Friday, July 19, 2013

Cinnamon Birdhouse Cookies

If you follow me on Facebook, you might have seen some posts where I talked about making Christmas cookies. It's not that I'm working that far ahead for the blog - I'm baking Christmas cookies for a magazine article.

While I was making miniature gingerbread houses, I had a great summer idea - using the same Good Cook cookie cutter to make little birdhouses that are perfect for summer.

The gingerbread houses had an arched doorway, but I didn't like that for the birdhouses, so used an apple corer to cut a round hole.

I added cinnamon flavor to the dough and I sprinkled cinnamon sugar on the roof, as well.

You can certainly make these cookies without making birdhouses. This dough is great for any cookie-cutter type cookie because it doesn't spread or rise much at all, so the shape doesn't change during baking.

I used a royal icing to "glue" the birdhouses together, and I brushed a thin layer of a brown royal icing onto the roof to give the cinnamon sugar something to stick to.

Cinnamon Birdhouses

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon flavoring
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Royal icing
Cinnamon sugar

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and salt until it's smooth and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and cinnamon flavoring and beat until it's light, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the flour and mix on low until the flour is incorporated and the dough comes together as a cohesive mass.

Transfer the dough to a plastic bag (or wrap in plastic wrap) and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and take the dough out of the refrigerator to warm up a little before rolling. If the dough is too cold, it will crack and crumble. If it's too warm, it will start feeling a little greasy and will be soft and will tend to lose its shape when you try to move the cut cookies to a cookie sheet to bake.

Roll the dough to between 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick - you might want to divide the dough in half to make the rolling easier. Thinner cookies are better for smaller cookies; larger cookies need to be a little thicker.

Cut with your desired cookie cutters and place on an ungreased cookie sheet, leaving a little space between the cookies.

Bake at 350 degrees until the cookies are lightly browned on the edges - 12 to 15 minutes.

Let the cookies cool on a rack. Decorate as desired.