Wednesday, February 3, 2010

where is the love

I mentioned previously that I was involved in a bridal shower this past weekend. I signed myself up for favors. A wedding themed cookie came to mind. I began calling bakeries to find out what they charge. To my dismay, I can buy a box of chips ahoy for the price of one of those professional gourmet cookies! It seemed to make obvious sense to bake the cookies and decorate them myself. How hard can it be?

I decided that I was going to make sugar cookies. I have a set of cookie cutters that spell out LOVE which were actually a favor from another shower. According to my plan, each letter would be iced in yellow, accented by white and mounted to navy cardstock to match the wedding colors. The four cookies would be packaged in a cello bag to produce an elegant, edible favor that would possibly replicate the LOVE sign in Philly.

That was the plan.

After logging in about 18 hours to successfully make 40 favors (160 cookies), I quickly found out why the bakeries charge so much. And that doesn’t include the hours that my mom spent decorating and packaging the cookies when I called for help. I didn’t let her leave for exactly 24 hours. No exaggeration.

To be honest, it didn’t have to take this long but the first batch tanked for several reasons. Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes:
  1. When the recipe calls for butter, use actual butter. I had no idea that there was a major difference from butter, margarine or well, country crock. There I admit it. I tried this recipe using country crock! Ha. Don’t do it. In the words of my bf, the cookies were “dense”. Of course I took insult to that until I realized why they were so dense. Country crock is not butter.
  2. There is a MAJOR difference between frosting and icing. It seems not even some of the savvy bakers in my life knew this. Listen carefully: Frosting is for a cake. It is sugary and soft. It will not harden...ever…not even if you freeze the damn cookie. When I tried to put the cookies in the bag, the “frosting” got all over the cellophane. It was not a cute presentation. “Icing”, on the other hand, is what I needed. Icing hardens when dries and allows you to decorate and package the cookies.
  3. Learn to count/possibly repeat kindergarten. Somewhere along the way I miscounted my finished cookies. I was short 10 Vs. What is LOVE without a V? LOE just doesn’t work for me.
BTW there is still a batch of “dense” LOEs covered in “frosting” lying around if you’d like to sample. They’re really not THAT bad.

I FINALLY achieved success by following these steps in order:
  1. Follow the Rich Roll Cookies recipe from Joy of Cooking (referred by a trusted baker friend of mine.) Cream: 1 cup butter & 2/3 cup sugar; Beat in: 1 egg; Combine and add: 2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt & 1 teaspoon vanilla; Chill dough 3 to 4 hours before rolling; Preheat oven to 350 degrees; Roll out and cut; Bake for 8-10 minutes or until slightly colored. Makes approx. 60 2-inch cookies
  2. Repeat
  3. Repeat again
  4. Call mom for help
  5. Throw all cake frosting away & buy fancy icing from craft store. Heat icing in order to easily spread icing on cookie. Get desired color with food coloring.
  6. Ice entire cookie surface
  7. Let icing dry for awhile
  8. Decorate with contrasting icing color
  9. Let icing dry for awhile
  10. Individually adhere each letter cookie to cardstock using icing to spell LOVE. Be firm.
  11. Let icing dry for awhile
  12. Gently place cookie on cardstock in cello bags
  13. Let mom go home
The finished product was quite tasty. Butter & icing really do make a difference in producing just the right textured sugar cookie. I pushed those favors like a girl scout pushing her cookies outside of a wal mart. No one left empty handed.

-The perennial baker, I mean bridesmaid


  1. Oh my god, that's hysterical! I had no idea you went through all that. Thanks for sharing your near disaster with us, glad it turned into a wonderful success!

  2. Those are SUPER adorable! I love them! Lots of work to get there! Lol.

  3. Lol oh my GOD!! I had no idea.....You should be adding up the hours you are putting in. They were such a great favor at my shower. So, DIY and so delish! seems to be the running theme :) Glad your mom made it out alive!

  4. I can't believe I outed myself on the country crock thing. haha.

  5. Hey! I thought this was gonna be our little secret? Oh well, I LOE you anyway!!