Tag Archives: Sugar Cookies

Painted Brown Sugar Cookie Hearts

be mine 5I first learned about cookie painting when I saw the cover of the Bon Appetit December 2013 issue. When I looked inside and saw what was possible, my brain exploded with the possibilities. Who knew you could paint right onto the cookie, with an actual paintbrush? Kind of rocked my world.
BonAppetit_December2013_cover-530x398Bon Appetit Painted Cookies 3
I have never been exactly skilled with a paintbrush, but I figured even I could manage stripes. I began with the most delicious sugar cookie recipe I know, which uses brown sugar instead of granulated white sugar. Bake cookies and let cool completely.cutting heartsMix up a bach of royal icing. Pipe an outline onto the baked hearts. Mine was a bit too thick. I’m sure you can do better than me.piping outlineThin some of the royal icing with a few drops of water to make a thinner consistency and fill in the hearts. Let them dry completely, preferably overnight. Consider this your blank canvas.Hearts filled inTo paint the cookies, you will need some clean paintbrushes in assorted sizes, gel food colouring (I like the Americolour brand) and some vodka. (Not for drinking, just to wet your brush with and mix with the gel food colouring to thin it out). Any clear extract (lemon or a clear vanilla) would also work. The reason for using alcohol is that it evaporates very quickly, meaning that the paint will dry quicker.

The Bon Appetit cookies were painted with luster dust, mixed with a bit of alcohol or extract. It comes in tons of colours. If you want to use luster dust to achieve that shimmery effect, here is a great tutorial on how to do it. I decided to do mine with just regular gel food colouring instead of the luster dust.  ready to paintSqueeze a blob of each colour you want to use onto an artist’s paint palette or a dinner plate. (I used a ceramic egg holder) Have a small glass of vodka ready for dipping your brush into. Dip the brush into the vodka or extract and then into the food colour gel. Have some paper towels ready to test the colour and adjust the amount of paint you have on your brush. Make sure you wash and dry the brush really well, before you change colours.painted stripes1I decided to up the adorable factor and write a message on my cookies. I used a thin tip paintbrush. Be Mine CircleSuch a sweet way to declare your love this year. be mine 2

Click here to print recipe for Sugar Cookies with Brown Sugar

Click here to print recipe for Royal Icing Recipe.

be mine 1

Valentines Day Marbled Heart Brown Sugar Cookies

assortment of hearts 625 sqI would not describe myself as an overly affectionate person. (OK, all those who know me can stop choking with laughter now) Neither my husband or I are big on PDA’s . We don’t really celebrate Valentines Day, certainly not in a traditional cards, flowers or a box of drugstore chocolates (shudder) kind of way. My husband knows better than to show up with a bouquet of roses for me. I hate roses, especially red ones. Their aroma conjures up images of death and decay in my mind.  However, if a big bunch of tulips were to come my way, I would never refuse them!

That being said, there is something about heart shaped cookies for Valentines Day that is just so sweet and endearing, especially if they are home made. I could not resist making these this year. I love to decorate sugar cookies with royal icing. I am not a huge lover of the overly sweet taste of royal icing, but I am a frustrated artist and the canvas of a cookie fills my soul with such joy when I hold a piping bag and begin creating.Red and White heardsI had a few extra hands on deck last week to help me make these. My mom, who is very creative, was visiting. As well, my old babysitter, Sarah, who is a whiz with a piping bag, was also visiting. She was so excited when I told her what we would be making. She runs a dance school and bakes beautiful decorated cookies for all her students for any and every occasion. When I had tendonitis in my elbow, from a repetitive strain injuty (piping too many gingerbread snowflake cookies), she filled in as my designated piper.

Marbling royal icing is probably one of the easiest ways to create some spectacular looking cookies. There is no right or wrong way. You just have to let your creative freak flag fly here. The marbling technique basically boils down to using contrasting colours of wet royal icing. You pipe lines or dots or whatever you fancy, and just use a toothpick to swirl the lines or connect the dots. It couldn’t be simpler.Heart ZigzagsYou can use any sturdy cookie recipe, like gingerbread or a sugar cookie. I used my favourite sugar cookie recipe, which calls for brown sugar, instead of the usual white sugar. It adds a real depth of flavour. Adter making the dough, I divide the soft dough into 4 pieces and roll out each piece of dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper. Then I chill the sheets of rolled out dough before cutting. It is much easier to do this rather than chill the dough first and then roll it out.

dough mixeddivide dough

rolling between parchmentcutting out hearts  I found the cutest set of cookie cutters at Michael’s.Wilton CuttersYou will need some disposable piping bags, piping tips (#2 and #3 size) and couplers,  some paste or gel food colouring and toothpicks. If you are planning to buy red food colouring, make sure it is the “no taste” red. In order to get a vivid red, you need to use a lot of the food colouring, and the regular red departs a very bitter taste.

It is best to make the cookies and royal icing the day before (or even several days) you plan to decorate them. Set aside a few quiet hours to allow your creative decorating juices to flow. 

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Click here to print recipe for Sugar Cookies with Brown Sugar.

Click here to print recipe for Royal Icing.

Red and White hearts on felt heart placemats

Hearts lines

For further inspiration check out these very talented bloggers:

Julia Usher

Colleen of Royal Icing Diaries

Sweetopia

 

This Little Piggy Went to Market!

cookie cutterWhen I first spotted this cookie cutter on Etsy about 6 months ago and I knew I had to have it!  Many years ago, when I was in culinary school I vividly recall, with great agony, having to memorize all the butcher’s cuts. These cookies just made me giggle!2 piggiesMy oldest nephew, who is now living in Los Angeles, recently quit his corporate job to became a butcher’s apprentice. I think it is fantastic that he has found something he feels so passionate about and that he is now able to practice the craft. I knew I had to bake these cookies for him. In addition to being a butcher, he is also following the Paleo diet. I did briefly consider making Paleo friendly cookies for him, but my Google search for “Paleo Cookies” turned up some scary looking treats that I could not, in all good conscience, bake!

I used my favourite sugar cookie recipe, and whipped up a batch.12 piggies

Click here to print recipe for Sugar Cookies with Brown Sugar.

I found a great recipe for a small batch of royal icing to decorate these cookies, as they do not require very much.

My daughter happened to be home from college this weekend, when I was baking the cookies. She is a vegetarian with an unusual sense of humour. She applied some carnage to one of the cookies.bloodied pig 1biting off headNo animals were harmed in the making of these cookies! The blood is just smeared raspberries.

My nephew was thrilled with these cookies. He was also visiting this week and he is going to take them back to L.A. to share with all his new  butcher friends!1 piggy

You’ve Stolen a Piece of my Heart!

This week I discovered something not very nice about myself. I get cranky if I don’t bake something every few days. I don’t necessarily have to eat it, I just have to bake and create something. I was feeling extra cranky on Friday so I pulled some butter out of the freezer, and already I felt a little nicer. I decided to bake something for Valentines Day. We’re not big on celebrating the holiday in our house, but as an excuse to bake, it’s a good one. I  decided to bake sugar cookies in the shape if, what else, hearts! While I love the look of iced sugar cookies, I don’t love the taste. I find them too cloyingly sweet with all that royal icing.

Leaving the cookies plain just didn’t satisfy my creative needs, so I pulled out my heart cookie cutters and inspiration struck. I would cut little hearts out of the big hearts and fill them in with different coloured doughs. The tiny cookie cutters on the left are really aspic cutters, left over from my cooking school days when we had to make gross things like aspic. For those not familiar with this culinary delight, aspic is a jelly made from meat or fish stock. Often the fish one was poured into a fish mould and then decorated with little aspic shapes.

I knew I wanted to make my favourite sugar cookie dough, from Bon Appetit’s December 2000 issue. It is the only sugar cookie recipe I have seen that uses brown sugar instead of white sugar, and it gives the cookies a depth of flavour that white sugar cookies are missing. I decided to try out a new idea I recently learned from Alice Medrich in her book “Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Cookies”. Alice suggests grinding whole vanilla beans in a spice grinder and using it in place of vanilla extract. I was intrigued. Once all ground up, I have to admit it looked like something you might roll and smoke. 3/4 of a teaspoon of ground beans is the equivalent of 1 teaspoon of extract. It looked so cool in the dough, and the aroma and taste were so authentically vanilla.

I knew I wanted to have chocolate dough and some pink dough as well. The Bon Appetit recipe isn’t great for adding colouring to as the brown sugar muddies the colours. I made the Simple Sugar Cookies from my latest obsession, Karen DeMasco’s “The Craft of Baking.” I added melted bittersweet chocolate for the chocolate dough and pink paste food colouring for the pink dough. I made two versions of pink, one pale and the other shocking fuchsia .

After making the dough, I roll it out right away, between 2 sheets of parchment paper, and then chill it in the freezer for 20 minutes (or the fridge for about an hour). Then the artistry begins. I felt like I was playing with Play-Doh.

The finished cookies were just adorable and way less work (and way more delicious) than iced cookies. How could anyone feel cranky after receiving these cookies?

To print recipe for Brown Sugar Cookies, click Here.

To print recipe for Simple Sugar Cookies, click Here.

Of course, in keeping with my promise to eat healthier, we kept a few cookies to eat and packaged the rest of them up to give away. If my children are reading this, I have stashed a few away in the freezer for you when you come home!