I know I haven’t posted on GMT for the longest time and even though I had a recipe that I wanted to share with you guys, I also had these cookies to share. And since they are holi and St.Patrick’s Day specific (both of which Indians and the Irish celebrated yesterday or day before, depending on which part of the world you are), I did not want to delay this post.
I tried a new sugar cookie recipe for these cookies. Overall I liked the taste of the cookies, probably because instead of vanilla extract I used lemon extract in both the cookie recipe and the royal icing and I love lemon. Lemon pound cakes, lemon rolls, lemon pie. I love it in anything.
I did have a problem in the cookies retaining their shape. Which was probably more my fault than the recipe’s I think. I generally chill the dough after rolling it out, so that when I cut the cookie dough it retains its shape while I transfer it to my cookie sheet. I skipped the step of chilling in between, because I baked them a little late at night, so that I could do the flood icing at night, giving the icing enough time to dry before I draw the cow and leprechaun designs on it. As a result, a hurried baking session resulted in not so perfect shapes when I put the cut out cookies on the cookie sheet. Plus I didn’t use any cutter, and freehanded the shape and apparently cutting rectangles freehand is not my forte.
The festival of Holi is one of my favorite festivals in India. Diwali being another favorite. It is messy, can be really really messy and as such when I was staying in India each year I would decide I would not play Holi because I hated cleaning up after – the skin would become so dry (thanks to the chemicals in the color), my hair would become rough and not to mention the floors and the bathroom full of stains. Then there would be tell-tale Holi signs that would stay for days on my skin- behind my ears, under my finger nails and those hard to reach places in your body – not because you were lazy to clean those areas but because people would use nasty permanent colors that no amount of rubbing removes. So every year I would resolve not to play, but come Holi , I would be there in my old, ready to throw out clothes, probably the dirtiest of them all. Because I believe either you go all out or sit at home absolutely clean. There’s no middle route for me when it comes to Holi.
Growing up in Air Force Stations, Holi was always fun. People were kind enough to drench you in beer- making you smell like heaven, and conditioning your hair at the same time. Biryani and raita would be the staple lunch at Air Force Mess Holi parties. Mainly because its the easiest Indian thing to eat when your hands are all the colors of the rainbow. Even though my mom would make sure that every family member’s hair was reeking of oil, and our body slathered with cold cream- her way of ensuring that the color slips off our body easily, we still had a difficult time cleaning up after. Especially since there is no escape from Silver or gold paint that was the worst. But when I was playing I never cared. Gulaal, mud pools, water guns (pichkaaris), gujias, bhaang (which I never had – well once, if you consider the time I had it accidentally at a party that my mom-in-law had taken me to)- Holi days were always fun.
Unless you count dropping my masala dabba on the floor and coloring my whole kitchen floor with turmeric colored stains, its been a while since I have played holi. Four years to be exact. Since I couldn’t play this year as well and did not want to make Gujia’s (I knew I would be the only person eating it), I decided to make Holi inspired cookies.
The inspiration for the Holi Cow design came from Vaidehi’s doodle.
I freehanded the design outline on the flooded cookie with edible markers. For the background splash of color in the cookie, I used a sponge dipped in different colors and just went crazy with the sponge all around the cow outline. Then, with the outline as a guide I piped the cow with black royal icing. I filled it with white 10 second royal icing. And immediately dropped blobs of orange, pink, yellow and green 10 second icing on the still wet white icing. With a tooth pick I spread each blob of color to look like its a splash. For the “Holi Cow” I tried to pipe it first, but my tip was too thick, and I screwed it up. So for the other cookie I just used my edible marker. I need to buy a 00 tip for piping finer details.
Since March 17th was also St. Patrick’s day, I used the other half of the recipe to make some St. Paddy day’s cookies. I did not have a clover leaf cutter, and used heart shaped cutter to make the clover leaf but it did not turn out as well as I expected. But I knew where I went wrong and think the heart cutter can be used to make clover leaves. I will update you when I do get it right.
I am sharing the recipe for the cookies, even though I can not yet guarantee they hold their shape (since it did not for me), but the recipe is from Autumn Carpenter’s book on cookie decorating so I am guessing they do hold their shape. I did like the taste and flavor of these cookies though and that is why they appear here on the blog today.
- 1 cup (225gms) of unsalted butter, softened
- 85 grams cream cheese, siftened
- ¾ cup (170 gms) sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp lemon extract (you can use vanilla instead)
- 3 cups (330 gm) all purpose flour
- Beat the cream cheese with the butter on medium speed till blended, scraping bowl mid way.
- Add in the sugar, gradually, beating on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy. Mix in the extract.
- Add in the egg, mixing on low until mixed through. Scrape the bowl.
- Add the flour, a cup at a time, scraping the bowl in between. Mix until just incorporated. Do not overmix.
- Divide dough into two equal portions and wrap well in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, to firm up the cream cheese and butter , making it easier to roll out.
- Roll out and cut cookies in desired shape. Bake cookies in a preheated 375 F oven. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until edges are very lightly browned. Let cool on tray for 5 minutes and then transfer to cooling rack to completely cool, before icing.