Make a good first impression with stamped cookies

Buttery and rich, shortbread and sugar cookies are among the most popular of all the holiday cookies of the season. Straightforward and clean, the taste of butter, sugar and vanilla are at the cookies’ core, and I don’t know a cookie-baking family who does not possess a butter cookie recipe that goes back generations.

 

As we strive to make our homes festive with Christmas trees, lights, wreaths and bows, so do we decorate cookies, with baked rolled out sugar cookies, cut with cookie cutters shaped like angels, snowflakes, bells and stars, being the pristine canvas of choice. Some folks, however, do not enjoy rolling out cookie dough for one reason or another and opt to roll dough into balls instead and simply baking them into uniform round cookies. I have to admit, I do that a lot, mostly because it’s quicker and generates less of a mess. There is a drawback at Christmas, though. What is gained in time and convenience is often lost in a delicious cookie that does not offer many options for decorating, unless, of course, you embellish it with a stamp.

Stamped cookies, with their elaborate designs and sophisticated look, can be as fancy or plain as you desire. Painted, sprinkled with a kaleidoscope of seasonal color or left unadorned to better display their pattern, embossed cookies are as much about art as taste. And, cookie stamps are very easy to use. Easier, in fact, that rolling out dough and cutting it with a cookie cutter.

Nordic Ware makes several cookie stamp designs, with each design boxed with three separate cookie stamps. If you need a gift for a cookie they will love them – and so will you. Check it out at www.nordicware.com.

 

Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at kitchenade@yahoo.com.

 

Geo Stamped Cookies

Yield: About 1½ dozen (3-inch) cookies

 

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup packed brown sugar (For the purposes of this recipe, I used granulated sugar.)

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

 

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar with electric mixer at medium speed until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to batter slowly. Blend thoroughly. Turn out dough on surface and knead until smooth. Refrigerate 2 to 3 hours. Let dough sit out a few minutes to soften slightly.

(Using about 2 tablespoons of dough), roll into golf ball-sized balls. (Place balls on parchment paper-lined cookie sheets about 4 inches apart), then press with cookie stamp.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes (or until cookies are golden around edges). Cool on rack. Decorate as desired or enjoy as is.

 

*Kitchen Ade note: Nordic Ware suggests applying a light coat of oil to each stamp using a pastry brush or nonstick spray. Reapply oil if cookie dough begins to stick to stamp.

Stamped Shortbread

Yield: Approximately 15 (3-inch) cookies

 

1 cup salted butter, softened

2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

2 cups all-purpose flour

Coarse (sanding) sugar for sprinkling on cookies

Cookie paint, optional (recipe follows)

 

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Adjust rack to center position. In a medium mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer set to medium speed. Lower the speed and add the flour, mixing until the ingredients are well combined and dough has formed.

Using 2 tablespoons of dough, roll into a ball. (I used a #30 ice cream scoop for making dough balls.) Place balls 4 inches apart on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.

Press the dough balls with the cookie stamp, being careful to press down evenly.* (Do not use excess force when pressing stamp. Stop pressing when you start a feel a little resistance coming back from the stamp.) If you do not plan to paint cookies, sprinkle with sugar before baking.

Bake for 20 minutes, rotating pan halfway through bake time, or until cookies just begin to turn a golden brown around the edges. (Start checking cookies after 15 minutes.) Remove pan from oven and allow cookies to set for 10 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

If you are painting cookies, paint once the cookies are cool. In addition, if you want to sprinkle painted cookies with sugar, do so while the paint is still wet otherwise the sugar will not stick to the cookies. Store painted cookies between sheets of waxed paper, in a tightly sealed tin, for up to 1 week.

*Kitchen Ade note: Nordic Ware suggests applying a light coat of oil to each stamp using a pastry brush or nonstick spray. Reapply oil if cookie dough begins to stick to stamp.

To make cookie paint

Place a few drop of gel food coloring (or powdered “luster dust”) into a small dish or painter’s palette. Add enough clear imitation vanilla extract to make “paint,” stirring with your paintbrush until desired consistency and color are reached. You may also use food-grade liquid airbrush colors, as is, for paint, which may be applied to your cookies with a small paintbrush.

Find supplies at craft stores or visit on-line sources specializing in cake decorating supplies.

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