Thursday, January 15, 2009

Roll-Out Butter Cookies

When you're hanging out at home with the kids, making these cookies is a great bonding activity.
It gets everyone involved and brings out the creativity in everyone.

Who knows, this could be the start of a family tradition. Just make sure the kids use those kid-friendly plastic cookie cutters and be ready for the mess they will surely make.

To make the decorating part extra special, stock up on a variety of fun cookie decorations like candy sprinkles, nonpareils and colored sugar for everyone to use to their heart's content.

Take lots of pictures of the family in action and don't forget to snap their handiwork. And most important, try to relax. Enjoy!

Here's the recipe:

Roll-Out Butter Cookies

5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
5 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 cup butter or margarine
1 1/4 cups refined sugar
4 large eggs

1. Sift together flour and baking powder in a bowl. Set aside.
2. Cream butter and sugar at medium speed of mixer for 10 minutes.
3. Add eggs one at a time.
4. At low mixer speed, add half of flour mixture.
5. Transfer dough to table and with the tips of your fingers, very gently knead in the rest of the flour mixture.
(You might have to add a few tablespoons of flour until the dough no longer sticks to the table).
6. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let rest in refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
7. Roll out dough onto cookie sheet (Use a plastic sheet or parchment paper on top of dough while rolling). Cut out cookie. Remove trimmings carefully leaving the cut out cookies. Set trimmings aside for re-use.
8. Bake cookies at 325°F for about 20 to 25 minutes.
9. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool before decorating.

Royal Icing

1/3 cup eggwhites, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 pound sifted confectioner's powdered sugar

Mix everything in a mixer at medium speed for 10 minutes. Color as desired. Ice cookies using spatula or disposable icing bags and decorating tips. Keep icing covered with a damp cloth when not in use to avoid crusting.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies with Raisins and Walnuts

The New Year is upon us once again. If you are anything like me, this is a time to renew our commitment to embark on a quest for better eating habits. More fruits and vegetables, more fiber. Less meat, less fat and definitely less sugar.

As a matter of fact, all of us are consuming less fiber than we should, way less. So as an answer to that, I have a recipe for a cookie that will up our fiber intake. This is genuinely satisfying, you'll hardly notice you're doing something healthy for your body.

Oatmeal Cookies with Raisins and Walnuts

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1-1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup refined sugar
1-1/4 cups firmly-packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons evaporated milk
1-1/4 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease cookie sheets.
2. In a bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon powder and oats. Set aside.
3. In mixer, cream butter, shortening, refined sugar and brown sugar for 5 minutes.
4. Add eggs one at a time. Stir in vanilla.
5. At low mixer speed, add flour mixture.
6. Fold in raisins and walnuts by hand.
7. Scoop dough onto prepared cookie sheets two inches apart.
8. Bake at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes.
9. Transfer to racks to cool completely.

Makes 5 dozen medium-sized cookies.

Monday, January 5, 2009

I'm Still Here...

For a while there, I thought I would have to give up this blog.

For months and months I wasn't posting. Just drafts and drafts and even more drafts. I bake, sure, endlessly even over the holidays but I seldom got to photograph what I made.

No pictures equals no post. You see I had this notion that it's pointless for me to post when I don't even have a tiny picture to substantiate my labors. Why make this blog more boring than it actually is.

But I said to myself after the dust has settled that I am willing to go back and redo everything. I plan to bake or create again every post I did a draft on. This time I'm going to take the best photographs I can get with my limited free time and gear.

So gear up, friends, for I am once-again on a roll. Maybe not as maniacal as before but I'll try to do at least one post a week.

I hope you all are well and happily toiling away in your kitchens making people you care about satisfied with your baking adventures.