Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chocolate Cut Out Cookies and my new Cricut Cake Mini!

So with some birthday money I bought a new fun gadget, one that I've been eyeing in the stores for quite some time, but was never willing to spend "that kind of money" on something that (a) seemed frivolous and (b) was for me and my hobby, not for the kids or our family.  Well, since time has passed, prices have come down, and there's this awesome website called eBay (ha), I splurged on a Cricut Cake Mini machine (with hubby's "go-for-it")!  I'm having SO MUCH FUN playing with it!

If you're not familiar with a Cricut cutting machine, the original machine is for scrap booking. Different cartridges are available which have various fonts, shapes, etc. and you program the machine to cut them from  your scrapbook paper.  Way cool. 

So, a year or two ago Cricut came out with a Cricut CAKE machine, and it cuts out rolled fondant, gum paste, and pre-packaged frosting sheets!!!   It really opens up a whole 'nother avenue when it comes to cake, cookie, and cupcake decorating.  I can't wait to start using it with cakes!

Yesterday was a snowy stay-at-home day, so after we romped in the snow for a few hours, I baked some chocolate cut out cookies and tried out my new Cricut Cake Mini.  I decorated them with snowflakes and hearts.  Ya know, snowflakes cause it was a snowy day, and hearts because Valentine's Day is right around the corner!

The cookies are super easy to make, but the fondant decorating is pretty time consuming.   However, I get a big kick out of this kinda thing, so it was great fun for me!

This is the Cricut Cake Mini, in action.  I rolled out the fondant myself  and am still trying to figure out the perfect thickness.  Yay, more practice cookies or cupcakes in the future!

As I mentioned, this is the "mini" machine, with a 6 x 12 cutting area.  The "regular" Cricut Cake has a 12 x 12 cutting area.  

Pretty neat, huh?

Here is the recipe for the Chocolate Cut Out cookies, which I originally found here.  (I made some adaptations to the rolling method though, so my version is below.)  They taste like brownies!  Kinda crunchy on the outside, and still chewy on the inside.  Delish.  I decorated with rolled fondant, obviously, but these would be perfect with a simple vanilla or chocolate buttercream, or even just a vanilla or chocolate glaze.  In other words, you can frost them anyway you'd like!  I've also used royal icing to decorate them, and they're perfect every time.

Chocolate Cut Out Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
10 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy; add eggs, one at a time, beating well. Mix in the vanilla. Combine flour, cocoa powder and baking powder; add and mix well.  Divide dough in thirds. Roll out to 1/4 inch thick between two sheets of wax paper. Place rolled dough with wax paper flat on a cookie sheet and refrigerate while you roll out the remaining dough.   When done rolling dough, do your dishes.  Haha.  By the time you're done with your dishes, the dough will be firm enough to cut.  Preheat oven to 350 and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Cut with desired shaped cookie cutters. Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Cool on cookie sheets for a few minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.  When cool, decorate as desired.  
Yield:   approximately 40 three inch cookies.

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