Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Of Bunnies & Beans

"Harvey" was real, right?  I'm pretty sure he was, and I know that because I think he showed up in my kitchen last night, and informed me that my bunnies had noses where their mouths were supposed to be and where were their mouths anyway? And, oh, by the way, neither their fur nor feet are ever pink.  He apparently knows quite a bit about miniature birds too, as I was informed that about half of my so called chicks actually more closely resembled Puffins and their wings were on backwards.
So goes the hallucinations and ramblings of a weary baker in the wee hours of the morning as I unknowingly re-classified some birds or rearranged the limbs of  everyone's favorite barnyard, Kentucky Fried, Sunday dinner chicken.  And I suspected a mutiny when the chicks mysteriously were laying an endless stream of eggs that needed be "dyed and decorated."  On top of that my brainstorm of baking hundreds of  tiny 'jelly bean' cookies wasn't feeling quite so smart as carpel tunnel syndrome began setting in half way through the 'black ones' - the ones most people pick out or avoid (go figure that those are my favorite!),  not to worry though - there was no licorice involved and they all tasted the same - even the white and pink ones were good!

So my late night makes for poor photos and abbreviated blogs, but thankfully the volume of cookies meant that there were enough good ones to camouflage the 'circus freak show' cookies and they could inconspicuously be integrated in the general cutout cookie population, whew!  But ya know what, that's the nice thing about this project, I'm pretty sure no one's gonna complain.  Not that they may not have cause (I'm really hoping no one cracks a tooth on that 'Royal Icing' - it looks great but can dry as hard as a rock), and I'll certainly do my best to never give away something I wouldn't eat myself (though truth be told, when it comes to cookies, that's a pretty 'low bar!' :) but the bottom line is everyone on the receiving end just seems extremely gracious and genuinely appreciative of anything I bake, and while it may not always create an avenue for an honest assessment, it's very nice none the less - and as the saying goes, flattery will get you everywhere, or at the very least, more cookies!
See more pictures on Gilda's Club Facebook Page!

Update on the actual cookies I baked here.  Some of the cookies were the same dough I used for the Valentines Hearts (Betty Crocker Cutouts - the Light Dough) and are my personal favorites, taste wise.  I typically ice those with my own made up version of a 'Buttercream" where I use a lot less butter.  Honestly these don't look as nice as the ones pictured above because the frosting is typically spread on versus piped - but the honey taste in those cookies is the best, very addicting - plus they were the ones my Mom always made so there is no other cutout cookie as far as I'm concerned!

But, in attempt to broaden my horizons a bit, I decided to try some other doughs and give this slick looking "royal icing" thing a try for the first time.  The other two doughs were from Bon Appetit Magazine via the Epicurious website - one of my favorites!  The cookies pictured above are simply called Christmas Cutouts, and are a pretty traditional sugar cookie with just a touch of sour cream.  They baked up pretty light and crisp, really hold their shape well for cutouts and after chilling the dough for a day it was very easy to work with.  The third dough was very similar to these in texture with the big difference being it was flavored with a little nutmeg, these Holiday Sugar Cookies were also from Bon Appetit.  

I used the Royal Icing recipe pretty much as written that is included with the Holiday Sugar Cookies for both of these cookie recipes.  The only modification I made was to double the amount of powdered egg whites called for because I was actually using Meringue Powder, which has some added confectioners sugar and corn starch.  I adjusted the proportions according to the recipe on the Meringue Powder jar and it seemed just about perfect in terms of how it hardened. Though I also had to add quite a bit more water than called for in this recipe to get it to the right piping consistency.   I will definitely use this again, but will also look to add some different flavorings to it, such as Lemon or Mint, since I found the Vanilla to not really be noticeable

I will admit that you can't argue with how nice the Royal Icing looks, and I'm not a great piper/decorator by any means, but for taste, you've gotta go with the buttercream, even my light version goes great with any cookie. For comparison, below on the left is the Betty Crocker honey cookie with light Buttercream icing and on the right (and the larger picture above) is of the sour cream Sugar Cookie with Royal Icing - but it's not fair to judge without tasting them too!


  1. I have re-positiond this...originally blogged in the restocking section (and wasn't that a generous thing to do)...this was written 4/1/2010

    At 8:30 pm last night as Kathy and I were leaving Gilda's CLub, I checked the kitchen for locked doors, lights out, etc and there were only 3 cookies left from the 3 huge baskets that Mary Lou brought.....they were fabulous and while I feel badly about the carpal tunnel, the teeny jelly bean cookies tucked into plastic eggs made EVERYONE smile. Now I am personally looking forward to any homemade MaryLou cookie next week when I am off the matzoh diet and can enjoy again. A million thanks. Susan

  2. I posted a few photos on our FB page cute, adorable...just like Mary Lou ! :-)

  3. These cookies were the cutest things and they were displayed in brightly colored Easter Baskets. The memory of the cookie cuteness still makes me smile:) ~Christy from Gilda's Club WNY

  4. Thanks girls! And you can see the other photos on the Gilda's Club Facebook page here: (become a 'Fan')

    Which will confirm that, while they are (for the most part) cute and adorable, they are also nothing like me!