My Favorite Rollout Butter Cookies

I am a baker at heart.

I love making pies for Thanksgiving, Italian cookies for Christmas, cakes for birthdays, and frosted rollout cookies for any event where children are in the house.

I loved the days as a teenager when I baked sweets for my brothers and the neighborhood kids, and then, as a mother, when I rolled out cookies with my sons.

When it comes to making dough suitable for cutting out cookies, there is one recipe I have used for the last thirty years, Bee’s Mother’s Butter Cookies. I laugh when I look at the recipe in my old cooking diary because it reminds me that at one time I thought I could save a few calories by cutting out a third of the butter. As if.

What is the difference between cookie doughs designed for rolling out versus  drop cookies? You won’t see baking powder or baking soda in the list of ingredients. Those ingredients, both leavening agents, are added to make baked goods rise, spread, and become airy. Rollout cookie dough should not spread in the pan. We want sharp, crisp edges and tender centers.

What I especially like about Bee’s recipe is it is not too sweet, it has a lovely buttery flavor, and a hint of lemon. Texture-wise, if I roll the dough out to a quarter-inch thickness, the cookies have just the right amount of chewiness for my liking. My new adjustable rolling pin assures a uniform thickness.

Even as a seasoned baker, I sometimes mess up on how long I bake cookies. I want them light in color, but if they are not cooked enough, the taste can be off from not cooking the flour long enough. If they are too dark, they are not as pretty as they could be. Cook them until the edges just start to brown. Having said all that, for whatever reason, the cookies always taste better the day after you frost them.

A few words on measuring flour:

The proper way to measure flour is to lightly spoon it into a dry measuring cup and then use the flat edge of a knife to level it. If weighed, one cup should equal 4.25 ounces.

Yield:  75 ¼-inch thick cookies

Ingredients:

6 sticks (1½ pounds) butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 large grated lemon rind
8 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and then leveled in a dry measuring cup

Instructions:

Measure flour into a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.

Zest one lemon. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar for two minutes on medium speed. Add eggs, one at a time, vanilla, salt, and lemon zest. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Be sure to scrape down dough on sides and bottom of bowl.

Add flour and mix slowly. Once it is all incorporated into the dough, mix medium-slow speed for one minute, scraping sides and bottom of bowl as you go. Cover dough and place in refrigerator to chill for two hours or up to two days.

Remove dough from refrigerator and cut into portion sizes suitable for rolling. Allow to soften for 20 minutes before rolling. Dough should be softened and still cool.

When ready to roll dough, preheat oven to 350º.

Place a segment of cool dough on a sheet of parchment paper. Lightly flour the rolling pin, the cookie cutters, and the top of the dough. The trick to creating a nicely flavored, tender cookie is to use as little extra flour as possible and to not keep reworking the dough.

Using cookie cutters, cut the shapes as close to one another as possible.

Remove the scraps and put them in a pile. After you have rolled out all the dough once, take the scraps, knead them together, chill, and roll out again.

Place cookies on a parchment-lined (or ungreased) cookie sheet. They can be arranged close together because they will not spread. I like to get all the cookies rolled out first and then cook them.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until edges just start to brown. Shift pans around in the oven midway through the cooking time for more even browning. Always remember, the back two corners of an oven are the hottest.

Cool cookies on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

To learn how to make and decorate with Royal Icing, please look at this post.

Sometimes, I thin the icing, brush it on the cookies, and then immediately add the sprinkles so they stick as the glaze cools.

Allow cookies to dry for two hours before stacking and storing.

Related Posts:

How to Make Royal Icing and Decorate Cookies

Italian Sesame Seed Cookies
Italian Ricotta and Lemon Cookies
Three Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies
Oats, Ginger, and Cranberry Cookies

If you enjoyed this post, please share and become a subscriber! Be sure to confirm the subscription on the follow-up letter sent to your email address.

Follow Judy’s Chickens on Instagram and Pinterest @JudysChickens.

Always check my blog for the latest version of a recipe.

© 2014-2019 Judy Wright. All rights reserved. Photos, videos, and text may only be reproduced with the written consent of Judy Wright.

How to Make Royal Icing and Decorate Cookies

I recently helped host two parties, both for babies. One was an early celebration for my granddaughter’s first birthday. The color scheme was pink and white. All. The. Way.

The other party was a baby shower for the daughter of one of my besties, LouAnn.  The color scheme was sky blue and white, with a few cherished googly eyes thrown in.

Both parties were designed with love and whimsy. For the baby shower, co-host Nan decorated white pumpkins with ribbons. I had never considered bedecking pumpkins, but I was suddenly ALL IN on the party spirit when I saw hers. Nan’s natural enthusiasm for life has a way of doing that to you.

She inspired me to make pretty pumpkins for my baby girl’s party, but when I went to decorate them, I got a heaping case of startitis. I texted Lou Ann to see if she would work her magic on them. She whipped these up on her kitchen counter while her dinner cooked. I love them! They make me smile.

Lou Ann is one of those creatives who get in this peaceful place, and calmly creates beautiful objects. It is as much a pleasure to watch her work as it is to work alongside her. Readers of Judy’s Chickens may remember the post I wrote on how she used greens from my yard to make a stunning winter floral arrangement.

Individually Wrapped Frosted Cookies for Party Favors

One of the tasks I took on for both parties was to make frosted cookies for favors. I invited Nan and Lou Ann to come over for the morning day to help me out. I had never successfully negotiated how to use royal icing and a piping tool to decorate cookies. They were pros.

You will need a disposable piping bag and a #2 or #4 piping tip. A Ziploc bag works fine if you run out of piping bags.

Gel food coloring has more color pigment than regular liquid food coloring, so you need less, and the colors are truer. The girls taught me to poke a hole through the foil lid with a toothpick and use it to add color to the frosting. We made three bowls of icing: white, sky blue, and pink.

They showed me this nifty way of filling a piping bag.

First, they piped an outline onto the cookie to create a nice edge.

After the outline dried, they used a miniature spatula to fill in the interior space with icing. You may need to thin the icing with water first. This filling-in process is called flooding in the icing world.

In addition to piping supplies, Nan brought this awesome adjustable rolling pin that keeps the dough thickness consistent when rolling out cookies. This leads to more even baking. After we were done, I went to The Kitchen Nashville to buy one.

Here is a link to the cookie dough recipe: My Favorite Rollout Butter Cookies

How to Make Royal Icing

Ingredients:

3 ounces (6 T) pasteurized raw egg whites 3 tablespoons meringue powder
1 pound (4 cups) confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
Water for thinning icing, as needed
Gel Food Coloring
Piping bags and tips

I mixed all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. I made the first batch with vanilla extract and the second batch with lemon zest. Both were good. You can store leftover icing in the freezer.

After we made the blue and white cookies, Lou Ann got busy on the dresses.

 

When she added the pink, I melted.

After the girls left, I decorated a few cookies for my grandchildren. I pushed the easy button on those and used a pastry brush to simply slather on the frosting. Still cute, especially when I added the fun sprinkles from The Kitchen Nashville.

A Few Other Party Touches:

Leave it to Nan to come up with a specialty drink for a party. She loved this cocktail when she had it in Las Vegas and figured out how to reproduce it.

These asparagus roll-ups were the best I have ever tasted. Liz, another host for the baby shower, created them. She used a combo of Boursin and Parmesan cheese in the spread.

My daughter-in-love, Meera, ordered this delicious and gorgeous strawberry cake from Baked on 8th.

My son’s generation refers to a baby’s first birthday cake as a “smash” cake. Baked on 8th makes those as well. This one has strawberry frosting and was out of this world. The blue high chair was my husband’s father.

My future DIL, Lily, ordered flowers from the Green Hills Kroger. Ever since Lead Floral Designer Liz Blalock joined their staff, the floral department has blossomed with beautiful arrangements.

The two parties were back to back events. Each was very different, but both were filled with many delightful moments, now memories, enhanced by the special touches of all involved in planning and hosting.

Related Posts
My Favorite Rollout Butter Cookies

 

 

Winter Floral Arrangements Using Greenery from the Yard

 

 

How to Fold A Tree-Shaped Napkin

 

 

How to Make Birdhouse Gourds for Fall Decorating

 

 

Group Project: A Shibori Dyed Quilt

 

 

If you enjoyed this post, please share and become a subscriber! Be sure to confirm the subscription on the follow-up letter sent to your email address.

Follow Judy’s Chickens on Instagram and Pinterest @JudysChickens.

Always check my blog for the latest version of a recipe.

© 2014-2020 Judy Wright. All rights reserved. Photos, videos, and text may only be reproduced with the written consent of Judy Wright.

TNFP’s 3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

Recently, I was cooking at The Nashville Food Project when I spied Catering and Events Manager, Katie Duvien, pulling sheet pans full of peanut butter cookies out of the oven.

They smelled so good, I had to taste one—just a smidge. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one breaking off smidges.

“They only have three ingredients: one egg, one cup of creamy peanut butter, and one cup of sugar,” said Katie. This easily-remembered recipe makes them perfect for scaling up in a commercial kitchen or at home.

After she recited the ingredients, I was already thinking about adding crunch by using crunchy peanut butter. I made my first batch that night in the time it took another super-easy recipe, Sheet Pan Supper: Italian Sausage, Peppers, and Potatoes, to cook in the oven.

Ingredients for One Dozen

1 egg
1 cup crunchy or creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar (either all white, or half white and half brown)

To Scale It Up:

To make 6 dozen cookies, follow this recipe: 6 large eggs, 6 cups sugar (I use ½ white and ½ brown), and 6 cups of creamy or crunchy peanut butter (one 3-pound container).

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350º

Mix eggs and sugar, add peanut butter. Use a spatula to scrape ingredients stuck along the bottom and sides of the bowl. Mix until all ingredients are evenly incorporated.

Add cookie dough by the spoonful (or use a #40 cookie scoop) to the baking sheet.

Use a fork to make the traditional crisscross pattern on top.

Bake for 12-15 minutes. Do not over-bake. As soon as the cookies have spread and started to turn light brown, they are ready. When making multiple batches, rotate baking sheets on the oven racks after eight minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Wrap after they cool, so they don’t dry up.

PS: My friend, Jill Meese, adds 1 tablespoon of dark cocoa powder to the ingredients and says it makes the cookies mind-bogglingly good!

PPS: Here’s a good yarn about the history of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich– The History of the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Other Darn Good Cookie Recipes:
How to Make Royal Icing and Decorate Cookies
My Favorite Rollout Butter Cookies
Mary’s Award-Winning Chocolate Chip Cookies
Italian Sesame Seed Cookies
Italian Ricotta and Lemon Cookies
Oats, Sorghum, Ginger, and Cranberry Cookies

Other fun recipes from The Nashville Food Project:
Oven-Roasted Strawberry and Rosemary Jam

Outrageous Roasted Rosemary Cashews
 

Meet the women who inspired me to cook: About

Follow Judy’s Chickens on Instagram and Pinterest @JudysChickens.

Always check my blog for the latest version of a recipe.

If you enjoyed this post, please share and become a subscriber! Be sure to confirm the subscription on the follow-up letter sent to your email address.

© 2014-2021 Judy Wright. All rights reserved. Photos, videos, and text may only be reproduced with the written consent of Judy Wright.

My Favorite Blueberry Pie

It was Friday night, the beginning of the last summer weekend on the lake. We were finishing dinner on the deck when we were suddenly overcome by a scourge of mosquitos just as dusk fell. We decided to head inside. Everyone grabbed something from the table to clear it as we skedaddled into the house.

I had baked my favorite blueberry pie for dessert about an hour earlier. Most bakers know not to cut into a fruit pie until the filling has had a chance to cool and set, but we had momentum in the room; the kind that comes from vigorous teens after a mad dash. It didn’t seem like the time to wait for a pie to set.

As everyone cleaned the plates and loaded the dishwasher, I sliced and plated the pie. The kids passed the plates around the room, bucket-brigade style. Not wanting to move en masse to find a seat at the table, everyone stood where they were and ate their pie. No one spoke, so intent were they on their warm slice of pie with its thick puddle of juices, not too sweet berries, and thick, crunchy crust.

It was a moment in time that I cherish — everyone content and huddled together in my kitchen.

I usually make blueberry pie in late June and early July when blueberries are in season. To store surplus berries, I measure out 4-5 cup increments (enough for a pie) and place in storage containers in the freezer.

Yield: One 9″ Pie

Ingredients


One 9-inch double pie crust ( I adore Trader Joe’s frozen pie crusts)
4-5, occasionally even 6, cups blueberries (all fresh or a mix of frozen and fresh)
1 teaspoon freshly zested lemon
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⅓ cups granulated sugar
⅓ cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons butter, cut into thin slices
1 egg and a sprinkle of sugar for egg wash, if desired

Instructions

Preheat oven to 450º. If you have a pizza stone, put it in the oven on the middle rack to preheat with the oven. I find that cooking pie on a hot pizza stone helps the bottom crust cook more fully.

Prepare or purchase a double pie crust. Unroll one crust, use a rolling pin to smooth it out, and place in a 9″ pie pan as described in my Strawberry Rhubarb Pie post. Set aside.

 

Pour blueberries into a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Stir together.

Cook on medium heat, stirring often, until thick, bubbly, and glistening. The juice color will change from dull to shiny within five minutes. Stir in vanilla extract. Remove from heat.

Pour filling into unbaked pie crust. Dot with sliced butter.

Roll out second crust, place over filling, and tuck in edges.

Crimp edges and slash crust with a knife to create vents for steam.

If desired, add an egg wash to the upper crust for a more finished look. Using a fork, beat egg in a small bowl. Use a pastry brush to spread over crust. If the wash puddles in the dimples of the crust, use a paper towel to mop it up. Sprinkle sugar over top.

Here’s what the crust looks like with and without a wash.

  

Here it is with a stockinette pattern piecrust from Mason Dixon Knitting. Here is a link to the piecrust instructions. So fun!

 

Place pie on the preheated pizza stone and bake for 10 minutes at 450º. Reduce heat to 350º and cook for 35-45 minutes. After the first ten minutes at 450º, you’ll notice the crust will already be lightly browned. To keep the crust’s edges from browning too much, place a pie crust shield  over the rim. If you don’t have one, cover rim with strips of foil.

The pie is done when the crust turns golden brown and the juices start to bubble out.

Birthday Pie

SOME people request blueberry pie instead of cake for their birthday. For my husband (and for me, too), it has to be THIS recipe because after 35 years of eating blueberry pie with the subtle tastes of nutmeg and cinnamon in it, other blueberry pies taste bland by comparison.

Goodbye summer of 2019!

And, Becca and Joe, I’ll be back next summer to get more blueberries from Rosebud Farm. It was at their farm that I filmed the sheep for the story The Sheep of Nashville: The Chew Crew. You two sure make retirement look like fun!

Other Fruit Desserts
Mom’s Apple Pie with a Cheddar Topping
Homemade Grape Jelly
Mrs. Walker’s Cranberry Nut Pie
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
My Favorite Peach Custard Pie
Very Berry Clafoutis
Fruit and Nut Bread

If you enjoyed this post, please become a subscriber! Be sure to confirm the subscription on the follow-up letter sent to your email address.

Follow Judy’s Chickens on Instagram and Pinterest @JudysChickens.

Always check my blog for the latest version of a recipe.

© 2014-2019 Judy Wright. All rights reserved. Photos, videos, and text may only be reproduced with the written consent of Judy Wright.