A mom's journal of the sweet things in her life...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Vanilla Roll Out Cookies

 "The elves are watching." Words that I've repeated dozens of times a day in the past few weeks. They are an excellent behavior modification strategy, a 'veiled threat', if you will, without the need of further clarifications for potential consequences should they decide not to stop doing whatever it is they are doing at the time these words are spoken.
The mere utterance of words "the elves are watching" has stopped brewing temper tantrums right in their tracks. Any and all plans for mutiny when bed time is announced have been completely aborted. Those words have brought peace when the kids are in the throes of serious bickering matches. They've made their mouths magically open to try new foods they'd previously refused to even allow on their plates in the past.
They're magical words. And I am saddened by the fact that their power will cease to pack as much punch in less than one week's time. My window for manipulating my children with that simple sentence is closing on me. And I'm wracking my brain for something equally as effective.
Now back to the baking. I baked up a double batch of these cookies for my daughter's kindergarten class to decorate. Knowing that the finished product would likely be adorned with gobs of sugary icing and copious amounts of sprinkles, I began searching for a sugar cookie that didn't have too much...well...sugar. Because sugar cookies are quite sweet on their own, never mind if they've been decorated, I opted to make these cookies instead. These are mildly sweet. The perfect canvass for little fingers to express their artistic side. I would, however, note that if you're looking for a sweet 'sugar cookie', these ones might not quite fit the bill. Unless, of course, you prefer your cookies not very sweet, then these are perfect.

I didn't bother to photograph the cookies I made for my daughter's class - they weren't decorated so there was no point. But these miniature stars...they're made from scrap dough. If you roll your dough out between two pieces of parchment, then there's no need for extra flour. (And given that these cookies aren't very sweet - you really don't want any extra flour.) But the other benefit of rolling them between parchment is that you can re-roll more than twice. (I never use the dough after it's been rolled twice cause the cookies tend to be tough and laden with excess flour.) The stars came from the third rolling and were the perfect little cookie to use up our Christmas colored smarties, not to mention keep my son happy, who was not impressed when informed that the bigger cookies were not, in fact, for him.

(Source: Dorie Greenspan via Bon Appetit)

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
seeds from one vanilla bean
2 cups all purpose flour

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar and salt and beat until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg; beat until well blended, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and beat in vanilla and vanilla bean. Add flour and beat on low speed just to blend. Gather dough into ball; divide in half. Form each half into ball and flatten into disk. Wrap disks separately in plastic and chill until firm, at least 4 hours. Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out dough between 2 sheets of waxed or parchment paper to 1/8-inch thickness for smaller (2-inch) cookies and 1/4-inch thickness for larger (3- to 4-inch) cookies. Using decorative cookie cutters, cut out cookies and transfer to prepared sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. If cookies become too soft to transfer to baking sheets, place in freezer on waxed paper for 5 minutes before continuing. Gather scraps, roll out dough, and cut more cookies, repeating until all dough is used. If not icing cookies, decorate with sprinkles or other sugar toppings, if desired.

Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies are firm on top and golden around edges, about 10 to 12 minutes depending on size. Cool completely on rack.

*Mix approximately 1/2 cup of icing sugar with 1 tsp. of corn syrup and enough water to make a thin paste. Pipe a small dot of the paste onto the cookies and press a smartie onto the cooled cookie.

1 comment:

Related Posts with Thumbnails