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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cut It Out! It's National Cookie Day!

Tradition plays a tremendous part in the festivities surrounding the holiday season. Be sure to create traditions with your family and friends and do your best to keep them alive in this ever changing world of commercialism. And what better place to begin but in the hearth of the home, the kitchen. Roll-out cookie dough and festive cookie cutters can make holidays memorable. The sheer magic of baking and personally decorating the cookies is entertainment in itself. Just take a look at these Stained Glass Ornament Cookies Pattie created using cutter cookies she found at William Sonoma. Aren't they fabulous! And just wait until you see what she did with them. You'll be as delighted as I was:)

As I mentioned the other day, today is National Cookie Day and we are in the midst of National Cookie Cutter Week. I had big plans for today's celebration. As luck would have it, those plans are not going to come to fruition today. Here's why. For the past couple of weeks, I've been having problems seeing out of my right eye. Thinking it would pass, I just went about my business as usual. Well, it didn't work. As a matter of fact, it got worse. I tried eye washes, resting and even different reading glasses and it continued to get worse. I finally went to the eye doctor today and it seems I have a rather advanced infection in my eye and the doctor tells me it must not only be tended to but also requires a few weeks, at least, of rest. I'm not one to listen to the doctors but, It doesn't take a rocket scientist to plainly see there is indeed something awry. So, dear readers, I'm sorry to say, rest it will be; indefinitely...

Zaletti
I did manage to gather a few cookie trivia crumbs while researching for today's post. Rather than typing these tidbits of goodies here, I will send you on your way at your leisure. I've left tons of links in the resource section below.
Buttered Rum Cutouts
Buttered Rum Cutouts
Better Homes and Garden Biggest Book of Cookies
1 cup butter softened
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 tsp. rum extract
2-2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 recipe Royal Icing
Directions
1. In a large bowl beat butter with electric mixer on med high speed for 30 sec. Add brown sugar, baking powder, nutmeg and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides occassionally. Beat in egg and rum extract until combined.
2. Add as much flour as you can and mix it in with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour with spoon. Divide dough in half. If it is necessary, chill dough for one hr til it is easy to handle.
3. Roll out half the dough onto the floured surface until 1/8 inch thick. Using floured cookie cutters, cut into desired shapes. Place one inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
4. Bake at 350 F oven for 8-10 min or til edges are slightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack and frost if desired with Royal icing.
Royal Icing
In a small mixing bowl combine 2 cups sifted powdered sugar, 1/4 cup warm water, 4 teaspoons meringue powder, and 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until combined. Beat on high speed for 7 tp 10 minutes or until stiff. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons additional warm water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until glazing consistency. If desired, divide glaze and tint each portion with different paste food coloring. Use at once. Keep covered when not in use.
To Store: Place in layers separated by waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature up to 3 days or freeze unfrosted cookies up to 3 months. Thaw cookies, frost.
Aunt Chick and the History of Cookie Cutters was to be the core of today's post, along with a few chosen cut-out cookie recipes. Let's see how this goes:)

By definition, a cookie cutter is "a device used to cut rolled cookie dough into shapes before baking." Traditionally, cookie cutters are made of copper, tin, stainless steel, aluminium, or plastic. According to the same defining source, the first known use of the words cookie cutter occurred in 1903. I beg to differ: In a Boston Cooking School Magazine article from 1902, titled Some Christmas Fancies, by Julia Davis Chandler, I came across these suggestions:

As you see, in paragraph two, the last sentence makes reference to the tinsmith who can supply the "cutters" by direction. Tinplate was used in cookie cutter production because it was cheap and readily available. It was also easy to form and solder, corrosion resistant, non poisonous and easy to keep clean. Cookie shapes were cut from pastry dough using these cutters made by local tinsmiths. A cookie cutter in the mid 19th century might cost between 5 and 10 cents and a family, in the course of time, might accumulate a dozen or so for use on special occasions.

Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
Cookie decorating dates back to at least the 14th century when in Switzerland, springerle cookie molds were carved from wood and used to impress Biblical designs into cookies.
The art of decorating cookies can be traced back to Medieval Germany where Lebkuchen was crafted into fancy shapes and decorated with sugar. During the 17th century, Dutch and German settlers introduced cookie cutters, decorative molds, and festive holiday cookie decorations to the United States. German cooking utensils, including cookie cutters, were imported between 1871 and 1906, and the American tradition of decorating cookies for Christmas tree ornamentation took hold.
Lebkuchen (gingerbread) was probably the first cake/cookie traditionally associated with Christmas. For Christmas over a hundred years ago, Pennsylvania German children in Lancaster County helped cut out and decorate foot-high cookies to stand in the front of windows of their stone or brick houses. These cookie people–often gingerbread men and women iced with rows of buttons and big smiles–were a cheerful sight to snow-cold passersby. Figural cookie-making was practiced in Europe at least as far back as the sixteenth century–most of them were made using intaglio molds rather than with cutters. (source)
Sugar Cookies for a Crowd
The Best of Amish Coooking
Phylis Pellman Good (1988)
The quintessential cut-out cookie is the sugar cookie. Also called Amish Sugar Cookies or Nazareth Sugar Cookies, the modern sugar cookie was created by the Moravians, who settled in the Nazareth area of Pennsylvania during the mid-18th century. As a matter of fact, Pennsylvania adopted the Nazareth Sugar Cookie as the official state cookie in 2001.
I was graciously awarded with the Liebster Award by Helene from Masala Herb. (Thank you again Helene. It was sweet of you:) With her unique approach and style, Helene's blog never disappoints. I've discovered so many new ingredients and dishes by visiting her and her positive encouragement is contagious. Drop by and say hi when you get a chance:)

"The Liebster Blog Award comes from the German word meaning "dearest" or "beloved" and is given by fellow bloggers to new blogs with 200 or less followers, with the aim of encouraging new connections." I hope Helene understands that I think it best to simply accept her award without passing it on for the time being.

I would like to thank my latest followers though. They are:
Sarah: @ Muffin Top Confections
Someone? @ To Be Announced
Russ & Jenna @ Mr. & Mrs. Johnson
Emily @ Cleanliness is Next to Godliness

For those of you talented cookie bakers out there, I happened upon a Holiday Cookie Contest, over @ Yummly Nibbles & Bits, that you just might find interesting. It seems the prize is a 7-Quart KitchenAid Stand Mixer. Hurry though. It closes December 9, 2011. Good Luck!!!

I have no intentions of not making some visits every now and again and there is no way I won't be popping in to wish you all a Happy Holidays. However, just in case we miss each other, enjoy the Holiday Season everyone and bake a lot of cookies!!! As a matter of fact, if you would like to leave your favorite cookie link in the comment section, link away!!! Louise:)

Apple Butter Cookies
Good Housekeeping Cook Book (1944 ed.)

Resources
Cookie Cutters:
1. American Cookie Cutter Manufacturer
2. Copper Cookie Cutters
3. Dog Bone Cookie Cutters
4. Hammersong Cookie Cutters (unique & whimsical)
5. Hand Crafted Cookie Cutters
6. Poppy's Cookie Cutters
7. Walnut Creek Home and Garden-A family owned business in Metamora, Indiana
8. Cookie Cutter Ideas
Cut-Out Cookies
1. The History of Fruit Cake and Other Christmas Goodies
2. Tips and Hints for Making Cookie Cutter Cookies
3. How to Decorate with Royal Icing
4. Tips for Icing
5. Easy Cake Mix Sugar Cookies
6. Cookie Decorating Recipes
7. Fond Memories of “The Original” Cookie Cutter Lady
8. German Cinnamon Stars (Zimtsterne)
9. Coffee Ginger Cookies

35 comments:

  1. I was anxious to come and check out your Cookie post today; not because I make much anymore, but it is something I really enjoyed doing when my boys were growing up.
    Your post are always so intesting for me; lots of foodie trivia.

    You certainly put in a lot of work considering what you are going through with your eye.
    Please take the time to heal; the computer is probably not the best spot for you right now.
    This will drive you nuts especially now.
    Be patient and take good care.
    Hugs,
    Rita

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  2. Rest up, indeed, Louise. So sorry to hear about your eye, but you better heed the doctor's orders. You need to keep those sharp eyes of yours in good working order! I'm always amazed at the photos of lovely frosted cookies. Mine never quite come out that way, and I have found that when it comes to cookie techniques, I am definitely a specialist at "drop cookies."

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  3. Hi Louise

    Sorry to hear about your eye - make sure you get plenty of rest and I hope it will get better soon. I love, love love cookies!! It's difficult to pick a favourite but I'm going to go with this one as you just can't beat a good choc chip cookie
    http://themorethanoccasionalbaker.blogspot.com/2010/07/chocolate-chip-cookie-revisited.html
    and this peanut butter and chocolate one
    http://themorethanoccasionalbaker.blogspot.com/2010/06/peanut-butter-and-chocolate-cookies.html

    Happy holidays! Ros x (ps you've been getting my name right - thank you! :)

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  4. Gosh, I wish I had some of those adorable cookie cutters! The palm tree is adorable.
    Well, I'm right on the money (for a change) as if it's national cookie day, as that's what I'm gonna be doing this afternoon!
    Fun post, Louise!

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  5. I think I have to try those apple-butter cookies TODAY. The Knight tried to put buttermilk in the cart last night, and I reminded him I only use it for biscuits and I wasn't making biscuits this week...

    Back to the store.

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  6. Whats beauty day dear Louise, Cookie nacional day:) is nice, last night I was seeing some Christmas cookies recipes cause I begin my Christmas season (LOL) and love this post dear:)

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  7. Fantastic Fantastic Post. The title you picked "Cut it out its National Cookie Day" was just as fantastic. Great list of links too. I will be linking to your post on my blog for sure.

    Love that Buttered Rum recipe-

    I really hate to hear your having eye problems my friend. Get some rest and feel better really soon. Go eat a few batches of cookies and I'm sure it will nurish you eyes for sure. You can eat them with your eyes closed too ya know.

    What would we do without your fun posts. But all jokes aside, get some rest. RELAX! That infection will clear up. It will all still be here when you get better.
    Thinking of you & Happy Cookie Day!

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  8. I do love the shape of those stained glass cookies..so pretty! Guess what I'm off to do? Bake cookies! no joke...

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  9. Oh no--don't let my kids find out! Actually we tried to make the pretty cut outs at Easter--royal icing, fancy tips and all. Not pretty, that's all I'll say.

    Congrats on your award!

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  10. So....will you forgive me for saying I hate to bake cookies, other than bar cookies? Pretty please? And then you and anyone else who wants to can send me cookies to enjoy.

    Or maybe I'll wait for the girls to get home from college, and let them try the new convection ovens to bake cookies. Yeah. That's a good plan.

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  11. And did I miss what's wrong with your eye? Sorry! I hope you're doing better soon. My beloved had cataracts removed at Northeast Eye Institute here in May, and he's thrilled. It was much less hassle than an acquaintance in NJ is going through right now with his cataracts.
    Hope your eye is on the mend.

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  12. I am always inspired by the lovely photos of decorated cutout cookies, but mine never, ever turn out that way.

    I agree with Rita - you put in lots of work for this last post. While it was lovely to read, please, please rest your eye as the doctor ordered! We'll still be here waiting for you when you get back!

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  13. Sorry to hear about your eye Louise! I wish you speedy recovery! It's the season of cookies! Yay! I'm off to check out the zaletti. xoxo

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  14. YUM!! I love cut out sugar cookies, but don't have the patience to make them very often! Love this post. Thanks!!

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  15. Guess what, Louise! I'm going to a Christmas cookie exchange party in a couple of weeks! I'm going to keep this post in mind. While others pick their recipes from Food Network, mine will have history to them! :-)

    And aw, Louise, I'm so sorry you're having eye troubles. I really hope you find out the diagnosis and a cure for it. Hugs to you.

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  16. What a great post, as usual, Louise! Mmmmmm, apple butter cookies. I'll have to try those. I adore apple butter, have never had cookies with it in.
    Hope your eye is better soon. This is not the month to be slowed down by physical trials!
    Hugs
    Trisha Faye

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  17. That settles it. I'm baking cookies.

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  18. hi louise, sorry to hear about your eye. i hope it's nothing serious. I was just about to google on come christmas bake ideas and your posts come at the right time, i shall chk out some of the links here later. You take a good rest!!

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  19. Congrats on the Liebster award! And, your decorating skills are superb!

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  20. Obviously it's the best day ever!!

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  21. This is just in time because I've declared December cookie month! I'm so sorry about your eye. Hope your feeling (and seeing) better soon.

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  22. nice post. Now you can use this b2b sites in india directory to promote edible oils import & export business.

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  23. Hey Louise! *wave*
    i love cookies!!!!!!! Your soo lucky to go to a cookie contest! I d do anything to be there. lol

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  24. Oh no, so sorry to hear about your eye. Thanks for getting out all these great cookie sources, though, Louise. You out did yourself again! Good advice also to keep those traditions going. It's so important to family and life! I have to say that if I put cookie decorations all over my tree, we'd have a bare tree in no time. I looked at the link and her tree is beautiful! Have a great day and I hope you heal fast.

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  25. Hope your eye is much better now! Take plenty of rest! Unable to visit you earlier, as I've just came back from a short vacation. Take care, Louise, and wish you a relaxing beautiful Sunday!

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  26. These sound so yummy, I am definitely going to have to try out a few of these recipes.

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  27. Oh no, hope your eye gets better! Take care.

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  28. Cookies...I would love to try all the recipes...and the cutOut cookies are so so cute, all nicely decorated.
    Sorry to hear about your eye...and hope that by now you feel better Louise :-)

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  29. Love these new cookie ideas for our cookie trays we deliver. Sad to read about your eye Lousie.. hope you're on the mend real soon xox Happiest of holiday wishes to you & may Santa fill your stockings with all the joys of the season.

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  30. Hi Louise! I was thinking of you and your blog today. Glad to see you are doing well. Have a very happy holiday season!

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  31. So glad you enjoyed your visit, Rita. You are absolutely right, the glare of the computer screen is not pleasant at all. I am beginning to see better though:) Enjoy the holidays and thank you so much for visiting:)

    I'm so rested up, T.W. I'm going bonkers just thinking about all the things that need to be done. However, I did manage to pass the holiday cooking chores onto my son and daughter in law. Should be interesting since they are vegetarians! You may not be happy with your frosted cookies but that "Wedding Cake" of yours was priceless!!! (I'm sure the frosted cookies would be too:)

    Thanks for leaving those links, Baking Addict. I'm all over those Peanut Butter and Chocolate cookies. Blame it on my addiction to Reese's. Thanks so much for popping in, Ros. Enjoy the holidays!!!

    Thanks Barbara. So glad you liked it. Enjoy the holidays!!!

    Lol, Sissy Sees. I'm sure there have been many trips since...

    Thanks Gloria. As soon as my eye is feeling better, I'm going to attempt your Chocolate Hazelnut Buche de Noel. It looks heavenly and perfect any time of year:)

    Thanks Gone-ta-pott. I must agree, I was happy with the title too, lol...This eye thing is not how I had planned the close of the year. I'm on the mend, albeit, very slowly...

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  32. I bet your cookies came out simply dee...li...cious, Heather. Thanks for popping by...

    Thanks, Inger.

    Thanks for dropping by, Marjie. Marion has plans to bake bar cookies Friday night because she agrees they are easier than baking cookies. Should be interesting. Of course it's simply her way of keeping me patched up and out of the kitchen. We'll see...

    Cutout cookies don't usually like me either, Kathy and I must admit, I need to be in the mood for certain ones myself. As for my eye, it is getting much needed rest because they now have me wearing a patch. However, it sure doesn't help my other eye any and I'm losing my patience, quickly!!! Thanks for stopping. It's always nice to "see" you:)

    I knew you would want to check out those Zaletti, Reeni! My eye is slowly on the mend...

    I'm afraid I'm not very patient when it comes to cut-out cookies either, Tiffanee but they are fun to bake once you get in the swing of it!!! Thanks for visiting!!! That Hot Chocolate on a Stick is a wonderful gift idea. Love it!!!

    So how was that cookie exchange, Sophia? Amazing I bet!!! Thanks for the hugs, they were just what I needed:)

    So glad you enjoyed it, Trisha. I had huge plans for celebrating December. We'll just need to tackle them next year!!!

    Where's mine, Duckie?

    Still resting, Lena. I hope you found something truly delightful in those links. Thank you so much for your kind words:)

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  33. Thanks Yummy. I only wish I had such skills, lol...

    It sure seems like you celebrated, Emily. That was one heck of a cookie round-up!!!

    Thanks Lisa. it is mending very slowly...

    Welcome, Jeff. Thanks for visiting!!!

    You are welcome to visit us in the USA any time you like Helene. Thank you so much for all your kind words:)

    That makes two of us, Linda. I'm such a bad little baker. However, I know for sure you are not!

    It's getting better, slowly, kitchen flavours; Joyce Thank you. I'm so relaxed I may as well be sleeping, lol...

    Welcome, Muffin Top and thanks for visiting. Harvest any recipe you like. I know they are in good hands:)

    Thanks tigerfish. It's getting there:)

    They are pretty Juliana I wouldn't mind a nibble of a cookie right about now. A glass of wine would be nice too, lol...Thanks for popping by...

    Thank you so much for your cheerful words Jady. I'm getting there...

    Thank you so much for your thought, Dia. It's so sweet of you:)

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  34. Loved this cookie post Louise...wishing you and your family a very happy and healthy New Year!

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  35. So glad you enjoyed it Susan. Happy New Year to You and Yours!!!

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Through this wide opened gate,
none came to early,
none returned to late.

Thanks for dropping in...Louise