Saturday, February 5, 2011

Valentine's Day Cookies

We've been cooped up inside for the last few days due to weather. A rare event in Dallas! We finally got above freezing today and what did we do? Made it another pajama day and baked cookies. :) My absolutely favorite cookies are my mom's sugar cookies with buttercream frosting. YUM!

This is a NON-refrigerated dough. When I make cookies, I like to make them right away, not wait for my dough to chill, then come back to partial room temp. Here's our super-secret family recipe.

Gram's Sugar Cookies
1 cup margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tsp baking powder
3 cups flour
1 tsp butter flavoring

Cream together margarine & sugar, then add the egg and butter flavoring.

Mix together 2 cups of the flour and the baking powder, then add them in slowly to the sugar mixture. I take it off the mixer and mix in another 3/4 cup of flour by hand. If you're keeping track, we have used 2 and 3/4 cups of the flour so far. Keep the other 1/4 cup set aside. We'll work that in as we roll out the dough. Putting in the entire 3 cups, plus using more as you roll it out can over-flour your cookies and make them dry.

Allow some time for a little Quality Control:

Next, you want to roll out your cookies. My mom taught me this neat trick for rolling out your dough so that it is a consistent thickness. Take a dowel rod and cut it in half so you have two dowel rods approx the same length. I use a 5/16" dowel rod. Tape one dowel rod to the counter. Place your rolling pin on top of it so you can see how far apart you want your second one to be. Once you have figured that out, tape down the second dowel rod.

Of course, if you have rolling pin bands, this isn't necessary, but I don't have any, so this is my method. :)

Flour your working surface with part of the 1/4 cup of flour that we held out. Be sure to give your rolling pin a little flour too. Take 1/4 to 1/3 of your dough and roll it out. Keep the edges of your rolling pin on the dowel rods and all of your cookies will be the same thickness.
Take your favorite cookie cutters and start cutting out as many shapes/sizes as you want.

With the "extras" you have leftover, work it back into the dough instead of continuing to roll it out over and over until it's all gone, then starting with a new part of the dough to roll out. If you keep working the same dough into more and more flour, it will make your cookies hard.

Once you have your baking sheets filled up, bake at 400 degrees for 7-8 minutes. At the 7 minute mark, check one of the cookies and just as it is starting to get very, very, very lightly brown, take the cookies out of the oven and immediately move them onto a cooling rack. Keep in mind, if you leave your cookies on the baking sheet, they will continue to cook, so get them off ASAP.

Don't they look pretty? This is how my husband likes his cookies. I think there might be something wrong with him...he doesn't like icing!

Use whatever icing recipe floats your boat. I'm a buttercream fan, so that's what I used on these.

Happy Valentine's Day!

...9 days early. :)

Linking up at Tatertots & Jello.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Valentine's Mantle

I cannot believe it. I'm actually ahead of the game for a holiday! This many be the only place in my house where there is Valentine's decor, but at least I'm not desperately trying to come up with something on February 13th. :)

Noramlly, my V-Day decor is minimal...a heart shaped something or other here and there. I have never tried to put together any sort of vignette (for any holiday!).

I'm always telling the kids, "Gimme some sugar!", so I thought it appropriate to make this little sign. I just reused a frame that was already on the mantle.

Mine and DH's anniversary is 2/26. Last year, I gave him this picture for our anniversary. I bought it from a seller on etsy. Love that site! It normally hangs in our bedroom (as does this mirror, actually!), but I brought it out for the holiday.

I made several small banners for Christmas, but none of them were long enough to go across my mantle. I actually measured 3 times so that this one would be long enough. Lo and behold, it was too short too! LOL I was not about to rip out stitches from my bias tape, though, so I made do. I taped my banner to the mantle with scotch tape, then glued a little glittery heart over the tape so it didn't look so unfinished. Most of the fabrics were from my stash, but I bought a couple of new ones last week. I think it turned out cute!
I totally ripped off the feather boa wreath from Tatertots & Jello. It's so fun and cheesy, how could I not run with it? :) I took two boas, white & pink, and wrapped them around a dollar store wreath. In order to be able to reuse both the wreath and the boas, I didn't glue them, I just stuck the ends of the boas into the wreath with floral pins.

Linking up at Tatertots & Jello, Under the Table and Dreaming, The Tattered Tag, Somewhat Simple and Dittle Dattle.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Better late than never...

So one month post-Christmas, I'm finally 1) updating my blog and 2) showing your our stockings! I had set a goal of having them complete by Christmas Eve. I met than goal by a whopping 30 minutes. On 12/23/2010 at 11:30pm, I hung our stockings by the chimney with care. Yay me! :)

Please excuse the quality. This is a 11:31pm picture taken with the iPhone and zero editing.

I was SO proud of myself for making these! It had been on my To Do list for much too long. My daughter is 2 (almost 3) and she had yet to have a stocking of her own. Bad mom! :)

I used a variation of the lined stocking with cuff tutorial from Cluck, Cluck, Sew. I did make a couple of modifications, but it's been a month now and I don't recall what those were! Her directions were easy to follow, though, so for that, she is AWESOME.

Now that I have this Christmas post out of the way, my next one will be for Valentine's Day. I have very little to work with for that holiday, so it's all going on my mantle.