Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Sugar Cookies

This week is a busy week. I am working a lot of overtime and trying to still manage to prepare for my big Halloween party this weekend. I plan on sharing some of my all time favorite recipes with you still. Today I am sharing a family cheat with you though. Every year for Christmas I have my girl friends over and my mom to decorate cookies. (I know it is Halloween week stick with me!) There is no way with the hundreds of cookies we do that I could home make all of the dough for the sugar cookies. I mean I could but who has time for that? So, when I am in need I sneak off to my local grocery store (Festival for you local people) and I buy a tub of dough. The tub of dough makes around 50 cookies.

For the party I wanted the cookies to be festive so I used my trusty pumpkin cookie cutter. I threw some flour down on the island in my kitchen and started rolling and cutting the cookies. We have done a lot of experimenting on what works for this process. Here are some hints on what works to make awesome shaped sugar cookies.

#1. Make sure your dough is cold. Not frozen but cold. I take my dough out of the freezer at least an hour before use and put it in the fridge. The colder the dough the better the cookies look and the less they spread all crazy.
#2. Flour, flour and more flour. You are going to need flour for your counter, for your hands, for the rolling pin, for the cookie cutter and the spatula you use so the cookies do not stick to everything. Use it liberally on everything. You may look like a mess but that is okay.
#3. Wear an apron. My mom made me a really cute one this will help you from getting cookie batter and flour all over your clothes.
#4. Parchment paper. I am blessed with double ovens at my house. What that means is that I can quickly bake 50 cookies in an hour. I do not like using a ton of cookie sheets though and I want to be able to remove the cookies quickly and reuse the cookie sheet fast. You can use two cookie sheets and quickly swap out cookies by pulling the parchment paper off the cookie sheet and cookies onto a flat surface to cool. I use my wood cutting board to cool the cookies. See how happy the cookies look on the parchment paper!
#5. Oven temperatures should be monitored. The tub of dough said to have the ovens at 350 degrees and to bake for 7-11 minutes.  Here is the kicker all ovens vary. My top oven cooks at a much lower temperature than my bottom oven. I sometimes refer to the bottom oven as hell as it burns everything. Therefore, I can set them both to 350 degrees but I need to watch the cookies and make sure I take them out before they burn. I always burn at least one batch. Whoops.

Here are the cookies in the top oven getting all golden brown.

#6. Let the cookies cool. This is important for many reasons. You want to make sure they are cool so they do not bend or break when you try to stack them. I do not know about you but I do not enough space for 50 cookies to cool sitting out currently. (My kitchen table is being worked on by my hubby which is another blog post on its own) Therefore, I have to stack the cookies after they cool for about 5 minutes then stack them. It was fine and they cooled like this until it was time to frost them. Here they are chilling. Make sure you allow enough time for them to cool or the frosting will melt off of them into a puddle.

#7. Toppings are important. A good topping on a cookie can make or break the cookie. For Christmas cookies we always use cream cheese frosting. It is fantastic. Today I used some really fun frosting from my mom. Caramel apple and maple bacon. YES, bacon and there are even little bacon bits to put on top. You can really top your cookies with anything or even eat them with nothing on them at all. Sorry, I was so focused on decorating and trying not to eat all the frosting out of the tubs I forgot to take a picture of the finished cookies. They look and taste delicious.
 #8. Storing. I actually have specific Tupperware I keep just for cookies.  You want something that you can layer the cookies in. In between each cookie layer add parchment paper so that the cookies do not stick together. Make sure you allow the cookies to sit and dry after frosting for at least an hour before storing or the frosting is going to stick to everything. Trust me it is not pretty.

Now I just need to find the willpower to save them for the party this weekend and not eat all of them. I will be temped as they sit in the containers. Dreams of bacon in my head!

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

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