While Christmas shopping for my dear nerd friends on ThinkGeek.com, I came across these amazing cookies cutters, and I couldn’t help myself! (Nerdy cookie cutters)
Now that I’m back from my amazing Paris/Balitmore/San Marino excursion, I had to get back in the kitchen and make my nerd friends some nerd cookies. 🙂 So I just used a simple sugar cookie recipe and a frosting recipe that specifically hardens after it dries. The frosting is perhaps the most important part of this recipe because if you need to transfer your nerd cookies to a nerdy place (like a lab), you don’t want the contents of your scientific glassware to spill during transfer (ie, it sucks when the frosting doesn’t stay intact). So whatever you do with these sugar cookies, make sure you use frosting that will dry!
Nerdy Sugar Cookies
3/4 C crisco
1 C sugar
2 large eggs
1 T milk (whatever you have on hand)
1.5 t vanilla extract
2_3/4 C all purpose flour
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
Directions: In a large bowl, cream the shortening and sugar together with a hand mixer (~3 minutes). Mix the eggs in one at a time with a fork. Then mix in the milk and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture in batches, and mix just until combined. The dough will be soft and slightly sticky. (Add more flour if the dough is too sticky to be manageable.) Refrigerate the dough for at least one hour. (If it’s late, it can stay in the fridge o/n.) Preheat the oven to 400ºF and line your baking sheets with parchment paper or your favorite non-stick liners. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4″ thick. Cut the dough with your super-nerdy cookie cutters. Pick up the cut dough with floured hands (keeps the dough from sticking to your oily fingers) and place on lined cookie sheets. Collect the leftover scraps of dough, re-roll, and re-cut shapes until you have used all of the dough. Bake the cookies for 7-9 minutes, or until the edges have JUST started to brown. Move the cookies to a cooling rack, being careful not to tear the cookies (they are still soft right out of the oven, but they will firm as they cool). Cool completely before decorating!
Sugar Cookie Frosting (Hardens for no-mess transport)
1 T non-salted butter, softened
1.5 t vanilla extract
2.5 C powdered sugar
3 T milk (whatever kind you have on hand)
Food coloring as desired
Directions: In a small bowl, mash together the softened butter and vanilla extract with a fork. In a medium bowl, measure the powdered sugar and put the mashed butter-vanilla on top. With the fork, mix together the butter, vanilla, and sugar until evenly distributed. It will just look like slightly lumpy powdered sugar Add the milk one tablespoon at a time and stir well to combine. The frosting should be liquidy at the end. Aliquot your frosting into smaller bowls to add the food coloring. Decorate your cookies like woah!
To make thin lines on your cookies, you can use pre-packaged frosting (not gel!). OR you can load your frosting into a plain sandwich bag and cut a small hole in one corner, making a home-made piping bag! I used the pre-packaged stuff b/c I was feeling lazy. Additionally, this particular frosting recipe is very good for blending. For example, if you paint one “background color” on your cookie, you can lay another color on top, and the colors will remain separate but the frosting will “melt” into itself for a smooth appearance. So you can write on the cookies (see the “CalPoly” flask) or you can use a toothpick to blend the colors into a neat tye-dye effect. Here are some of the ways Joe and I decorated the cookies:
Get your nerd on and enjoy!