OK - I'm technically a day behind with this post, but I was so exhausted after yesterday (I think icing the 100th sugar cookie sent me over the edge), I just couldn't do it. But today I'm back to recount the remainder of the 2008 Cookie Blitz story.
On day #2, after shoveling the foot of snow we had from the last 2 storms off the deck, I set about finishing the last 2 kinds of cookies and icing the sugar cookies we made on day #1. First up was the baking. I made 3 batches (about 12 dozen) of my soft & chewy ginger cookies and 3 batches (about 14 dozen) of white chocolate chip Craisin® cookies.
Then I sat down to the monumental task of icing the sugar cookies. Fortunately, we had decorated some of the over 200 cookies with colored sugar before baking - so I didn't have to do all 200. And I lost the exact count of how many cookies I actually iced around the 100 mark (when I started to go cuckoo), but I'd say it was close to 110-120.
The icing I used tastes yummy and hardens nice and shiny. It starts with a simple syrup base, which you should make about an hour ahead so it has time to cool. Here's the recipe:
Sugar Cookie Icing
(Makes about 3 cups)
Simple syrup ingredients:
3/4 c. white sugar
3/4 c. water
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
dash of salt
7 1/2 c. confectioner's sugar
2/3 c. milk
2/3 c. simple syrup (the above recipe makes just over 2/3 c.)
2 tsp. vanilla (or almond) extract
To make the simple syrup, combine the white sugar, water, cream of tartar and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Let simmer 10-15 minutes until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage (this means when you drop a bit of it into a glass of cold water, it forms a soft ball). Be careful not to overcook (if it cracks when you put it in the water - it's overcooked).
Remove from stove and let cool at least 1 hour. (You can make this ahead of time and store at room temperature in an air tight container for a few days.)
To make the icing, combine the confectioner's sugar and milk and whisk until smooth. Stir in the simple syrup and vanilla extract until well blended. (You can add more milk to thin the icing out or add more confectioner's sugar to thicken it up.)
You can use this plain as white icing or color it with food coloring. Here's a closeup of some iced cookies:
(Kudos go to Mr. valleywriter for his incredible colored sugar work on that candy cane!)
In the end, with our toffee and 3 kinds of cookies, we ended up with a very nice selection:
Happy Holidays to you all!