Welcome to The Cookie Monster, a blog about the most marvelous, versatile, and beloved bakeable item in the land: The cookie. You may see occassional forays into pies, bars, and other sweet treats, but my main focus is and has always been on the bite sized genius behind my very favorite snack. Happy Baking!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A 75th Birthday

So this is my first official cookie blog post. I've been thinking about doing this for a while, as I spend hours in the kitchen stressing over flour measurements and how to transport frosted cookies without a result of total destruction. Today I made a particularly finicky and fragile bunch of cookies that were just too beautiful to eat and forget about, so I decided I would start a record of my baking, the only creative thing I really do ;)

Today I was attending a 75th birthday party for Joe's grandma. I wanted to bake something so we wouldn't show up empty handed, but really I just wanted to use my new cookie toy that I purchased with a Williams Sonoma gift card from Christmas. These toys often seem very gimmicky to me, but this one was SO worth it.

This cookie cutter uses little letters that can slide onto a track on its underside and make an impression of whatever you spell in the cookie dough. does that make sense? because I worded that horribly. So cool. It makes for very fancy looking cookies without all of the time-consuming, finesse-requiring frosting with pastry bags.

I opted to spell out "seventy five" instead of just doing the traditional "Happy Birthday" because I thought it would make me seem more creative, when actually I'm just using a really cool cookie cutter.

I used my favorite basic sugar cookie recipe, which is very quick and easy to roll out. it makes about 2 dozen medium sized cut out cookies:

1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup shortening
3/4 cup (I think, I can't remember and I'm too lazy to go get my cookbook)
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
pinch salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour

Cream together the wet ingredients and the sugar. add in the salt and baking soda, and lastly, the flour, a little bit at a time. divide the dough in 2 and chill for about 20 minutes (the recipe says 3 hours, but that's crap... no worries)

Heavily flour the rolling surface and rolling pin, cut out your desired shapes and transfer (carefully) to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. **** I use parchment paper EVERY time I bake. whether the recipe calls for it or not. The casualty rate among cookie creations is drastically reduced**** Bake for 6+ minutes at 375. I always check them at 6, when the edges start to brown, get 'em out of there.
I made a simple piping frosting and dyed with with regular blue food coloring. basically mix together 1/2 cup of shortening, a little vanilla, 2 cups of powdered sugar, and milk, a table spoon at a time. vary the amount of milk the vary the thickness of the frosting. baker's note: add the powdered sugar at low speed, otherwise your mixer (and your kitchen) will look like this:

I always fold in the coloring by hand, so I can see clearly when it is totally mixed, and not weirdly marbled.

I used some disposable pastry bags, a number 3 round frosting tip, and some leftover Christmas decor to create these little beauties:

But I think this one is my favorite:

Happy Birthday to Nene!!!

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