Well, it's Christmas Eve day. Are you realizing things have settled down now but you didn't get to bake from scratch...and wish you had? Do you have some rolls of store-bought cookie dough in the fridge staring at you...making you feel bad?
I can help you make them look like you spent a lot of time in the kitchen! Follow along people!
Let's start with Sugar Cookie Spirals! I saw the "scratch version" on Pinterest and pinned it to my Recipe Board...but I didn't have time to do the deed from scratch...and I wanted to use up a roll of sugar cookie dough I had bought at Thanksgiving and not used. So, here's what I did. You can do it too...it was not all that hard!
SUGAR COOKIE SPIRALS
Semi-Homemade My Way
Roll of refrigerated store-bought sugar cookie dough
Green paste food color
Latex (or similar) gloves - highly recommend
Gallon Ziploc bag
Take half of the roll of dough and put it into the Ziploc bag. Reserve other half in the fridge.
Add green paste food color (adequate amount to get the brightness of green you desire - I think I used about 1/8 teaspoon).
Zip close and start squishing the dough and color to begin the incorporation process. It won't be smooth, you just want to get it started.
Remove dough from Ziploc to a lightly floured surface (one that won't absorb and be stained by the green color - I worked on wax paper) and knead it briefly to incorporate the color fully.
Allow it to chill while you work with the other dough.
Discard anything that has been stained by the green dough before starting with the vanilla dough :-)
Roll out white sugar dough between two sheets of wax paper. You want to end up with rectangular pieces of dough - both the white and green should be about the same size. You are aiming for about the size of a piece of printer paper - 8x11 or so.
Repeat process with the green dough.
Place both of the doughs, separately in their own wax paper, on a baking sheet and pop it into the fridge for two hours, or the freezer until firm. I was in a hurry and did the freezer deal.
Prepare a long skinny plate with lots of sprinkles. Use jimmies or non pareils or sparkly sugar. It will need to be big enough to accommodate the length of your dough. Set aside
After the dough has firmed up (not frozen, just firm), remove to counter and take the top sheet off of each piece of dough. Place the vanilla down first and very lightly brush it with a bit of water...very lightly here - not wetting it, just want to adhere the other sheet of dough to it so it doesn't slip as you roll.
Lay the green dough face down on top of the white dough - keep as even as possible - but you are going to trim it a bit if needed so no need to be OCD about it being perfect.
So, now you have wax paper on the bottom, white dough, green dough, wax paper on the top.
Gently remove the top wax paper from the green dough. Trim the dough as necessary to get a good fit. You'll do some final trimming later - so, like I said, don't need to be perfect.
Now, it's time to roll. Obviously, you are going to have the long side towards you. Use the wax paper to help you roll, like you would a jelly roll. I also used my bench scraper dipped in some flour to loosen it gently from the wax paper. Roll it away from you (don't worry if you tear pieces...I did...just pat them into place...repair as you go - use bits that you cut off if needed). Roll it to a cylinder shape, seal the final edges by pinching the dough and then smooth it.
Trim off any ends that look uneven.
Now it's time to carefully transfer the dough to a platter that you have loaded with sprinkles. Roll your cylinder of dough carefully in the sprinkles, pressing them in as you go. It's warming up by now and likely starting to get limp...so don't delay, move it along now...it doesn't need to be perfect.
Return the now-sprinkled dough to the wax paper, help it get back into good cylindrical shape by gently pushing on both ends and smoothing things down and in, and roll up in the wax paper. (I put it into a Ziploc bag and froze it...I did this a week in advance.)
Return to fridge until ready to bake. If you are ready to bake now, pop it into the freezer until firm enough to slice. It will have gotten too soft to slice as you've worked with it. The re-chilling is integral.
Now, you are ready to slice and bake!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (or whatever your refrigerated dough indicates). I used Pillsbury and it said 350. I used a Silpat prepared baking sheet. I transferred the dough to a cutting board and sharpened my best knife.
I cut the dough in half and cut each half into 12 equal pieces (total 24 cookies in the batch). Carefully place spirals on baking sheet (these do spread so don't crowd). I baked for about 10 minutes, cooled in pan on a rack for 10 minutes and transferred to a rack for complete cooling.
They look marvelous and like I spent hours on the process...but really, it's slice and bake baby!
You can also make easy Peanut Butter Blossoms with refrigerated peanut butter dough. Divide dough into 24 equal pieces (I used a small cookie scoop - you could slice them if you prefer), roll into ball, roll ball in sparkly sugar OR dip your fork into sparkly sugar if you don't want as much sugar on your PB cookie. Make cross hatch marks with the fork (if you are using forked sugar, re-dip into sugar between cross hatches). Bake at 350 for about 10-11 minutes. Remove from oven and place (still on baking sheet) on cooling rack. Place a peeled chocolate kiss in the middle of each baked cookie and allow to cool another 10 minutes on the pan. Carefully remove to cooling rack until ready to plate. Easy peasy. My kids love them. Matter of fact, the teen ate 5 of them while I ran to pick up his Dad from the airport. I had to laugh.
You can do this...it's not that hard!
Merry Christmas to all - I'm finished with baking and I'm ready to rest today...and prepare to eat more tonight! Our Christmas Eve tradition generally includes boiled peel-your-own shrimp, chili con queso, and tamales...assorted chips, dips, and all the sweet treats I've been making. We drive to our Austin family Christmas morning and eat more all day long...oy vey! Then another family deal on Monday. I've got my Zumba music on the mp3 player. I'm set to begin exercising off the calories in between events!!! Let's hope I overcome the need for falling into a food coma nap instead of exercising :-)
Bon Appetit, Yall!!!