Is it your turn to bring refreshments for your mystery book club - which just happens to be reading a culinary mystery? "One Tough Cookie" by Diane Mott Davidson surely calls for a cookie treat - although hopefully not a tough one! The versatile sugar cookie will give you a chance to show your fellow mystery-lovers that you have just as many tasty talents as Goldy Schultz, the catering, mystery-solving heroine of " One Tough Cookie!"
You don't have to be a detective to find over a million and a half results for a "sugar cookie recipe" search on the Internet. You can add yummy ingredients like lemon, sour cream or chocolate or, using cookie cutters, bake them into any shape that fits your needs (I'll bet you could even find a cookie cutter or two related to books!)
There's even a National Sugar Cookie Day (July 9) - I'll bet that was a mystery to you until now!
One thing that isn't mysterious about sugar cookie recipes - they all contain butter (or margarine), sugar and flour in some combination.
Sugar cookies made with margarine have a much longer shelf-life (up to 30 days) than butter-based dough (only about 7 days). Let's face it though - offer your cookies to women already hungry from reading about Goldy Schultz's appetizing creations and shelf life won't be important anyway!
Once you've chosen your recipe, roll out the dough and cut into shapes. Now, your decorating skills have a chance to shine!
Colorful toppings for the tasty sugar cookie include spectacular fondant, royal icing and glazes. Any of these will make a cookie so grand that Goldy just might decide to steal your recipe!
To really impress your friends with an eye-catching cookie, try using fondant. It's quick and easy to roll and then cut to custom tailor a colorful coat for your cookies. Here's some tips for a sugar cookie even Goldy would be proud to serve.
Fondant can be purchased ready-made or you can make your own at home. Either type can easily be colored. You can do this one of two ways: If you're making the fondant from scratch and you want the whole batch to be one color, you can add the food coloring with the water when mixing the recipe.
If you're using ready-made fondant or you want to color one batch several different colors, add a fine stripe of gel paste color to a lump of fondant and knead in the color.
Specialty food colors should be available at your local baking supply store, but if not, they are easily ordered online.
Once the fondant is mixed and colored, it's one of the easiest and quickest ways to decorate your cookies.
Simply roll the fondant out to the desired thickness and cut out shapes using cookie cutters. Trim to fit cookie and gently lay onto face of cookie.
Certain types of fondant will stick to the cookie without any help, but if you find the fondant is slipping about, brush the surface of the cookie with a little vanilla extract or piping gel.
For a textured effect, try using an embossed fondant roller on the fondant before you cut it out. For an even more dazzling effect, add some pearl luster dust for shimmer - this really makes the embossing stand out.
One final sugar cookie hint, especially useful if you are prone to cookie baking emergencies! Why not make extra dough and save it for a time when you're in a rush to product a culinary delight.
Wrap leftover dough in plastic wrap, and seal it in a zip-top bag. The dough can stay frozen for up to two months. Just allow for defrosting time before you use it - usually overnight in the refrigerator will do.
Maybe you should write a culinary mystery yourself. Call it "The Case of the Vanishing Sugar Cookie!" because once the group tastes these beautifully decorated sweet treats, there won't be even one left!
Samantha Mitchell, Co-Author Cookie Decorating Made Easy! Vol. 1 & 2 The World's First Cookie Decorating Video Books. Your cookies most certainly wont be tough if you sign up for our free newsletter at http://www.CookiesMadeEasy.com Get hassle free cookie tips, along with cookie decorating tips and online videos delivered straight to your inbox.
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