Cookies for Shelach:
‘They came to the Valley of Eshkol and they cut a branch with a cluster of grapes. They carried it on a pole between two [people] and [they also took] some pomegranates and figs.”
This is a fantastic recipe for making cookies with kids. I made a few bowls of colored icing and let my kids get creative.
Pareve Sugar Cookies
Cookie recipe adpated from Sprout
Cream Crisco shortening with sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice:
1 cup (7 ounces, 1 stick) Crisco
2/3 cup sugar (5 ounces)
1 Tbl. vanilla
juice 1/2 lemon
Combine dry ingredients and add to batter:
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
2 3/4 cup flour (12.5 ounces)
Chill dough (dough also freezes very well) and divide up into four portions for rolling out. Roll out between 1/8″ and 1/4″ thick, depending on how thick you like your cookies. Cut out shapes. You should be able to get around 2 dozen large, thick-ish cookies (results may vary). Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until brown on bottom and around edges.
Cool and glaze with cookie icing.
Icing recipe adapted from AllRecipes
Put a cup of powdered sugar in a bowl. Add a teaspoon of corn syrup, 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of almond extract, and a teaspoon of almond milk.
Stir, adding tiny half teaspoonfuls of almond milk until you can just incorporate all the powdered sugar into a thick paste. Divide up this thick icing into bowl and tint as desired. For different effects, you will want to thin the icing a bit more (
I thinned with almond milk, but the original recipe called for using more corn syrup thin with corn syrup).
Make some icing thin, some thick. Thick icing is good for piping borders and thin icing is good for pouring inside the piped borders and “flooding” the surface with a thin layer of icing. If you drizzle thin icing on top of freshly applied icing, the colors will bleed. You can get marbelized and tie-dye effects this way. Let icing dry first before applying more icing if you want the second color to NOT bleed into the first color.
If you want an eggshell tint, use vanilla extract. If you want a pure white base, do not use regular vanilla extract.
This recipe may seem a bit odd if you are used to decorating with the traditional icing for decorated cookies, Royal Icing, which is powdered sugar mixed with egg white or meringue powder. Royal icing gives a very hard and shiny finish. Here is a recipe from Wilton, which is made using Wilton’s meringue powder. Some recipes call for whipping the eggs first (Martha Stewart recipe).
The advantage of the above recipe is that the icing never gets quite as rock hard as royal icing and it is cheaper to make because there is no egg whites or meringue powders.
A similar recipe for Glace Icing from famed cake and cookie decorator Toba Garrett is quite popular (recipe also here, and here and here are some tips for using the icing, including instructions to add some butter). Basically, Toba’s recipe involves mixing a 1 lb. box of powdered sugar with 3 ounces of milk or water, and then, after getting a smooth mixture, adding in 4.5 ounces of corn syrup. Color and flavor as desired with candy oil or extract. (Here is photo tutorial for this recipe)
For piping borders, you need to make some of the mixture thicker. Take 4 ounces of icing and add 6-8 Tbl. (37-56 g.) of powdered sugar. Use a #3 tip for piping the border, going counterclockwise if you are right-handed, and clockwise if you are left-handed. Keep the tip at 45 degrees, an inch above the surface of the cookie.
You must take a look at this video of Toba demonstrating use of her icing technique. She uses a piping bag to outline and then uses thin icing in plastic bottle to flood the inside. Toothpick are used to pull icing into bare spots and to swirl together colors to make patterns.
With the AllRecipes icing recipe (which is a vaguer, looser version of Toba’s recipe), I have found that the sheen isn’t as good if you add too much milk, and you can get a matte but glittery finish if you thin with too much milk instead of thinning with corn syrup.
The AllRecipes recipe and Toba’s Glace Icing recipe are basically mock poured fondant, like you would use on a black and white cookie, or petit fours.
Here is my recipe for Black and White cookie glaze, both vanilla and chocolate, which you could also use:
1 cup of powdered sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons of hot water
1/2 – 1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon oil
1/2 teaspoon colorless imitation vanilla (Wilton makes this and you can get this in a craft store. Or you can use regular vanilla)
You should have a mixture that is thick enough to provide opaque coverage when you spread it on the cookie, but the mixture should be thin enough to smooth out, without leaving marks from the spreading knife or spatula.
For chocolate, add the following to the vanilla icing:
3 Tablespoons of dutch process cocoa (I just used heaping teaspoonfuls, but they were probably equal to 3 Tbl.)
1 tsp. oil
1 Tbl. light corn syrup
1 Tbl. boilling water, or enough to thin out the mixture
The cocoa make the mixture too thick and it needs thinning with more water, corn syrup, and oil.