Friday, May 18, 2012

Kids in the Kitchen - Thumbprint Cookies

Here is the recipe I used for my first 4-H demonstration..Happiness is a Full Cookie Jar.  I think I was in 6th grade ... and that was a few years ago!  I hope this will give some other young cooks a little kitchen confidence!

Thumbprint Cookies

About 36 cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup white granulated sugar
1 large egg
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

In the large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy (use an electric mixer for best results). Add the egg, baking powder, salt and vanilla extract.  Beat until combined.  Stir in flour and mix until just blended.

Divide the dough into 3 disks and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for one hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease or line 2 cookie sheets.

Working with one portion of dough at a time, roll the dough into 1 inch balls.  Place balls on cookie sheets, 2 inches apart.   Using your thumb or a deep rounded measuring spoon, make an imprint in each cookie.  Bake for 10 – 12 minutes until the cookies are lightly colored on top and slightly darker at the edges.  When you remove from the oven, let the cookies stand briefly in the pan, then remove to a cooling rack. 

COOKS NOTES:  Dough can be made several hours ahead of time.
For best results, bake one sheet at a time, in the middle of the oven.  If you need to speed up the process, bake two sheets at a time, but make sure to rotate them half way through the baking time.

 Place a small amount of green icing into each cookie imprint.  Top with a bit of green tinted coconut.  Using small candy eggs, anchor the egg into the next using a dab of the frosting. 

 When the cookies have baked for 5 minutes, remove from the oven.  Place an unwrapped chocolate kiss candy in each imprint.  Return to the oven and bake for the remaining 5 -7 minutes. 

Quick White Icing

1 pound (4 cups) confectioners’ (powdered)  sugar, sifted
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, very soft but not melted
4 - 6 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

Optional:         food coloring of choice
In a medium bowl, beat together the sugar and butter, using an electric mixer on medium speed.

Add 4 tablespoons milk, vanilla and salt.  Beat until smooth. Add additional milk as needed to the desired consistency.  Note that this icing tends to thicken on its own after it sets for a few minutes. 

To add food coloring:  add a few drops mixed in with the milk.  If you desire a darker color, add more drops while mixing. 

Cooks Notes:  An easy way to sift the sugar is to place it in a colander set over a large bowl.  Simply tap the colander against your hand to sift into the bowl. This will give the icing a much lighter consistency.
Optional Flavoring
For lemon icing, add the grated zest of 1 lemon to the sugar mixture and use 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus milk as needed for the liquid.
For orange icing,  add the grated zest of 1 small orange to the sugar mixture and replace the milk with fresh orange juice. 

Do Ahead Notes:
This can be kept at room temperature for 3 days when kept covered.  It will keep for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.  Make sure to soften and stir or beat until smooth before using 

Tinted Coconut

Coconut, flaked 

Food coloring
Put ½  - 1 cup of coconut into a glass jar with lid.  Add a few drops of food coloring.  Close lid and shake until the coconut is completely colored.
NOTES:  You can use a plastic container but the food coloring may stain. 
Start with 2-3 drops of food coloring and add more when you desire a darker color.