A Mini-Treats Mini-Series: Part 3 – Sugar Cookies

Today, October 1st, is National Homemade Cookie Day! What better way to celebrate than to make some of your own!

I like to use this Sugar Cookie Recipe from Cooking Light – it’s tasty and has slightly less fat & calories than normal cookies.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (about 11 1/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
10 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large egg whites

Lightly spoon flour into measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt with a whisk. Place granulated sugar and butter in large bowl; beat with mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla extract and egg whites. Gradually add flour mixture, beating at low speed just until combined. Divide dough in half. Shape each dough half into a disk; wrap with plastic wrap. Chill 1-2 hours or until firm.

Remove 1 dough portion from the refrigerator. Spray the Silpat and rolling pin with Pam’s Baking Spray. Roll to a 1/4-inch thickness on a Silpat.

Cut out shapes in the dough with a cookie cutter, leaving approximately 1/2-1 inch between each cookie. Carefully remove the excess dough from the Silpat. **Hint: Rolling the dough directly on the Silpat prevents distortion when you try to transfer the shape to the cookie sheet for baking. You will bake fewer cookies per tray this way, but they will be perfectly shaped!

Bake the cookies at 375 degrees F for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. I like to remove mine from the oven JUST BEFORE they edges get browned. This changes with each cookie shape and size so you’ll just have to watch them carefully.

Let the baked cookies cool on the Silpat for approximately 3-5 minutes. Then, place them on a cooling rack to cool completely.

Once the cookies are completely cooled, it’s time to decorate! For this batch, I choose to decorate them with Satin Ice Fondant. Fondant has gotten a bad rap lately. People think all fondant tastes like plastic, but that’s not true! There are many brands of fondant that taste very good, including Satin Ice, FondX, Chocopan, and Fondarific. Of course, you’ll pay a little more for these brands than the ones you can find in your local craft store, but I think it’s worth it! And, fondant tastes especially good on sugar cookies!

Fondant can be colored with gel/paste colors, just like icing. Knead in the color a little bit at a time – you can always add more color to make it darker. However, it’s more difficult to lighten the color if you make it too dark at first. If your fondant is sticky while you knead the color in, coat your hands with shortening and dust your work surface with powdered sugar. Keep fondant wrapped tightly in plastic wrap because it will crust and dry out when exposed to the air.

Ok, I’ve got all my cookies and fondant ready to go:

I like to smear a little buttercream on my cookie to hold the fondant in place. You can also just brush a small amount of water or corn syrup on the cookie. Roll the fondant to about 1/16-inch thickness. Using the same cookie cutter you used for the cookie, cut the shape out of the fondant.

Place the fondant on the cookie, and begin decorating! I wanted these purple cats to be cute but slightly spooky at the same time so I just added eyes. Too create the eyes, I used my dresden tool to make grooves in the face.

Then, I pushed a tiny amount of yellow fondant into the groove. Top that with a black pupil, and you’re done!

Let the cookies sit out for several hours so the fondant can harden. When the fondant is hard, the cookies are stackable and shipable! In fact, these cookies went all the way to TX with only 2 (out of 50) broken!

By the way, Mrs. Fields is helping us all celebrate National Homemade Cookie Day by giving away FREE COOKIES today from 11am til 1pm! Be there!

And, if you sign up to receive CookiE-mail from Great American Cookies during the month of October, you’ll receive a coupon for buy one cookie, get one free! This is confirmed – mine just arrived in my inbox!

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