With Valentine's Day around the corner I've been itching to make (and eat...mostly eat) some simple shortbread cookies, and I've been craving the slow craft of refrigerator dough, making it, rolling it out, cutting each cookie and decorating them.
I've been dreaming of royal icing and the perfect shortbread recipe. And then I thought I should really give the whole idea a test run before baking and decorating the real cookies...so Mr. S and I had a cookie party yesterday afternoon.
I decided to take the Norwegian Pepper Cookie recipe I used for my holiday baking and cut out all the pepper and spices, add 1/4 cup more sugar and a little almond extract. Somehow it yielded the perfect cross between a sugar and shortbread cookie, and reminded me of the sugar cookies my mother used to buy me at a little bakery in Oak Ridge, TN...these were round as my face and brightly colored with what I assume was royal icing. They were perfectly chewy, buttery and sweet. Mine today turned out just as nice!
Not so for the icing. Since this was just a test run, and I wanted to make a fun craft out of it in which Mr. S could partake, I decided the raw egg whites of the royal icing probably wouldn't be the brightest idea. So I mixed up a basic glaze with powdered sugar, milk and vanilla, and of course food coloring. This tasted fine, but didn't give the lovely, thick and quick-setting icing that egg whites would. My icing came out too runny to work in a cake bag with tips, so we used paint brushes and pipettes to decorate, and even then the final result was something akin to watercolor with colors running together and lots of dripping.
They weren't pretty, but they were super-delicious!
And Mr. S had fun decorating them, but mostly eating as much icing as he could sneak.
After all was said and done we sampled our recipe and must have eaten three cookies a piece before the sugar rush set in for Mr. S.
This is what an icing overdose looks like:
No more cookies for us for awhile...at least until Valentine's Day, when I think I'll break down and use egg whites.