I mixed up the dough this morning and I couldn’t resist trying the embossing this afternoon. It was a success and I’ve learned a few things along the way with this first experimental batch. If you Google embossed cookie recipes you can find many, along with other hints from others. I came across some gorgeous embossed pie crusts and can’t wait to try that out. There are three recipes that come with the rolling pin but I decided to try it with my favorite butter cookie recipe – the one I use to make Mexican Wedding Cake cookies.
The recipe I use is 1/2 c. powdered sugar, 1 c. softened butter, 2 tsp vanilla, 2 c. all purpose flour (you do not want self -rising!), 1/4 tsp salt. Cream everything except flour until light and fluffy and then add in flour. Stick in fridge to chill. Chilled dough is the absolute key to getting embossed cookies and keeping the dough from sticking to all the little nooks and crannies in the embosser. You bake them at 325° F until lightly browned. How long does that take – well that’s the tricky part. I normally bake all my cookies on a baking stone but I didn’t realize until I was ready to put these cookies on it that is was dirty and you can’t just wash and stick that stone back in a hot oven so I had to use one of my Copper Chef cookie sheets but I haven’t baked cookies on them before and since they a dark pan that can affect them. I think I baked them about 13-14 minutes but it may have been a bit longer. The idea is to bake them at a slightly lower temp so that they dry out evenly through the cookie and just start to turn a tinge brown around the edges. Take them out too soon and they won’t be “dry” and melt in your mouth but too late they may get too dark. Makes about 2 dozen 2.5″ cookies.
Anyway, I had shaped the dough into a sort of flat disk shape, stuck it in a plastic storage bag and stuck it in the fridge until nicely chilled. The dough was very stiff when I took it out. But it can get soft really fast once you start working with it so it needs to be very chilled. I also have a marble rolling pin so stuck that in the fridge to chill as well.
I apologize for the shadowy photos – I forgot to replace the bulb in my ceiling light and one in the breakfast bar before starting so it’s casting shadows when I took these photos. (But I had cooking making to be doing – not changing light bulbs!)
I have several plastic cutting sheets and I use one for baking stuff. You don’t want to use a lot of extra flour or the dough won’t be the same, but you need it to not stick. I rolled it out on the plastic sheet without any flour under it the first time – worked fine since the dough was super cold. Once I rolled it out to the thickness I wanted, I stuck this whole sheet back in the fridge for 5 minutes or slightly longer to rechill it.
I sprinkled the rolling pin with flour knocking the excess off. Friend Judy had told me she uses a pastry brush for this type of thing — I need to add that to my shopping list because the only one I have is silicone but that new package of toothbrushes — yes I stole two of them for the kitchen baking. One to help make sure flour got in the crevices and one to help clean out where little bits of dough stuck — but I was amazed hot little the dough did stick – just when I got to the edges and the dough was rolled thinner.
Next took the dough back out of the fridge and rolled the embosser over it.
Not bad for a first try. My dough was about 1/4″ thick and I could have rolled it a bit harder to etch it more but I wanted to make sure I didn’t end up with a gummed up rolling pin if the dough was too soft. Next cut out with cookie cutters and put on baking sheet.
They are all the same size – it’s just the angle I took the photo at. Bake, carefully transfer to cooling rack and let cool.
The knit scarf I put the plate on just happens to have the same stitch pattern as the cookies! :-) They are just a simple butter cookie that melts in your mouth. The second pan I put some Sparkling Sugar on so they have a bit of crystal bling on them. I love that sugar – on muffins, cookies, scones, pie crusts – it looks so pretty and doesn’t melt.
So the things I learned:
- Chill chill chill that dough before rolling, before embossing – chilling is what makes it all work.
- When I rolled the second batch I had to reroll them and let it chill again. I didn’t use flour under the dough (which I didn’t do the first time) but I rolled the dough thinner and when I tried to transfer the cookies after embossing to the cookie sheet, they distorted or tore. So don’t roll your cookies too thin. I did add just a bit of flour under the dough after rechilling which worked fine. If you roll the cookies to thin, after embossing when you try to get them transferred to the baking sheet they may lose their shape or tear. You just don’t want to add too much add’l flour or your cookies will be tough.
- When I cut the cookies out I used both a round cutter and a scalloped edge cutter. The scalloped edge cutter held it’s shape better. The round cutter let the edges sort of puff/rise. Not a big deal – the scalloped cookies just look prettier.
- You want a recipe with no baking powder in it since that’s what makes things rise. Also do not use a self-rising flour. The embossed design will disappear if the cookies rise.
As I was searching for info on embossed cookies, I came across recipes for lemon rosemary shortbread, coconut shortbread, orange, chocolate – I will have to try a new flavor next time.
Now excuse me while I go refill my coffee cup and have a cookie!