Jumbo Gingerbread Folk

Jumbo Gingerbread Folk via Sweetapolita

Gingerbread, in any form, makes me genuinely happy. And nostalgic. And as much as I get tempted to create weird and wonderful gingerbread confections, in my heart I feel compelled to embrace the utmost in tradition and go with the classic holiday cookie: the gingerbread man . . . or woman. Heck, let us just call them gingerbread folk. Timeless, tasty and so darn cute.

What I love about vintage gingerbread folk is that they are actually sort of girly and boyish all at once. My inspiration for these cookies (not that the holidays alone aren’t enough gingerbread inspiration) came from this adorable little guy whom I spotted on Pinterest awhile back (originally from here). I just can’t get enough of him. So my cakelets and I created some classic gingerbread folk, but rather than create a whole village of small ones, we decided to do something different and create a jumbo version . . .

Jumbo Gingerbread Folk via Sweetapolita

Cakelet approved! As I sat down to source a jumbo cutter, I remember when we created the Little Hands Sugar Cookies last year, we simply made a template out of cardstock and then I cut the dough using an x-acto-style knife. It worked so well, that I figured we could do the same with the mega gingerbread man. (That being said, you could do that with any shape you like.) So we made ours about 8″ x 11″, which was perfect for printing the template straight from the computer.

Jumbo Gingerbread Folk via Sweetapolita

The dough itself is my go-to gingerbread recipe, and dare I call this my Perfect Gingerbread Cookie recipe. It’s spicy, dark and rolls like a dream. It bakes up with a slight crisp around the edge, but the remainder of the cookie is semi-soft. (If you over-bake they will be dry and crispy). I use cooking molasses, which is a very robust molasses (not as robust as blackstrap, but a mix of fancy and blackstrap). It also makes for handsomely dark gingerbread men, but if you’re not into strong molasses flavour, you can always use any molasses you like. I should mention that, I’ve tried many-a-gingerbread-dough, and this recipe is a hybrid of what I liked about each one. If you chill, chill, chill the cookies will keep their shape nicely, but (unlike sugar cookies) they will expand a tad.

With a quick snip of the shape from the cardstock, you can then cut around the template, pop it onto your baking sheet (1 per sheet in this case), chill and bake. Since they’re so big (the recipe makes 7 total), hand-cutting isn’t really that tedious. I’ve included the template I used, but honestly you could even draw your own if you prefer a slightly different shape. You can even have your kids draw their own and you can cut out and bake their own version. Either way, this is such a fun project for kids (big and small).

Our cakelets loved this and it kept them busy for the longest time (yes!). I used two resealable plastic bags for royal icing then filled some cupcake liners with an array of chocolate chips, dragees, sprinkles, candy canes, jelly dots, and more and let them do their thing.

Before they started, I printed a bunch of the templates for the girls to colour, just for fun and to possibly design their cookies. Reese opted for a super-classic and conservative design, and followed her paper design to a tee.

Neve opted to ditch the design and went balls-to-the-wall topping-happy with her cookie. We all had a giggle about this, and thought –with all of that candy piled on there–her cookie won the prize for the most delightful and delicious looking. ♥

Happy Jumbo Gingerbread Folk!

Just when I thought our cookies were jumbo, I came across this cutter decoration last night while at my local HomeSense. I almost died. My heart literally skipped a beat! That would have been the best $49.99, I’d ever spent. Sadly it would never fit in my car.

Jumbo Gingerbread Folk via Sweetapolita

For now, we’ll stick with the not-as-jumbo version. I kept my decorations pretty simple: royal icing swirls/eyes/mouths, jelly dot buttons and cheeks and candy heart noses. ♥

The Perfect Gingerbread Cookie

Yield: 7 jumbo gingerbread folk (8" x 11")

A dark, robust and spicy gingerbread cookie with a slightly crispy edge and semi-soft center. This cookie dough rolls like a dream and is ideal for cutting gingerbread folk, or any other desired shape.

Ingredients

  • 7 cups (910 g) all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons (12 g) cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons (12 g) ground ginger
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons (11 g) salt
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (3 g) ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup (227 g)(2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (235 g) packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, cold
  • 1-1/2 cups (355 ml) cooking molasses*
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. In large bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, ginger, salt, baking soda, cloves and nutmeg. Set aside.
  2. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars on medium-high speed until fluffy and pale, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and beat in eggs one at a time, scraping sides of bowl between additions. Add molasses and vanilla and beat until completely incorporated.
  3. Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour mixture until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Dough should be soft (not dry or crumbly) but not sticky. If sticky, add a few tablespoons of flour until desired consistency is achieved.
  4. Remove 1/2 of dough from bowl, make a ball, and place on a large piece of plastic wrap on counter.Wrap the sides of wrap over the ball, then press down with the palm of your hand and make a disc about 2" thick. Finish wrapping the disc with the plastic wrap. Repeat with 2nd half of dough. Chill both discs of dough for at least 2 hours.
  5. Remove one disc and remove plastic wrap. Place on top of a large piece of lightly floured parchment or wax paper (I use a silicone rolling mat underneath to ensure it doesn't slip while rolling, but you can even dampen counter so the parchment sticks a bit.), then place two 1/4" wooden dowels on either side of your dough, then another sheet of parchment paper.
  6. Roll dough (this will require a bit of elbow grease for the first few minutes until it softens up a bit) so it's flush with dowels--they will ensure that your dough is even thickness.
  7. Preheat your oven to 350° F. Slide your parchment paper and dough onto a board, then place in refrigerator for about 30 minutes, or freezer for 15 minutes (or more).
  8. Remove from fridge, and cut your shapes using the cutters or template of choice, placing them on a baker's half sheet lined with a silicone baking mat (or parchment), with 2" clearance around each one and the edge of sheet. Place sheet with cookies into freezer for 15 minutes before baking. Bake for 7 minutes, tap tray on counter, and return to oven, rotating tray. Bake until edges just start to brown, about 6 more minutes. Be careful not to over-bake, or cookies will be dry.
  9. Cool sheets on wire racks for 20 minutes, then gently remove cookies and place on wire racks to finish cooling. If cookies are too fragile, you can cool completely on trays.

Notes

*Use cooking molasses for a more dark and robust gingerbread cookie, or if you prefer a lighter tasting gingerbread, use fancy/unsulphured molasses.

Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://sweetapolita.com/2012/12/jumbo-gingerbread-folk/

Royal Icing

Ingredients

  • 3-3/4 cups (454 g) confectioners' sugar
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons (20 g) meringue powder
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon (90 ml) water, plus more for thinning
  • Flavouring/extract to taste (nothing oil-based) such as, almond extract, rosewater, vanilla extract (clear if you want the icing to remain very white), etc. optional

Instructions

  1. Use a paper towel to wipe the bowl of an electric mixer and a rubber spatula with a few drops of lemon juice. Add all of the ingredients into the bowl and fit the mixer with the paddle attachment.
  2. Mix ingredients on low-speed for 12 minutes.
  3. Add very small increments (1 teaspoon at a time) of water until desired piping consistency is achieved.
  4. Keep royal icing covered with plastic wrap at all times. Can be stored covered with a damp cloth and plate (same diameter as top of bowl) on top in bowl in refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://sweetapolita.com/2012/12/jumbo-gingerbread-folk/

Sweetapolita’s Notes:

  • Here’s the Jumbo Gingerbread Man template. Simply print this onto standard 8.5″ x 11″ thick white paper (I used a basic card-stock) and then cut around the outline. This is also a great template to print for kids to colour. I found this template on a teacher’s resource site, where you can find countless other ideas.
  • Removing the large cookies from the baking sheet can be tricky, so I use this (and for all of my cakes): Wilton Cake and Cookie Lifter.
  • For tips and photos on rolling dough, you can check out a past post, Steps to Making the Perfect Sugar Cookie {and Cookie Pop}.
  • For piping the eyes, mouth and swirls, I used royal icing in a small piping bag fitted with a plain round #3 tip.
  • I secured the jelly dots and hearts with a dab of royal icing.

Good luck & enjoy!

Related posts:

Marzipan-Filled Easter Pastries (Maltese Figolli)

Easter Figolli Cookies via Sweetapolita

Happy Easter!

Have you been dipping, baking, decorating, egging and basket-ing already this weekend? I’ve been baking some of my old favourites this week (which I sometimes forget to do) such as these and this, but I was also eager to try something completely new for Easter.

I can recall about a year and a half ago, right around the time when I started this blog, I was chatting with my cousin Julie and Aunt Edith about some possible Maltese baked good recipes they may have (I’m always on the hunt for interesting recipes, especially those with meaning). They told me about Figolli–traditional Easter treats of 2 cookie/pastry shapes sandwiched together with a marzipan-orange blossom filling, then baked, decorated and topped with a whole Easter egg, sometimes plain chocolate and sometimes wrapped in foil. Pretty much heaven–Maltese heaven.

See, my dad and his father’s side of the family are from Malta–a cluster of islands in the Mediterranean (located between Sicily and Northern Africa). It’s one of the most historically rich spots on the map (think 7,000 years of history). That being said, I visited during my teen years, and the nightlife is incredible *ahem* and much of the culture is very current, so it’s really the best of both worlds. And they created Figolla? It truly is an amazing place.

Easter Figolli Cookies via Sweetapolita

Why do I have no memory of ever eating Figolli? Perhaps because we lived in a town where we may have been the only people with Maltese heritage, but we did spend a lot of time visiting my relatives in Toronto where there are several Maltese bake shops, so it’s possible that I have but that it was just too long ago and I forget (kind of hard to imagine). The good news is that I now have the power to make and share them! Forever and ever. Isn’t that amazing when you grow up, become an avid baker (or cook) and realize that, if you set your mind to it, you can pretty much recreate any treat or yumminess from your childhood (or goodies you may have tragically missed out on)? It’s so liberating. So I decided it was definitely time to roll up my sleeves and try my hand at Figolli.

Easter Figolli via Sweetapolita

I’ve noticed that some recipes refer to Figolli as pastries, some cookies and some cakes, but no matter what we want to call them, they are freakin’ awesome. Now, because I’m blogging about these, and because it seems logical that I would tell you how amazing they are, or try to sell you on them, I fear that when I tell you that these are likely the yummiest pastry/cake/cookie treats I have ever eaten, you won’t believe me. Let me put this into perspective for you . . .

They are like soft, tender, lemony, melt-in-your-mouth sugar cookies with a pastry texture, oozing with the glorious almond goodness of marzipan with a hint of orange, and topped with a thin layer of sweet crunchy royal icing. And who can forget the little chocolate Easter egg jewel that’s nested right on top of it all. Honestly, I love decorated sugar cookies, but these are like the pimped out version (think gourmet & global pop tart, and then pray for me that I didn’t just offend every Maltese person in all the land).

And good news–I looked into it, and you don’t need to be Maltese to make them or eat them. And I bet no one would mind if you made these at other times throughout the year. Think about it, you could be the “Figolli girl” or “Figolli guy,” and trust me when I say that everyone needs a Figolli girl or guy.

Easter Figolli Cookies via Sweetapolita

So it’s probably not a huge surprise that my cakelets went nuts for these, and so I’ve wrapped some up in fancy packaging for their Easter baskets. What was their favourite part? Yep, the little egg. But they loved the whole thing (even the marzipan, which surprised me). And then they loved it again. The girls went through their 75 animal cookie cutter collection and insisted on bunnies, which was good news to me. I’m not sure that Figolli armadillos would have had the same charm, but hey. We saw Marian’s classic bunny cookies on Pinterest and loved them, so we kept it simple and did our play on that. Bunnies? Easter? I know, I know, it’s groundbreaking over here.

Easter Figolli Cookies via Sweetapolita

The only thing I would do differently next time is fill the pastries with more of the marzipan filling than I did–I added too much liquid to the filling the first time and was afraid if I filled any more that it would squeeze out the sides while baking, so next time I will be sure it’s thick the way it should be, and fill them nice and plump. Just because. But, super plump or not, these are really a special treat.

Marzipan-Filled Easter Pastries (Maltese Figolli)

Yield: ~15 medium-sized filled pastries (2 shapes per pastry)

Ingredients

    For the Pastry:
  • 6-1/4 cups (800 g) all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1-3/4 cups (400 g) unsalted butter, cool
  • 1-3/4 cups (350 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon (2 g) salt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • Water to bind
  • For the Filling:
  • 6-3/4 cups (500 g) ground almonds
  • 4 cups (500 g) confectioners' sugar
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) orange blossom water
  • You will Also Need:
  • Royal Icing for decorating
  • Small Easter eggs for decorating (foil or unwrapped chocolate eggs)

Instructions

    For the Pastry:
  1. Sift flour into a large mixing bowl and rub in the butter to a cornmeal consistency, or pulse in a food processor.
  2. Add the sugar and lemon zest and mix or pulse again. Mix in the egg yolks and enough water to make a stiff but pliable dough.
  3. Separate dough into 2 balls, wrap in plastic and press down gently so you have 2 discs of dough. Chill for 45 minutes.
  4. For the Filling:
  5. While the dough is chilling, make your filling. Mix the ground almonds and icing sugar (or ready-made marzipan), then add the egg whites and orange blossom water, mixing until incorporated.
  6. Assembly & Baking:
  7. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Remove one disc of dough from the refrigerator and remove plastic wrap. Place on top of a large piece of parchment paper (I use a silicone rolling mat underneath to ensure it doesn't slip while rolling, but you can even dampen counter so the parchment sticks a bit) and then place another sheet of parchment paper on top. You can also roll dough on a lightly floured surface (I just find this parchment method the most reliable).
  8. Roll dough (this will require a bit of elbow grease for the first few minutes until it softens up a bit) until it is about 1/8" thick.
  9. Preheat your oven to 350°F. While the oven is preheating, slide your parchment paper and dough onto a board, then place in refrigerator for about 15 minutes. Repeat with your second disc of dough.
  10. Remove from fridge, and cut your shapes using the cutters of your choice--you will need 2 identical pieces for each figolla. Place each shape on the lined baking sheet and spread a thick layer of the filling, leaving a 3/4" edge untouched, then cover each shape with its match, gently pressing down the edges to seal.
  11. Place the baking sheets of figolli in the freezer for 15 minutes before baking. Then bake until edges are light golden brown, about 15-18 minutes (this varies).
  12. Let cool on baking sheets on wire racks, then decorate each pastry with royal icing and don't forget the chocolate Easter egg!
  13. Decorating:
  14. With royal icing in a piping bag fitted with a small round tip (I used #3), outline the shape of the cookie (I do about 5 at a time). Let sit for a few minutes. *Cover the tip of the piping bag with a damp cloth when not using.
  15. Fill (aka flood) the cookie with the flood-consistency royal icing (same piping bag), gently pulling any open spots to the outline using a toothpick. Let sit for about a minute, and then place your chocolate or foil-covered egg directly onto the cookie (foil eggs stick beautifully and pop right off when you're ready to take them off the cookie to eat).
  16. Decorate the cookies any way you like. I added sprinkles for bunny eyes and noses, and then piped a small pink bow using pink royal icing and tip #2. After cookies have set for about an hour, you can add a bunny tail with stiff peak royal icing and a small open star tip. Let decorated pastries sit overnight before wrapping or packaging.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://sweetapolita.com/2012/04/marzipan-filled-easter-pastries-figolla-from-malta/

[Adapted from europeancuisine.com]

Sweetapolita’s Notes:

  • Orange Blossom Water is commonly used in Mediterranean (and more) desserts, Middle Eastern cooking and more. If you can’t find it, you can substitute it with orange zest or any of these options. You can find it in my shop or Middle Eastern grocers, and more.
  • You can use ready-made marzipan for the filling and simply add the egg whites and orange blossom water.
  • For the royal icing, I have tried many recipes for cookie decorating, but for these I used the version I use most often, which is one I learned at Bonnie Gordon College years ago. Because there is so much mixed emotion among cookie decorators about not only recipes, but method, I’m going to send you over to Callye for this Royal Icing recipe and info because her recipe is very similar to the one I’ve always used, and she gets into serious detail. The girl decorates cookies (the most gorgeous cookies) 24 hours a day, I’m convinced. Maybe more. I actually don’t know how she finds a way to even blog about them, but we’re sure happy she does.
  • For very specific info on decorating cookies with royal icing, I’ve included some links below. I’ve also linked to a recipe for royal icing from Callye from Sweet Sugar Belle. To learn more about outlining and flooding cookies with royal icing, check out this post (again, from Callye).
  • To learn more about decorating cookies with Royal Icing, check out some of these other amazing cookie goddesses: Bridget, Gail, Glory, and Marian.
  • You certainly don’t need to create perfect royal icing designs to make and enjoy these cookies–adding a nice layer of the royal icing and even sprinkles are perfect. Just don’t forget to add the chocolate egg!

And just for fun, here are a few interesting tidbits about Malta:

  • Maltese people have proven to be the most generous folk in the world, with 83% contributing to charity.
  • There is a good chance you’ve already seen Malta–on the big screen, that is: Many acclaimed (and even epic) films have been filmed in historic Malta, including Gladiator, Troy, The Da Vinci Code, Alexander, Munich, Midnight Express, Clash of the Titans, and let’s not forget Cutthroat Island–the movie that holds the title in the Guinness Book of World Records as the biggest box office flop of all time. Ouch.
  • Britney Spears and Bryan Adams are both of Maltese descent.
  • Pastizzi (a filling of ricotta or peas in puffy pastry) are the most popular snack in Malta, of which I have had many in my lifetime. My dad brings me these almost every time he comes to my house. It was just brought to my attention that these have 416 calories each, so about the same as 2 cupcakes. Oops!
  • Prior to the May 28, 2011 Maltese divorce referendum, Malta was one of only 3 countries in the world in which divorce was not permitted (the other two being Philippines and Vatican City).

And before I go, here are some other sweet deets (Did I actually just say “sweet deets?” Oy.):

  • UK friends, watch for one of my cakes in the May issue of Crafts Beautiful!
  • I just discovered a life-changing creative aid called Creative Whack Pack. It’s like religion for creatives and offers short hits (or whacks) of insight to help with creative block or just to get your wheels turning. I downloaded the app and use it a lot. And then I use it a bit more.
  • Congratulations to my talented friend, Courtney (of Pizzazzerie) for the release of her first book, Push-up Pops! This is one of the cutest books I’ve seen, and thanks to her I now have a new way to love and crave cake!

Have a wonderful Easter, friends!

Good luck & enjoy,

 


Related posts:

Little Pea Sugar Cookie Pops and a Virtual Baby Shower

Little Pea Cookies via Sweetapolita

Happy Wednesday to you! Today’s post is a special one because not only are we going to celebrate the insane cuteness of little pea cookies, but it’s a surprise virtual baby shower for the adorable and talented Maria & Josh from the popular blog Two Peas and Their Pod. Surprise! Did you know you’d be attending a baby shower today?

Maria and her husband Josh are expecting their little pea in a few weeks (a baby boy!), so a group of fellow food blogger friends and I are celebrating by sharing baby shower drinks, savories, sweets, and crafts through our blogs today.

I connected with Maria many months ago via twitter, and she simply has a way of spreading sunshine with everything she does and says. I love their blog because there is such a warmth and down-to-earth’ness to it all, and their recipes are always wonderfully comforting, approachable, and, I’m certain, delicious. Maria is one of those people who supports those around her with such sincerity and loyalty, and I love seeing her sweet comments on my blog. I wish I lived closer to them, so I could share these cookies in person, but even still they were made (and eaten) in honour of their little baby pea!

Little Pea Cookies via Sweetapolita

As soon as fellow bloggers Marla & Lisa let me know about this virtual baby shower they were coordinating for Maria and Josh, I knew I had to create these Little Pea Sugar Cookie Pops. See, one of our favourite children’s books at our house is Little Pea (a charming book about an adorable little pea who had to obey his parents’ rules about eating all of the dreaded candy off his plate for dinner to then enjoy the reward of much-loved spinach for dessert), and although I went for a different look for the pea faces, it was because of this book that I’ve always wanted to create pea cookies!

I’m so happy that I was able to create them for some of the sweetest “peas and their pod + 1,” in celebration of their soon-to-be-born baby pea. They are +1, not +2, but for a few of these cookies I couldn’t help but sneak an extra pea on top. I’m crazy like that.

Little Pea Cookies via Sweetapolita

By using nested cookie cutters, I had so many sizes to choose from, that I tried several different configurations: mama & papa pea, mama, papa, and baby pea, and then, just for fun, family-of-four pea cookies! Okay, truly, I never thought I’d ever use the word “pea” so many times, but alas, it makes me smile and, well, just makes me hap-pea. Okay, I’ll stop.

If you too felt inspired to make little pea cookies, you don’t have to make them cookie pops, and they would be just as adorable. Wrapped in a crystal clear cellophane bag and tied with ribbon would make an adorable baby shower favour, in my opinion. Even a Little Pea baby birthday party would be so adorable!

Little Pea Sugar Cookies via Sweetapolita

Sweet peas.

Little Pea Cookies via Sweetapolita

Yum!

Best wishes to Maria, Josh, and their little pea!

For even more baby shower festivities (drinks, savories, sweets, and crafts!), please pop by these incredible blogs to see what they’ve whipped up:

Virtual Baby Shower for Two Peas & Their Pod

Drinks

Simple Bites – Lemon Balm infused Lemonade

Ingredients, Inc. – Healthy Fruit Punch

Food for My Family – Lemongrass Soda

Heather’s Dish – Mixed Fruit Punch

She Wears Many Hats – Mini Pistachio Smoothies

Georgia Pelligrini – Watermelon Agua Fresca

Appetizers/Savory Bites

With Style and Grace – Truffle Popcorn

Family Fresh Cooking – Baby Peas & Cheese Frittata

Barbara Bakes – Creamy Orange Fruit Dip and Fruit

Aggie’s Kitchen – Pasta Salad with Balsamic Basil Vinaigrette

Reluctant Entertainer – Nutella Berry Bruschetta

Dessert

Dorie Greenspan – French Lemon Cream Tart

TidyMom – Blue and Chocolate Cake Balls

i am baker – Baby Pea Baby Shower Cake

Brown Eyed Baker – Pavlova

Picky Palate – Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Sandwich

What’s Gaby Cooking – Coconut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

Cookin’ Canuck – Nutella & Cream Cheese Swirled Blondies

Kevin and Amanda – Baby Blue Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Cups

Sweetopia – Decorated Sugar Cookies

Mountain Mama Cooks – Lavender Shortbread Cookies

Bake at 350 – Petit Fours with fondant pea pods

RecipeGirl – Baby Button Cookies

RecipeBoy – Mud Cups with Gummy Worms

Add a Pinch – Blackberry Tartlets

Dine and Dish – Oven Baked Cinnamon Apples

Crafts

Wenderly – Handmade Sweet Pea Cards

Our Best Bites – How To: Make a Diaper Cake Centerpiece

Enjoy!

If you would like to make your own Little Pea Sugar Cookie Pops, here is the recipe as well as decorating instructions:

Little Pea Sugar Cookie Pops        {click here for full Little Pea cookie recipe & instructions}

Perfect Sugar Cookies

Yield: Approximately 30 medium/small mixed shape cookies

Ingredients

  • 6 cups (750 g) all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon (8 g) salt
  • 2 cups (454 g)(4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened for about 20 minutes at room temperature
  • 2 cups (400 g) sugar
  • 2 large eggs, cold
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) pure lemon extract

Instructions

  1. In large bowl, sift together flour and salt. Set aside.
  2. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until fluffy and pale, about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs.
  3. Add flour mixture and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Add vanilla and lemon extract and blend.
  4. Remove 1/2 of dough from bowl, make a ball, and place on a large piece of plastic wrap on counter.Wrap the sides of wrap over the ball, then press down with the palm of your hand and make a disc about 2" thick. Finish wrapping the disc with the plastic wrap. Repeat with 2nd half of dough. Chill both discs of dough for about 45 minutes.
  5. Remove one disc and remove plastic wrap. Place on top of a large piece of parchment paper (I use a silicone rolling mat underneath to ensure it doesn't slip while rolling, but you can even dampen counter so the parchment sticks a bit.), then place two 1/4" wooden dowels on either side of your dough, then another sheet of parchment paper.
  6. Roll dough (this will require a bit of elbow grease for the first few minutes until it softens up a bit) so it's flush with dowels--they will ensure that your dough is even thickness.
  7. Preheat your oven to 325° F. Slide your parchment paper and dough onto a board, then place in refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
  8. Remove from fridge, and cut your shapes using the cutters of your choice, placing them on a baker's half sheet lined with a silicone baking mat (or parchment), with 2" clearance around each one and the edge of sheet. Place sheet with cookies into freezer for 15 minutes before baking. Bake 12-14 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.
  9. Cool sheets on wire racks for 10 minutes, then gently remove cookies and place on wire racks to finish cooling.

Notes

May be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. They also freeze well.

Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://sweetapolita.com/2011/08/little-pea-sugar-cookie-pops-and-a-virtual-baby-shower/

 

You can find more of my tips on making the perfect sugar cookie and cookie pops in the previous post Steps to Making the Perfect Sugar Cookie and Cookie Pop.

Tools & Ingredients For Decorating Little Pea Sugar Cookie Pops

1. Approximately 1 oz (29 grams) of green fondant (I used Sugarflair “Gooseberry” with a hint of Americolor Electric Green to colour white fondant) per 4-pea cookie.

2. Approximately a “pea-size” ball of light pink fondant for cheeks (I used a few drops of Americolor Soft Gel Paste .75 oz Deep Pink Color to colour white fondant), per cookie.

3. Small fondant rolling pin (I use Wilton Fondant 9 Inch Rolling Pin) with 1/8″ guides

4. Nested circle cookie cutters (I use Ateco 5357 11 Piece Plain Round Cutter Set)

5. Small amount of royal icing for “glueing” fondant to cookies

6. Black decorator pen (I use the black marker included in the rainbow coloured decorator pens (Gourmet Writer Food Decorator Pens, Assorted Colors, Set of 10) for eyes and mouths

7. Non-toxic glitter for cheeks, optional (I used a dash of a green apple colour)

Steps to Making the Little Pea Sugar Cookies

1. Using a variety of circle cookie cutters (I used ) cut your “papa pea,” “mama pea,” “toddler pea,” and “baby pea” from the very chilled cookie dough. Or, of course, you can also create 2 pea, 3 pea, or 4+ cookies.

2. Using the corresponding cutter, cut small nick out of circles where you want to nest the smaller circles and gently press the circles of dough together so they are touching. They will expand a bit while baking, which will also aide in keeping them all together.

3. Insert your cookie pop stick (again, you view photos and cookie pop tutorial here) into the bottom of your cookie with a gentle turning motion until the stick is about 2/3 of the way up. (*You could also make these cookies without sticks, and they would be just as adorable!)Using a flat metal spatula to lift the cookie pops to your parchment or baking-mat lined cookie sheets.

4. Freeze for 30+ minutes and bake according to above recipe instructions.

5. On a lightly dusted (cornstarch or icing sugar) surface, roll out a few ounces of green fondant until it’s 1/8″ thick (I use the purple guides on the small white Wilton rolling pin to ensure fondant is even). Using the corresponding circle cutters you used for the cookies, cut out the circles in the same manner/layout you did for each cookie.

6. Gently fit the pieces together for each cookie, and leave to dry for about 30 minutes (give or take). Because fondant is so pliable and soft when it’s first rolled, picking them up now or placing on the cookie now, would likely misshape them.

7. Repeat steps 5-6 until you have fondant circles for all of the cookies.

8. Apply a thin layer of royal icing on the cookie (be careful to not apply icing on the outer rim, where the cookie will be exposed), and gently place and attach the fondant pieces with a gently smoothing motion.

9. Using black decorator pen, carefully draw on eyes, mouths, and eyelashes (for mamas). *I find if you go too thick with the mouths and eyes, etc. they aren’t as cute, so you’ll want to take care to make those details as fine as possible.

10. Roll small ball of pink fondant and flatten (or you can use the small end of a plain round piping tip to cut out cheeks). Secure to cookie with a tiny spec of water. Add sprinkle of edible glitter over cheeks, if desired.

Finish with ribbon, if desired.

Good luck & enjoy!

Related posts:

My Heart Belongs To U: Neapolitan Milk & Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Neapolitan Cookies via Sweetapolita

I hope you are having a great Saturday! So far, I’ve had a great day. I was able to drive into the city (Toronto) this morning (all alone!) for a much-needed trip to the hair salon, a leisurely shop at the most fabulous gourmet grocer, Pusateri’s, and, naturally, a quick stop to Starbucks for my drive home. I hope you’re also having a fabulous weekend, and that you’re able to fill it full of love-y treats and projects.

If you read my last post, you’ll remember that I just can’t get enough of the Valentine’s Day treats this year (and just love-inspired sweets all-around). I really wanted to get one more love-themed treat in before the weekend was over, so although this will be a short & sweet post, I’m so happy I was able to share these cookies with you. You know what else I can’t get enough of? Neapolitan! Strawberry, Chocolate & Vanilla–is there anything better? It makes me so happy with its fun colours and flavours combined; it really is the perfect trio.

Here’s the photo that was a big part of the inspiration for this Neapolitan Milk & Chocolate Sugar Cookie collection, from the Real Simple website. Don’t you just love these little milk bottles? I also love the little plate the bottles are on, because I have & adore the silk pillow and pencil case from this amazing collection from thomaspaul. Adorable. I also used my own Neapolitan 5-Layer Birthday Cake as inspiration, because I thought it really needed some matching cookies!

Neapolitan Cookies via Sweetapolita

These really are fun to make–they’re kind of like little fondant puzzles, and I would say that in the grand scheme of confection design, they’re pretty quick and easy! As you’ve probably noticed, I love using fondant for cookie decorating. I personally love the sweet vanilla taste of Satin Ice brand fondant, the beautiful texture, and lovely porcelain finish it creates for my cookies. Since I love not just the visual appeal of Neapolitan, but also the flavours, I couldn’t resist using the corresponding flavours for each cookie. I used a dark chocolate fondant for the chocolate bar and chocolate milk bottles; I flavoured the “strawberry” milk bottle/hearts fondant with LorAnn’s strawberry flavour oil (I haven’t done this before, and it is SO yummy!); and, of course, I used the vanilla fondant for the vanilla milk bottles/hearts.

Neapolitan Cookies via Sweetapolita

If you would like to make these cookies, here is the how-to:

Neapolitan Milk & Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Milk Bottles:

1. Cut out/bake/cool milk bottle sugar cookies  (or the cookies of your choice).

2. Dye white fondant strawberry pink (I used AmeriColor “electric pink”) and add a few drops (to taste) of LorAnn Strawberry Oil.

3. Roll pink, white, and chocolate fondant about 1/8″ thick, cut out milk bottle shape using cookie cutter, and cut out heart/hearts using small heart cutter.

4. Spread very thin layer of royal icing on cooled cookie and gently place fondant shape on cookie.

5. You will use the cut out chocolate bar heart to fill in your “puzzle” milk bottle heart (confused yet?).

Chocolate Bars:

1. Cut out/bake/cool rectangular sugar cookies (or the cookies of your choice).

2. Roll chocolate fondant (I use Satin Ice dark chocolate fondant and mix 50/50 with white fondant for milk chocolate colour) 1/8″ thick.

3. Using ruler edge, create a bar grid. Then, using same ruler, create diagonal lines across entire bar.

4. Cut out heart using same small heart cutter from bottles and place inside the missing heart in milk bottles.

5. Roll, cut, and insert a pink heart into the missing heart on chocolate bar.

6. Cut out an “I” and “U” using small letter fondant cutters and fill in with white fondant.

7. Spread a small amount of royal icing on cookie, and gently place the fondant on top.

This may sound confusing, but it’s so simple. Like I mentioned, it’s just like a fondant cookie love puzzle! Although they do make for ideal Valentine’s Cookies, I think they would also be gorgeous for wedding showers, weddings, birthday parties, and pretty much any celebration. Love seems to be the perfect theme for any party. Don’t you think?

I want to wish you all an amazing Valentine’s Day filled with love & cookies!

Good luck & enjoy!

Related posts:

Love Letter & Scripted Heart Cookies

Love Letter Cookies via Sweetapolita

Happy love-month, everyone! I’ve been having so much fun exploring different love-themed treats, now that the Valentine’s spirit is upon us. I have a seemingly endless list of lovey sweets in my blog-ideas notebook, so I hope to somehow make it through several more before Valentine’s Day. I feel, though, that so many of these designs would also make for gorgeous wedding, bridal shower, or anniversary confections, because where there is love, oh please, let there be cookies!

Love Letter Cookies via Sweetapolita

While browsing a recent issue of Martha Stewart Living, I was beyond inspired (as usual). This time, though, things were really clicking. Every time I turned the page, I felt creative nudge upon creative nudge, resulting in some quick scribbles and sketches in my pink Moleskine notebook (I should be buying the notebooks by the dozen these days!). One of the most inspiring images, to me, was a gorgeous set of pastel letters with wine-coloured seals, created by a fabulous paper company called OrangeArt. Seeing as I don’t think in paper, but in sugar, I immediately started to design this collection of love letter cookies.

Scripted Heart Cookies via Sweetapolita

As a hopeless romantic, love letters get me every time. Lucky for me, Grant is an exceptional writer, and sure knows how to speak from the heart. I still have some of his first love letters to me, and I will admit that the written word affects me more than anything else (particularly his, of course!). It seems we’re all enchanted by the love letters–no matter whose they are, really. I noticed this after Grant and I watched our third Nicholas Sparks (clearly a deep and sensitive author who has a real adoration for love letters) movie last weekend–all of which have a cameo appearance (or more) by a big stack of gorgeously tattered and heartfelt letters. The Notebook, of course, which is centered around the tragic pile of letters intercepted and hidden by the mother of a girl in a star-crossed love affair; Dear John, which also focuses on the written word of love between a young couple parted by war; and finally, our most recent watch, The Last Song–another story of love, but with a heap of unread letters from a father to his daughter. It all reminds me how inspirational and beautiful words really are; even the simple aesthetic of script, to me, is so lovely and artful.

Single Heart Cookie via Sweetapolita

I suppose that’s why I was so taken with the script rubber stamp I found the other day. The effect when impressed upon the fondant is simple, but I think it’s so pretty, textural, and perfectly antiquated.

Love Letter Cookies via Sweetapolita

So here we have a happy little family of scripted love cookies. You know, speaking of family and love letters, I wanted to share a really neat book/idea with you. Shortly after our first daughter, Reese, was born, Grant’s mom bought me a beautiful book called “Love, Mommy: Writing Love Letters To Your Baby.” The author, Judy Siblin-Librach, encourages and inspires the reader to do just that: to write heartfelt love letters to your baby. This gives them something amazing to cherish when they’re older, and they can learn all about specific, day-to-day reasons why you love them so. So, every night, for an entire year, I wrote Reese a love letter in a journal. I’ve put it away so that I can wrap it up and give it to her either on her wedding day, or when the time is right. I’ve also started this for Neve, and I’m so thrilled that Mary Lou (my mother-in-law) gave me this fabulous book. I can’t wait to sit down with the girls, years from now, and read each of their love letters again.

Love Letter Cookies via Sweetapolita

Once I started creating these cookies, I began imagining endless possibilities–there may even be a part two to this post, if I can’t resist the urge to create the next part of my vision! I hope you run with this theme. If you’d like to re-create what I’ve done above, here is the how-to:

Love Letters:

1. Using large rectangular cookie cutter (these are 4.5″ x 3″), cut out/bake/cool desired number of “letters.”

2. Colour fondant (I use Satin Ice brand) desired colours. I used ivory fondant and added the following colours (in tiny amounts):

Pink: Sugarflair “Pink” and a small amount of grey petal dust

Mauve: AmeriColor “Mauve” and a small amount of grey petal dust (I originally used a drop of Electric Purple, but Mauve is already muted, so it’s a better choice)

Ice Teal: AmeriColor “Teal” and a small amount of grey petal dust

Burgundy (for the seal): Sugarflair “Red” and AmeriColor “Electric Purple” and bit of AmeriColor “Super Black”

3. Roll out your fondant to about 1/8″ thickness, one cookie at a time, keeping the remaining fondant covered, and cut rectangle using same cookie cutter you used for cookie. When rolling fondant for cookies, I like to sprinkle icing sugar on counter surface before rolling, and then let the cut-out sit for a moment or two before lifting up with an artist’s palette knife. This way the fondant doesn’t get stretched in any way.

4. Spread a very, very thin layer of royal icing onto the inner surface of the cookie with an offset palette knife, and gently place your fondant cut-out on top, gently smoothing with your fingers.

5. Cut a top flap (any style you like–I used real envelopes for reference) and adhere to your “envelope” with a dab of water. Using a knife, create two angled envelope lines.

6. For scripted detail piece: roll out ivory fondant, then press the rubber stamp firmly down upon the fondant and lift straight up. Using a knife, cut a rectangular piece, let dry for about 15 minutes, and adhere to envelope with royal icing.

7. Using a #2 tip, pipe string onto envelope.

8. Roll a small ball of burgundy fondant, and emboss with wax seal, then place in centre of cookie.

Let cookies dry for several hours, preferably overnight, before packaging.

Scripted Heart Cookies:

These are so simple!

1. Cut out/bake/cool any heart shapes you desire.

2. Roll pastel coloured fondant as with letter cookies, and impress script using rubber stamp. Using same cutters as used for making cookies, cut scripted fondant hearts.

3. Adhere to corresponding cookie using very thin layer of royal icing and an offset palette knife.

I can see these making for fabulous event favours, gifts for loved ones & friends, dessert table details, and more.

Good luck & enjoy!


Related posts: