And, comments always bring a smile to my face.

Carrie

Here’s where I’m takin my lovin from the oven:

Hookin Up with HOH What I Whipped up Wednesday @ Sugar and Dots  

 

 Coming This Sunday:

Be sure to sign up via google friend connect so I can send a reminder to you to come link up!

What: Spa{ahhh} Sundaze @ Project Possessed

Begins: Sunday November 6th, 2011 @ 12:01 A.M.

Ends: Saturday November 12th @ 12:01 A.M.

Occurence: Weekly – every Sunday

 

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