Category: sugar cookies

Sham-rockin’ all over the damn place.

Green shamrock sugar cookies, dipped in almond bark & shamrock sprinkles. So. Freakin’. CUTE.

Typical, yes. But adorable, and delicious, and super simple to re-create (I used Wilton’s shamrock cutter). It really is. ‘Cause Lord knows I am not the best cookie maker in the world. Cupcakes are my thang. But yet these managed to come out looking spiffy, right? You wanna get the recipe, right? Okay but first, didn’t you ever wonder what exactly the deal is with the Irish & their shamrocks?

The shamrock, a four-leaf clover, is a special symbol in Ireland because of its emerald green color that may have earned for Ireland the label “Emerald Isle.” The country prides itself on its abundant green fields. The verdant color represents spring and the essence of life. Superstitions abound about the four-leaf clover because this kind of clover is considered rare or hard to find. A common clover has three leaves only; and its shape resembles a solar cross that ancient men used as a compass.

According to Irish belief, the origin of this object of superstition can be attributed to the Druid priests of old England. The Druids performed healing and worshipping rites in oak trees in the forests where they encountered a four-leaf clover. They initiated the superstition that bearers of this type of clover will be able to open their third eye by reciting incantations, and curing people of their illnesses.

Prior to this discovery, the ordinary clover (with three leaves) had already been declared by St. Patrick as a wonder plant. Born in the 4th century, St. Patrick was responsible for the establishment of Christianity in Ireland. The saint is also believed to be responsible for preventing snakes from inhabiting the Irish territory. He talked to the Druids and replaced their pagan beliefs with Christian teachings. St. Patrick also introduced to the Druids the shamrock as a representation of the Holy Trinity—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—united as one flesh because the clover has three leaves linked as one.

The shamrock is still a popular talisman today and a charm for good luck. It is believed that anyone who possesses it will be blessed with luck in anything, even in gambling, and will be saved from the evil effects of witchcraft and sorcery. There are certain conditions, though, for its power to remain effective: the owner of the shamrock must keep it handy and away from the public eye and never give it to someone else. Graves often have carvings of the clover image to serve as protection.

GREEN SHAMROCK SUGAR COOKIES

Ingredients:

  • 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or almond, if you prefer)
  • Green food coloring
Directions:
  1. Measure the flour, baking soda and salt into a medium-sized bowl. Stir well and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar for about 1 minute. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
  3. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar, mixing well after each addition. The dough should be stiff.
  4. Add green food coloring to the batter*. Knead the dough until the color is evenly distributed, but do not overbeat.
  5. Gather the dough into a ball, flatten into disk beginning at the edge of the dough and working toward the center. Cover with plastic and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Unwrap the dough; place one half on a large piece of plastic wrap, cover with another piece of plastic wrap and then roll until it is ¼”-inch thick. Lift off the top sheet of plastic wrap and cut out shamrocks. Keep re-rolling the dough to utilize all your scraps.
  7. Place each shamrock on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, about ½”-1″ apart. Bake for 8 minutes or until the edges begin to lightly brown. Remove to a rack to cool completely before dipping in the almond bark.
  8. *Depending on the type you use, the amount varies. Liquid food coloring may require 2-3 drops, whereas Americolor or Wilton gel colors will require only a tiny amount. I chose to make mine a pale green, but making them bolder would be awesome too, as would making them “marbled”- all you have to do is either split the dough in half & only color one half, then roll them together, or just be sure to not incorporate the food coloring completely.

    Now the fun part! You may be thinking, “wait, you mean all that wasn’t the fun part?” Well no it wasn’t. THIS is the fun part. The dipping!

    Like I said I used Log House almond bark, which is just basically vanilla-flavored non-cocoa candy coating made with vegetable fats, but you can use anything you like. White chocolate, dark chocolate, green Candy melts, whatever. Melt it according to the directions (I used my brand spankin’ new Wilton Chocolate Pro that Jay got me for Christmas, but a double boiler or even a microwave works too) and dip, dip, dip. Any angle you want. Have a bowl or a shaker of sprinkles handy, if you’re using them, and a baking sheet or counter lined with parchment. After you dip in the almond bark (or whatever), then dip in the sprinkles right away, then place on the parchment to dry.

    I apologize for the supreme lack of good photographs in this post. But I’m going to be honest: number one- I was having difficulty translating the adorable factor via camera, and two- I wanted to eat them. See, I’m a big fan of sugar cookies myself. I like how they’re soft & can go in whichever direction & however you want them to, because they’re easily decorated & colored & even flavored. I mean, is there anything you CAN’T do with sugar cookies? No. Except maybe use them to pay for goods at the mall. But otherwise, they’re perfect. Use a cherry or chocolate frosting, use no frosting, use almond, peppermint, anise or even
    lemon extract in ‘em. So versatile.

    And these would work just fine using round cookie cutters (or even hearts or scalloped flowery ones) too. Between the color of the dough & the shamrock sprinkles, I think you’d be good; they’d get the picture!

Maple-iced fall leaf sugar cookies.

Well fall is definitely here. It feels more like spring, truth be told, but its okay. I’m looking forward to the Macy*s Thanksgiving Day parade, wearing sweaters (which I haven’t done much of yet) and even more so, Starbucks Peppermint Hot Chocolate, which is my winter/Christmas shopping staple. The cold weather- not so much. But it would be nice to have some autumnal weather, not 70° degree weather. Thanks to global warming it’ll probably be 80° degrees until Thanksgiving and then it’ll drop to 25° degrees and we’ll all get pneumonia.

But in celebration of fall (which we have to remember, it still is!) I made some fall leaf sugar cookies. A departure from my usual repertoire, cupcakes… but let it never be said I’m predictable. I frosted them with a maple royal-icing type of deal, but plain vanilla is fine too, or even caramel or cinnamon or whatever you prefer. I just figured maple, leaf, you get the idea. Or use peppermint for Christmas cookies. I’m sure you can figure all that out on your own though.

SUGAR COOKIES

Get together:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough

And then:

  1. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 375° degrees F.
  4. Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with powdered sugar. Remove 1 wrapped pack of dough from refrigerator at a time, sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll out dough to ¼-inch thick. Move the dough around and check underneath frequently to make sure it is not sticking. If dough has warmed during rolling, place cold cookie sheet on top for 10 minutes to chill.
  5. Cut into desired shape, place at least 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet, parchment, or silicone baking mat, and bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking time.
  6. Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from oven and then move to complete cooling on wire rack. Serve as is or ice as desired. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.

MAPLE ICING

Get this stuff:

  • 2 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons milk
  • ½ teaspoon maple extract

Then you:

  1. In a small bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar and 3 tablespoons milk; stir well.
  2. Add additional milk to reach desired consistency. Stir in maple extract.

I used a maple extract that had a brown tint, so the icing is brown. I used a full teaspoon in my frosting and the maple wasn’t as bold as I thought. They taste like pancakes, actually, now that I think about it. So anyway use the ½ teaspoon and taste it, if you want more add the another ½. If you use a clear extract, you can use food coloring to achieve a similar effect of color. Or you could leave it white, depending on the type of cookie and holiday you are making it for. These are also really cute for cake decorating, to place around the bottom of a cake on a fancy pedestal…

My leaf cutter is huge, so these babies are like 5 inches long. Thats a lotta cookie. You of course can make whatever shape and size cookie you desire. I had so much fun making these! I hadn’t made sugar cookies in forever and I really forgot how much fun it can be.

As a shortcut, you can also use the Pillsbury sugar cookie dough. There aren’t many bakers or baking bloggers who would tell you that but in case you haven’t noticed, I’m not like other baking bloggers. Use shortcuts when ya can if you absolutely need to, theres no harm in it. Otherwise I would be remiss if I didn’t say nothing beats homemade cookies.