Sorry, Martha! I still love you, but sometimes a girl just has to move on.
I found these cookie cutters at Winners a few weeks back and was itching to try them out. I have no idea how I happened upon the Fancy Flours website, but I did and I'm grateful. These cookies do NOT spread (a problem with many sugar cookie doughs) and don't need to chill for a long time. And they taste great! Did I mention that already?
I made about 100 cookies and covered some with sprinkles before baking, some with a cinnamon-sugar mixture (1/4 cup granulated sugar mixed with 2 tsps. of ground cinnamon), and left the rest plain, to be decorated with royal icing (recipe here) once they had cooled.
For my second attempt at making sugar cookies, I thought these turned out pretty great! The last time I was somewhat disappointed with how overcooked many of my cookies were, and I wasn't exactly satisfied with my decorating job. This time, though, I learned from past mistakes and let my creativity flow.
For some of the cookies, like the acorns and squirrels, I covered them in the cinnamon-sugar before baking (which, by the way, tasted AWESOME):
Others, I dotted on sprinkles and other fun decorations before baking, and piped icing to finalize the design once the cookies had cooled:
And for the others, I went crazy with the royal icing:
Besides using a better recipe for the cookies, when using the royal icing I did the following:
1. Divided the icing into small, zippered sandwich bags;
2. Added a bit of food colouring to each bag, closed them, and then smushed the colour all around in the bag to blend it;
3. Snipped a tiny hole in the corner of each bag when I was ready to use it, and piped the STIFF icing on the cookies to act as a dam before I "flooded" each cookie;
4. Added a bit of water to each icing bag once the "damming" process was completed, and used the runnier icing for flooding.
***For a step-by-step tutorial on icing sugar cookies with royal icing, check out My Sweet & Saucy's great guide here.
I sent that lucky Rayzor with a plateful of these cookies for his co-workers, and brought a plateful in to mine as well. Everyone "oohed and aahed" over the designs, and I was quite flattered to learn that one of Rayzor's colleagues was disappointed that he brought in "store-bought" cookies (before she tried one, I might add).
But the most important lesson I learned as a result of this experiment was the discovery that it's good to break out of your creative rut (in my case, sticking to Martha Stewart recipes) and the realization that while practice makes perfect, it doesn't hurt to just go wild with your creative streak when it strikes you.
Oh, and that red sprinkles will stain your teeth pink. :)
The ingredients:The results!: