This is the story of what happens when a sugar cookie, a tub of left-over icing, and a lazy Sunday afternoon all find themselves together on a secluded island.

It’s also what happens when a girl named Jenny finds herself with a new sugar cookie recipe and leftover icing on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Utterly incompetent doesn’t even begin to describe my cookie-decorating skills today. Sloppy, shaky, unimaginative….it’s against my better judgement that I’m even posting these pictures. However, I’m doing it in the name of learning….last week I signed myself up for a month-long cake decorating course, and this weekend I went ahead and made some dough to use for the cookies I need to bring to the first class. While I was at it, I decided I should go ahead and use up some of the tubes of icing that were leftover from decorating last year’s gingerbread house. I assume it’s still good…was a bit runny but seems to taste fine and doesn’t appear to contain any mold or foreign substances. Yes, that’s the proper way to determine whether or not things are still good.

Anyway, I figure it’ll be fun to keep a picture of my sorry beginner decorating skills to mark  how I progress through the class.

Today, I (almost) succeeded in creating a basket weave design:

I should have put a bit of a border around, so I wouldn’t have the ends showing.

Then, some stars…i think the icing was a bit watery here:

a  flower:

my sloppy initials:

a spaghetti heart:I attempted to rotate this picture, but it clearly didn’t work.

and the word Love:

By the time I got to the last one, I had already improved quite a bit, I think. Pay no attention to the jumbled mess next to it. That was my attempt to squeeze out the last bits of icing.

The sugar cookie was:

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

These turned out pretty good. they were slightly crispy around the edges but still nice and chewy in the middle, mildly sweet flavor and a beautiful crackled top. I’m not really a fan of sugar cookies as I tend to consider them all the most boring cookies ever, but if i must have ’em, these are the ones I’ll go with from now on.

On an unrelated note, I recently was lucky enough to receive my grandmother’s 1972 copy of the Joy of Cooking. I found it on a top shelf of her closet, obviously out of reach and unused for decades, and she seemed happy enough to pass it on if someone really wanted it. I have to say, even if I wasn’t interested in using the recipes, the tips alone are worth the price of the book. It’s chock full of information…everything from how to carve a melon basket, to how to set the formal table, how to create a “birthday bread horse” (??!), how to hide a secret filling in a cake, how to crack into a lobster, or properly peel a turnip….and so it goes, on and on and on. Need to know it? this book probably can tell you. I’m so glad to have finally got my hands on a copy, and can’t wait to start reading/browsing through it.

I especially enjoyed the anecdote in the introduction—a doctor who insists on going straight to the kitchen of the afflicted household. Only after he had thanked to cook for giving him a new patient, did he go up to treat the latest “victim.” It does make a great point—-the food we eat and the way the kitchen is managed can have a tremendous effect on the health and happiness of everyone in the household. Just serves as another reminder of how important cooking is, and how we can scarcely afford to ignore the benefit of good eating 🙂

I also was given a copy of the Fannie Farmer cookbook, which I haven’t had time to flip through yet, but looks like its going to be another excellent reference cookbook. Not to mention the fact that the illustrations are at least 3x the size of those in Joy, so perhaps it’ll be one I turn to more frequently.

Ok, that’s all for now! happy Sunday to all of my 6 readers!