Thankful for You and Cookies….

Thanksgiving may be my favorite holiday.  It’s all about sharing time with family, friends and food.  Some of my very favorite things…. and it’s a time for each of us collectively, to ponder on the many blessings in our lives.  I would be remiss if I didn’t express my graditude to you as well.  Without those of you who subscribe, comment and read along with each journey….. we’ll this blog and my life just wouldn’t be the same.  So many thanks to you for following along with me on this adventure called Garden Soiree.  (I promise, keep reading the cookie recipe is below…)

As you prepare for  a busy week with family and friends, I do the same with all the traditional recipes that the family expects.  We can easily get busy with life and take for granted those gathered around our table, but for one day we are reminded to be grateful and also remember those who may no longer be present in a seat, but through an old family recipe will live on forever in our hearts.  

The traditional recipes will never be replaced, but I’ve added a new addition….. decorated sugar cookies.  The truth is, we host company starting a few days before Thanksgiving and I feel a need to have plenty of snacks and finger food on hand. (I really don’t want anyone cutting into a pie before the big day.) So these festive cookies are absolutely perfect.  And I’m sharing how easy they are to make.  Just remember to give yourself plenty of time.  They are easy, but they do take a lot of time.

I’m relatively new to decorated sugar cookies using royal icing. I found a book called “Cookie Craft” by Valerie Peterson and Janice Fryer; it taught me everything I know about cookies!  I highly recommend you get a copy if you are interested in truly decorative cookies!  I made decorated cookies for Halloween and now Thanksgiving because they were such a hit.  I consider it practice for making Christmas cookies!

platter-of-cookies

Here’s the recipe: (Before you do anything…. set your butter out to soften. It takes about 2 hours, unless your kitchen is super warm.  And clear out an area in your refrigerator to chill your rolled out dough.)

Sugar Cookies:

3 Cups All-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons of vanilla
zest from 1 lemon

Directions:  

1.) Whisk together the flour and salt in a medium bow.

2.) Use a mixer (I use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment) to cream together the butter and sugar until it is fluffy.  Then add the egg, vanilla and lemon zest and blend well.

3.) Use the low setting on the mixer, and slowly add the flour mixture until well blended.

4.)  Take your dough and form it into a disk and then separate it into two equal halves.

sugar-cookie-dough

This is one-half of the dough, getting ready to roll it out!

5.) Roll out your dough between to large sheets of parchment paper.  Use 1/4″ dough slats to get the right thickness.  (or you can also use two magazines.  The first time I rolled out cookies, I used two equally thick Southern Living magazines as guides for the right thickness.)

rolled-dough

6.) Refrigerate the dough after you’ve rolled it out.  You can easily stack your rolled dough on top of each other using parchment paper in between. 

cutting-out-cookies

7.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Using the cookie cutters of your choice, cut out your shapes.

8.) Bake on a parchment lined cookie sheet for 12 minutes.  The cookies should be slightly golden around the edges.

baked-cookies

9.) Let the cookies cool before decorating.  (Personally, I like to make the cookies a day or two in advanced of decorating.)  It means not spending all day in the kitchen.

Royal Icing:

Note: There are a few ways to make royal icing, but I’m only sharing the recipe for royal icing using Meringue powder.  (You can find Meringue powder in the Wilton baking section at a Super Walmart and at a number of places online.)

To make the cookies like I made you’ll need to make piping icing and flood icing.  The piping icing is stiffer and is used around the edge of the cookie and for detail work.  It serves as a “dam” for the flood icing that covers the body of the cookie. 

Royal Icing Recipe:

Piping:  

2 cups powdered sugar
4 teaspoons of meringue powder
3 tablespoons of warm water
1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional, but I like the slight brightness it adds)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Note: Decide which colors you want to use and divide your icing to tint it in smaller bowls. I highly recommend finding inspiration in a design before ever starting to bake. Use only three colors or at the most four. You can certainly make more complicated designs with more colors, but I’ve found three or four colors works great and is much more manageable.

Flood Icing: 

2 cups of powdered sugar
4 teaspoons of meringue powder
6 tablespoons of warm water
1 teaspoon of lemon juice (optional)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract   

Another Note:  Use a #2 tip to apply the piping icing.  Also, I like to use clear squeeze bottles (condiment bottles) for the flood icing.  This was one of the many tips from the book “Cookie Craft.” Remember to allow the icing to dry between layers.

decorating-cookies

Clear plenty of workspace for decorating. Note the flood icing in the squeeze bottles and piping icing in the disposable pastry bags. These cookies have been piped and then flooded and are waiting to dry before detail work.  If desired, apply decorative sugar to the icing when it is still wet for it to stick.

decorated-cookies

kiddos-and-cookies

Making homemade iced cookies is so much fun for the kiddos, too!

Have fun decorating to your hearts content!

 

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2 Replies to "Thankful for You and Cookies...."

  • comment-avatar
    Kathleen Hardwick November 24, 2016 (6:05 am)

    Happy Thanksgiving, Amber. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday also. I love hosting all my family. The cookies look wonderful. I’ve really gotten away from making cookies since my boys are all grown up and there are no grandbabies, but I’m definitely going to try your recipe for some Christmas cookies! You are such a talented lady!

    • comment-avatar
      Amber November 28, 2016 (7:59 pm)

      Kathleen,

      Thank you for the sweet words. I’m sure your boys will love the Christmas cookies, even if they are all grown up now. I’m so glad you enjoyed the article.
      Most Sincerely,
      Amber

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