When Jaclyn comes home from work and takes off her lab coat, she’s likely to replace it with an apron and get busy filling orders for her home based cookie business near the Washington, D.C. area. This young scientist recently added a blog tab to her business site’s navigation bar and readers not able to partake in some of her sweet treats can still enjoy reading and viewing what she is baking for clients, friends and family. The Cookie Cutter offers wonderfully decorated custom cookies for any occasion. If you don’t see it on Jaclyn’s site, just ask and she’ll be happy to accommodate your requests. Jaclyn offers to design a cookie for those who have a need, but no firm idea of what they might like. There are several seasonal sugar cookie ideas to choose from and many themed cookies as well . If you are just looking for a nice treat for the next family gathering, this busy baking entrepreneur has some old favourites that never disappoint, ready to be delivered to your table. The Cookie Cutter has just recently opened for business and I’m sure once the word gets out, Jaclyn may just be finding that she is putting on an apron more often than she’s putting on her lab coat! I’m delighted that she is here today sharing her story and her recipe with us.
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I’d like to dedicate this post to my grandfather, Benny. Everyone who knew my Pop-Pop knew that he loved basketball. And I’m not talking about just a little bit, but a whole heck of a LOT. Pop didn’t start playing basketball until age 45, but once he started playing he was completely hooked. From then on, he was playing, reffing, coaching, or watching basketball whenever he had free time. If you wanted to see my grandfather in the summertime, you didn’t go to his house; you went to the local outdoor basketball court.
When I was in middle school, he used to come to my house twice a week and give me a basketball clinic in our backyard. He would run drills with me and teach me the rules of the game, and then at the end, we would play one-on-one. Every time he would school me with his wicked hook shot, and while it was always a little embarrassing to lose to a 70-something year old man, he knew I would never learn anything by letting me win. Pop never missed any of his many grandchildren’s games. He was always there to give us a few words of advice during half-time, and to offer us a Vienna Finger after the game.
Pop played, coached, and refereed well into his seventies and he was at the courts watching games up until the month that he died. Pop passed away from colon cancer 3 years ago, but his memory lives on in all of his family, friends, teammates, students…and in just about every basketball court in the Philadelphia area.
When I was thinking of ideas for cookies that I could make in Pop’s memory, I knew that I wanted to do something basketball related. I finally decided on Chuck Taylor sneakers, which will always remind me of my Pop. This is a picture of him at Sturgis playground in Philadelphia in 1977, sporting his signature Chucks.
For his 75th birthday and his retirement from reffing, his good friend and 2-on-2 partner, Joe, surprised him with a new pair of Chucks. I think you can tell from the smile on his face that he was pretty excited to receive these!
I have a feeling that Pop would be pretty happy to receive the cookie version too! The color choice for the Chucks was easy – pink for breast cancer awareness with pink ribbons instead of the trademark star.
Vanilla Sugar Cookie Recipe
Yield: about 30 x 4” cookies
6 c flour
1T + 1tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 c sugar
4 sticks (unsalted) butter
2 ½ tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla. With the mixer on the lowest setting, gradually add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Scrape down the bowl well while mixing since the dough will be crumbly at the bottom.
I prefer to divide the dough into thirds and roll it out between two silpats. The rubber rings on the end of the rolling pin ensure that all of the cookies are 3/8 of an inch thick.
After the dough is rolled out, move the silpats to a baking sheet and put them in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Once the dough is hard enough not to stick, peel off the top silpat and cut out your shapes. I also recommend freezing the cutout cookies for a few minutes before baking to help prevent spreading during baking.
Bake the cookies at 350° for about 11-12 minutes. Let them cool slightly on the baking sheet and then transfer to a cooling rack.
I didn’t have a Chuck Taylor–shaped cookie cutter, so I decided to make my own. I found a picture that I liked, adjusted the size to be about 4” wide, printed it out, and covered it on both sides with multiple layers of packing tape. Once the tape-covered paper was thick enough to hold its shape, I cut around the picture with an exacto knife.
Put your cutout shape on top of your dough and cut around it with a sharp knife.
Bake the cookies as directed above, and while they are cooling, prepare the royal icing. I use the Wilton recipe which can be found here. The only change that I make is to replace 1 teaspoon of water with fresh lemon juice. You’ll need thick and thin consistency icing in pink and white, as well as thick consistency black icing. I use Americolor gels to tint the icing.
To decorate, outline the sole of the cookie with thick white icing using a #2 tip.
Next, fill in the outline with thinned white icing and use a toothpick or cookie stick to push the icing into the corners. The icing should be thin enough to spread out into a smooth layer, but not so thin that it overflows the outline (similar to the consistency of honey).
Allow the white icing to dry for at least 30 minutes before doing the next step to prevent the colors from bleeding together.
Then, outline the top of the sneaker with thick pink icing and fill in with thinned pink icing,.
After this step, the cookies need to dry at least overnight. When the icing is completely hard, you’re ready to start piping the details.
With a #1 tip, outline the top and middle of the sole with thick black icing. Then, outline the remainder of the sole and the rubber toe with thick white icing. It isn’t shown in this picture, but I used the same white icing to add dots to the front part of the sole to mimic the texture of the rubber.
To draw the white circle on the top of the sneaker, I used a penny to ensure that all of the circles were uniform. I wrapped the penny in plastic wrap and outlined it with a food writer marker.
Then, I used the thin white icing to fill in the circle until it just covered the marker lines.
Next, I used the thick white icing and a #1 tip to draw the stitches on the cookie.
Once the stitches were dry, I outlined the circles and laces with thick white icing, and then filled in the laces with thin white icing.
The last step was to finish off these cookies with a pink breast cancer ribbon!
28 Chucks were packaged up and delivered to Hospice Caring, Inc., which is a volunteer, non-medical hospice in Gaithersburg, MD. I hope that they brought a smile to the patients and staff J
Thank you so much to Paula and Frosting for the Cause for allowing me the opportunity to share these cookies!