I wanted to step by-step through the sugar cookie bouquet process, which is a "Moms' Night Out" event I will be hosting for a group of wonderfully hard working homeschool mothers who certainly deserve the night out, and well, ya know, the sweets too! So I am placing a tutorial with my very secret recipe (deep breathing) and the gentle way to construct these wonderful cookie creations...just in time for Easter!
First, make sure you follow the recipe and always cream the room temp butter (or butter flavored Crisco) until light (in color) and sort of fluffy. When you add the eggs and flavorings it will seem that the mixture may curdle a bit, but don't worry...it comes back together.
Okay, here is another secret...shhhh,shhhhh....oh boy, this goes against my culinary code....deep breathing....Every time I go to Starbucks I ask for their wooden stir sticks, and they usually let me take a handful....when I begin making cookies I soak them in water, like the picture shows. (and if there are any not used in that session, I stick them into a zipper bag into the freezer, then they are ready for the next baking session.) The soaking of the stick will prevent the burn smell of wood when baking the cookie and it adheres to the "inners" if the cookie better too. *take note, when ever you skewer something to grill soak the wooden skewers before hand, or keep some pre-soaked ones in the freezer.
Another tip is to roll out the dough onto your baking sheets and then chill...a tip from a foodie, but I usually go the "old fashioned" way and wrap with saran, chill, and then roll out on the counter with these wonderful cookie measures on the tip of my French rolling pin.
So once the dough is rolled out, take a soaked skewer and insert it gently into the cookie, angle some of the cookies for good presentation. When inserting the stick gently hold the cookie down with your left hand and insert with the right.
Bake the cookies on a Silpat, or a parchment lined inverted cookie sheet....until just a teeny-tiny bit of golden brown shows around the edge. Once removed from the oven use the bottom of a smooth spatula to smooth the cookie tops, especially if you are going to finish with rolled fondant. Cool for a few minutes and then using a spatula remove the cookie from the pan...DO NOT try to lift the cookie off the sheet tray with the stick, it will break! It must be cooled to lift with the stick.
To be continued...and to add recipes after Lenten Services....