Imagine taking fourteen kindergarteners to a movie, fourteen sugared-up kids to a movie that is. I’m a teacher, trained in classroom management skills, and that scenario is even a bit overwhelming to me. This was how my friends celebrated their daughter’s sixth birthday a few weeks ago. She asked if she could take her friends to see the new movie Megamind. I think her parents expected a few of the kiddos wouldn’t be able to attend, but everyone said yes. If you ask me, they’re pretty cool parents. After the movie, everyone was invited back to the house for dinner, cake, and more crazy fun… which makes them even cooler (or crazier depending on your perspective). Mackenzie, the birthday girl, wanted cookie favors to go with her movie theme. I remembered seeing popcorn cookies that two of my favorite bloggers had created, Bridget of Bakeat350, and Meaghan of The Decorated Cookie, and I decided that was a perfect favor for a movie party.
The mini popcorn containers were purchased at a Party City store. I filled the container up about ¾ of the way with waxed paper. Each favor contained 25-30 popcorn cookies. I made up an entire batch of sugar cookie dough and got hundreds of popcorn pieces out of it. I discovered my mini flower cookie cutter would make great popcorn pieces. Once I cut out the cookies, I tweaked them a little (stretching out a little, taking off a petal or two, etc.) to make them look like random popcorn pieces and not perfect little flowers.
To ice them, I outlined them in white royal icing with a #2 Wilton tip. I flooded the cookie with white royal icing and icing tinted yellow with Wilton’s Golden Yellow gel. I know this may seem like a ton of work, but they went much faster than most of the sugar cookies I’ve made recently. With these, instead of trying to make them perfect, you’re actually trying to make them imperfect for the right effect.
We’re heading into cookie season and I’ve had a lot of people ask me for my sugar cookie recipe. It took me years of trying different recipes to find a sugar cookie that I loved. As far as taste goes, these are amazing. They are made with cream cheese, which keeps them soft and chewy, yet still strong enough to stand up to decorating and packaging. They are flavored with lemon extract. It doesn’t overpower the cookie, but adds an amazing taste.
Before you grab all of the ingredients, I have a few disclaimers. This dough can make you a bit crazy, if you don’t know what you’re up against. It is less stiff and more sticky than sugar cookie recipes I’ve tried in the past. I’ve stuck with it because I have found nothing that compares to the texture and flavor. There have been times when I’ve been tempted to go with a more sturdy dough, but over and over again people who have tried these say that they not only look cute, but they’ve never tasted a better sugar cookie.
Here’s are my tricks:
- Do not use low-fat or fat-free cream cheese.
- Make sure you cream the cream cheese and butter with the sugar before mixing in other ingredients.
- Divide the dough up into three pieces, and cover each in saran wrap, and place all three in a Ziploc bag.
- CHILL ~ These cookies have to chill out overnight. As soon as the dough you’re working with starts coming to room temperature, put it back in the fridge and start with another third.
- Dust waxed paper and rolling pin with flour more liberally than you would with other sugar cookie recipes to avoid sticking.
- Do not overcook. This is critical. If you take them out too soon, they’re doughy in the middle, too late and they are hard and slightly browned on the edges and bottom. When I think they’re ready I check a cookie by touching the top and seeing if it seems liquidy inside. It should still give a little when you touch the top. The second way I test them is to flip one of the cookies over. A cookie that is not fully cooked, looks as if there is moisture on the bottom. With a little practice, it’s easier to gauge when they’re done.
Have a great weekend everyone!