Week 11: Sugar Cookies Round 1

I know I said that I wasn't going to blog until next payday. But a couple things got in the way of my self-imposed break. Number 1: Cookie Decorating class on Tuesday. How could I walk away from that not wanting to whip out a batch of cute Easter cookies? Number 2: I had to go to the grocery store AND eggs and butter had to be purchased. They're a household staple for goodness sake! And with my grocery purchase-hey, I got bargain butter- I had everything I needed to whip out a batch (or two) of sugar cookies.

I have a ton of baking cookbooks. A ton. Anyway, I decided to go through each good baking cookbook/magazine that I own and look at all the sugar cookie recipes. Each one is different. Can you believe that? I decided to make a chart of each recipe and the quantity of the ingredients so I could look at all of them side by side. I'm sure that there is an easier way to do that, but I do a lot of things the old-fashioned way. I still write checks too. By comparing the recipes I decided to make the ones with the most butter. Butter=Deliciousness. Yes? Yes.
With there being a few too many recipes, I decided to pick two, test each one out, of course, survey them and see which was preferred. I used two different royal icings. I was feeling rather motivated at the time. But, after a whole day in the kitchen, finished with sweeping the pink sanding sugar off the floor, I was just beginning to think that maybe I bit off more than I could chew. By the time I was done, I had every step of my adventure all over my clothes. You would think I rolled around on my counters to clean up the mess!

I was pretty satisfied with the results. And, the gals at Zig Zag Gallery seemed to like them. I even got a few orders. Sweet. I won't be posting the recipes until I'm done with my sugar cookie rounds and the best has been chosen. If you absolutely must have it, then let me know. I believe that the suspense of waiting for the best cookie will be good for you!

Wow, I use a lot of butter!

Hello out there! As you may or may not have noticed, I didn't post my cookie blog last week. I made the cookies-bars actually, Cappuccino bars to be exact, and I wasn't thrilled with them. I just handed them to whoever would take one and told them not to have high expectations this week and that I wasn't giving a survey.

Last week was actually a bustling week in the Horn kitchen. I made three or four batches of whoopie pies (which my son affectionately calls "pookie" pies) to sell, chocolate-zucchini cupcakes, the cookie bars, and some tiramisu cupcakes. I have not a single stick of butter or egg left in my house! This leads me to my next item. Sadly, I'll be postponing further blogs until next pay period. Now I realize that this would seem like kind of a lame excuse to not blog, but after paying all the bills and seeing our remaining balance, well, let's just say I wish I had stock in
flour and sugar! Some girls get a thrill buying a cute top, mine is finding and purchasing that rare (and perhaps pricey) ingredient to use in some random baked item sometime in the near future. And so I have a lovely stocked pantry with all sorts of unique things, but now not so much dough to make the dough (haha). Of course, baking isn't the only place extra money is going, but it is one of the things that is being cut back for the time being-along with movie rentals and dining out. Wow, that's almost all of my favorite things! Bummer. But this is only for a couple weeks. So in the mean time, here is a picture of my son enjoying his "pookie" pie and links to some of the other blogs I enjoy!

Week 9: Butterscotch Sundae Cookies

Hello stranger. Ugh, my laptop is on the fritz, and if you saw the angle I have to manipulate the screen you'd wonder why I bother. So, I used this as one of my many excuses to not blog last week-tisk, tisk-I know! This week I decided to make a conscience effort to not make anything that contained chocolate or coffee. Clearly, I know what
I enjoy, however I need to branch out a little and explore other ingredients. I also wanted a recipe that was going to be fairly easy on me. I had run myself down to the wire, and it was too late for anything that called for multiple steps that came with fillings or glazes. So I present... Butterscotch Sundae Cookies!

Recipe courtesy King Arthur Cookie Companion

3 Tbsp. plus 3/4 c. unsalted butter-at room temp.
2 c. small pecan halves
3/4 tsp. plus 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/3 c. dark brown sugar
A few drops butter-rum flavor to taste
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 c. flour
1 c. butterscotch chips

1. Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease baking sheets or line with parchment paper.
2. In med. sized skillet, melt 3 Tbsp. butter over low heat, and add the pecans. Stir for a couple minutes , until the nuts begin to brown and smell toasty.
3. Sprinkle with 3/4 tsp. salt, stir to combine, and remove the pan from burner. Transfer nuts to a small bowl.
4. In a med. sized bowl, cream together the remaining 3/4 c. butter, sugar, and butter-rum flavor, then beat in the eggs. Beat in the remaining 1/4 tsp salt, baking powder, and baking soda, then stir in the flour, reserved pecans, and chips.
5. Drop the dough by the tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets. Bake the cookies for 13 minutes, until they are a deep golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and transfer to a rack to cool.

These cookies are as simple as making a batch of Chocolate Chip cookies. However, butter-rum flavor isn't a common ingredient in the house and neither is dark brown sugar if you don't bake often with it. Thankfully, these things aren't too hard to find (well... the dark brown sugar isn't anyway). Around in this area we have a store called
Cake Craft. I love it! The women are lovely and helpful and they offer all kinds of cool things for a baker-professional or novice. I'm actually taking some classes there. But, ANYWAY... this store is where I found butter-rum flavoring, which I happened to pick up a couple weeks ago. I knew that I would be using it eventually, and look... I did! Now if you can't find it where you live, then Google a bake supply store or go to King Arthur's website. When you buy flavoring this concentrated you need to buy a little dropper; at Cake Craft they were with all of the other oil, extract and flavor bottles. I used three drops in the recipe.

Honestly, I was afraid that these weren't going to be all that great. My head wasn't in it, and I didn't stir in the flour. I threw it in and let my paddle mixer do the work on a medium speed. Then, my nuts were still warm when I added them to the batter, so I ended up stirring a glossy batter... oops. I threw it in the fridge, had some dinner and came back to it. I scooped them out on to my pan, and when they came out of the oven they looked yummy. Thank the Lord that these are some forgiving cookies!

My verdict: These are the perfect balance of sweet and salty, which I adore. They are crisp on the outside and chewy in the middle-well they are when they're fresh out of the oven anyhow. There is also no mistaking that these are indeed butterscotch cookies, and while I don't normally like nuts they add a nice texture and very mild flavor. I had these today (not fresh out of the oven), and I thought they were a little dry. I think if I do these again I won't bake them as long.

Survey Results: These got a 3.83 out of 12 surveys. I was beginning to wonder if people were being too nice, and then these cookies came along. I got a lot of, "I don't care for butterscotch" or "They were dry", the latter of which I completely agree. I think this week's cookie I'll go back to my favorite stand-by...chocolate.