Saturday, October 29, 2011

Celebrating Star Wars!

Last month George Lucas released the Star Wars Saga on Blu-ray.  This was a big day for the fans!  I'm a bit late in the game, but I had some Star Wars baking tools I wanted to experiment with in honor of my favorite Movie Trilogies!

First, I purchased a Star Wars cookie cutter set from Williams-Sonoma.  It 's an absolutely fantastic set, however I will need to spend more time figuring out how to ice them more appropriately, or if they should be iced at all.  I started with Darth Vader, as I wanted to use a chocolate cookie dough.  These cutters also are press cookies that make a crisp, indented image in the cut out.

The one pictured above is covered in flour so that I don't forget to tell you that you MUST dip the cutter in flour each time you cutout a cookie or dough will become stuck in the crevices and the shape will be unusable.  I learned this the hard way!  

So, you begin by mixing up chocolate cut-out cookie dough.  This is my favorite recipe:

Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies
adapted from recipe found on Bake at 350 (also my inspiration for these cookies!)

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the dry ingredients and set them aside. Cream together butter and sugar. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Combine the flour mixture a little at a time. Roll the dough onto a floured/cocoa-ed surface. Cut out desired shapes with selected cookie cutters. Freeze cut-outs on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before baking to ensure baked cookies will keep their shape. Decorate with icing as desired.

Next, roll out the dough and start cutting the shapes.  With the press cutters, once you have positioned the cutter and pressed it into the dough, you should press down again to create a nice, indented image on the cookie.  Be sure to roll and cut the cookies on a FLOURED surface (again, if you don't properly flour the cookie will stick to the rolling surface and become extremely difficult to remove, likely resulting in tearing the shape).

This is what you don't want (shape stuck to counter):

This is what you do want (shape lifted up with cutter):

To remove the cookie, push the press down, place cutout on a cookie sheet.  Do not worry about the white flour on the cookie, it will bake right in:

Once they are baked, you can decorate them after they've cooled.  I mixed up some black icing to pipe into the crevices of the cookie.  It was much more difficult than I expected.  I used very thick icing and a #1 tip, but it still spread into other parts of the cookie.  I began to get the hang of it, but between you and me I was glad I ran out of cookies to pipe!  

Now, moving on from frustrating to extremely frustrating:  Cupcake Stencils.  These were also purchased at Williams-Sonoma.  Of course, the box instructions make it look so easy.  The idea is that the stencils are curved to mimic the dome of a cupcake to ensure crisp lines and perfect images.  I tried, I really did.  Many times.  I re-frosted cupcakes and started over and over again.  The stencils would stick to the frosting making the design messy when lifting the stencil up.  The sugar would build up in the middle of the design and not cover the edges.  All sorts of problems.  I'm not used to not being able to  figure out a way to get something the way I would like it to be.  In this instance the stencils won and I was defeated.  I suppose the force was not with me.  I need further baking Jedi training and Yoda's calming influence!

One bit of advice, let the frosting set for a few minutes so the stencil won't stick as much.

This cupcake had been frosted and re-frosted so many times it became a bit messy.
I also made cupcakes with the rest of the stencils, too, just for "fun".  Here they are:

I'm not 100% sure I will try these again.  We'll see!  This is one of the instances I would have preferred not to post my baking project because I'm not happy with it.  However, I promised I would share the good and the bad.  It's all in the trying anyway!  Happy Baking.  :)

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