Lace & Sweetness Rolled Cookies
Cream cheese and butter enrich my version of a classic style rolled dough. It is easy to use and pliable, but must be kept refrigerated till time to bake. Most rolled cookie doughs require several hours of chilling prior rolling. I did not include my recipe for this article as I felt there are lots of good recipes for rolled cookies out there. Find one you love and use it. There is also no shame in buying premade cookie dough, but it does tend to stickier and a little harder to roll out in my opinion. This Valentine’s gift is more about the decorating. I love to decorate with fondant. Fondant reminds me of the clay I used in the pottery class I took in college, and the Play Dough I used to goof around with as a little one. Fondant can be bought pre-made so it takes out the difficulty level. The tools are so simple to use when mixed with a bit of cooking adventure and creative thoughts. Let your mind go as you decorate so that the end product is a reflection of you and your love for that special someone this Valentine’s Day. As I was baking, I kept thinking of the frilly homemade Valentines I made as a child with white, red, and pink papers cut with scissors to resemble lace hearts of varying sizes and decoration. These cookies for me was a walk through my memories of those homemade cards for Valentine’s Day gifts of love.
1. Fat Daddio’s Nylon Cookie Cutters – Heart Shape Stackables
2. Fat Daddio’s Fondant Modeling Tool Set
Not pictured: KitchenAid Professional 6 Quart Stand Mixer
- Use cold cookie dough and a lightly dusted rolling surface to roll out to about ¼ inch thick cookie. Parchment or waxed paper may be used as your rolling surface.
- These Fat Daddio nylon, stacking heart cutters are the bomb. I have used many differing types of cutters made of various materials, but these by far are my favorite. The nylon construction seems to keep them from sticking to the cutter, and they are sharp without physically cutting your own hands. The cutters also have scalloped edges which turned out wonderful, crisp cuts each time I used them.
- Again, I say parchment paper. It is indispensable in baking and in my opinion a tool kept in your drawer at all times if you bake much. If you do not mind cleaning, try silicone mats as they serve the same purpose and will result in beautiful baked good.
- Rolled doughs can be contrary at times, the tips I have outlined for the Love Note Red Velvet Cookies also applies here. Your best tool to use is a rolling pin you are comfortable with. I like a tapered French pin because I love the feel and the control of this design. However, my preference does not have to be yours. My former mother-n-law made sublime pies, and worked in a restaurant for many yearsmaking their pies and biscuits. She wanted a big, heavy wooden or marble pin with handles to do rolling work. A light dusting of flour on your rolling surface and the pin is the best help you can give yourself. I generally pat the dough out to a basic shape needed, flip the patted out dough and give it another light dusting of flour, and then move on to finish with the pin. Do not handle rolled doughs too much, again as it changes the texture of your baked goods.
- Decorating with fondant is very easy, no longer do you have to make this product from scratch as it can be found in many places. If you do not like the flavor of fondant, no worries as marzipan could also be substituted. However, it does not work exactly like fondant. Marzipan will not hold intricate designs and shapes, and has a natural off-white color that cannot be covered to make a white lace cut out like I used on these cookies. In addition, fondant does dry out if it is not used relatively quickly. You will need to knead the fondant into a workable and pliable shape. This does not take but a few minutes. The heat of your hands do some of this for you. I use standard up and over movements as in kneading bread doughs to condition store-bought fondant chubs. If you worry you cannot complete quick enough, roll small amounts at a time out, cut your hearts out, and then decorate with the tools. Then repeat that process. I rolled my fondant out for these Valentine’s Day cookies to about 1/8th inch thick. You will need to dust your rolling surface and pin with confectioners’ sugar. If you get holes or thin areas, pick it up quick and re-roll if needed. Keep unused fondant wrapped tightly in plastic cling film while not in use. It will store in your cabinet for up to a month I have found, but after that time it does draw smells from the the other stored items. Just make sure you cover it several times in cling wrap, and then place it in a plastic storage container with a good sealing top.
- Fondant tools are also easy to use. It is not necessary to have professional experience or an understanding of traditional techniques. Just get them out and go play. There are online resources of how to use these tools if you feel the need to investigate. I will be doing more with fondant in coming articles, and will discuss this at greater length. For now, the packaging of the fondant tools from Fat Daddio gives some easy directions on what designs your tools will make. For these particular cookies, I just remembered how I decorated those cut-out paper hearts I made for my parents, and my friends, as a child. I just experimented with these decorations. Imprint the hearts with your desired designs and have fun.
- If you decide to embellish your fondant heart, this is also easy. I liked the look of the embossed hearts alone, but decided to decorate simply with pink frosting. I used the same tips I noted prior just for convenience sake. Small stars in this particular case was my design of choice because I kept thinking of embroidery work on antiqued napkins and doilies. I wanted it to be delicate and random. I will discuss more on decorating in future articles as well. I have encyclopedias of information, and over two decades of professional cake work. This is not an end-all topic discussion here. Add as much frosting decoration that appeals to your eyes. Generally speaking, less is more. Written by: Alecia Kay