Every time I bake, I am amazed by the beauty of the process. Personally, I am trying to improve my presentation of baked goods. I feel as if I have the taste part down, but the presentation needs help.
My original intent was to create an edible version of conversation hearts. Since I love the thrill of picking a heart with a witty saying, but despise the nasty taste of children’s Motrin in the grape colored candy, I thought sugar cookies would make the perfect vessel. However, through the process of baking and icing, I discovered the cookies looked much prettier without text.
For my Valentine’s Day cookies, I turned to my signature recipe that puts a small twist on Alton Brown’s Sugar Cookies.
Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies with Meringue Frosting:
3 cups all-purpose flour 3/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup unsalted butter, softened 1 cup sugar 1 egg, beaten 1 Tbs half and half 1/2 tsp vanilla Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough and icing
In a large bowl beat butter (room temperature) and sugar together until fluffy (about a minute). Whisk egg, half and half and vanilla together in a small bowl or mug, bled into butter mixture. Set aside
Alton Brown’s recipe says to “sift” baking powder, salt, and flour together. If you do not have a sifter, gently combine with a wooden spoon — everything turns out just fine. If you are very worried about the sifting aspect, you can briefly use a food processor to blend the ingredients, emphasis on briefly though as it refines the flour.
About 3/4 a cup at a time, begin to blend in the dry mixture into the large bowl of wet ingredients. Separate into two rolls and refrigerate for about 2 hours, roll out on powder sugar surface (or flour) and cookie-cut your heart out.
Bake for about 8 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool completely before frosting.
1/2 + 2Tbs of Meringue Powder 2 lbs powder sugar (1 bag) 1 C Water
Mix on low speed for 7 minutes.
Color frosting using conventional food dye or gel dye. Place in frosting tubes, use the frosting head that is a small circle (often used for writing) and trace an outline around the shape of the cookie. Then fill in by drawing back-and-forth lines with the frosting tube. There is no need to use a knife. Let the frosting relax and fill in the remainder of the cookie. Let dry over night.
Questions about Meringue Powder? Me too!
What does it do? Acts as a bind for frosting and some types of cakes Where is it used? Royal Frosting, meringues, and angel food cake How much does it cost? About 5 dollars for 1 cup
You can find Meringue powder in cake decorating sections. I purchased mine at Michael’s. Essentially meringue powder was created as a solution to using raw egg in frosting. As I noticed during my gingerbread party last Christmas, the frosting included 6 raw egg whites, which would send many parents squealing for the doors. Meringue powder provides a safe way to make royal frosting without the egg whites. In a pinch, you can substitute an egg with meringue powder and a little bit of water.