I have baked a lot of cookies in my time, but this is the recipe my family and friends LOVE. I love it, too, BUT it is a bit more labor intensive than some of the recipes out there. I feel like its worth it. Give it a try!
3 sticks butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
zest of one lemon
cream the sugars and lemon zest into the
butter until well blended
2 teaspoons of vanilla (or vanilla bean paste)
mix till it is all well incorporated
in a separate bowl mix together with a whisk the following dry ingredients
1 teaspoon pink sea salt (regular salt is ok too)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
5 cups of flour
Add to your butter, sugar, egg mixture a little at a time and then mix till the dough comes together. If the dough is still a little sticky you can add in about more flour a bit at a time (no more than 1/4 cup)
Divide into 3 balls, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1-2 hours (you AND your dough). While you are at it put your cookie sheets in there, too (trust me you will thank me later)
When you are getting ready to roll preheat your oven to 400 F.
I roll my dough between 2 sheets on parchment on my genie ultimat (to keep it from slipping around on my granite counters, cause I really hate dough wrestling!) If you didn't add in additional flour as noted above then you may want to dust the dough with a little flour before you roll it out the first time to prevent sticking.
I toss the rolled out sheets into the fridge
while I roll out the remaining dough.
Place the cut out cookies on a cold cookie sheet
and if the dough is softening up then chill the
cookies on the sheet another few minutes.
(if you skip all this and your cookies spread,
do NOT come whining to me)
I roll my dough 3/8" thick so I bake at 400F, in my oven, for about 10-12 minutes. But if you roll thinner you will want to start checking them about 6 minutes to be sure they don't overbake. Since oven temps vary from oven to oven please keep an eye on the cookies til you know how long it takes in YOUR oven.
Becky Kasten: "If I were to ask you to make 450, no bigger than 1", cookies for Cookie Con, would you ever talk to me again? Lol"
Bekcy: "I'm so serious!"
Me: "Are you nutters?!?!"
Becky: "Sorta but that's beside the point! Lol"
and so it began....
This is the story of my adventure in creating 450 nightmarish little cookies that ended up as hard a rock by the time I got to CookieCon.
Since I was foolish enough to think I could whip out 450 little creations in no time at all I sent the pic above to Becky and said "how bout if I do something like this?" Of course she then used the term that became common in all of our ensuing conversations...."are you crazy?" (if you haven't figured out by now, I AM crazy. Actually all caps C. R. A. Z. Y.) But instead of rethinking it at that moment I just plowed forward saying "Go Big or Go Home". The moment those words came out I was cursed, what was I thinking? Forget that I had a booth at CookieCon to prep for, forget that I travel all over doing CookieRehab events and am only home about half of the time, forget that Genie Products consume hours of each of my day. Just forget all that, because clearly I did. I was just a little too big for my britches!
I wanted to bring a version of my brown butter cookies to the tasting, but I thought I needed to step up my game a little. I didn't want someone to taste them and say. "oh, that's Ginny's brown butter cookie, I have made that before." So in my usual hare brained manner I decided to toss in some candied bacon. Of course after talking it over with my mom (a vegetarian) I decided to opt for Facon aka fake bacon, a soy based product for the non pork eaters. So off to the kitchen I went to candy a few pounds of Facon. (When one does this, their sanity should immediately be examined quite closely, because THIS is NOT normal behavior, but realizing that a task was lacking sanity never stopped me before nor did it now.)
Who knew that candied Facon would be so tasty? I even think it would be great to add on top of pancakes. Wait? Did I just say on pancakes, because if I did, pancakes need maple syrup (remember this part) and maple syrup would be a great addition to my cookies.
Since my cookies had now gone from just plain brown butter to Maple Facon Brown Butter cookies I was feeling pretty cocky, (always a bad sign).
However I did decide that the pretty design I had first showed Becky would not be the perfect look so I made up a quick protype of a cookie with maple leaves and a little piggy! Not only was it cute, it was going to be quick n easy to do since it was all stenciling, and with my genie in hand I could whip them out in no time at all! I was in "hog heaven".
When baking day rolled around I was ready. Doug had created the perfect cutter for me that cut 11 minis at a time that interlocked into a pretty display! (Yes, I will have him make this cutter available before the holidays roll around).
I was thrilled when Doug helped me flood the 526 minis I ended up with and quite proud of the result. The airbrushed leaves and piggies looked good and my helper Erica set to work individually bagging up the 500+ minis. "That wasn't so bad after all," I thought to myself. Seriously?!?! Did I just say that!? So many signs that I should have heeded, but NOOOOOOO, I was out of control!
The following couple of days I was busy with last minute prep for the booth so I really didn't take time to look at the cookies again until I decided to box them up so see how much room I needed in my suitcase. So I went over to the table, took the lid off the tote, and nearly died of a heart attack right then and there. All of my leaves and piggies were bleeding a slow death on the top of my cookies!
Til now I had never had a cookie bleed, so I never could relate to the pain a cookier feels at that moment you realize your cookies are a total loss due to bleeding. But for me, there was no turning back, I didn't have time to rebake 500 cookies! I wish I had taken a pic of the whole bloody batch, but in my panic I wasn't thinking about writing a blog post to share this nightmare with you all, so this little guy, (who was one of the better survivors) was all that was left when I took a pic.
When 500 cookies have a bloody death, what do you do? Well first you unbag them, (boy is it fun watching the little bags pile up around you). Then you go to Plan B.
I made 500 little caskets out of the cookies. Poor Doug manned the airbrush while I went over each cookie with a fan brush to get a wood look (and to thoroughly mask the bleeders that were laying in quiet repose underneath). When we were done we had some great little wood plaques, but boy were they boring! However, they didn't seem to be prone to any more bleeding, so that was a relief. But wow, I just saw boring! I had to jazz em up. (when will I ever learn?)
Instead of bagging up the little wood plaques, aka caskets, I shoved them into a tote and went to bed.
When I woke up I took another look. Still not bleeding any more, but STILL so darn boring and a tad tacky to the touch, so I went to the task of brushing the tops with corn starch, which did help them dry out but did not help the boring factor.
If you know me very well, you KNOW I don't do boring so when Erica walked in the door to help me pack for CookieCon at what I now refer to as ZERO HOUR she found me in the fetal position on the couch because I was so torn as to what to do. Should I tell Becky that my house burned down, or that the bag they were in got lost in transit? I knew I really couldn't do that, and that by now the cookies had sat for days drying to be sure they didn't bleed again. They weren't bleeding and they weren't tacky, BUT they were so hard you could have skipped them like a rock across the river.
At this point, all I could do was to bling them up so despite their rock hard self, they would be pretty. In Texas slang, "I tried to make a silk purse out of a sows ear". Going back to that very first pic I sent to Becky, I drug out the wafer paper, the script stamp, the gold sprinkles, the sterling gold luster dust and the vodka and went to work with Erica's help. I think I must have gone through an entire box of gloves on this project!
In the end, the cookies were still as hard as ever, and pretty much tasted like cardboard. But they were pretty darn it. They pretty much screamed "Creative Cookier" so I could not pretend they belonged to someone else, but I felt like I had a story to share with you all. Maybe not with such a happy ending, but with a moral....never say, "go big or go home", never try to bite off more than you can chew and NEVER EVER keep on digging a hole. I should have just rebaked and made a simple sample cookie like some of the gals with a brain on their heads!
Now, back to the maple syrup I mentioned earlier. I THINK the syrup was my evil nemesis here. You see when I made my royal icing I was out of corn syrup, so I went to the pantry and I had dark corn syrup and maple syrup. The label on the syrup had corn syrup listed in it, so I thought I would sub that in and just bump up the maple taste. (I know what you are thinking...."really?"). I know, why o why would I try something new on 500 cookies to be tasted by my peers? Well if we had the answer to that we would not have this story.
So, here's the deal...I am not much of a blogger. I have tried in the past and failed miserably.