Once I heard we were for certain having our own little Super Bowl get-together, I ran to the store and bought the pack of Football-themed cookie cutters that I've been eyeing. It's so dorky and it's so pointless (I mean, the Super Bowl comes around once a year), but I knew that this would be my only chance to pull it off. Knowing that I have bad luck with cut-out sugar cookies (they come out nasty) as well as tasty sugar cookies (they don't hold their shape), I had to scrap the idea of sugar cookies all together. Once again Cook's Illustrated saved the day... Butter cookies. They're like a mix of sugar cookies and shortbread, but even better- they retain their shape.
Cook's Illustrated yet again threw me a curve ball in their directions. I wasn't supposed to cream the butter and sugars together (and geez, I thought I knew everything about baking), but instead I was to drop tablespoon sized butter cubes into the dry ingredients until they form together. For about the first 15 tablespoons (there were 16 in total) I was definitely doubting myself because they were just not mixing. After the last tablespoon, and after adding the cream cheese (another weirdo idea), the dough finally crumbled up together.
My snazzy new cookie cutters. After the Super Bowl passes, these will be probably be placed in a ziplock bag and hidden among the rest of my useless crap in the basement, most likely to never be seen again (or maybe until the next Super Bowl.)
I later decided to scrap the football shapes because I already had football shaped brownies and brown sugar cookies... I didn't want to go completely overboard (just somewhat overboard).
This was probably the only time ever that I was dying for the baking to be done with- My hands were yearning instead to decorate these cookies.
I was happily surprised that the recipe did not come with the typical royal icing recipe (which tastes bland, reason being why I won't use it anymore). I guess I would call this recipe a cream cheese icing. It had the texture and hardening capabilities of royal icing, but it had a nice and different flavor to it.
This was my first attempt at "flooding" (baking jargon FYI for outlining the cookie with thicker icing, then filling/flooding it in with liquidier icing. How you like them apples?)
Before I could actually start decorating these cookies, I needed to know some basic information. (1) Who was playing in the Super Bowl (because I obviously don't follow football, therefore I would have no clue), (2) What color these teams were (once again, I would have no idea), and (3) What their symbol-things were. After much googling, I can now say I am very familiar with the colors/symbols of both the New Orleans Saints and the Indianpolis Colts (who are the only two teams I can say such a thing).
Recall how earlier I said that I would only make these cookies if I knew we (as in me, my boyfriend, and our two friends) were having our own exclusive Super Bowl party. The reason being is because if I brought these to a large party of some sort with regular people, those people would probably most definitely think I'm a weirdo.
Seriously though- What sane person would go to such lengths to create and decorate these cookies for football teams?
Before this, I would never have been able to tell you what a football helment looked like. I actually googled "football helmet" to make it as close as possible to the the real thing. Not to mention how each team had their stupid little symbol things on their helments, which actually were a pain in the ass to draw.
And believe it or not- I really did make more than 3 dozen of these stinkin' time-consuming cookies that only took about 5 seconds to eat.
Speaking of which- these cookies actually were pretty darn tasty. Unlike the other cut out cookies I've made before (bland and rock-hard), these were soft and flavorful. The icing also really paired perfectly with the cookies.
So in the end, did my friends think I was a weirdo? Of course they did. Did they think I went way overboard in decorating these cookies? Indeed they did. But you know what- the moral of the story is that I really don't give a shit... And quite honestly, neither did they. Because within a few days, the heaping pile of colorful and glossy cookies were demolished and everyone seemed to have enjoyed doing so. My cookies were a hit, and the entire day spent decorating them was completely worth it.
Taken from Cook's Illustrated.
ingredients for cookies:
2+1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup superfine sugar (yes I actually went out and purchased superfine sugar)
1/4 teaspoon table salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), cut into sixteen 1/2-inch pieces, at cool room temperature (about 65 degrees)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cream cheese , at room temperature
directions for cookies:
1. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with flat beater (or using a regular hand mixer), 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. (took way more than a few minutes buddy.)
2. 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.)
3. 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; slide rolled dough on parchment onto baking sheet and chill until firm, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, repeat with second disk.
4. Working with first portion of rolled dough, 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, 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.
ingredients for icing:
1 tablespoon cream cheese , at room temperature
3 tablespoons milk
1+1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
directions for icing:
1. Whisk cream cheese and 2 tablespoons milk in medium bowl until combined and no lumps remain.
2. Whisk in confectioners' sugar until smooth, adding remaining milk as needed until glaze is thin enough to spread easily.
3. Drizzle or spread scant teaspoon glaze with back of spoon onto each cooled cookie, as desired. (I colored the icing, then put it in a piping bag for decorating the cookies.)
Makes thirty-six to forty 2+1/2-inch cookies.