Friday, December 19, 2014

BEST Cut-Out Cookies. Ever.

My daughter received her 1st Reconciliation last weekend.  To celebrate, I made these cross cut-out cookies.  I've shared my cut-out cookie recipe in the past, but this time, I think I made them even BETTER.   I added browned butter to the dough.  It made these cookies melt-in-your mouth delicious.  I can't wait to make them again!!!!  Recipe is below.

Congratulations to my Jo-Jo on her very special day!

Cake Mama Cakes' BEST Cut-Out Cookie Recipe
1 cup browned butter, room temperature (not melted)
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. milk
2 tsp. baking powder
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.  In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time until combined.  Add vanilla.  Add dry ingredients and mix until combined.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness.  Cut out in desired shapes.  Bake for 7-9 minutes on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Frost and decorate as desired.  

For THE BEST butter frosting recipe (dries hard, but not too hard), click here.  

How do you brown butter?  Click here:

Gingerbread Houses - 2014

So I've asked my Cake Mama friends on Facebook what kind of gingerbread house they prefer.  Do they like ones with just piping, one with tons of candy, or ones with a combination of both.  I tried to provide examples of all of these in this blog and I gotta tell you, my favorite one so far is the one with a combination of both.  The touch of whimsy is just want I like about Gingerbread houses, but it's not too much.  

So here's the first example.  JUST PIPING.

This was for my mom.  She wanted a wintery gingerbread house.  One that she could have out for longer than just Christmas.  I think it turned out really cute and was the inspiration for the one I did most recently (coming up...)

I hosted a Gingerbread House workshop and my students made some spectacularly decorated Gingerbread Houses.  Here's Sofia with her masterpiece.

I particularly like her roof with all of the fun colors!  And she made a sleigh out of candy canes. 

My daughter Josie and nephew Connor made theirs with lots of fun details as well.

Here are a few more from class.  Crushed candy canes pressed into extra frosting (on the left) really make for a sweet-smelling abode.    Beautiful!

Here's the one I made for a sample at Ben Franklin Crafts.  Piping and lots of candy.  I had kids from the audience help me with my design.

Then I had my other nephew over.  He's finally at that age (3 years) where making a Gingerbread House was a fun project for the two of us to do.  At least, that's when I started with my daughter an other nephew, Connor.  

I laid out all of the candy and I did the piping, but he directed where everything went.  Check out those fine motor skills!  Not to mention his level of concentration!

 I think he looks pleased!

He wanted the snowman to be falling off the roof.     And when I asked him if he wanted any windows on his house he said, "Yes."  Then I asked, "How many?  One?  Two?"  He held up both of his hands and said, "TEN!!"  So, there are ten windows on one side of his house.  He didn't want any more.  ;)

And here's my latest creation.  This one is a gift for my daughter's teacher at school.  It's a combination of both color and piping.  This one was super fun to make.  The light dusting of powdered sugar on the top of the house really completed the look I was going for.

I think ALL gingerbread houses are pretty darn neat and they're so much fun to put together.  I like that it is a tradition in my family and something the kids really look forward to every year.  Do you have a preference for design?  How do yours look?