The Cookie Strikes Back...

My Halloween cookies may have satisfied my urge to practice my piping, but they left me with another problem: a major surplus of leftover black and white icing. When I told Justin about my conundrum (bless him, he never seems to get bored of listening to me talk about my baking exploits), and expressed my plan to bake more cookies by the end of the weekend to use up the excess, he offered to come help me with them. You see, I enjoy decorating the cookies, but I find the rolling and cutting of the dough to be tedious; I would much rather make simple drop cookies. Justin, however, actually likes that part, but lacks my talent with a pastry bag. We're well-matched, even in our cookie baking preferences!

I let him choose what we would bake -- either round cookies to be decorated with black and white spiderwebs, or we could break in the new set of Star Wars cookie cutters my mom picked up for me at Williams-Sonoma. When his eyes got big at the sight of the Star Wars set, I knew the decision was made. An afternoon of nerd cookies was in the cards for us.

Although the set also included Boba Fett and Yoda cutters, the black and white icing limited our options to Darth Vaders and stormtroopers. We whipped up a batch of basic sugar cookies from the same blog from which I'd pulled the Halloween cookie recipe, and I got to sit back and watch as Justin did all the hard work. Once again, the cookies baked up beautifully in all but the last rolling, the results of which were approximately as wrinkled and warped as my standard sugar cookies. I think I may have found a new favorite recipe for roll-out cookies!

I didn't have time to decorate them until the next day, but I was relatively pleased with how they came out. The intricate stormtroopers gave my piping skills a run for their money, but I love the way the finished cookies look. I'm slightly less enthusiastic about the Darth Vaders, which are a little less professional-looking. Also, without any color contrast, the black-on-black of the Vader cookies is substantially less visually interesting.

Regardless of how the cookies turned out, I had a great time spending an afternoon in the kitchen with Justin, and as anyone who's baked with me can attest, the fact that we both survived the experience unscathed is a very good sign. I tend to be a bit... anal-retentive, not to mention controlling when it comes to baking, so kudos to Justin for not running screaming from the kitchen. In fact, I can't wait to cook with him again.

Vanilla Sugar Cookies
adapted from Bakeat350

3 c unbleached, all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder
1 c sugar
2 sticks butter
1 egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine the flour and baking powder, set aside. Cream the sugar and butter. Add the egg and extracts and mix. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat just until combined, scraping down the bowl, especially the bottom.

Roll onto a floured surface and cut into shapes. Place on parchment lined baking sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes. Let sit a few minutes on the sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Decorate as desired.

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