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« Cookie baking season is here | Main | Save an apple for me, please! »
Friday
Oct192012

Autumn Winds Blow - all the leaves into your yard

 

Today was a windy day. From my perch on the hill I can see the tree tops blowing. While taking pictures of some of my new recipe cards I could hear the flutter of crisp aspen leaves blowing and tapping against each other on the tree outside my window. I couldn’t help but stop to watch and listen. If you have not heard this sound, it is distinct and soft.

Isn't that pretty - how the light dances through the leaves? After my photo shoot, I decided it was a perfect day to stay in and bake cookies.

 I’ve had an idea I wanted to try with one of my favorite sugar cookie recipes.  I added a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice to the dry ingredients, and steeped a whole clove in the cream.  Today I cut pumpkins, autumn leaves, and acorns.  I always have a tiny cookie cutter in the same theme of my bigger cookie cutters. I can use all those little scrap and spaces that are not enough rolled dough to cut my larger shapes from, and skip all of the reshaping and rolling of scrap dough. Some people, like me, love the smaller one bite cookies.

 So here is the recipe for these great cookies, however if you have a favorite sugar cookie recipe just add in the spices to yours.

After the cookies have cooled, I decorated them with an icing made of powder sugar, evaporated milk, vanilla and food coloring. When I am piping icing I keep the icing slightly thicker, I added cocoa powder to make my dark brown piping used on pumpkin faces, acorn tops and leaf veins. I dipped the acorn tops in chopped nuts. You could also substitute maple syrup or extract for vanilla.  When it comes to flavorings, all things are possible.

 And here are a few of my tips that cut down on baking time and ensure your cookies will come out beautifully:

·         Use three or more flat cookie sheets. Keep two (or more) in the freezer and one in the oven.
·         Place the cookies on parchment papers cut the size of your cookie sheets.
·         As cookies are cut and tray is filled, place the tray back in the freezer. Cut all of the cookies,   arrange on parchment lined tray and hold in the freezer.
·         Now you can pay attention to baking and not be distracted by cutting, clean up and other tasks.
·         Slide a parchment paper with cut out cookies from a cold tray onto a heated tray and then place tray in the over. This is why I recommend trays without rim. After cookies bake, slide the parchment sheet onto your cooling rack. Slide a Cold parchment sheet of cookies on to the hot tray and slide it right back in the oven. Continue in this method until all of your cookies are baked.

I fidured out this method through trial and error over the years. It cuts down on the time my cookie dough is in the oven. It nearly always gives me a sugar cookie that holds it's delicate shape, with lightly browned bottoms and crisp edges.  If I have sugars or other decorations on the cookie top, they won’t burn since I’m reducing my baking time. You will need to test your own oven to determine how long it takes to bake a pan of cookies just right, but the time will remain consistent because you are not holding the oven door open and you are always starting with a preheated cookie tray. Try it next time!

Considering Autumn and leaves- In my painting, Autumn Haiku, this sweet lady is waiting for all of the leaves to blow into your yard. She is available as greeting card.  purchase prints, cards and recipe cards through the website at SusanSchmittArt@gmail.com 

Happy baking!                 

 

 

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