Sunday, June 30, 2013

Patriotic Cookies!

First of all: Did you know that they make half-sticks of butter now? They're TINY!

Since I've moved from the RV (my home for two years) to the Nuthaus, I have cooked a lot. We average six major meals per week at home, plus special things like making cheese and desserts, etc. But I haven't tried to do any specialty baking since we got here. Last week, I did make my first layer cake and it was delicious, but not particularly fancy. I was ready to do something fun and frivolously complicated.

Last year, shortly after James and I started dating, I went with him to his aunt's and uncle's house for the Fourth of July. It's an all-day potluck with fireworks-shooting to cap off the day, and James hadn't really prepared anything to take, so the day before we went, we made cookies. There is a recipe that is fairly "well known" in my family, and I kind of remembered how to make it, but I'd texted my mom anyway, to see if she could send me the recipe. I didn't get her message until it was too late, but the cookies turned out pretty good...

Actually, they were fairy amazing, and it was a total fluke. I'd made chocolate chunk cookies the best I could from memory, and they tasted "right." James' apartment's kitchen was... well, let's just say "low on counter space" and be gracious about it, shall we? So I put the ceramic mixing bowl on the stove while the cookies baked. This resulted in some of the chocolate chunks melting, so that the dough ended up marbled. Well, the marbled cookies were beautiful, and they all tasted good, and the cookies were gone by the end of the visit, so that was a nice compliment.

This time, though, I had an idea: American flag cookies. I've done something similar with a wreath for Christmas, and I've also done checkerboard cookies. When I showed my wreath cut-out cookies on Facebook, a friend saw all of the work I'd done on them and said, "Oh, Laura, you can buy those at Wal-Mart." Of course, she was talking about Pillsbury. Guess what? They also have flag "Holiday Shape" cookies. But guess what else? I don't care! They don't taste as awesome as mine will, and I wanted to challenge myself and make use of the extra space for which I am so grateful.

So... Friday night, I picked out a recipe for chocolate cut-out cookies, and a recipe for rolled sugar cookies. Saturday morning, I made the sugar cookie dough, divided not into thirds but into three sections, left one white, colored one red, and colored the smaller dough blue. I had to add a ton of color to get anything besides pink and baby blue, so I had to add more flour and hope for the best.

Saturday evening, I had some unexpected free time, so decided to go ahead and make the flag. James took some pictures...

The unsuccessful beginnings of the red stripes. (I wasn't quite ready for pictures yet.)
I wasn't being scientific with the ratios or even the number of stripes. I only planned to have 9 stripes, and no stars at all.

After much re-rolling and added flour, I had the shape I wanted!

See? Just like Merica!
When I was making the "chocolate" dough, after having bought groceries the night before AND having run up to the 7-Eleven for tiny butter (I hadn't noticed we'd need so. stinking. much.) I realized that we were actually out of cocoa. Instead, I substituted this organic chocolate syrup that D uses for her chocolate milk, and also a few tablespoons of this Whole Foods Nutella-type spread. It made the dough darker than the "white" dough, which was really all that I was going for. Of course, I also had to add more flour to that. Then I rolled it out.

After I wrapped the flag roll in chocolate dough and froze it long enough for it to be cut-able, I eagerly sliced into it...

I put the dough back into the freezer between batches because I wanted it not to get too "wilted." But it wasn't frozen, which would have made it crumbly when cutting.

Ready to cook the first tray!
Fortunately, the cookies didn't spread a lot and I realized that I could actually fit almost twice this many on one sheet, so the rest of the batch got completed in just a couple more trays.

In the end, I had almost as much scrap left over as I had usable dough. It wasn't in the right ratios to make more flag cookies, though. Instead, I put it all in a bowl and made a "tie dye" log. That's the round 'uns.

Ready for our 4th of July celebrations!

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