Yes, you read the title correctly. I said, “LABOR of love.” Anyone and everyone who has made sugar cookies knows that it is a time consuming process. Not only that, but they don’t always taste that great, sometimes are so hard that you feel you could break your teeth biting into them, and they don’t always seem to look professional unless you BUY them from a bakery.
There’s a little secret that some don’t know: a lot of cookies from the bakery taste the same due to it all coming from the same cookie baking mix. Have you ever bought a cookie at one bakery and then went to another at a different time and discovered the two bakeries had cookies that tasted the same? Now, you know…
My youngest daughter signed me up to make Valentine Cookies for a Valentine’s Day celebration. Well, I was going to take the easy route: buy a bag of Valentine colored M&M’s, and make M&M cookies. Simple, festive, fun!!!!! But…oh no….Mom has a heart shaped cookie cutter. It wasn’t a request. It was begging.
My two older daughters seemed to grow up way too fast. I looked at my youngest, knowing that she wouldn’t stay young much longer..AND knowing that this would be the last year of cookies due to her entering a higher grade level next year…I caved. I caved. I caved.
Let me start by saying that this project started the night before, resumed at 8:30 am the next morning, and was completed at 12 am (that would be today).
I’m tired. I’m hurting. I feel like I’m 100 years old. Actually, I sometimes wonder if someone who is 100 might feel better than me.
I’ve never been extremely successful with sugar cookies. I asked around for a great sugar cookie recipe. I was led to this recipe:
The night before, I made the cookie dough. I covered it in a bowl and let it sit in the fridge overnight. The next day, I discovered I needed two batches in order to complete 30 cookies with the thickness the recipe called for, and due to the size of the cookie cutter. My suggestion is: if you need more than 20, double it. Also, I added two teaspoons of vanilla to the mix because one teaspoon wasn’t quite enough for me with the amount of flour used.
The next morning, I took the dough out, floured the rolling pin and board, and started to roll to get a thickness of 1/4 inch. I cut out the cookies with the cookie cutter, and strategically placed them on parchment paper so they wouldn’t bake into each other. This only permitted five cookies per cookie sheet. The baking time took 9 minutes at 400 degrees. With the recipe instructions, my cookies weren’t baked in the middle, so keep an eye on your baking time.
After the cookies were baked and cooled, I started to make a fondant. I realized I should’ve also made it the day before in order to follow the recipe properly. However, I was able to make it, put it in the fridge to chill it, and roll it out.
Due to making this recipe for children, I wanted to make sure the fondant would taste great, so store bought fondant was not going to work. I made this recipe:
I used a bag and a half of mini marshmallows for this recipe because it called for a 16 oz bag. In all honesty, this was a VERY messy project. Imagine stirring up a bag and a half of marshmallows and adding the powdered sugar to it. It was a sticky mess!
I also found out that I had to add a lot more powdered sugar to give it a fondant-like feel. Make sure you have an extra box of powered sugar lying around just in case. This recipe actually supplied enough fondant to cover a double batch of sugar cookies.
When I felt it was at the right consistency, I wrapped it up in parchment paper and put it in the refrigerator.
My next step was to make butter cream frosting You can make any kind you want for this. You’re going to use it to stick the fondant to the cookies.
I took the fondant out of the refrigerator, ignored letting it get to room temperature, divided it into three balls and started to mix colors into each of the balls. I made one pink (Rosa gel coloring), one red (with red gel coloring), and the final one was a tie dye look. To achieve the tie die appearance, flatten out a ball of the fondant and drag a toothpick with the gel color onto the fondant in straight lines (don’t get picky about this because it really isn’t that important). Then, fold the fondant over, flatten, fold, flatten, and repeat until you achieve the appearance you want. Oh…and use some sort of latex (not if you’re allergic) gloves because you’ll be running around with some strange looking hands if you refuse to do so…not that I know anything about this due to personal experience…
Dust your workspace and rolling pin with powdered sugar. Roll out a ball of your colored fondant. Roll it thin enough to lay on your cookie without breaking. Cut out the fondant with the same cookie cutter you used to cut out your cookies. Now, let the fun begin!
The best method at this point is to gently spread some buttercream onto the back of the fondant you cut out. Lay it on top of your cookie, and gently spread it down with your fingers. When your cookies are complete, dip a paper towel into some warm water, and gently rub off excess powdered sugar off the fondant. Change paper towels if you’re going from one color fondant to another. This will actually give your cookie a shiny look when it dries.
If you want, you can add other decorations to your cookies, and add things such as polka dots, stripes, etc. Let your imagination go wild! When you are done, leave them to dry overnight, and you’ll discover that your fondant dried hard enough to stack the cookies.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all!