Sunday, March 11, 2012

Angry Bird Cookies

Note to Mom:  "Angry Birds" is a popular game that many kids are playing on their electronic devices these days.

Note to everyone else:  I make these notes to my mom because she is retired and vacationing in Florida and has no clue nor does she have any desire to get a clue about any new electronic gadgets.  She is, however, with the help of my dad who enjoys his electronic gadgets, one of the few who reads this blog faithfully.  (Hi Mom!)

For detailed instruction on how to decorate these cookies, check out Sweet Sugarbelle's blog here.
For helpful tips on  rolling out dough, check out my blog post here.

Vanilla-Almond Sugar Cookie Cut-outs
Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 sticks butter, softened to cool room temperature
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, shortening, and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until combined, scraping the bowl as needed. Add the flour mixture and mix until incorporated. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheet with Silpat mats or parchment paper.

Dust a work surface liberally with flour. Unwrap the chilled dough, sprinkle with more flour and roll with a rolling pin to 1/4 inch thick (or a little thinner). Lift the dough and add a bit more flour underneath and on top if the dough gets sticky. If the dough is too hard to work with and wants to crack, break the dough into tennis ball sized pieces and knead each piece briefly to make the dough pliable, then knead all the pieces together one or two times, then you can roll out to an even thickness with a rolling pin.

Transfer the cookies to the cookie sheets with a thin metal spatula. Place the cookie sheets in the freezer for at least 15 minutes (this keeps the cookies from spreading during baking), then bake the cookies for about 10-12 minutes. I peek into the oven and give the cookies a quick touch with my finger. The cookies are done if they provide resistance to your fingertip and are starting to brown around the edges. They are not quite done if your finger sinks into the cookie and leaves an impression. I set the timer for 10 minutes and check every minute after that until the cookies are done. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Royal Icing

2 large (60 grams) egg whites
2 teaspoons fresh strained lemon juice
3 cups (330 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted

Place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat eggs on medium-high speed until frothy.  Add lemon juice, reduce mixer speed to medium-low and slowly add the confectioners sugar.  Once all the sugar is added, increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 6-7 minutes or until the mixture reaches medium-stiff to stiff peaks.  Transfer to an airtight container at room temperature until ready to use if you will be using the icing the same day (recommended).  Refrigerate unused portions for up to one week.


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