Saturday, November 22, 2014

Thanksgiving Cookies

This year, I've really been getting into making decorated cookies.   The latest in my collection are these Thanksgiving themed ones....I bought a pumpkin cutter for Halloween and never got around to making any, so I wanted to try it out.  A cookie project like this takes 3 days - one to bake the cookies and let them cool, one to decorate and let them dry, and then they are ready on the third day.

I wanted an autumnal flavor, so I tried a Dorie Greenspan recipe from a 2007 vintage Bon Appetit.   Speaking of BA, have you checked it out lately? I have been finding it very inspiring and I love my recent subscription.    I thought the recipe sounded unusual because of the dry mustard....they came out delicious and perfectly spiced.  I used dark molasses instead of light and amped up some of the spices a little.  This recipe is definitely a keeper for me!  It made a nice crisp cookie which is critical for iced cookies like these.

Spice Roll Out Cookies
makes about 2 dozen

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/2 cup dark molasses
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sift flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, allspice, nutmeg, mustard, and cloves into large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in another large bowl at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add brown sugar; beat 1 minute. Add molasses; beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg; beat until well blended, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to low; beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture; beat on low speed just to blend. Gather dough into ball; divide in half. Form each half into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap disks separately in plastic; chill until firm, at least 4 hours. I left mine in the fridge for 4 days until I had time to roll them out and bake.

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out dough between 2 sheets of waxed paper to 1/8-inch thickness for smaller (2-inch) cookies and 1/4-inch thickness for larger (3- to 4-inch) cookies. Using decorative cookie cutters, cut out cookies and transfer to prepared sheets, spacing 1 inch apart.. Gather scraps, roll out dough, and cut more cookies, repeating until all dough is used. If not icing cookies, decorate with sprinkles or other sugar toppings, if desired. Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies are firm on top and slightly darker around edges, about 8 minutes for smaller cookies and up to 12 minutes for larger cookies. Cool completely on rack. Line baking sheets with fresh parchment as needed.

I have written very often on this blog about decorating with royal icing.   To get the recipe and technique, check out this blog post.  I had some brown left over from making footballs in early November that I kept in a plastic container in the fridge.  Royal icing is supposed to be good for a couple of weeks just sitting on the counter - but I put it in the fridge for good measure.   I had to add a little water to get it to the right consistency.  I used a Wilton #2 tip for the piping, and I flooded the pumpkin sections at different times to get the 3D affect.   To make the turkey tail feathers,  I piped 3 lines and used a toothpick in a figure 8 pattern.   I can't wait to try that same pattern with my Christmas tree cutter this year.    I made these cookies last week and froze them in a plastic container - to thaw them, keep them in the container and bring them up to room temp so the icing won't separate.

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