It happens to me more often lately and I'm not really alarmed because I figure the 'hard drive' is just filling up. The occasional lack of focus is more worrisome to me...forgetting that I have something in the oven for example can have very unfortunate consequences. This is not a new problem. I was well known as a child as the one who always burned the last sheet of cookies. I guess as the last sheet went in I turned my attention to other, more immediate, things and so those last cookies lost importance.
A recent result of lack of focus had nothing to do with baking cookies. After work on Friday I came home and my focus was clearly on something in the living room because I turned out of the hall into the living room....all except my right food which stay solidly on the floor and pointing the way I HAD been walking. This led to my knee being asked to do the impossible so it rebelled...now I have a knee injury that will probably take a while to heal and it messed up my birthday and Valentine's plans...a tea party for women friends. I'd gotten my tea pots out and made cute goodie bags with flower seeds and candy hearts and valentines on the front, plus baked a few cookies.
Which brings us back to cookies...wasn't that where we wanted to be anyway? For the tea party I had already made some Spritz cookies with a cookie press. Yes, I still have one of those. If I followed the organizers' dictum that anything not used in the last 3...or 5...or 7 years...then the press would be long gone. Being a bit of a pack rat, especially where baking things are concerned, I still had the cookie press and all of the discs for it carefully stored in a gallon Ziploc in the bottom back corner of my baking drawer.
I used to make Spritz cookies as a child...and burned the last sheet of them most likely...and one of the things I remembered is still true. Sometimes the dough needs more flour than the recipe calls for. I usually put about a cup of the dough into the press to try it out. This time I scooped out the squished dough three times before I achieved the right consistency and consistency is crucial when you are pressing dough through shaping discs.
First I made white flowers with yellow centers. Starting with white dough makes it lots easier to add more flour...no color streakiness. The yellow centers were achieved by putting about 2 tablespoons of dough into a sandwich size Ziploc bag, adding 3 drops of yellow food color, then kneading the color into the dough in the bag. A small snip off the end of the bag lets one use it as a pastry bag and pipe the yellow dough into the center of the white flower shapes.
After the flowers I made dark pink hearts...after all Valentine's Day is a day for hearts and flowers! Here the key is to find the right amount of twist to give the cookie press handle to turn out a heart shape that is a full shape but not too full. Once I figured that out the rest was easy.
If you don't have a cookie press and want to make these cookies...the texture and flavor are a really nice light butter cookie delight...you could shape balls in your hands (quickly because the dough melts easily) and then roll the balls in colored sugar or other decorations, then bake.
Happy Valentine's Day! Hope you get lots of hearts and flowers and love!
For making with a cookie press
recipe from the Christmas Cookie Deck by Chronicle Books
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
dash of salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
Mix in egg and vanilla and almond extracts. Add flour and salt mixing until smooth.
Pack dough into a cookies press fitted with a star or ridged tip or any desired design. Press out dough onto greased baking sheet.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until edge are lightly browned. If a 1-inch wide ridged cutter is used, immediately cut strips crosswise on the diagonal to make 1 1/2 -inch-long cookies. Transfer to racks to cool. Makes about 6 dozen.