Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Lanette's Sugar Cookies (and Buttercream Frosting)

I do not like cake. I will eat cake, but I don't like it (the only cakes worth calories are hot-milk cake and my mother's Seafoam-frosting cake (I'll have to write a blog post on both of those later)).

Now, you may wonder what, then, do I have on my birthday? Well, I used to have ice cream cakes. Those are tasty. But a few years ago, I got the brilliant idea to have cookie cake, using my favorite cookie (another family recipe): the sugar cookie.

My first cake, inspired by a cupcake mural, looked like this:

It should be recognizable
I had another cake after that that was Doctor-Who themed (I don't think we got pictures of it, but it had graham crackers dipped in blue chocolate and splotched with white windows, all set on the orange frosting which was the time vortex). Then I had a flower cake (my mother was in charge), with a great big center and normal-sized cookies around it. And this year, I had a wedding-esque cookie-cake (my mother was in charge again). Results:

The pieces were really big. 
She cooked four squares of cookie, put frosting in between each, stacked them, frosted the sides, and then decorated the outside. Ridiculous. But really tasty.

Cookie Recipe: 

Difficulty: 5
Dough: 20 min
Baking: 8 min (per pan)
Cooling: 20 min (at least) 

2 cups sugar
1 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
4+ cups flour
1 teaspon vanilla
1 recipe buttercream frosting

1. Mix all ingredients well, adding enough flour (approximately 4-6 cups) to make dough not sticky.
2. Roll out dough, and cut out cookies of any size.
3. Bake at 375ºF for 8 minutes.*
4. Let cool, then frost with buttercream frosting.
5. Nom fabulous deliciousness.

*Depending on ovens, tastes, and cookie sizes, time may vary; my mother likes cookies soft, my father likes them burnt (I like them in-between; a little more than brown). Experimentation may be required. Cookie cakes take some time longer to bake. 

Buttercream Frosting recipe:

Difficulty: 3
Mixing: 5 min
Piping: 5 min (per 24 cookies)

1 cup butter**
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
Dye of choice

1. Cream butter together.
2. Add milk and vanilla together; mix well.
3. Add powdered sugar to mixture one cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.
4. If desired, add dye until colored to perfection.***

If frosting is too thick, thin with milk (shouldn't be too thick if you follow measurements exactly).

**The recipe actually calls for 1/2 cup butter-flavored shortening and 1/2 margarine, but all-butter is definitely way tastier (also juuuuust slightly healthier, since margarine has trans-fat). Butter is great. 
***Sugar cookies taste the best with burgundy-colored frosting XD We make giant batches of burgundy-colored cookies on Valentine's day for our friends, so it's the color/taste I grew up on.  

Frosting the cookies: 

I notice that people tend to take a knife and cover cookies in frosting smoothly. This is totally fine at home, but it's a lot more classy to show up to an event with well-frosted cookies. It will take practice, but anyone can pipe frosting onto cookies! (Also, it's way quicker, and a lot less painful; I speak from experience.) If you don't have any of these materials, you may have to fork out five or ten bucks

We normally use the star-tip, medium or jumbo. Not required, though.
That is a piping bag stretched over a cup; this is the easiest way to
stuff a bag full of frosting on your own!
Hold the bag like this guy does. I don't think he's piping frosting, though.
A lot of people have this weird way of holding the bag sort of curled up beneath your hand,
but it's really messy and irritating. I don't recommend that way.  
I don't know what these thingies are called, but many people use them. Adapters or something. The pieces on the left go in the bag first, then you can stick your tip on the outside, and screw that on with the pieces on the right; these enable you the ability to change the tip without cutting it out or using all your frosting and cleaning the bag out. 
Have fun!

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