Thursday, June 10, 2010

Newport Lobster Sugar Cookies

It is about time I showed some love for my wonderful Newporters (and don't worry Liss yours will be coming soon!) For many years now, I have had the privilege to spend the summer months slaving away at the Black Pearl, lounging on the beach, strolling downtown and having a little too much fun on Thames Street in Newport, RI. If you live anywhere near New England and you haven't been to Newport, I highly suggest a weekend is AH-Mazing. Ok, maybe I'm a little bias because I have some wonderful friends there, but it really is a beautiful place- tourists flock from all over! Trust me.. I know.. I was waiting on them...

Newport Bridge at Sunset- photo by Elissa

I could go on and on, but enough about the place itself.. lets get down and dirty with these delicious Newport Lobster Sugar Cookies that a couple of my fave gals received in the mail as a token of my 'Traveling Sweets.'

When I was actually just settling in to life in Texas, Elise had sent me a little house warming gift of a Rhode Island dish towel and matching lobster cookie cutter- too cute right?! At this point I hadn't really gotten this blog going yet, but I knew that I would have to send her something in return and what better gift to receive than cookies?? And just as Elise sent me something to remind me of RI while in TX, I'm returning the favor while she's finishing up summer school at Radford University in Virginia! The other recipient of these cookies is my 'sister from another mister' Mindy who is also slaving away in summer school, but luckily still in Newport. I'm so impressed with these girls for having to deal with all that goes into school when they should be loungin' on the beach!

I was introduced to these cookies when I was living with a family during an internship in New York. Mrs. Mumford made them for the Super Bowl one chilly afternoon and I was immediately in love. They are seriously my absolute favorite sugar cookie that I have ever had or made. They're light, they're sugary, they're just plain delicious.

Best Ever Sugar Cookies
Oven: 350 Bake time: 10-12 minutes

2 1/4 cups AP flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla
dash of almond extract
1 TBS milk

Preheat oven 350.
Whisk flour, salt and baking powder in large bowl.
Cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla.
Add dry ingredients and milk to shortening mixture.
Roll out on floured surface and cut out cookies using your fave cookie cutters.
Place cut out cookies on prepared baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.
Let cookies set a few minutes out of the oven before transferring to cooling rack.

Simple Sugar Cookie Icing
2 cups powdered sugar
3-5 TBS water
1/2 tsp vanilla
food coloring for tinting

Pour powdered sugar in a large bowl and slowly add in water one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency. Once you have a syrup like consistency, feel free to add vanilla and food coloring. Frost cooled cookies.

If you want to do something like I did with the lobsters, you have to outline the cookies with Royal Icing- this icing dries very hard, but is perfect if you want to fill the rest of the space with a different color.

Royal Icing 
2 cups powdered sugar
3-5 TBS water
1 TBS meringue powder (you can buy it at Michael's)
food coloring for tinting

Slowly add water 1 tablespoon at a time to powdered sugar and meringue powder. You want a thicker consistency than the previous icing- think thick toothpaste.
Pour royal icing into a piping bag with small tip and pipe outline of cookie.
*Royal icing dries really quickly, whatever you are not using must be covered with a damp cloth or napkin.

Happy Baking!