Monday, October 13, 2008

Sugar Cookie Cut-outs with Buttercream Frosting

My college roommate Jen is getting married this November and I decided that I would make pretty wedding cake cookie favors for her shower. I knew that I didn't want to use royal frosting this time, since I tend to wait to the last minute and royal frosting takes a very long time to harden 100% (and I had to drive to PA with these things!) so I decided on a traditional buttercream instead. Buttercream, when exposed to the elements, hardens quite nicely and lends itself better to decorations.

For those in the area, if you haven't been to Fran's Cake and Candy Supplies in Fairfax, you really should. She recently moved to a new and larger location near the intersection of 50/Lee Highway and Main Street/236 and Sallee, the owner, has everything from cookie cutters to fondant to piping bags to premade frosting roses. For this project, I picked up a wedding cake cookie cutter and some edible pearls and sanding sugar in green, the bride's favorite color.

I again decided to go straight to the source—Martha, of course—for the perfect vanilla buttercream, and I ended up choosing this one, developed by Billy's Bakery in NYC.

This was a little experimental, but I think it worked out very well. Oh, and I was sure to make extra incase more came than RSVPed or if some broke in transit! The bride and guests LOVED them and kept asking where we bought them! :) Mission accomplished!

Sugar Cookie Cut-outs with Buttercream Frosting
Cookies: (same recipe as here)

Buttercream Frosting:
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
6 to 8 c. confectioners' sugar
1/2 c. milk
1 t. vanilla extract

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. With mixer on low speed, gradually add 6 cups sugar, milk, and vanilla; mix until light and fluffy. If necessary, gradually add remaining 2 cups sugar to reach desired consistency.

Wait until the cookies are completely cool before frosting. As for technique, I covered the entire top of the cookie with my favorite Ateco offset spatula (the smallest one!), trying to make it as smooth as possible with long horizontal strokes. Then, to achieve a cleaner edge, I followed the line of the cookie edge with the edge of the spatula to clear away any stray/ragged frosting.

You should affix any sprinkles or other decorations while the frosting is still wet. You might need to put a small dollop of frosting onto the back of any decorations (like the edible pearls) that want to roll away! I also put some frosting in a piping bag and used my smallest tip to make a few horizontal lines to differentiate the layers of the cake.

And of course, let the frosting dry completely before putting the cookies in cellophane bags. I promise they'll still taste great.

Happy shower, Jen!

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