Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fish Cookies for Jack!

 
This has been a busy week with work, school, and family and I am simply exhausted. So I will try to keep this post short and sweet. Just like these cookies. My co worker’s adorable son Jack turned two a few weeks ago. The party was held at a local water park and Heidi went all out with an Under the Sea theme. Including the most amazing Fish Cake! Heidi has some talented friends! I made these cookies for the little ones goodie bags. They were well received by the grown ups too.



 
I took a couple of Wilton decorating classes this summer. And I did learn some great things there, but most things cookie related I have picked up from Bridget at http://bakeat350.blogspot.com/. She is so creative and talented. I only wish I could be as dedicated to cookie making as she is. It takes patience, this cookie thing. But once you get in a groove it can be really fun! Just do me a favor and don't look at Bridget's cookies immediately after viewing mine, it might make me look bad. Thanks.



The recipes I used were both Wilton, as they were the ones given out in the classes I took . However, I found the cookie dough to be a little too soft/ sticky for rolling and cutting. It could also have been that it was very warm in my apartment when I was making them. Rolling them out onto parchment paper (rather than straight onto the counter top) and using lots of flour makes a world of difference though. I dip each cookie cutter into flour before cutting which seems to help get a clean edge. And they are addictive-ly yummy. Still, I might try a different cookie recipe next time. 

Since I do work during the day, I spread my cookie making out over a few evenings. Making the icing one day, the cookies the next, and then decorating over the next couple of days. The Royal Icing will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for about a week. Next time I make cut-out cookies I will try to get some shots of the process for you.

Here are the Recipes!

Basic Sugar Cookies

Recipe from Wilton

I did these in my stand mixer, but they can easily be done by hand. 

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. clear vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Make sure your oven is accurate or these lil guys will burn. I highly recommend you have an oven thermometer (mine runs at least 50 degrees hot). If using a dark cookie sheet reduce heat by 25 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. 

2. Cream butter and sugar.Add egg, vanilla and milk. Mix until smooth.

3. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to wet ingredients and mix to combine. Refrigerate dough at least 1 hour (or overnight). The colder the dough, the better.

4. Spread a piece of parchment or wax paper on your counter top. Get yourself a measuring cup or bowl of flour to keep at hand. Sprinkle some flour liberally over the papered surface, your rolling pin, and your hands. 

5. Take between 1/4 and 1/2 half of the dough out to work with. Leave the rest in the fridge to keep it as cold as possible. Roll out this ball of dough to about 1/4 inch thick, adding more flour as necessary. Wilton recommended 1/8 inch but I found the thinner cookies to be far too fragile to work with. 

6. Dip cutters into flour before each use. The colder the dough, the cleaner your edge will be. Very carefully transfer each cookie to the lined cookie sheet. I use a small offset spatula to do this- coated with flour of course. Try not to crowd the pan, I fit about 8 cookies per sheet. Scraps can be rolled back into the cold dough to be used again. 

7. Bake 12-15 minutes or until the cookies start to brown just slightly around the edges, turning half way through the cooking time. Place pans on a cooling rack for 5 minutes then remove from sheet to cool fully. Makes 25-50 cookies, depending on size. 

 Royal Icing (Meringue Powder)

 Recipe from Wilton

Ingredients
3 level tbsp. Meringue powder
4 cups (1 lb/ 454 g.) sifted icing sugar
8 tbsp. water 

1. Mix meringue powder with sugar. 
2. Add water 1 tbsp. at a time while mixing on low.
3. Increase speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form, 10-12 minutes. 

Transfer Icing to a piping bag fitted with the tip of your choice and get decorating!








This thicker icing is what I use to outline the cookies. To fill in the cookies, take a small bowl of the icing and add water 1/2 tsp. at a time. You've got the consistency right when a drop of the icing disappears into the dish before you've counted to ten. I use little squeeze bottles like these to fill in my cookies. Accents can be added with more thinned out icing while the cookie is wet, or more full strength icing once the cookie has dried, depending on the look you want. Does this all make sense? As I mentioned above, check out Bake @ 350  for some great cookie decorating tips, or ask me a question in the comments. Martha Stewart and the Wilton website are also good references.

Let the cookies dry uncovered overnight, and then transfer to individual bags or a large airtight container. 

Sharks and Starfish should be stored separately.




So much for short and sweet. Goodnight all. Happy cookie making!

XO,

Maia


3 comments:

  1. These cookies are so adorable! I love the last part of your post about keeping the shark seperate from the starfish, hilarious! Ps - I made those blueberry bars last night and they turned out pretty good- very tasty and not too sweet. I found your recipe very easy to follow even for me :) and I love how you put the measurement amounts in you written description this really helps as then you dont have to flip back to the beginning for the right measurement. xoxox nicola

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  2. Thanks hun! I am so glad you made them and liked them! Now all you have to do is bring me some. Oh and thanks for commenting even though you are the only one who ever does!!! It makes me feel loved.

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