Sunday, September 11, 2011

Cookies for (slight unhinged) Champions

Hi there!
So, after the race last Sunday, I spent a few days visiting April in Vegas, which is why I didn’t put this recipe up sooner. 
Since running 13.1 miles means that I would pretty much eat anything in sight afterward, I made some cookies, which I brought with me to our hotel.  I wanted something fun and different, and since April and I are both slightly unhinged, these cookies could be weird (not in taste, but in appearance).
I found this recipe on Culinary Concoctions by Peabody.  I completely, 100% adore her blog.  Everything is so fun and different, and everything that I have made from her blog has been amazing.  Please check out her blog if you get a chance.  You won’t be sorry!  Anyway, as soon as I saw these, and how fun and pretty they were, I knew I had to make them for Disneyland.   Bonus points for the recipe because the dough can be made in advance. 
I did have some trouble with this one.  First off, I’m relatively certain that my dough was too soft.  Maybe I over processed it.   But, I chilled it for a few hours, thinking it would be okay.  Second, I had trouble with the spiraling part.  You’ll notice that my cookies do not look like pretty spirals.  When I tried to roll it, even though the dough was cold but pliable, it wouldn’t curl nicely.  It just sort of folded.   It was late on the night that I was making the dough, and I was really tired, so this was really frustrating.  But, I was too tired to mess with it further, so I just sort let it fold in on itself, and then made a half-hearted attempt at shaping it into a round log with my hands.  If my hands hadn’t been covered in hot pink cookie dough, I would have taken pictures.  Trust me when I say it was a mess.  But, I semi-prevailed.  I rolled the log in sprinkles, wrapped it up in wax paper, and stuck it in the fridge.  They seemed to bake up just fine in the end, so I guess its all okay. And they tasted great!
About the eyes.  I mentioned that April and I are both slightly unhinged.  While perusing the grocery store baking section, I came across this little package of candy eyeballs.  I think they are hilarious, so I bought a pack to use on the cookies.  Here’s the thing I learned: don’t put them on the cookies until the last few minutes of baking, or they will melt into the cookies.  For the first batch, I stuck them on in the beginning.  For the second batch, they went on when there were about 6 minutes left of the baking, and they still melted more than I would have liked.  Lesson learned.  But, they still look kind of crazy, and funny, so I accept my results. 
You can make these cookies whatever color combo you would like.  Peabody made hers purple.  I made mine pink.  You choose. 

Vanilla Cake Batter Swirl Cookies
Makes about 30 cookies

1 ½ cups cake flour
2/3 cup cake batter (I used funfetti)
½ tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
10 ounces unsalted butter
2/3 cup powdered sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp cake flour
2 tbsp food coloring (you choose)
1 ½ cups sprinkles

Combine flour, cake batter, baking powder, salt and sugars in a food processor and process briefly to mix. Add the butter in pieces; process with on/off bursts until the mixture has the consistency of cornmeal.  Add the vanilla and process until the mixture just forms a ball. (fp note: mine didn’t really form a ball.  Perhaps my butter was too soft when it went it.  I don’t really know.)

Divide the dough into 2 equal parts and then return one of the portions to the food processor. Add the food coloring and the extra tbsp of flour to the processor and process until just incorporated.

Roll out each portion of dough between sheets of waxed paper. You want a rectangle about 11 x 8 1/2 inches.  Leave the dough between the sheets of waxed paper and slide onto a baking sheet. Refrigerate until firm, for at least 2 hours.

Remove dough pieces from refrigerator. Pour the sprinkles into a shallow rectangular dish.

Peel off the top sheet of waxed paper from both dough’s. Brush the vanilla dough very lightly with water. Using the waxed paper, lift the colored dough and flip it onto the vanilla dough so they are stacked. Press with your fingertips to seal the two doughs together. Remove the top sheet of waxed paper and trim the edges even.

When the dough is just pliable (but still cold), roll up the dough like a jelly roll. As you begin to roll, gently curl the edge with your fingertips so you don’t get any air pockets as you roll into a log. As you roll, the vanilla portion may want to tear (or totally break, like mine did), pinch it together as this happens and keep rolling.

After forming the dough into a log, throw away the waxed paper. Gently lift the log on top of the sprinkles and roll until the log is completely coated. Wrap the log in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm enough to slice (about 4 hours, or overnight, or whatever). (fp note: I learned a nifty trick for keeping cookie logs from getting a flat spot while in the fridge – take a paper towel tube, and slice it down one side. Cuff this onto the cookie log, and your cookies will stay round!)

Heat oven to 325 degrees. To bake, slice the log in ¼ inch thick cookies and bake on parchment lined baking sheets for 15-17 minutes, until cookies are no longer shiny on top and the vanilla portion is golden.

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