Friday, April 19, 2013

Pretzels! Peanuts! Cookies!

These cookies got quite a few comments from people who weren't sure they were 'real' when I brought them to an event at a brewery last week.

I have to admit that the pretzels took a little longer than I would have liked, but that's because my free-hand artist abilities are less than those of my six-year-olds.

What You Need:
Vanilla Sugar Cookie Dough 
  or Chocolate Sugar Cookie Dough
Cookie Cutters (Peanut & Pretzel or Heart & Dog Bone)*
Royal Icing
Food Coloring (Brown, Black, Yellow)
Piping Bags and Tips #1, #2

* I did not have Pretzel or Peanut cookie cutters. So, I used a dog bone for the peanuts, and a combination of a heart, round cutter and bee cutter for the pretzel. (I think you could make just a heart and a knife work for them, if you wanted to be less OCD than me.)

How To Make Pretzel Cookies:

Roll cookie dough to about 1/4" thick.
Use the heart cutter to cut out the main shape of the pretzel.

Use a large round cutter to trim the point off of the bottom. (You could also just use a knife, but I had this, so it made the guesswork easier.)

I used the wings of this bee cutter to make the bottom parts of the pretzel. Again, anything, even a knife, would work here. I think some of my 'pretzel legs' got a little long. (Maybe a small circle, halved, would be better?)

Assemble the cookies on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Gently press where the 'legs' meet the pretzel. That will help them stay together. Although, admittedly, I did have one fall off. I just glued it on with royal icing before decorating it!

Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, remove them to a cooling rack, and allow to cool completely before decorating.

Here's where it got hard. Making the pretzel outlines.
It didn't really occur to me until I sat down and looked at it that I had no idea how to make the outline. I found a great example at Cristin's Cookies. (Mine aren't nearly as perfect as hers.)
I should have taken a photo of all of the ones that I scraped the outline off three and four times before I actually made one that looked decent. But at the time, I just wanted to show you the good ones.

The flooding took some time. You need to work slowly and in small sections at a time. Fill in sections that do not touch. You want each section to be a little dry before adding icing to any adjacent section... why? Because if they're both still wet, and you accidentally overfill one of them, you get a big, globby mess. If you wait until one is starting to dry, then you will maybe cover part of your outline, but at least you will still have the separation.

Add the "salt" with tip #2 and white icing dots. I thought it was kind of funny that the "salt" kept falling off when they were dry-- just like real pretzels.
(Yes, I am easily amused.)

How To Make the Peanut Cookies:

I used a dog bone cutter to make the peanuts. Cut the dough with one end of the bone. 

Take the cut-out and position it in the end of the bone so that you get a kind of figure-8, or peanut shape.

To decorate them, I flooded them with a brown-ish icing. (This color was hard to make not look too flesh-colored.)
I added the lines and designs with a tip #1. I made 3 or 4 long, straight lines, and added some squiggly lines horizontally. (This took a little longer than I wanted, also, but they ended up looking good.)

I displayed them out in these little yellow plastic baskets that I bought in the dollar aisle at Target or JoAnn.

Click the Links Below to See:
Vanilla Sugar Cookie Recipe
Chocolate Sugar Cookie Recipe
Royal Icing Recipe
Other Cookies and Cookie Ideas

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