Who broke out the royal icing and pastry bags this week? Leave your links here!
Let’s show off our decorating skills with these spicy Día de Muertos cookies. Posting date is November 6!
- 2 cups (255 g) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon chipotle chile powder, or ancho chile powder
- 6 ounces (1½ sticks/170 g) unsalted butter, cool but not cold
- 2 tablespoons cold (unflavored, nonhydrogenated) vegetable shortening
- 2⁄3 cup (130 g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 ounces (55 g) dark chocolate (60 to 72% cacao), melted and cooled
- 3½ to 4 cups (395 to 450 g) confectioners’ sugar
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 3 large egg whites, plus more if needed
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 3 cups (340 g) confectioners’ sugar
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- Various food gels
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, and chipotle. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening together on medium speed until just combined. Add the sugar and cream together until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl, add the egg and vanilla, and beat until just combined. Add the melted and cooled chocolate and beat until uniform in color. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, add half of the flour mixture, and beat for 15 seconds. Again, scrape down the bowl, then add the remaining flour mixture and beat until just incorporated. Loosely shape the dough into two disks (it will be sticky, so work quickly and feel free to flour your hands first), wrap them tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Unwrap one disk of dough, leaving the other in the refrigerator while you are working, and place it on a lightly flour-dusted work surface. Dust your hands and rolling pin with a little flour. Roll the dough ¼ inch (6 mm) thick, flipping and lightly flouring the dough a few times, as needed, while you work. Using your favorite Day of the Dead cookie cutter (we use the easy-to-find skull), cut shapes in the dough, then transfer them to the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of space around each cookie. Dough scraps can be rerolled and recut, if desired. Continue the process with the remaining dough. Place the cut dough on the baking sheets in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
- Bake the cookies, rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking time, until the tops of the cookies look set and are just beginning to appear dry, 10 to 12 minutes. Place the baking sheets on a cooling rack for 5 minutes. Using a spatula, transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 3½ cups (395 g) confectioners’ sugar and the cream of tartar; turn the mixer to the lowest speed to mix them together and remove any possible lumps. Increase the speed to medium-low, add the egg whites and lemon juice, and mix until the icing is completely smooth. It should have the texture of a thick, shiny glaze, but be just thin enough to pour. If the mixture is too thick, add additional egg whites to thin it. If the mixture is too thin, add the additional sugar a tablespoon at a time. Scrape the icing into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip (#3). First, outline each of the cookies with the icing and wait 15 minutes for the outlines to harden.
- After 15 minutes, return to the first cookie and flood the icing within the outline. If you feel confident and steady, you can flood each cookie just by using a pastry bag filled with the icing; I recommend using less icing in the flooding process than you imagine you will need, as it should spread to the outline and fill it in. If you are not quite confident using just the pastry bag, or if you want to be extra careful, squeeze a few dollops of the icing over the top of the cookie and use a dry paintbrush or the back of a spoon to gently spread it to the outline. (We don’t recommend pastry brushes; craft-store paintbrushes with synthetic bristles work best.) Let the frosting dry completely before adding the décor (royal icing), at least 8 hours or overnight.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the confectioners’ sugar with the egg whites and 1 teaspoon lemon juice and beat on low to medium-low speed until the icing is completely smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. When the paddle is lifted from the icing, a peak in the icing should be created, which should fall over just a bit; it’s slightly thicker than the filler icing. To reach the right consistency, add ½ teaspoon more egg white and/or lemon juice at a time to thin the icing, or 1 teaspoon more confectioners’ sugar at a time to thicken the icing.
- Divide this icing into five or six small prep bowls. Add pea-size amounts of food gel to all of the bowls save one, and mix, adding more gel as needed to achieve the colors you desire. Keep the last bowl plain (white). Place each color in a pastry bag fitted with a small tip (#1). (Alternatively, though we don’t wholly recommend this method, as you will get cleaner lines using pastry bags and tips, you can place the icing in zip-tight plastic bags, cut off just a tiny bottom corner of the bag—as small as possible—and use the bag to pipe.)
- Apply the royal icing to the outlined, filled, and completely dry cookies. Use the accompanying photo as a guide for traditional Day of the Dead décor or (obviously) decorate as you want. If you need to or want to overlap decorating colors, just make sure the bottom color is dry before applying the top color over it. Let the décor harden completely before serving, at least an hour or up to overnight.
No denying, these are some good looking cookies!
Let’s see those cookies!
Get ready to roll and cut, bakers! Posting date is July 31.
- 1 cup (150 g) blanched almonds, toasted (see page 19)
- ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- 2 cups (255 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 ounces (2 sticks/225 g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 8 ounces (225 g) jam (we recommend blueberry rhubarb)
- 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
- Put the almonds and ¼ cup (50 g) of the sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the almonds are finely ground.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and remaining ¼ cup (50 g) sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, egg yolk, and almond extract and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the almond mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl one more time and then mix again.
- Turn the dough out (it will be tacky) onto a lightly floured surface and bring it together with your hands. Form the dough into two disks and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Unwrap one dough disk and place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a round 1⁄8 inch (3 mm) thick, flipping and lightly sprinkling it with flour as needed so it doesn’t stick. Using a 2½-inch (6-cm) round cookie cutter, cut the dough and transfer the pieces to the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of space around each cookie. Extra dough scraps can be refrigerated and rerolled, if desired. Continue the process with the remaining dough disk, and distribute the pieces equally between the two trays. Freeze the trays of cookies for 5 minutes.
- If you like, you can bake the windowpane cutout scraps as well. Line one more baking sheet with parchment (if you don’t have another baking sheet, you can place them on a large platter or plate lined with parchment until the sheet is free). Remove one sheet of dough from the freezer. Make the windowpane cutout: Working quickly, using a small cookie cutter (round, or heart- or star shaped, about 1 inch/2.5 cm in diameter), cut out shapes directly in the middle of each round of cookie dough. Place the cutout shape scraps on the last sheet or platter, if desired. Set aside. Remove the other sheet from the freezer, but leave the cookies intact. (In total, only half of your cookies should have cutouts.)
- Bake the cookies, rotating the sheets halfway through the baking time, until they are set, 8 to 10 minutes. Place the baking sheets on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes. Then, using a spatula, transfer the cookies to the wire racks to cool completely. (If you reserved your cutout shape scraps on a platter, transfer them to one of the empty baking sheets and bake until set, 6 to 8 minutes. Again, place the baking sheet on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to the wire rack to cool.)
- Flip the cookies that are wholly intact (with no cutout) and spread an even layer of jam, about 1 teaspoon, over the cookie bottom. Dust the cookies with the cutout with a little confectioners’ sugar, then place them directly over the jam-covered cookies. Dust the cutout shapes with confectioners’ sugar as well, to eat alongside the assembled linzers. Allow the cookies to set for about 10 minutes before serving.
The real winner of the Kentucky Derby is the Derby Cookie!
Derby cookies! Leave your links here.
Brown sugar, bourbon, and walnuts! Posting date is May 8.
- 3½ ounces (100 g) walnuts (about 1 cup), toasted
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (270 g) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 ounces (2 sticks/225 g) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes
- 2 tablespoons good-quality Kentucky bourbon
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup (110 g) firmly packed dark brown sugar
- ½ cup (120 g) bourbon sugar (see sidebar) or raw or demerara sugar
- ¾ cup (85 g) confectioners’ sugar (optional)
- In the bowl of a food processor, process the walnuts until almost all are finely ground but some remain coarse.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter, bourbon, and vanilla on medium speed until smooth and combined. Add the brown sugar and beat again until the mixture is well combined and light, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Turn the mixer to the lowest speed and add the nuts; mix for 15 seconds. Remove the mixing bowl from the mixer and finish incorporating the nuts with a wooden spoon.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Using a small ice-cream scoop with a release mechanism (or a small spoon and your hands), form balls from tablespoons of dough and place them on the prepared baking sheet about ½ inch (12 mm) apart. More than likely, you should be able to fit all of the balls on one half sheet baking pan; the dough does not really spread during baking. Freeze the balls until firm, about 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Remove the balls from the freezer and let sit for 5 minutes. Place the bourbon sugar in a wide shallow bowl. Roll the balls in the sugar to coat them completely, applying pressure as needed to make the sugar stick, and place them back on the baking sheet. Bake just until the balls start to color, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let them cool for about 10 minutes.
- If using, sift the confectioners’ sugar into a wide shallow bowl. Roll the balls in the sugar and place then on a cool surface. Let the balls cool completely and sprinkle them again with more of the confectioners’ sugar right before serving.
- Vanilla bourbon sugar is addictive. Use the leftovers to finsih other desserts, to stir into coffee, and to make assorted fancy cocktails.
- Quick and Dirty Bourbon Sugar: Place 5 cup (120 g) raw or demerara sugar in a ceramic canister that has an accompanying lid (or use a small bowl covered with a small plate). Add ½ teaspoon bourbon, cover with the lid, and shake vigorously until well combined. Wait at least 30 minutes for the flavor to develop before using.
- Slow and Steady Vanilla Bourbon Sugar: Place 1 cup (240 g) raw or demerara sugar in a canister that has an accompanying lid. Split a vanilla bean lengthwise and stick the vanilla bean halves into the sugar. Drizzle the sugar with 2 teaspoons of bourbon, and top with 1 more cup (240 g) raw or demerara sugar. Cover the canister and shake like crazy. Place the canister in a dark, cool place and wait about a week for the flavors to fully develop.
A resounding YES to buttery crescent cookies this week!
What did everyone think of this simple little cookie?