Five years ago, I received a gorgeous cookie bouquet for the birth of my daughter. The cookies were perfectly placed and decorated like bottles, rattles, ducks and bears. “Someone must have spent weeks decorating these!”, I thought to myself. Well, they definitely tasted that way! Such beautiful, artistic confections yet they fell short in taste. I’ve also experienced the opposite. Biting into a super soft, melt in your mouth, vanilla almond sugar cookie that was confection perfection but, while the taste and texture were amazing, they lacked any creative decorations at all. I’ve made it my goal to achieve both. The cookie that everyone says “is way too pretty to eat” but has such an aroma of flavor that it’s too difficult to resist. To achieve this level of flavor you must use LorAnn Oils Bakery Emulsions.
I use 2 basic cookie recipes, a vanilla and a chocolate. I then add in my emulsions to achieve different flavors. My basic sugar cookie recipe calls for 2-3 tsp. of flavoring. I use a combination of Vanilla and Almond Bakery Emulsion in my recipe, but when creating different flavors you can use any Bakery Emulsion in their place. Try adding Pumpkin Spice to replace the Almond and decorate with a Cream Cheese infused royal icing to create the perfect holiday cookie. Or, try adding Raspberry to the chocolate cookie recipe for a decadent treat. The possibilities are endless and creating new flavor combinations has become my passion!
Patience is a Virtue
Too often today we avoid our whisks and mixers to jet off to our nearest grocery store for pre-packaged refrigerated dough. While easy and convenient we are missing out on the love and creativity that goes into baking. My recipe is long and detailed I know, but it’s worth every step. Take your time and “Bake Some Memories”!
Creaming the Butter and Sugar
This is a very important step. The butter and sugar must properly come together so they are evenly distributed throughout your cookie. Some recipes call for confectioners’ sugar and shortening. I am not a fan of shortening but, if you are, it can be substituted in this recipe. I do have a recipe that I use which calls for confectioners’ sugar. I love it and its fantastic but the cookies are a little crispier and taste more like shortbread. In my basic cookie recipe I use the highest quality ingredients that my budget allows. I start with real sweet cream butter and granulated sugar. I cream it together in my stand mixer with the paddle attachment. The mixture, when finished, should be light in color, slightly fluffy and very smooth. There should be very little grainy texture left. This is the start of your cookie foundation.
Bring on the Flavor
Here’s where the magic happens! As I said earlier, my basic sugar cookie recipe calls for 2-3 tsp. of flavoring. I usually combine 1 tsp. Vanilla, 1 tsp. Butter or Butter Vanilla, and 1 tsp. of Almond. For me it’s the perfect medley of butter, vanilla, sugar with a slight kick of almond. It’s not overpowering in any way. But now you can get creative! Try adding Lemon and fresh lemon zest for a tangy twist. Or Banana and add in a handful of mini chocolate chips! Do I have your attention yet?! I love this part! Have fun and try new flavor combinations.
Get it Together!
Once you have brought all of your wet ingredients together, the butter, sugar, flavors, cream and eggs, you can start to add in your dry ingredients. This is another important step. Over mixing will cause your cookie to become tough and dry. Under mixing or not properly combining the ingredients will cause a break up in your finished cookie. I like to add my dry ingredients in small batches with the mixer on the lowest setting. Don’t panic and add in additional cups of flour. Your dough will be slightly sticky.
Wrap and Roll
This is the longest and least rewarding step. Your patience will be tested here, but your dough needs its beauty rest! It will take at least overnight to firm up. I usually let mine rest, wrapped in plastic and in the fridge for a full 24 hours. You’ll know it’s ready when it has firmed up a bit. Work in small batches when rolling and cutting your dough. Your dough can be re-rolled, though be cautious not to overwork it.
Note: I refrigerate my cut shapes for 30 minutes prior to baking. Bake cookies at 400˚ for 7-9 minutes. Ovens vary so be sure to check them. Look for a cookie that is not shiny on top and is not browned around the edges.
Top it All Off
Here’s where I take my sugary confections over the top. The flavor doesn’t have to stop at the cookie. Try adding the Emulsions to your royal icing as well. This allows for extremely bold and creative flavor combinations. My recent favorites are My Red Velvet Roll Outs with a Cream Cheese Infused Royal Icing and my basic Vanilla Almond with a hint of Lemon in the icing. Your possibilities are endless! Get creative, have fun, and BAKE SOME MEMORIES!
Red Velvet Roll Out Cookies with Cream Cheese Icing
For the Cookies:
1 stick salted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoons LorAnn’s Red Velvet Emulsion
1 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoons Cream Mix*
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup dry cultured buttermilk
¼ cup good quality cocoa powder
¼ tsp salt
*The Cream Mix is a ½ and ½ combination of sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk
For the Cream Cheese Infused Royal Icing:
3 tablespoons meringue powder
6 tablespoons water
4 cups of confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-2 teaspoons LorAnn’s Cream Cheese Bakery Emulsion
- Combine the flour, dry buttermilk, cocoa powder and salt in a large bowl and set aside.
- In the bowl of your electric mixer with the paddle attachment beat the butter and sugar until light smooth and fluffy. Add in your extracts, flavors and emulsions. Continue to beat until well incorporated.* I don’t usually use any additional red coloring because I feel that the emulsion gives it a deep rich color but you can certainly add in some red color paste at this point. I would not recommend red liquid color.
- Next add in your cream mixture and beat to incorporate. Add your eggs one at a time a mix well. Now with the mixer set to low slowly add in the flour mixture. Over mixing will cause the cookies to be dry and tough.
- Once your dough is combined (it will be sticky) wrapped it in plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge. I let mine sit overnight.
- Preheat oven to 400°. Roll dough to a good ¼ inch thickness and cut desired shapes. Shape cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet and pop in the fridge for about 15 to 30 minutes. I find this helps with spreading and keeps the edges clean.
- Bake at 400° for 8 minutes. You are looking for crispy edges with a cakier middle. Allow to cool.
- Ice and decorate with Cream Cheese infused royal icing.
Directions for the Royal Icing:
Using the paddle attachment on your electric mixer, beat the ingredients until peaks form; about 7-10 minutes at medium speed. Store royal icing in an airtight container.