Sunday, March 23, 2008

Bunny Foo Foo Decorates

...after the whole field mouse and species reassignment episode, Bunny Foo Foo settled down to a quiet life of egg and cookie decorating.

G-Bun is particularly fond of pysanky -- the Ukrainian art of egg decorating. We thought it would be easy to get supplies for egg making (the styluses or kistkas, the beeswax, the dyes), but a visit to the Caning Shop in Berkeley reveals that there's been a serious run on Ukrainian eggs this year. I count myself lucky to have made it out with four kistkas, three dyes (Forget about Paas--these are special dyes that give you really lovely rich dark colors!) and the last cake of beeswax.

Kistkas make the process of controlling the wax flow much much easier and are worth picking up or ordering if you can find them. We used delrin kistkas instead of the traditional kind. Add a candle and some eggs and you have literally hours of painstaking fun.

While Bunny Foo Foo finishes up with the eggs, we also made some Cinnamon Sugar cookies for decorating. As usual, Martha Stewart has some terrific recipes that are easy to throw together.

She freaks me out whenever she talks about the "LIT-tle CHIL-dren" in that way that screams "serial killer." Shouldn't we be more disturbed that she makes such an enticing cookie? Check in her oven -- is there a kid named Hansel in there?

Cinnamon Sugar Cookies

2 cups AP flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons brandy
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Royal Icing to decorate

Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar; add dry ingredients, and mix until incorporated. With mixer running, add egg, brandy (or milk), and vanilla; mix until incorporated.

Transfer dough to a work surface. Shape into 2 discs, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Line baking sheets with nonstick baking mats or parchment paper and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sprinkle flour on work surface, roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes, and transfer to prepared baking sheets, leaving at least an inch in between. The leftover dough can be rolled and cut once more.

Bake until lightly golden, about 10 minutes; do not allow to brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Decorate with icing and colored sugar, sprinkles or candy sand.

Royal Icing

1 box confectioners' sugar (1 pound)
2 large egg whites

Pour the sugar into a clean medium sized bowl. With an electric mixer on a low speed, mix one egg white into the sugar. Slowly add the other egg white until the mixture reaches a thick ribbon like consistency. For a thinner consistency add more egg white, adding very small amounts at a time.

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