TIPS & TIME SAVERS
To make your holiday baking
enjoyable and not so much of a hassle, because we all know
that we'd rather be enjoying time decorating the house or
putting up that yard haunt, here's some tips to cut down on
treat baking time.
For making cookies, you can use or recipe below to make them
from scratch or do the easier thing and buy a few bags for
Pillsbury Sugar Cookie mix, which makes tasty cookies and
requires a minimum of time to prepare.
Basic Butter Cookie
This is the recipe that my mom used for making Christmas
cookies every year. It's a butter cookie dough, it tastes
wonderful and the cookies stay soft because of the butter.
Do not substitute margarine or Crisco, use real butter! Hey,
it isn't going to kill you if you eat these a couple times
year. It sounds complicated to make but it's not. It's just
a matter of mixing everything together properly.
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
together the softened butter, sugar, vanilla and egg. Using
a sifter, sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in
another bowl and set aside. Mix together the milk and
vanilla and set aside.
Using a heavy
duty mixer with a dough hook (or the regular mixing blades),
start beating the first mixture of butter, sugar and egg.
Slowly start adding in the flour mixture a little at a time.
As it gets harder to mix, add the milk in a little at a
time, too. This will make a thick dough and if your mixer
isn't a heavy duty model, you may have to finishing mixing
the four in by hand.
two sections and roll into large balls. Place into some form
of air tight container, a zip-lock bag or the like.
Refrigerate for 24 hours so the butter can harden.
The next day,
take out one ball at a time and, on a floured surface, roll
out using a rolling pin to a desired thickness. Make
sure to keep some flour handy to dust your hands with as the
dough gets sticky the longer it's out of the fridge. These
cookies will puff up a little when they bake so don't make
them overly thick.
cutters, cut out the desired shapes and place on a cookie
sheet until filled. roll remaining dough into a ball, keep
chilled until you roll the next batch.
Bake at 350
degrees F until light golden brown, usually ten minutes.
Just keep checking them for a light golden brown color. Let
cool and decorate.
FROSTING & ICING:
Homemade is always better but Wilton carries
a whole line of Halloween colored decorating frosting,
piping and flooding frosting that usually come in two packs.
If you need to make your own colors, they also carry food
color paste, which is better than liquid food coloring
because it doesn't "water" down the frosting. They carry
white icing and piping icing in cans to fix as needed as
well. If you want to make your own, use the recipe below.
Butter Cream Frosting
This is a simple, ages old frosting
that can be used on any cookie. It will set up a bit but
keep the cookies separated because they can stick together.
You can use paste type food color to color for your needs.
1 stick or softened butter
4 cups white confectioners' sugar (about 1lb.)
1 teaspoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Using a hand mixer, cream the
butter, milk and vanilla extract together and slowly mix in
the powdered sugar. Beat until smooth. Separate into bowls
and add the food color paste desired, mixing by hand until
blended. Frost cookies as desired. Keep covered and
refrigerated when not in use.
Royal icing is a smooth,
hard-drying icing that's perfect for decorating cookies. It
is more durable and will last much longer than cake
3 Tablespoons Wilton Meringue Powder
4 cups confectioners' sugar (about 1lb.)
6 Tablespoons warm water
Wilton Icing Color
ingredients until icing forms peaks (7-10 minutes at low
speed with a heavy-duty mixer, 10-12 minutes at high speed
with a hand-held mixer). Recipe makes 3 cups. Keep all
utensils completely grease-free for proper icing
consistency. For a stiffer icing, use 1 tablespoon less
water. Mix in the icing color of your choice.
Piping is when you use royal icing to make decorative
outlines or borders before flooding them with a thinner
version of royal icing.
Using a #3 tip, rest the metal tip on the end of your index finger,
and then push
the icing out gently using pressure from your thumb.
Flooding is when you want to fill or cover most of all of a
cookie with a particular color of icing. This is usually
done inside of a border made from royal icing (see piping
above). For thinned Royal
Icing add 1 teaspoon water per cup of royal icing. Add ½
teaspoon water at a time until you reach the consistency you
want. To ice the whole top of a cookie, pour a thinned down
consistency of icing into a pastry bag and use with a #2
Sanding sugar is a type of sugar that is several times
larger than granulated sugar. This is what makes it sparkle.
Halloween Cookie Cutters
You can find Halloween
cookie cutter at mass market retailers during the Halloween season that
come in a variety of ways. We've found nice metal sets by Wilton, other
plastic cutters that come in a set of a dozen shapes and individual
cutters, usually in the Halloween section of the store. For specialized
cutters, like the ones below, check out the internet.
Tombstone Cookie Cutter
This copper Tombstone Cookie Cutter measures 3-1/4 x
4-1/2 inches and would make a great decorated treat
on Halloween. Tombstone Cookie Cutter is 1-1/8
inches deep. Made by Copper Gifts.
Coffin Cookie Cutter
This spooky copper Coffin Cookie Cutter measures
2-1/2 x 5 inches and would make a great decorated
treat on Halloween. Coffin Cookie Cutter will be
1-1/8 inches deep. Made by Copper Gifts.
Pumpkin Cookie Cutter
This copper Pumpkin Cookie Cutter (large with
handle) measures 5-1/2 x 6 inches. This large
pumpkin cookie cutter is 1-1/8" deep. Made by Copper