Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Chocolate Cookie Cut Outs & Royal Icing

Click here for cookie decorating ideas & tips.
Two Easters ago, Shane, Kian, Sadie & I converged on my parents' apartment in NYC. They threw a brunch and all of us, plus my Aunt Linda, Uncle Matt, cousins Chris and Matt, and Catherine, Matt's wife, joined us.

Catherine -- charming, adorable, gorgeous Catherine -- brought a tin of handmade chocolate Easter cookies that were nearly as charming, adorable and gorgeous as herself. Each cookie was decorated and sugared beautifully; Martha Stewart couldn't have done better. Better yet, the cocoa in the cookies was enhanced by the warmth of cinnamon: one of my favorite flavor combinations.

They were a Martha recipe and, after I found it, I vowed to make them myself.

So approximately 730 days later, here they are. They are as delicious as I remember, though my lack of decorating skills have not rendered them as pretty as Catherine's or Martha's cookies.

Cookie envy is never pretty.
Click here for cookie decorating tips.

Chocolate Cookie Cut Outs
3 Cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
1 1/4 Cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 Teaspoon salt
1/2 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 Cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/2 Cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 Teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, salt, and cinnamon. Set mixture aside.
Use an electric mixer to cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
Add flour mixture; mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Divide dough in half; wrap in plastic. Chill at least 1 hour.

On a floured surface (or sandwiched between sheets of parchment paper), roll dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes. Transfer cut outs to parchment-lined baking sheets and refrigerate until firm, 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

After chilling the cookies and preheating the oven, bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until crisp but not darkened. Cool on wire racks; decorate as desired. Yields about 16 large cookies.

Royal Icing
1-pound confectioners' sugar
5 Tablespoons meringue powder

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine sugar and meringue powder. Mixing on low speed, add a scant 1/2 cup water. For a thinner consistency, usually used for flooding, add more water. A thicker consistency is generally used for outlining and adding details. Mix until icing holds a ribbon-like trail on the surface of the mixture for 5 seconds when you raise the paddle. Yields 2 1/3 cups.


Anonymous said...

I think they look absolutely fabulous, sweety.

Rachel said...

These look really great! I wish I could have some!

emily said...

Not as pretty? With all those butterfly wings? Are you kidding? cocoa and cinnamon sounds yummy too.

Laura Rebecca said...

Thank you guys but I swear, I'm not fishing for complements. (There's a reason most of the photo is out of focus, hee hee hee)

Deborah Eley De Bono said...

Tres chic color combos!

holly_44109 said...

I thought I wasn't going to make anything for Easter and now you've gone and posted these pretty pictures that make me want to bake these!

Laura Rebecca said...

Mooncrazy: I made some pink icing today and with the blue, the effect is lovely.

Holly: there is something especially captivating about them -- a contagion cookie. ;) I caught the cookie bug from Catherine, and now you are its next victim.

Bibliochef: this quote on Meringue powder comes from Ochef: "It is not cream of tarter, which, as you know, is often added to egg whites as you whip them to make them more stable. Unlike plain powdered egg whites, meringue powder is made of dried egg whites, sugar, and gum. "

In this recipe for Royal Icing, the meringue powder can be substituted for 2 egg whites. But because there's a risk with exposing young children to raw egg (and we're having very young children over for Easter) I went with the powder.