Thursday, January 10, 2013

Almond Cut Out Cookies

As a food blogger, I have decided that I must have strange, food friends.  No, not foodie friends.  Food friends.  Like this guy.

What?  You've never seen a stuffed hot dog before?  I have to say, he's one of the most hilarious stuffed animals I've ever seen.  As you can see, he's a native of New York City and hails from the Times Square Toys 'R' Us.  If you are in the city and feel like you need a strange food-themed plush toy, you can get one for only $9.  This particular stuffed hot dog is special.  He has his own blog.

Yes, this stuffed hot dog has a blog, which I am in no way a part of.  It's all the fault of the guy sitting next to me on the couch.  Life of Hot Dog chronicles the big (and not to big) events in Hot Dogs life and is the brainchild of Boyfriend.  He's a little bit crazy, but I love him, so it's all okay. 

For Christmas, BF got me several hot dog themed gifts.  This isn't new.  Last year someone went a little crazy at the Wal-mart photo lab and I got a pillow case, blanket, key chain and necklace, all adorned with pictures of this little hot dog. 

This year I was proud recipient of a hot dog ornament, calendar, pillow, 11x14 photograph and a hot dog shaped cookie cutter.  At some point I'm going to have to put a stop to it, or I'll be like one of those crazy cat ladies, but with pictures of this hot dog on everything I own.  (Hot dog PJ's anyone?)

Last week, Boyfriend and I (Hot Dog joined us too) tried out the cookie cutter.  Yes, BF was in the kitchen baking and decorating with me!  I've made a few changes to my almond cookie recipe and have come up with the best cut out cookie ever.  Easy to form and cut.  They hold their shape in the oven.  Soft, with a snap.  Not hot dog flavored.

If you want to make a cookie that will make you smile, get out your red and yellow food coloring and make yourself some smiling hot dogs.  They are perfect for a birthday party, picnic or just plain eating.  Decorate them with your favorite toppings.  We went with just plain mustard because stuffed hot dog only has mustard on!  So make some cookies and sit down and read BF's Hot Dog blog.  You won't regret a minute you spend in front of the computer screen!

Hey new friends!  Eat Me!  I'm so delicious as a cookie!

Almond Cut Out Cookies
A Wilde Original

1 stick butter, room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup almond flour
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, beat together butter, powdered sugar and salt until smooth.  Add almond flour and vanilla and beat until combined.  Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the edges.  Add egg and combine.  Finally, add flour slowly until completely mixed.

Scrape batter out of the bowl and onto a large piece of plastic wrap.  Place dough on a large piece of plastic wrap and fold over.  Gently press dough flat with your hands.  Using a rolling pin, roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness.  Place dough on a baking sheet and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Lightly dust work surface with flour and unwrap chilled dough.  Stamp out dough with your desired cookie cutter shape and place cut dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  Place this baking sheet in the fridge for 30 minutes.  Collect dough scraps and roll into a ball and re-chill and cut until you use all of the dough.

Preheat oven to 350 F while the cookie dough shapes are chilling.  Take cut dough straight from the fridge and place in the oven.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are just starting to turn golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let cool, on the baking sheet, on a wire rack for 1 minute.  Remove cookies from the sheet and let cool completely before decorating.

Royal Icing
From Bake at 350

I have had major success Bridget's royal icing recipe from Bake at 350.  You can either follow along with the directions below, or head straight to her website for step-by-step pictures.  To make hot dogs, you'll need red, yellow, brown and black food coloring.  Remember that icing dries to a darker color than what you see in the bowl when mixing.  So be sure to stop just shy of the color you want!

1/4 cup meringue powder
scant 1/2 cup water
1 pound powdered (confectioners) sugar
1 tsp corn syrup

In a large bowl, beat meringue powder and water until foamy.  Sift in the powdered sugar and add the corn syrup.  Mix on low until the sugar is combined with the liquids.  Turn up the speed on the mixer to medium low and beat for 5 minutes, the icing will begin to thicken.  Beat on medium-high for 2-3 minutes, until it holds a stiff peak (when you take the beater off the mixer and turn it upside down, the peak shouldn't flop over).

Divide the frosting into three equal bowls.  Cover one of the bowls with plastic wrap, pressing out the air and allowing the plastic to touch the icing.  Place this bowl in the fridge.  Tint one of the bowls with red and brown food coloring, until you reach a light maroon color.  Tint the third bowl with yellow and brown food coloring, stopping just before you reach the color you want.

Using a #2 tip on a plastic piping bag, place about 1/3 of the tinted icing into the bags.  Pipe hot dog shapes with the maroon color, and edge the bun with the yellow-brown color.  Allow these edges to dry while you thin the remaining icing.

Add water to the bowls of tinted icing in 1 tsp portions.  To test for the correct consistency, bring a spoonful of icing up and let a ribbon of icing fall into the bowl.  It should disappear by the count of two seconds.  If it takes longer, add more water.  If it disappears right away, you might have to add back some powdered sugar.  Transfer the thinned maroon and yellow-brown icing into squeeze bottles. 

Flood the hot dog center with maroon.  Flood the bun sections with yellow-brown.  Let the icing dry overnight.

The next day, remove the reserved white icing from the fridge and let it come to room temperature.  Tint half of it with black food coloring.  Tint the other half with yellow icing (Or red for ketchup, green for relish).  Add icing to piping bags fitted with a #1 tip.  Squiggle on some mustard and give your new friend some eyes and a smiley mouth.  Let everything dry for about four hours before your try to pack up your hot dog friends.

It's like looking in a mirror!

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