Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter Basket Cookies (Or Bird Nests. Whatev.)

Now that the Easter hoopla is over and the kids are back in school (finally!), i can get this ship underway!

I recently spent 2 months in a splint and brace due to a broken wrist and surgery. For those long weeks, i realized how terrible it is to have your mobility cut down. Unfortunately, it was my dominant hand, so i did a lot of ordering pizza and drive-thru. It sucked big-time.

As Easter approached, i was very eager to get back to feeling like my old self again. I spent a lot of time on Pinterest while laying broken on the couch. While diddling my time away re-pinning really neat things, i got some inspiration of my own.

I decided to make some cookies. I had seen some links on Pinterest where they made ice cream bowls using the bottom of a muffin tin and cookie dough.

I grabbed my mini pan and made some of Alton Brown's sugar cookie dough. I used a round cookie cutter and cut my dough out, and draped and shaped the dough around my muffin tin cups. I went every other cup around the edge, because otherwise the cookies would have touched and welded together as they baked. Also, I advise against using any of the inside cups, as the finished cookies pop off easier around the edges.

I did not grease my pan. I thought about it. But i baked 3 test cookies on my dark nonstick pan to see how it was going to work out first. All pans are not created equal, so test yours before you fill a whole pan full of cookie dough.

It worked well. I used a butter knife to pop the cookies off my pan. I held it flat under the bottom of my cookie and gently lifted until they came off.

I made some royal icing and a grass tip for the first cookie. I wondered if the icing was going to be too soft, and it really was. It wanted to meld back together  bit. You know how royal icing is. So i made a batch of buttercream icing for the rest of them.

The grass tip was kind of a pain in the butt. I had never used it before, and it kept getting clogged. I used a toothpick to poke into the holes when it got bound up, but by the time i was done, i was pretty annoyed. I don't know if there's a secret to using this tip or not. I guess practice makes perfect.

I will say that PMS and baking do not go well together. For my first baking project out of my brace, it was a rather frustrating endeavor.

But they were cute! I used little mini Cadbury eggs (my favorite Easter candy). I call them Easter baskets, but they kind of look like bird nests to me. I wasn't about to attempt putting handles on them or anything.

For something i kind of came up with on my own, i think they came out very cute. I was pleased.

You can find Alton Brown's cookie recipe here. I used the butter icing recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens cook book. I don't know why it calls it butter icing when most websites call the same icing buttercream. It's the same basic recipe you can find anywhere. I think the cookie dough was perfect. It baked up very firm and solid instead of crumbly. I always worry about crumbly cookies if i am going to do more to them than bake them. It's impossible to ice a crumbling cookie.


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