Best of Easter cookie and cakes

Sugar Cookie 
3 cups (450grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
14 tsp kosher salt
2 sticks (1cup، 226grams)butter، unsalted، softened to room temperature
1 cup (200grams)granulated sugar
1 large egg، room temperature
1tbl vanilla extract، vanilla bean past or almond extract
Flavor options: I also like to use lemon zest with combination of vanilla extract or lemon extract، or orange zest.Directions
Sift together flour، baking powder، add salt، set aside.
In a small dish whisk together egg and vanilla extract، set aside.
In a mixing bowl cream together room temperature butter and sugar، about 5 minutes، scrape the bowl twice. Butter creamed with sugar should be light and fluffy.
Gradually add vanilla egg mixture، beating anywhere from 30 seconds to minute until well mixed in.
Now gradually in 3 additions add flour. Lower the speed of your mixer to low. Scrape the bowl well after the last addition and beat just until flour is combined.
Scrape the cookie dough into a large bowl، and using your hands knead the cookie dough for about 30 to 60 seconds، until dough comes together.
Wrap the dough in a plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight(8hours) or minimum 4hours.
Preheat oven to 375F(190C)
Divide cookie dough in half. Roll one half of the cookie dough into about 14 inch thick، between 2 pieces of parchment paper using rolling guides on each side of the dough.(2 painter’s sticks glued together on each side، or 2 pieces of 14inch molding)
Cut out as many cookies as you can. Place the cookies on a light colored baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill the cut outs in the fridge for about 15 minutes، or in the freezer 8 minutes.
Bake for 9minutes، depending on the oven، turn the sheet once half way through the baking.
Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5-7 minutes، transfer to cooling rack.
Store in the airtight container for up to 2 weeks or freeze undecorated cookies between pieces of wax paper in a large freeze safe container، for up to 2 months.
Decorate cookies as desired with royal icing or other medium that you use.

Chocolate Cookies 

Ingredients
1 cup slightly softened butter (not quite room temperature)
14 cup vegetable shortening
1 12 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
34 teaspoon baking powder
23 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 or 3 12 cups all purpose flour

Directions
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheets with silicone baking sheets or parchment paper.
Cream butter، shortening and sugar together.
Add eggs، vanilla، baking powder and salt and mix well.
Stir in the cocoa until well blended.
Add flour. and mix until the flour is completely incorporated and the dough holds together in a ball. IF YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE COOKIES RIGHT AWAY، ADD 3 12 cups flour. If you are going to “chill” the dough، or just wait for another day to make your cookies، STOP AT 3 cups. It will be totally soft and look all wrong، and you will want to ignore me completely and add more flour، but I’m telling you — DON’T DO IT. Practice self-restraint. You will be glad you did، and I will be proud of you.
Roll out on lightly floured surface. Bake at 375° F for 7-10 minutes. (I roll my cookies 316″ thick and bake 3 inch cookies for 7 minutes.)

Gingerbread Cookies

Ingredients
5 12 cups all purpose flour
2tsp ground ginger
3 tsp Saigon cinnamon
12tsp cloves
1 12 tsp ground star anise(I absolutely love using this spice، it’s magical 😉 )
1tsp baking powder(OMIT if making gingerbread house، and other 3D pieces، or if stamping on cookies and you don’t want to cookies to spread، maintaining the clear stamped imprint)
2eggs
1cup room temperature، unsalted butter
12 cup granulated sugar
12cup brown sugar
12cup honey
12cup molasses

Directions
In a medium bowl whisk together flour، spices، set aside
Cream butter with sugars until mixture is light and fluffy.
Gradually add eggs، honey and molasses and mix until smooth.
On low speed، gradually add flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until two are well combined. Turn the dough onto a work surface and give it a little knead so it comes completely together. Chill overnight. Bake at 350F for 9-12 minutes، depends on the size of the cookies.
When using small pieces for your gingerbread centerpieces، you need to watch them carefully as they bake، they will be done in less time. Thicker the cookie more time needed to bake them،.I usually bake small pieces on the same baking sheet and large pieces on the another sheet.
Cool the cookies completely before decorating. For structural pieces I don’t add baking powderbaking soda.

Fresh Lemon Royal Icing

Metric Version
1kg powdered sugar، sift if needed
50grams meringue powder
5grams(1tsp) cream of tartar
55 ml strained fresh lemon juice
110ml tap warm water
10ml (1tbl) Vanilla Extract

Cup Version
2lb (7-8 cups) powdered sugar، sift the sugar if needed
4 12 tbl meringue powder
14 cup strained fresh lemon juice (one lemon)
14cup +2 tbl tap warm water
1tsp cream of tartar
1tbl Vanilla Extract

Notes
FOR NON LEMON ICING – use the same measurements، instead of lemon use water.
COLOR YOUR ICING – I recommend letting the tinted icing sit for at least several hourscovered this helps to develop the color better، especially when working with dark colors.

I use 5 Levesl of Consistency when decorating cookies: by adding little bit of water you can control how thickness of icing. Stiff(when you pull icing into a peak، it doesn’t fall، Outline( about toothpaste thick)، 10 second، 15 second and 20 second.

BUBBLES IN THE ICING -When making icing for flooding، sometimes with all the mixing we let air bubbles in the icing. To help eliminate air bubbles، let the icing sit for at least 30 minutes and then gently stir with a spoon to get rid of the bubbles.

DARK BLOTCHY SPOTS on the dried royal icing-sometimes when royal icing dries on a cookie it can absorb fat from the cookie and create dark blotchy spots.I guess it is something that possibly also has to do with the amount of humidity in the air. There are few things that you can do to help prevent this:
Let the tinted icing sit overnight، especially when using dark colors، it helps to develop color and you don’t need to use as much coloring agent، and it can also help with blotchy spots when working with dark colors، red can give you hard time sometimes.
To speed up the drying process use fans and dehumidifier if you have one، make sure you clean the fans periodically، and you dry cookies in an enclosed area.
Keep in mind that if you live in high humidity climate you need to find a way to speed up the drying process، use fans to promote more air circulation، and use dehumidifier if you have one، it helps with the drying time as well.
I recommend finding what works for you the best، climate and weather can play tricks on us، so testing is always a good idea.

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