Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Cookie As Good As It Looks

When it comes to taste, fancy decorated cookies unfortunately have a bad reputation.

"I love how your cookies look but I honestly didn't expect them to taste delicious too," is what I hear time and time again when I serve my creations.

There is good reason for the skepticism, because in all honestly,  most decorated cookies don't taste that great. They are often thin, dry, flavorless and over-iced, sometimes with more sickly sweet icing than cookie. And although they look pretty, I absolutely abhor cookies topped with gumpaste and fondant decorations. Ugh. It's like eating straight up sugar with an artificial aftertaste.

Because of the negative preconception of fancy cookies, I always offer samples when I sell my creations and surprise people when they discover that a decorated cookie can taste as good as it looks.

Making a delicious decorated cookie isn't hard, it just takes good recipes and consideration. Here are my best tips for making a delicious tasting decorated cookie:

*Most important is having a good cookie recipe.  My favorite tried and true recipe contains all-butter, not too much sugar and a good dose of vanilla and pure almond extract. Click here for the recipe.

*When I roll out cookie dough, I aim for 1/4 inch in thickness. I want to be sure to end up with a product that's more cookie than royal icing, 3:1 is ideal.

Quarter-inch thick cookies ready to be baked.
*If I want to make a cookie with an intricate layered design, I go the double-decker route by topping a base cookie with another cookie. It's essential to have more cookie than icing!
For these Gardenia cookies, I went the double-decker route and added layer of "cookie petals" to keep the flower design from being all icing and making the cookie too sweet.
*As for the royal icing, powdered sugar is a necessary ingredient so I cut the sweetness with some tablespoons of lemon juice. The addition makes a world of difference and compliments the vanilla almond flavor of the cookie. Click here for my royal icing recipe.

*Remember that less is sometimes more. I've learned from experience that it's very easy to take a cookie into the realm of being overdecorated. Practice restraint with your decorating because simple is often what's most beautiful.
Colorful dot cookies are simple and beautiful!
Here are some of my favorite designs but most importantly, these are also great tasting cookies!

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