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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Bake Sale Creations

Can you believe that in eighteen years of being an Army wife I have never baked for a bake sale?

Unbelievable, isn’t it?  I was so excited when I read in the school newsletter that they were in need of baked goods for the rummage sale at the school Saturday.  It doesn’t take much to cause unreasonable happiness when you’re a former caterer that only gets to make things for her family.  Well, I do send treats in to my GI’s office every week, so that keeps me somewhat satisfied.

There was also an Easter Egg Hunt in conjunction with the Rummage Sale, so I thought Easter treats would be just the ticket. I made these.

Then I was inspired to make these when I was cleaning out the pantry and found a bag of coconut and some almond bark.

They’re just cake mix cupcakes with a little buttercream frosting, but I needed something to perch the nests on…to make the nests, I melted the almond bark, added gel food coloring, and stirred in the coconut.  Then we (the GI and I ) quickly shaped them into nests and added malted milk ball eggs.  The almond bark set up much more rapidly than I anticipated.  I’m happy to be a cautionary tale.

More importantly, let me tell you about the sugar cookies.  These sugar cookies are so delicious, with just the right amount of crispness, buttery goodness, and not too sweet.  I love them with a buttercream frosting (I basically love anything with buttercream), but for shipping or packaging, a royal icing works better.

Seasonal iced sugar cookies are always a hit at our house, and people are generally impressed with them.  When I was a caterer, I made them by the gross…seriously.  So I had to figure out a quick way to decorate them.

I’m quite pleased with myself for figuring out this super speedy way of icing these.  I even made the hubs take photos this time so I could show off my flash of brilliance.
First, put a long-handled wooden spoon across your icing bowl. Your icing should be just a bit thicker than glaze, so that it won’t run off the cookie, but doesn’t need to be spread with a knife. 

Pick up a naked cookie. 

Dip the top of the cookie into the icing. 

Skim off the excess icing using the spoon handle.  Don’t worry, if you scrape off too much you can always just dip and skim it again. 

Voila! A perfectly iced cookie.  My GI called me an icing savant, after he went upstairs to change (clothes, not his personality) and came down 10 minutes later to 2 dozen iced cookies. 

Next I just put M&M’s on across each egg, before the icing set.  I made some of the icing thick enough to pipe from a pastry bag.  Of course, I used a Ziploc with the corner cut off, because I always use up my actual pastry decorating bags making hot chocolate cones or other crafts.

To package them, I just placed each cookie in a medium cellophane bag from Stampin’ Up! (you didn’t seriously think I went through all this without using something from them, did you?) and sealed it with an egg sticker.

Best Ever Butter Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp orange juice
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder

1.Cream together butter, sugar, and egg in large bowl. Stir in flour, orange juice, vanilla, and baking powder. When well-mixed, divide into 2 disks wrap in plastic. Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm.

2. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Roll dough out on floured board to 1/8” thickness. Cut out and place on ungreased cookie sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake 8-10 minutes, until edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool 1 minute on cookie sheet before cooling completely on wire rack.

Royal Icing
3 Tbsp meringue powder (from the cake decorating section)
4 cups powdered sugar
6 Tbsp warm water

Beat all ingredients with a mixer or a wire whisk until smooth.  Add water, 1 Tbsp at a time, until the consistency you need is reached.
Hope you try them, for a bake sale or yourself…I don’t judge!

1 comment:

  1. I'm so clueless--I've always wondered how they got the icing on so smoothly! These look so good. I wonder if I could get away with making them and hiding them from Mr. Wonderful? Naw, he has a nose for sweet stuff like a retriever. Sigh...


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