Happy Singles Awareness Day

15 Feb

So today is Valentine’s Day for those with significant others and Single Awareness Day for the rest of us. It seemed like 75% of people at school were wearing pink or red, had flowers, chocolates, balloons, or stuffed animals. I heard 8 valograms (singing valentines) in one class period, and was given a handful of paper valentines and red candies. When I came downstairs for breakfast there was a stuffed toy, fudge, a forever 21 giftcard and cards from my parents. So, basically my day went really well, but my favourite part by far was handing out my Valentine’s cookies to my senior Inquiry class. I spent forever on them, but I was very excited at how well they turned out.

Ever since I first found the blog Bake at 350 I’ve been dying to try out some sugar cookies. I usually just buy ready-made frosting and spread it on the cookie and decorate with sprinkles. The idea of having consistently adorable cookies was too tempting especially when my senior inquiry teachers said we’d be making valentines for our classmates. The only problem is, there are 60 people in my class and 3 teachers. That’s a lot of cookies! I started Saturday afternoon by making the dough and baking the cookies.

Cream the butter for a few minutes until nice and fluffy.

Then add the sugar and mix until completely incorporated. Don’t forget to keep scraping down the sides so it mixes evenly!

Then add the eggs and vanilla extract.

Then pretend that there’s a few pictures with the flour and salt being added in, and of the finished dough. The truth is, I tripled the recipe, and my poor, old Kitchenaid was making horrible noises and I was more intent on keeping it alive somehow by holding on for dear life. Anyway, add in the flour mixture slowly, scraping the sides after before each addition. Then, once it’s totally homogenized split the dough into 4 sections (or 2 if you didn’t double the recipe). Wrap each section in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour or until firm.

Then pick you cookie cutter, flour the work surface, rolling pin and dip the cookie cutter in a plate of flour. I used the frilly one for the girls and the plain one for the guys. too bad the frilly ones spread out more than the plain ones so the girls’ looked bigger. Oops!

Then roll out your dough until it’s about 1/4th of an inch thin and cut out the shapes.

I made an assembly line where I had two trays of cookies going. I would have one tray in the oven while I cut out 8 cookies and put them on the second tray, after 5 minutes I’d turn the tray in the oven 180 degrees to ensure even cooking. Then, I put the other tray in the fridge to firm up so they would hold their shapes. I cooked each tray for about 10-11 minutes and cooled them for a few minutes before I put the refrigerated cookies in the oven, transferred the cookies to a cooling rack and started filling that tray. Yeah, it was hectic to say the least!

Then, when you realize that you are running out of space for cooling racks, place cooled cookies on a plate in a really cool design because the never-ending supply of cookies leaving your oven is starting to drive you nuts.

Once all the cookies are baked and cooled lay them all out on cooling racks and baking trays so you can begin piping.

I used a recipe for icing that I found on Bake at 350: http://bakeat350.blogspot.com/2010/01/royal-icing-102-or-201-or-whatever.html

She has great pictures of the process there, so I didn’t bother taking any. I used an electric hand mixer to mix it all since my kitchenaid bowl was dirty still, and I couldn’t bear to make it do any more work after what I had just put it through! while I was making my cookies, my friend Carina was decorating her own cookies that she had made. They turned out really well and I especially love how they were all really different, but they work so well together.

Anyway, start by piping on the outline. I used a pretty pink colour and an Ateco #4 tip on my piping bag.

Do this on each cookie.

Then, after they are firm to the touch (I waited a few hours) thin the icing by adding in a little water. I had two piping bags filled with this thinned icing. I didn’t have any squeeze bottles, so I just used clips to keep the piping bags shut and propped them up upside down against a bowl. First “flood” the cookie with the pink icing.

Using a toothpick move the icing around to fill the gaps.

Then, while the icing is still wet, use the other colour (in my case, extremely light pink) to pipe dots on to the cookie. They will sink into the icing and form flat polka dots.

Do this to all the cookies and then let them dry. I ended up doing this part late Saturday evening. As in, I was able to watch SNL and then the news at 2am. Then, put all the trays in the oven (turned off of course) so that your crazy cat doesn’t ruin them somehow while you are sleeping. (Yes, I’m paranoid.)

Then, when you wake up in the morning look at your beautiful cookies, and think of a way to use that extra pink frosting in your fridge.

I decided to try piping people’s name with it…EPIC FAIL

Then I decided to write the names with food colouring markers.

Then I added some dots around the edges with the extra icing.

Then, I let these dry for the rest of the day. I had also made some different ones for my teachers.

They were extremely adorable drying in my kitchen…I was glad it was all over so I could relax!

Then I got to spend an hour packaging them in individual cellophane bags and then put them in my giant white cake box.

Here’s the link to recipe: http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=10000001933327

Overall, the result was definitely worth all the hard work. The best part was most definitely handing them all out and seeing the expression on everyone’s faces. 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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