Shaped Sugar Cookies: Tea for Two

Teapot_cookies

My cousin organized an elaborate tea-themed
birthday party over the weekend (is there a gene for theme-party-obsessions? And happy birthday Miss Sara!). I wanted to be there in person but with gas
prices hiked higher than my granny’s panties, I sent the next best
thing—cookies! I had such fun putting these together; it was my first
serious attempt at "cookie art" and I’m relatively pleased with the
result! Perfectionist that I am, of course there are things I would
change. But given that only one minor meltdown occurred in the making
of these cookies, it’s safe to say that I look forward to honing my icing skills in the near future.

Cookieprep

I wasn’t able to find a cookie cutter like this one
in any of the local stores, so I made a template and cut the shapes by
hand. I did have some trouble with the cardboard of the
template—let’s just say some of the party guests might get a little
extra fiber!—and I was glad to be making only 12 cookies this way as
the process got quite tedious. But frosting them was a lovely and
meditative activity full of color and creative expression—it made
me want to invest in better equipment than Ziploc bags with the tips
cut open…

Dsc_0044

And that meltdown I mentioned? It happened at 11 pm the night before
I iced these bad boys…and it was completely my own fault. Who stacks
baking sheets on a slanting pile of cookbooks anyway? Fortunately I had made extra dough. And speaking of dough, here’s my go-to sugar cookie recipe. It holds up really nicely, is never sticky, and tastes as good as it looks.

Shaped Sugar Cookies
(recipe courtesy of The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook )

4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

In a small bowl combine flour, salt and baking powder
and set aside. In a large bowl with an electric mixer cream butter and
sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract, then add
in dry ingredients a bit at a time until you have a firm, pliable dough
(you may need to work it with your hands towards the end.) Chill the dough in the fridge for at least two hours.

Preheat oven to 350. To shape the cookies, put a piece of parchment
paper on your work surface and roll a hunk of dough to about 1/8-1/4
inch thick. Cut the cookies and put them on your baking sheet, then put
the sheet in the freezer for about 15 minutes; this will help the
cookies retain their shape in the oven. Bake for around 12-15 minutes
depending on their size. Take them out just as the edges begin to brown
(I recommend watching them pretty closely while they bake. Of course I
never do). Let them cool on the sheet for a few minutes before removing
them to a rack, then frost with Royal Icing.

Royal Icing

2-3 large egg whites
1 pound confectioners sugar (this amount will vary depending on whether you want to spread or pipe the icing)
Juice of 1 lemon
food coloring gels of choice

Using an electric mixer, combine egg whites and sugar on low speed
until blended. Stir in lemon juice until spreadable and add food
coloring. I played around a lot with the consistency: more liquid for
the pink backgrounds, more sugar for the stripes. Just be sure to add
liquid only a few drops at a time, because it can go from being too
thick to too runny very quickly. Spread using a pastry knife or pipe
using a bag. Decorate to your heart’s content!

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4 Responses to “Shaped Sugar Cookies: Tea for Two”

  1. sushi2 Says:

    Your cookies looked scrumptious. And you made the teapot template yourself? That’s very inspiring. Great job.

  2. Sara Says:

    Anne! The cookies were delicious!!! Thank you soo much for sending them. They made the party great! Thank you also for the time you put in!

  3. The City Sage Says:

    Aw sweetie, you’re welcome—it was so much fun and I’m so impressed that you put the whole party together…can’t wait to see those pics!

  4. The City Sage Says:

    Thanks Sushi2—it was a really fun project and I can’t wait til I have an excuse to make cookies like this again!

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