With the 2008 Presidential election just a week away, many schools use the election as an excuse to raise money through bake sales. I welcome it as an opportunity to bake with a friend.
Since Jenn and I both needed to contribute to our children’s school bake sales, we decided to put our Patriotic all into it and decorate festive cut out cookies in star and shirt shapes — an ideal memento for the children of voters.
To prepare for our decorating date, we each baked and froze several dozen cookies in advance — I was in charge of various shaped stars and Jenn did the shirts. With a slew of red, white and blue icing and sugar and star shaped toppings, we outlined and sprinkled to our heart’s delight. With a steady hand, Jenn was in charge of the “I voted” writing on the shirts and I, with a somewhat shakier hand (especially after two cups of heavily caffeinated coffee), the decorating of the less than perfect stars.
When all was said and done, we had a table full of red, white and blue splattered cookies. It was a fun afternoon with a friend doing something much needed for our kid’s schools.
Here’s the Sugar Cookie Recipe we used.
No-fail Rolled Cookie Dough
5 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
3 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a mixing bowl, beat the butter, sugar and eggs until creamy. Add the vanilla extract. Add the flour, baking powder and salt until well mixed. Divide dough into three separate balls, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Remove dough from the refrigerator and soften slightly with your hands. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface ¼ inch thick and cut into desired shapes. Bake an inch a part on parchment paper in a hot oven (400 degrees) for about 8 minutes until firm but not browned. The edges may begin to golden.
Remove from the cookie sheet and cool on a cooling rack. If freezing, lay parchment or wax paper between layers in a large container and cover with a tight fitting lid.
Jenn’s Icing Recipe
To ice your cookies, you’ll need to create two icing consistencies — a thinner icing for the edges, and writing on the cookies and a thicker mixture for the surface of the cookie. Jenn puts the thicker icing in pastry bags and the thinner icing in squeeze tubes. To do this, you’ll mix a thicker batch, set some aside and then add additional water to make a thinner batch.
4 cups confectioners sugar
3 tablespoons Merengue powder (or Just Whites)
8 Tablspoons water
food coloring paste
Mix together the sugar and powdered egg whites. Start by adding 5 tablespoons water and mix well. Add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time until icing forms (about 8 tablespoons in total). Once the icing is thick enough to write with (but not too thick) if desired, tint the icing a color using food coloring paste. Then set some aside and add more water to make the thinner icing. (Jenn does it this way so the colors will match!)
Repeat several times to make red, white and blue icing.