Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies

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I went to Target this weekend, and they had so many cute Valentine’s themed baking items that my head almost exploded. I bought lots of stuff, including some heart-shaped cookie cutters. Sugar cookies it is!

Now, like all things I make, I want my baked goods to look professional. This, being my first attempt at professional looking sugar cookies, didn’t work out too well. They sure taste good. At least I have that.

Here are the ingredients I used. I took a shortcut and used premade sugar cookie dough.

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I cut out various heart shapes and added sprinkles!

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Little did I know that it helps the cookies to keep their shape if you chill them again after cutting, so I didn’t do this. They were pretty much misshapen blobs!

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So, I thought maybe if I baked the cookie IN the cutter.

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It kind of worked. Obviously, this is not how sugar cookies are supposed to look.

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Oh well. I started making the Royal Icing, and dyed it pink.

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These were what I came up with…not that impressive but still tasty!

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I also wanted to show the incredible MESS I made in my kitchen.

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Final products:

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Christmas Gingerbread Cookies

I have always loved the gingerbread cookies from The Gingerbread Construction Company, which has two store locations in Massachusetts (www.gingerbreadusa.com) . My mom would bring them home from the Wellesley craft fair every December. This year, I finally felt confident enough to take them on. First, of course, I needed to find a good gingerbread recipe. I went to my favorite website, allrecipes.com, and selected Eileen’s Spicy Gingerbread Men, which had excellent reviews. After I mixed the dough, rolled it, chilled it, and cut out the shapes, I was ready to bake them. They came out delicious! I was off to an excellent start.

I knew the hardest part of these cookies to replicate would the the frosting. The Gingerbread Construction Company’s frosting on their gingerbread cookies was always very hard, sweet, and extremely tasty. I immediately thought that it was probably royal icing, which is known for it’s sweetness and stiffness. I knew that royal icing consisted of powdered sugar and egg whites, but I needed a good ratio. So, I selected Royal Icing I from All Recipes. I cut this recipe in half because I knew I wouldn’t need too much. On my first try, the icing never fully dried and hardened. You can see the stickiness in these pictures:

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I decided to try another batch to give to people as gifts. My first try wasn’t good enough. The only changes I made to the cookies was to roll the dough out a little thicker. The cookies were very moist and delicious once again. For the icing, I beat the eggs much longer and added a little more sugar until it got the consistency described in the recipe. Success! It took about two days to harden completely, but I could tell right away that it was going to be perfect. Once they were dry, I placed them in little tins along with the Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie
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And I sent them off for friends and family to enjoy!

I hope you had a Merry Christmas as well!

Quaker Oats “Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies”

Believe it or not, I had never made oatmeal raisin cookies! So, being bored last night, I tried it out. I used the recipe from the Quaker Oats Old Fashioned container:

Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

(Makes 4 Dozen)

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) of butter
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 cups Quaker Oats
  • 1 cup raisins
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Beat together butter and both sugars until creamy
  3. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well
  4. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well
  5. Stir in oats and raisins; mix well
  6. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets
  7. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown

Easy enough right? They came out great!

M&M Chip Cookies

After last time’s disaster, I decided to bake something simple: chocolate chip cookies. But for a fun twist, I used dark chocolate M&M’s instead of chocolate chips and added walnuts as well. I have a lot of experience making chocolate chip cookies, so this was no problem whatsoever. Success! I just used the Nestle Tollhouse recipe.

First Experiment: Home-made Girlscout Cookies

A few months ago, I stumbled upon a recipe on bakingbites.com for home-made Girlscout cookies, Samoa’s to be exact (http://bakingbites.com/2008/01/homemade-girl-scout-cookies-samoas). This is what they are supposed to look like.

I will admit, this was a bit of an ambitious first project. I have baked plenty in the past, but, I do not tend to have all of the proper tools needed to create masterpieces. But, I decided to give it a shot. I mixed a batch of dough, rolled it out, and cut out circles with the top of a glass. I put them in the oven… didn’t turn out so great. I couldn’t lift them off with the spatula and they crumbled. It tasted delicious though!

I had some more dough so I tried again. After they were done baking, they were vague circles. So, I took the next step. I put the shredded coconut in the oven to bake, and in the meantime, I melted the caramel in the microwave. Okay.

I started spreading the caramel on the cookies. It didn’t really have a good consistency, and would not spread out. I sprinkled on the coconut and melted chocolate. The results were slightly ridiculous:

VERDICT: DELICIOUS FAILURE