Burnin’ Up The Kitchen: And that’s how the cookie crumbles …

 

Softball season pretty much runs year round in my family, two nieces on three different teams each with practices running from mid-September to early August and games starting in late April and ending mid-August.

I’m a softball aunt who often celebrates the end of softball season by baking softball cookies for my nieces’ teams.  This year during the first two weeks of August, I baked three batches of softball cookies – one for Jenny’s summer team’s last game of the season and a batch for each girl’s team parties.  Since the last game of the summer season snuck up on me, Gianna’s team received undecorated sugar cookies and chocolate chip cookies.  I really need to remember that baking and decorating softball cookies is a project and allot myself enough time.

I have several go to sugar cookie recipes; for the softball cookies I used a recipe that can be found on multiple internet sites including here.

no-fail sugar cookies

roster:

  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

playbook:

  • Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs and vanilla; mix well.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
  • Add dry ingredients to butter mixture, a little at a time.
  • Mix until flour is completely incorporated and dough comes together.
  • Cover and chill for 1 to 2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F for at least 1/2-hour before baking.
  • Roll to desired thickness and cut into desired shapes.
  • Bake on ungreased baking sheet (I lined my cookie sheets with parchment paper) for 8 to 10 minutes or until just beginning to brown around the edges, (baking time varies according to thickness of cookies).
  • Remove cookies with a spatula and let cool on wire racks.

photo replay:

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Ingredients lined up on my counter.

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Place two cups (four sticks) of softened butter in large bowl.

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Add two cups of granulated sugar to butter.

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Cream butter and sugar.

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Add eggs and vanilla.

Mix well.

Mix well.

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Whisk dry ingredients together.

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Add dry ingredients to butter mixture, a little at a time.

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Slowly mix dry ingredients with butter mixture.

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Mix until flour is completely incorporated.

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Since I didn’t have any wax paper, I placed the cookie dough in a pie plate.

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And covered it with aluminum foil before placing in the refrigerator to chill. It looks like a popped Jiffy popcorn.

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Instead of flour, I sprinkle granulated sugar on my work surface.

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Take chilled cookie dough out of the refrigerator.

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Break off a piece of dough and start the process of rolling out dough and cutting out cookies.

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Cut cookies from rolled out cookie dough using cookie cutters or in this case the lid of a mason jar.

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Keep re-rolling dough and cutting out cookies until you’ve used all the cookie dough.

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Cookies all cut and ready for the oven.

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Baked cookies cooling on wire racks.

Once the cookies have cooled, the frosting and decorating process can begin.  I use an adaptation of Martha Stewart’s Royal Icing recipe to frost the cookies.  Pipe an outline on the outside of the cookie; some people use the same color as the cookie’s primary color and some use white.  I experimented with both and prefer same color piping.  After the piping has dried, you flood the cookie with icing, use a tooth pick to fill in any gaps and remove air bubbles.  The cookies should dry for at least 8 – 12 hours before decorating on top of the primary color icing.

royal icing

roster:

  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons meringue powder (may substitute powdered egg whites)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup water
  • liquid or gel-paste food coloring (optional)

playbook:

  • Combine sugar, vanilla, meringue powder and a scant 1/2 cup of water in a bowl with an electric mixer on low speed.
  • Beat until mixture is fluffy, but dense; approximately 7 – 8 minutes.
  • If icing is too thick, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time; if it is too thin, add more sugar. 
  • Icing may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

photo replay:

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Royal icing ingredients lined up on my counter.

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Measure out five Tablespoons of powdered egg whites.

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Mix water, egg whites (meringue powder) and confectioner’s (powdered) sugar together.

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Beat mixture for 7 – 8 minutes. Ribbons of frosting should stay on surface when dripping.

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Slowly add food coloring to icing.

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Note this is not the color of softballs; it will probably take multiple attempts (and sometimes bottles of food coloring) to tint the icing to your desired color.

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Keep adding food coloring to your icing.

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After several attempts, I’ve tinted the icing to softball green.

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I pushed the coupler as far through the opening of the decorating bag as possible and marked the spot.

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I cut the tip of the icing bag according to the package instructions.

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And voilà, the coupler fits into the opening of the icing bag perfectly. Not. The opening was too large; I had to cut another icing bag tip.

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Once the coupler and decorating tip are secured, roll down the decorating bag before filling with icing.

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Decorating bag filled with icing ready to decorate cookies.

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Pipe a border along the outside of the cookie.

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Flood (fill in) the cookie with icing.

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Use the edge of the cookie cutter in this case mason jar lid to create stitching line to pipe over.

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Pipe line of stitching over mark made for tracing. I didn’t have any red food coloring so I added a package of fruit punch jello to my icing.

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Pipe stitches by making v marks in both directions as shown.

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This batch I piped white borders.

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I also made a large cookie for the centerpiece of the cookie platter also piped in white. I used a bowl as my cookie cutter.

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Notice how thick the border is? I inadvertently used the wrong decorating tip.

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Decided to use the team color for the centerpiece cookie and some of the smaller cookies.

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Team Avalanche’s cookies are all decorated and drying. Wish I realized it was the decorating tip and not the humidity before I finished decorating all the cookies.

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Time to head off to Team Avalanche’s pool party. The girls (and their parents) loved the cookies in spite of the wide piping.

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This batch is for the Jaguars and I’m working on getting the icing red. It took three bottles of red food coloring to get the right color red.

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Went with red piping for this batch, waiting for cookies to dry before flooding with icing.

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The icing is all flooded on this batch of cookies that is waiting to dry before decorating begins. Notice how mist like the last few photos have been? That happens when you put your IPhone case on wrong – goof ball; yes it took me several pictures to realize it wasn’t confectioner’s sugar coating the front of my phone.

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I can see clearly now, cookies with lines for softball stitching are drying before decorating.

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I used the correct decorating tip for the stitching on this batch of cookies. The lines are so much thinner.

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Went with all red softball cookies for the Jaguars’ team party. Notice how clear the writing and stitching is; the correct decorating tip makes such a difference.

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The cookies were a hit and turned Coach into a cookie monster with a cookie in each hand.

fifth quarter:

The cookies were a hit with my nieces and three different softball teams.  I find this sugar cookie dough to be forgiving; it easily rolls out and cuts into cookies.  If mistakes happen and they always do, just mash the cookie dough back together and roll out to your desired thickness and start again. Easy peasy.  Pointers for next time include:

  • This is a multiple day project; either bake and freeze or allow three days from start to finish for baking and decorating.
  • If you refrigerate the cookie dough too long it will need to sit awhile before you are able to work with it.
  • You will need large amounts of food coloring to achieve the color icing needed.  Buy extra, just in case.
  • Jello or KoolAid  mix work in a pinch;  but do change the flavor of the icing.
  • Use the smallest icing tip available for writing and piping borders and stitching.
  • Be mindful of how much food coloring is needed when adding water to mixture.  If too much liquid is used just add more confectioner’s sugar to reach desired consistency.
  • Ziploc bags make good substitutes for decorating bags and can be zipped to avoid icing oozing out of the bag.
  • The larger cookies were prone to bubbling; next time I make large cookies I am going to use my pie crust beads to prevent blistering.

Making softball cookies is definitely a project; the smiles on my nieces faces make it a worthwhile project.

4 thoughts on “Burnin’ Up The Kitchen: And that’s how the cookie crumbles …

  1. Pingback: Favorite Episodes: Burnin’ Up The Kitchen: And that’s how the cookie crumbles … | from the sticks to the bricks and back again

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