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Star Wars Cookies

February 16, 2011
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That’s right, Star Wars cookies.  And please don’t laugh at our decorating job- it was actually really difficult to do, and these are the ones that looked “presentable.”  Nate and I sat at the dining room  table laboring over these cookies for literally two hours.  Now we know exactly how not to decorate them next time! 

Nate’s sister Casey gave us these cookie cutters from Williams-Sonoma for Christmas, which was perfect since they were something I’d been thinking of buying myself.  The funky looking spring-loaded buttons are actually for moulds that you push down to form imprints on the uncooked dough.  Then the idea is that the imprints will still be there when you decorate them and you can make cookies that look exactly like the Star Wars characters are supposed to look.  Let me tell you now that this is not the case.  Sure you can try doing it that way, which is what we did, but you are creating a monstrous hassle for yourself.   

First I’ll tell you what we did, and then what we should have done.  I made royal icing in 4 colors, and then thinned out each batch so that I could use some for lining and detail work, and the thinner icing to fill in the cookies.  As they say, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”  Well, that’s a little melodramatic, but it’s more-or-less true.  The thinner filler icing wound up being a different shade from the lining color.  The filler icing also flooded the cookies and covered up most of our careful piping work.  The filler icing also was, in some cases, too thin and it went everywhere: all over the table, the floor, my clothes and even my slippers.  

Next time I will dip the cookies in the desired background-colored icing, and then after it dries I will pipe on the details.  All of this begs the following question: why on earth would there be an imprint on the cookies of the design you’re supposed to follow if you have to cover it up in order to decorate them nicely?

Regardless, the cookies tasted good, and everyone certainly got a kick out of Star Wars themed cookies.  Even though we are nearly 30 years old, there are some things that you’re just never too old for!  Now I just want to know when Williams-Sonoma will make She-Ra cookie cutters.  Then my life would truly be complete.

Butter Cookies

(Adapted from Cooks Illustrated)

What is the difference between sugar cookies and butter cookies?  I will never know.

2.5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter , ( 2 sticks) cut into sixteen 1/2-inch pieces, at cool room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cream cheese , at room temperature

In bowl of standing mixer fitted with flat beater, mix flour, sugar, and salt on low speed until combined, about 5 seconds. With mixer running on low, add butter 1 piece at a time; continue to mix until mixture looks crumbly and slightly wet, about 1 minute longer. Add vanilla and cream cheese and mix on low until dough just begins to form large clumps, about 30 seconds.

Remove bowl from mixer; knead dough by hand in bowl for 2 to 3 turns to form large cohesive mass. Turn out dough onto countertop; divide in half, pat into two 4-inch disks, wrap each in plastic, and refrigerate until they begin to firm up, 20 to 30 minutes. (Can be refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen up to 2 weeks; defrost in refrigerator before using.)

Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out 1 dough disk to even 1/8-inch thickness between 2 large sheets parchment paper.  Cut into desired shapes using cookie cutter(s) and place shapes on parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until light golden brown (I would recommend baking them until they are just done and not letting them get very brown), about 10 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking time. Repeat with second portion of rolled dough. (Dough scraps can be patted together, chilled, and re-rolled once.) Cool cookies on wire rack to room temperature

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