December 8: Almond Rosettes

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(Otherwise known as carpal-tunnel cookies.)

These are good. So good. I love almond almost as much as I love lemon and caramel (read: a lot), and these are full of almond-y goodness. I tried this recipe out last month, on a day I was cheating on my diet, and wow. Cookies like these are the reason I was 50 pounds heavier.

As good as they are, though, my hands pay the price. Every cookie needs to be piped through a pastry bag with a star tip, and I don’t think my star tip is big enough. It takes awhile to get used to the motion, but once your hands go numb, you stop caring.

My hand may permanently be “the claw,” but they’re so worth it. 

These are one of the few cookies that actually turn out like the picture.

(By the way, the book this comes from is so awesomely 80s, I could assume my grade-school self and watch Smurfs with my side ponytail and kid-sized Jordaches.)

Almond Rosettes
(from The Spirit of Christmas Cookbook, Volume 4.)

Ingredients:

1 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 egg
3 T. milk
1 t. almond extract
2 1/2 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
sliced almonds to decorate

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg, milk, and almond extract. Beat until smooth.

2. Combine flour and baking powder in a small bowl and add to creamed mixture; stir until a soft dough forms.

3. Transfer about 1/3 of dough into a pastry bag fitted with a large open star tip. Pipe 2″ diameter rosettes onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Press an almond slice in the center of each cookie.

4. Bake 8-11 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough.

My Notes:

I would eat this raw and have no regrets.

My Stats:

This batch: 75
Total so far: 377

December 7: Sugar Cookies

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My plan for the day was to bake the cookies in the a.m. and decorate them in peace in the afternoon before my kids got home. Except, I had to go shopping for the decorator tips, and then, of course, do a little more shopping “since I was out.” I didn’t start baking until 12:30.

Oh well.

A friend and her daughter stopped by as I was cutting out the cookies. I wish I would have taken a picture of Juni (said daughter) sitting across the table from me, deciding which cookie cutters I should use.

They are Christmas lights, not bowling pins.

By the time I got the kids from school, the cookies were all baked, but not frosted. They had no interest in helping, either?

::sniff:: Where does the time go? I thought for sure they’d be all over me to help.

Disgruntled Husband decided we were going out to dinner in the big city, and by the time we got home, it was near 10:30. Of course, I decided this was the perfect time to finish frosting my cookies.

Armed with Wilton decorating tips, a few pastry bags, and a shiny new box of Wilton gel food coloring, I made magic. Unfortunately, magic is messy.

And, in the words of M’Lynn Eatenton, “I can’t even begin to think how you make grey icing.” It was hard. Harder than I thought, for sure. Too much black dye, and you have, well…black. Too little and it’s something in the purple family. Props to you, Aunt Fern and your armadillo. I figured out that if I took some of the black icing and mixed it with more white frosting, I got grey. Score one for me.

I called it a night at 11:30, exhausted, disheveled, and hands dyed various colors. I still had seven cookies to go, and I made the executive decision to save those for Sunday when Mini Me has a friend over.

Sugar Cookies
(from Gooseberry Patch’s Old Fashioned Country Cookies)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 c. sifted powdered sugar
1 c. butter
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. almond extract
2 1/2 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cream of tartar

Directions:

1. Cream butter and sugar. Mix in egg and extracts. Blend dry ingredients and stir in.
2. Refrigerate 2-3 hours. Divide dough in half and roll out. Cut out desired shapes.
3. Bake at 375 for 7-8 minutes.

My Notes:

I love candles, but hate the Sugar Cookie scented one. And I know why: it smells nothing like sugar cookies. My house yesterday afternoon smelled like sugar cookies.

And when rolling out the dough, don’t roll it too thin…that’s what makes them brown too quickly and break. A nice 1/4″ is fine and makes cookies brown very little…just on the edges.

My Stats:

This batch: 38 cookies
Total so far: 302 cookies