4.24.2014

Guitar Cookies

I love decorated cookies. Every Christmas and Valentine's Day, I start to see lots of cute ideas popping up on blogs- frosted snowmen, big red hearts, glittery snowflakes- and I always get inspired to bake.

And then I remember how much work it is. Ten minutes into planning out how many frosting colors I'll need and how much powdered sugar to buy, I give up and move on to oatmeal raisins, or something easier.

The only thing that can motivate me into making these is my husband, because they're (of course) his favorite. I recently bought a guitar shaped cookie cutter, and was excited to put it to use. 
  

So here's a tutorial on making guitar cookies. I'll warn you, it's labor intensive. I give my final product a B, it's decent but it lacks that real professional, neat look. Maybe one of you out there might be able to execute a neater cookie. (If so, please tell me how!) 

You will need:
  • Sugar cookies that have been cut in the shape you want, and allowed to fully cool. I always use Carole Walter's Scalloped Sugar Cookies from her book Great Cookies. I've provided the recipe at the end of this post, but if you are a baker, I really recommend this book. It's spectacular.
  • Royal icing, for outlines and details. I use the recipe from Bake at 350. You will have to tint this brown, black, and reserve some plain white. I like Wilton gel food colors.  
  • Flood icing, which is a thinner icing used for filling large areas of the cookies. I make mine with 2 cups of powdered sugar, 1 tsp corn syrup, and water. I start with 1 tbsp of water and keep adding in very small amounts until I reach the right consistency. The right consistency is when you can drip some icing back in the bowl with a spoon, and have it hold its shape for a second or two before it melts back in to the rest.
  • Disposable decorating bags, couplers, and Wilton tips #1, 3, and 12.
Still with me? Let's get baking.  These are my guitars, naked:


And this is what I used for inspiration- my husband's guitar collection, conveniently visible from the kitchen.


Step 1: Tint a small portion of your royal icing dark brown, and add it to a piping bag fitted with a #3 tip. Outline each guitar. The neck will be a different color from the body of the guitar, so draw a line separating the two, as shown:


Step 2: Tint another small portion of your royal icing black, and fill a piping bag fitted with a # 12 tip. Squeeze a black dot in the middle of each guitar. Reserve leftover black icing.


Step 3: Make a big batch of flood icing. Tint half of it medium brown, and half dark brown. Fill the neck of the guitar with dark brown, and the body with medium brown.


Step 4: Get tired and annoyed when you drop your favorite mixing bowl and it shatters on the floor, ruining your icing and mood. Wonder why you started this monstrosity of a project. Grab a beer and annoy your husband while he cleans junk out of his closet. Drink, but don't help him at all.


Step 5: Go back to your reserved black icing, and fit it with the #3 tip. Draw a straight line under the dot.


Step 6: Take your last bit of reserved white royal icing and put into a piping bag fit with a #1 tip. Use it to pipe strings, and add tiny white dots at the top of the guitar.




Done! Enjoy your cookies.


Neil's Scalloped Sugar Cookies,
 from Carole Walter's Great Cookies


1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
2/3 cup (1 and 1/3 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed and very cold
3 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 or 2 tsp cold water as needed
 
Combine flour, sugar, butter in bowl of food processor, fitted with the steel blade. Pulse to combine, then process for approximately 10 seconds, until the mixture is the texture of fine meal (it will look crumbly and not much like dough).
 
Combine the yolks and vanilla in a bowl, and add to the processor's work bowl. Pulse to combine, and then process for about 10 seconds until a mass forms. If it looks very dry, add a tsp of water. Empty the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a disk. It will seem rather dry and crumbly. Don't worry.
 
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 3 days. You can freeze dough at this point.
 
To bake: Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with foil.
 
Working with 1/4 of the dough at a time, roll out on floured surface until about 1/4 or 1/8 inch thick. Using your cookie cutters, cut into your desired shapes.
 
Place on cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until edges are golden brown.
 
Cookies can be frozen for a month or two. To refresh, simply defrost and bake in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes.
 

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