Monday, September 27, 2010

My Life as told by Decorated Sugar Cookies

The September 2010 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Mandy of 'What the Fruitcake?!' Mandy challenged everyone to make Decorated Sugar Cookies based on the recipes from Peggy Porschen and The Joy of Baking.

September happens to be the month of Mandy's wedding anniversary so she took the challenge a step further and established a theme: "Whatever happens in your life in September, that's what I'd like your cookies to be about"..

I racked my brain for the best way to represent the month of September before realizing that so much of my life has its roots in this month...

And so I share with you..

My Life's Septembers as told by Decorated Sugar Cookies

Growing up my father was in the Army. We moved a lot, every 3 years or so actually, and September  always meant a new place to live, new friends to make, and new play grounds to discover.

most up to date pic of the fam

Right before my sophomore year of high school we moved for the last time to Herndon, Virginia, where I ended up meeting some of my best friends at Herndon High School, where every school year started in September.
me and my high scool girlfriends

After 3 years of being a Herndon Hornet, September came and I traded in my red and black for the purple and gold of James Madison University (GO DUKES!!). 

being good alum at a local game

In college, September meant rush and my sophomore year I made a big decision to join a sorority (yes, I was a sorority girl) I couldn't resist... the ladies of Alpha Sigma Alpha stole my heart.

my ladybugs :)

After four years in the 'burg, I decided I still didn't have enough school and come September I started  graduate school at Georgia Southern University. 

Sport Psych (thats what I do) grad students

My second year of grad school, just as we were getting into the swing of things, September came and I met a long haired, fu-man-chu sporting, Mountain Man, who stole my heart.

 the infamous MM- on the first night we hung out, note his stache.. ew.

Upon my second go at graduation, it was time for a real job. Fortunately, all my hard work paid off and in September 2009 I was hired to work as a contractor for the Army.

And there you have it folks..

 My life by way of Septembers as shown through Decorated Sugar Cookies..

What about your September's? Anything special come to mind?

Basic Sugar Cookies
Bake time: 8-15 minutes Oven: 350
Refrigeration: at least 1 hour
Recipe adapted from Peggy Porschen

1/2 cup + 6 TBS unsalted better, room temp
3 cups + 3 TBS AP flour
1 cup white sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla

Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla. Beat until just creamy.
Beat in egg until well combined, making sure to scrape down sides of the bowl.
Sift flour in a seperate bowl.
Add sifted flour to butter miuxture and mix on low until non sticky dough forms.
Knead dough into ball and divide into 2 or 3 pieces (making it easier to roll out)
Wrap dough balls in saran wrap and place in fridge to stiffen for about 30 minutes.
Once chilled, take off saran wrap and place on a lightly floured surface.
Roll out dough and cut out shapes with cookie cutters.
Arrange cut outs on baking sheet and place in fridge again for 30 minutes (so they don't spread).
Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Transfer baking sheet to oven and bake for 8-15 minutes, baking until slightly golden on the age.
Place baked cookies on cooling rack and completely cool before decorating.

Royal Icing
Recipe by Wilton

4 cups powdered sugar
3 TBS meringue powder
6 TBS water
various food coloring

Beat powdered sugar, meringue powder and water until icing forms peaks and sheen from icing goes away- about 10 minutes of constant beating.
Add more water to make thinner icing for flooding.

For great tips about decorating sugar cookies and some beautiful examples check out Bridget at Bake at 350! Her cookies are honestly some of the best ones I've ever seen.. they're basically perfect!

Until the next Daring Bakers' Challenge!
Happy Baking!