Monday, September 27, 2010

September means Football & Cookies

The September challenge for Daring Baker's was Decorated Sugar Cookies, and how perfect! The cookies had to be in the theme of September, whatever that meant to you personally.

To me, September is the start of College Football. In our house, the only football that matters is Florida State football.

I started with the sugar cookie recipe, provided by September's host, Mandy of What the Fruitcake? I wasn't initially thrilled with the sugar cookie recipe, the dough seemed dry and had an average flavor. After I made the dough, I chilled it before rolling. I then rolled the dough, a handful at a time, to a thickness slightly less than ¼ inch.

I wanted my cookies to be a very specific spearhead shape, and since that isn't a cookie cutter you can get, I made a stencil. First, I printed the image, carefully cut it out, and then traced it onto a thick cardstock-type of paper. I carefully cut the shape out, and had my own cookie stencil. With a paring knife, I carefully cut around the stencil on the cookie dough. Once I cut as many cookies into the dough, I tore excess cookie dough from the cookies, and then transferred the cookies to a cookie sheet to chill in the freezer until firm.

Once the cookies were firm, I took them out of the freezer, arranged on cookie sheets, and baked. I was very pleased with how the cookies cake out of the oven, in the same shape, this changed my mind on the cookie recipe. My usually sugar cookie recipe wouldn't have kept the shape and sharp edges as well.

Cookies were baked, cooled, taken off the cookie sheets and transferred to baking rack. As the cookies were cooling completely, I made royal icing. Using thicker royal icing for outlining, I outlined the cookies in black. Let the outline dry overnight, then I thinned the icing and filled the cookies, in garnet, gold and white. While the large white and garnet sections were still wet, I dipped a toothpick in the alternating color to make streaks of color on the spearhead.

Once all the icing was done, I let the cookies dry overnight before boxing them.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

New Favorite: Homemade Oreo's

Everyone loves Oreos. And what is more fantastic than vegan homemade Oreos?

From Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.

If you want to impress friends, these vegan oreo’s are the way to do it. They were first sent to Hubby’s work for a coworker’s going away, and then they appeared at the first football tailgate of the season.

Vegan Oreos, or Ooh La Las

Makes at least 2 dozen sandwich cookies


¾ cup Crisco, room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

½ cup soymilk

1 ½ cups AP flour

¾ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder

2 tsp cornstarch

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp baking powder

Black food coloring gel


¼ cup Crisco, room temperature

¼ cup vegan butter (or substitute a scant ¼ cup vegetable oil)**

2 ½ - 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1 - 3 tsp vanilla extract

1. With a handheld mixer*, cream the Crisco and sugar together in a medium bowl. When it is well mixed and fluffy, add vanilla extract and soymilk and mix. The mixture will now look a little curdled, but that’s fine.

2. Add the flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder and mix. Add a couple drops of black food coloring gel to enhance the black color.

3. Place dough in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.

4. When thoroughly chilled, grab a handful of the dough and roll dough onto a parchment paper covered surface. Roll to a 1/8 inch thickness. With a round cookie cutter, place cookie cutters as close as possible. Slide parchment paper onto a small cookie sheet that will fit in a freezer. Repeat with remaining dough.

5. While the dough is chilling, preheat oven to 325 F. Take the dough out of the freezer, and pull the excess dough from the round cookie cutter pieces. Place the round cookies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, about an inch apart from each other.

6. Bake cookies for 12 minutes, one cookie sheet at a time. Take the sheet out of the oven and cool on baking rack for several minutes before transferring the cookies off of the sheet and onto the cooling rack.

7. While the cookies are fully cooling, prepare the cookie filling by creaming Crisco and vegetable oil together in a medium bowl. Add powdered sugar to bowl in 4 additions, mixing thoroughly after each addition. The texture will get very stiff and clumpy, but keep mixing. Once sugar is mixed, add vanilla extract.

8. When you are ready to assemble the cookies, pair cookies by similar sizes. With a gloved hand (or not), pinch off a small amount of filling spread onto cookie. Place other cookie on top, pressing firmly and smooshing around a bit.

Voila! Oreos!

*A Note: I initially made the cookie dough and filling with a stand mixer, but later found that a hand mixer really works best with this recipe. First time I have used a hand mixer in years!

**An Updated Note: After making these oreo's several times, I have found making the filling with vegan butter, not the substituted vegetable oil. The vegan butter makes the consistency of the filling much smoother than the vegetable oil. It's worth the extra purchase!