Cookie & Frosting Recipes

Rolled Sugar Cookies and Snickerdoodles
1 ½ cups butter, room temp
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
For Snickerdoodles: add 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Optional: paste food coloring, decorating sugar/cinnamon sugar

Pre-heat oven to 375° F.

Measure flour into a large bowl, then gently whisk in the salt, baking powder and cinnamon (if using). Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer until very light and smooth.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, until incorporated nicely.  Beat in vanilla.  If you want to color the batter, add paste food coloring at this time.   

Add the flour mixture slowly (one cup at a time), scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions. 

Dough will be very sticky.  Divide the mixture into eight small balls, wrap each ball in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until really cold.  (3 hours min., overnight is great)

Lightly flour your working surface.  Working with one ball at a time, knead the dough to loosen it a bit, then shape a disk.  Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out until is ¼ - ½ inch thick.  Hint: twist the disk as you roll, to be sure that it’s not sticking to the work surface.  Flour your rolling pin lightly if it sticks on top.  Cut into shapes with cookie cutters or a sharp knife and transfer to an ungreased cookie sheet.  Collect the dough scraps, make another disk and re-roll - if the dough gets too soft, wrap it back in the plastic wrap and refrigerate while you work with another ball.

If desired, sprinkle cookies with sugar or (for snickerdoodles) cinnamon sugar before baking.  Bake on ungreased cookie sheets for 8-10 mins.   

Decorate cooled sugar cookies with cookie icing or your own sugar glaze.  To make a nice glaze, mix a few tablespoons of powdered sugar with a few DROPS of milk.  It does not take very much milk!  Add food coloring as desired.  Using a small knife, “paint” the glaze on your cookies, taking care to not let the icing run off the edge.  All to set until the icing is hardened.

Basic Buttercream Frosting

              2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter – room temp if possible.
              1 stick (1 cup) Crisco – not butter, just the plain ones

              2 teaspoons real vanilla extract

              2 lb powdered sugar (1 large bag) – sifted if it is at all clumpy

              6 Tablespoon milk

Cream the butter and Crisco thoroughly. Mix in the vanilla. Slowly work in the powdered sugar, a bit at a time, alternating with TSPs of milk. This is the base frosting. You can tint with food coloring as you like. I use the Wilton pastes – there will be a rack of these little pots in the cake aisle. Note that the color will get a bit darker as the frosting dries.

Note: this recipe does not produce a true white icing, since both the butter and the vanilla have color. If you are going to color the icing, it doesn’t matter at all. If you want to work with whiter icing, buy a bottle of “clear vanilla” – right next to the real vanilla at the grocery store.

If you want truly white, you have to swap the butter for Crisco, so no butter and 2 cups Crisco. This seriously affects flavor, so compensate by adding ¼ tsp of butter flavoring. (Available at grocery store or craft shop cake isle.)  But my theory is that the “butter white” is fine for everything except wedding cakes. And it tastes the best.

To color the buttercream, use any food coloring. I personally use the Wilton pastes from the cake aisle as they have a wide assortment of colors, work with all frostings and fondant, and last for a very long time. You can also find liquid food coloring and powdered food coloring.  Note that it is virtually impossible to tint the buttercream true red or black. Start with a cake with easier colors, using tubes of red/black icing to provide details.

Alton Brown’s Chocolate Frosting (from his Devil’s Food Cake episode)
5 ½ ounces of unsalted butter
1 ounce mayonnaise
3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly – NOTE: I use 5 ounces
8 ounces powdered sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
Beat the butter and mayonnaise in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. (Note – I use the regular attachment and it works fine.)  With the mixer on low, slowly add the melted chocolate.  Continue mixing on low speed until all of the chocolate is incorporated, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Turn the mixer off and add one-third of the sugar.  Mix on low to combine, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Repeat until all of the sugar has been incorporated.  Add the salt and continue to beat until the frosting is smooth and lightens slightly in color. 

Use immediately or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 hours or refrigerate for up to a week.  Bring to room temperature before using chilled frosting.

Note – this frosts 2 dozen cupcakes perfectly – if you are working with a large cake, you may need to double the recipe.

© 2011 Television Food Network.

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