I've been on a bit of a cookie decorating kick lately. So much so that my caddy containing cake and cookie decorating supplies, which usually sits in the cabinet above the refrigerator, has taken up permanent residency on my kitchen counter (it looks so nice there too.) By the way, if you are ever in the market for one of these handy caddies, you can get a great deal if you buy it at a Michael's craft store. Wait until they have one of those "Buy Any 1 Item at 40% Off" coupons in the Sunday paper, and you'll save something like $25! I just love a good bargain.
So anyway, back to the cookies. I've been working at improving my cookie and cake decorating skills, plus I have an unnecessarily large collection of cookie cutters, most of which have never been used. I just can't help myself when I find a cool new cookie cutter shape: "Hmmm... there just might be an opportunity in the future when baking cookies shaped like a chainsaw will be appropriate. Although I can't imagine what that occasion would be, I should definitely buy this cutter--just in case."
In the event that you didn't catch on the first 100 or so times that I have mentioned it, in our household the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament is always a big deal, particularly if Duke is playing (preferably winning.) A few days before the games start, we both diligently fill out our brackets, which hold prominent positions on the living room table in front of the T.V. until the tournament is over. Confession: I might not have picked the Blue Devils to win it all this year. Although they are still my favorite team, I''m just trying to be realistic.....plus I want to win my bracket challenge. Is that so bad? I'd rather not divulge who I picked to win it all--it would likely have me dis-alumni-ed from Duke.
Knowing that activities like cheering, screaming at the T.V., and pulling your hair out as your team misses free throws all require energy, I thought that basketball-themed sugar cookies would be a good snack to serve. Plus, making these cookies would allow me to break in my shorts-shaped cookie cutter (originally meant to be swim trunks, but I improvised.) The basketball cookies were pretty simple: round cookies with an orange base and black lines. The shorts, however, became a bit of a project. At first, I was just going to decorate the cookies with blue and white icing to look like Duke team shorts. Once I did this however, I realized that the blue wasn't dark enough, and they looked more like UNC team shorts--not good. So I had to go a step further and sprinkle some dark blue edible glitter over the lighter blue icing--a little messy, but problem solved. For the "D", I decided to use edible blue marker as opposed to icing, as it required more detail.
For all of this work, my Blue Devils had better win next week! Oh, and the recipe for both the cookies and the icing are the same as the ones for the Baby Onesie Cookies. Here are a few extra tips for making these NCAA Tournament treats:
- The cookie dough can be prepared in advance and refrigerated, tightly wrapped in plastic, for up to 3 days.
- The baked and decorated cookies can be stored at room temperature, covered, for up to 3 days. Layer them between sheets of waxed or parchment paper.
- If you don't have a round cookie cutter on hand, you can always use the rim of a glass to cut out the cookies. To prevent sticking, dip the rim of the glass in some flour before cutting out the shapes.
- The shorts can either be done freehand or by tracing around a homemade paper cut-out if you don't have a cookie cutter.
- Although I am always keeping my eyes open for new cookie cutter shapes, I buy many of my cookie cutters on-line at a site called Sugarcraft (www.sugarcraft.com). They are very inexpensive, and there is a wide variety from which to choose. Sugarcraft also offers all kinds of baking supplies, from cake pans to sprinkles (including the edible glitter and the edible magic markers that I mentioned in the post above. I usually spend quite a bit of time just browsing the site!