Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Charlie Brown Valentine

Cut-out cookies are one of those things that I always plan to do but never quite get to the execution phase. This year, I thought it would be fun to make cookies for Henry's valentines. With a fail safe sugar cookie recipe I knew I could pull it off really easily.

Henry is a huge Peanuts fan. When I pulled out our modest Valentine decorations, I came across this cutter from my childhood. The Hallmark store had cookie cutters like this for every season. My mother bought all of them for my brother and I and years later I get to use them for my kids. That makes me happy.

Using these as an inexperienced child baker was difficult. The dough has to be just the right thickness. Too thick and it sticks. Too thin and the imprint is too faint. Now, with years of cookie rolling under my belt, I was pleasantly surprised those frustrating memories are now a thing of the past.

I made a triple batch of cookie dough and was able to cut out 24 valentine's for Henry's class plus extras. There was also plenty of dough for assorted heart cookies for Max's team's bake sale for Haiti and Jake's party. It took far less time than I had planned. The silpat mat was a blessing yet again.

The other thing that cut out cookie practice gives you is the ability to get as many cookies as you can out of a single roll. I'll roll a piece of dough twice but after that the baked cookies would be too tough. Obviously, the more you are able to cut out of a singe roll, the better your cookies will be.

Henry made tags to tie onto each bag with medium-sized hang tags. He put a Peanuts sticker on each, wrote his name and the name of this classmates on each. He was so proud of his efforts.

Sugar Cookies
Williams-Sonoma Kitchen

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
12 T. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract

Over a small bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on high speed for 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium, slowely add the sugar and beat for 2 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and vanilla etract then beat or one miute, stopping the mixer once to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Stop the mixer and add half of the flour mixture. Beat on low speed until most of the flour has been absorbed. Add the remaining flour and continue beating until all of the flour has been absorbed and the dough starts to pull away from the bowl, 2-3 mimutes.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and divide ito 2 euqal balls. Shape each ball into a disk and wrap sepaately in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at leas 2 hours or up to two days. Remove from the refrigerator and let stand for 5 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 3/16 to 1/4 inch.

Preheat an ove to 350 degrees. Line serferal baking sheets with parchment.

Dip the cutters into flour just before using and cut out the shapes. Transfer to baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough. Gather scraps and reroll once. Refrigerate cookie the cookies until firm, 20-30 minutes.

Bake the cookies until golden brown around the edges, 12-15 minutes. If baking more thaqn one sheet at a time, switch the sheets between the racks and rotate them 180 degrees halfway through baking.

Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies driectly onto the racks and let cool compltely.

Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.


Georgine said...

Happy Valentines Day to you! I love the cookies. I remember when Henry was just learning to write his own name. His tags are so cool! Talk to you soon. Hey - love the noodle post too. Wonder how I missed that!

pve design said...


Emily said...

That's just to it all, especially Henry's Charlie Brown. Great job Jen!