Sunday, October 19, 2014

Autumn Leaves

I'm not sure how it happened, but I never got around to taking all my vacation this year, so I have to great fortune of realizing I can take long weekends almost until the end of 2014.  I think it was because I changed jobs midyear and we didn't really have any big summer vacations planned with trying to get Jane off to college and all of Eddie's ankle surgeries.  So, now I can practice what retirement can feel like!    I had the day off on Friday so I decided to take on a cookie decorating project.

I signed up to make 4 dozen cookies for my church music program's fall concert.  I was inspired by the beautiful fall colors we have this year.
Off Dan Hoey Road in Dexter

St. Joseph Cemetery, Dexter

Greenook Lake in Loch Alpine, my subdivision
My favorite sugar cookie recipe is this one for cream cheese cutouts - it makes a very tender rich cookie that can hold up to the royal icing. but I wanted to upscale it to use an entire brick of cream cheese.    When I did, I ended up with about 10 dozen 2 inch cookies, which was more than I intended!   

Cream Cheese Cutouts 
(makes about 10 dozen)

Cream Cheese Cutouts

2  3/4 cup butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2  3/4 cup sugar
3/4  teaspoon salt
3 egg
1 T vanilla extract
6 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter, cream cheese, sugar and salt until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla, using the paddle attachment.  Gradually beat in flour. Refrigerate, covered, 1-2 hours or until firm enough to roll. Preheat oven to 375°. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with floured cookie cutters. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets on parchment. Bake 7-8 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on pans 1 minute. Remove to wire racks to cool completely

Royal Icing Recipe


3/4 cup warm water
5 T meringue powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
2.25 lbs powdered sugar


In mixer bowl, pour in the warm water and the meringue powder. Mix it with a whisk by hand until it is frothy and thickened…about 30 seconds. Add the cream of tartar and mix for 30 seconds more. Pour in all the icing sugar at once and place the bowl on the mixer.  Using the paddle attachment on the LOWEST speed, mix slowly for a full 10 minutes. Icing will get thick and creamy. Add just drops of water at a time to make the icing runnier.  If you add too much water at a time it’s more difficult to thicken it with icing sugar than it is to add water to it.  To make sure the icing is the right consistency for flooding, try the “10 second rule”.  Drag a butter knife through the surface of the icing and count to 10.  If the icing surface becomes smooth in anywhere between 5-10 seconds, then the icing is ready to use.  If it takes longer than approximately 10 seconds, the icing is too thick.  Slowly add more water.  If the icing surface smooths over in less than 5-10 seconds, it is too runny.  Mix the icing longer or slowly add more sifted icing sugar to thicken it.

Cover the bowl with a dampened tea-towel to prevent crusting and drying.    The best website I've found about how to do the decorating is this one....after some practice, I got the hang of it.    I used a Wilton #3 tip this time and gel paste colors.  

autumn leaves

No comments: