of beatakins i sing, or halloween punkin’ cookies

21 Oct

I love my cat more than I love Asics Onitsu Tiger shoes. I love her more than I love that The Wonder Years is now available for streaming on Netflix. I love her more than I love my pristine collection of Pogs, more than quirky patriotic tee shirts, and more than I love to hate the pop music that my car stereo blares at me on occasion.

Beata is her name.

It’s high time I showcase her cat brilliance, as she prominently appears in my header image – I guess she’s one of the three things I regularly seek out with my compass.

We like to take walks, she on her leash and me tethered to her. She likes to cry loudly at all times of day (and night!). She was a shelter rescue. Who would abandon this sweetheart?

She often likes to sit and watch the walls, hearing invisible scampering creatures that I can only wonder about. When not blankly wall-watching, she occasionally likes to watch me bake. While she didn’t take part in this latest endeavor (she was clearly very busy dreaming of her upcoming chicken and liver dinner), I think she would approve. For who, I ask you, who, doesn’t like a cutely-decorated sugar cookie?

I was a mite inspired by Xiaolu of 6 Bittersweets’ similar (but more professional-looking) pumpkin sugar cookies. Apparently they were her first decorated cookies as well. I didn’t realize I was going for the same look until a peek into my kitchen revealed that my only fall cookie cutter shape was ‘pumpkin.’ So, pumpkin it was.

I chose to turn my punkins into jack-o-lanterns, with faces reminiscent of the limited, crude shapes I find myself capable of carving into pumpkins come October each year. And whose face sticks out the most, through the cluttered sugar coma haze I’ve been living in the past two days? Why, blimey, it’s Harry Potter, boy wizard!

I’ve recently found myself embarking on concentrated mad bouts of stress baking, and these cookies are the result of one such bout. They are full of bout-iful goodness, however, and were a fun and relaxing project that took my mind off of model development failures, model run failures, and other such shenanigans.

I include the Harry Potter pumpkin cookie as a nod to my first post, nearly a year ago already, that featured my pumpkin pumpkin (not cookie pumpkin) of last year. A Harry Potter pumpkin, of course. And hey – just because the books and movies have ended – there’s no way I’m giving up my deep-rooted Harry love. This separation has only strengthened our bond. And given me more time to shower my beautiful cat with loads of affection.

 

Basic Sugar Cookies {recipe adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook}

1/2 lb unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
3/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
Royal Icing (recipe follows)

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Add eggs, vanilla, almond extract, and salt; mix until combined. Add flour in two batches, mixing until just combined.

Turn out dough onto clean work surface. Flatten into a rectangle; wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 1 week.

Preheat oven to 350°F., with racks in upper and lower thirds. Line large baking sheets with parchment paper. On lightly floured work surface, roll out rectangle to between 1/4- and 3/8-inch thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut out shapes. Transfer shapes to prepared sheets with a spatula, placing about 2 inches apart: no joke, these puppies SPREAD. Chill in freezer or refrigerator until firm, about 15 minutes. Set scraps aside. Repeat process with remaining rectangle of dough. Gather all the scraps, and roll out again. Chill 15 minutes; cut out more shapes, and place on sheets. Repeat this for all eternity, or until your dough runs out (yeah right), or until you incorporate enough flour into it not to need bursts of refrigeration, or until your patience runs out and you eat the rest of the dough – I prefer the latter!.

If not using Royal Icing, decorate cookies with sanding sugar or sprinkles, if using, before baking. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are golden around the edges and slightly firm to the touch, about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Decorate with Royal Icing, if using. Top icing with sanding sugar or sprinkles, if using.

Enjoy Harry Potter pumpkin cookie as a friend for nearly two days, before realizing that someone has eaten him – was it you?

Go give cat a rubdown.

Royal Icing {Note: Substitute meringue powder for the egg whites if you are afraid of raw eggs. This was a major act of rebellion against USDA guidelines on my part, but I buy (sort of) local cage-free eggs that I choose to believe are healthy and safe. Salmonella, you are not welcome here.}

3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 egg whites
1 1/4 tsp lemon juice
3/4 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Alter the ratios by adding more sugar, or more liquid if necessary (a little water can be helpful). Divide and tint into different shades, if desired.

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21 Responses to “of beatakins i sing, or halloween punkin’ cookies”

  1. sarah 2011/10/21 at 14:10 #

    What a pretty cat! My favorite cat ever was a shelter rescue. He was crazy, and I loved him. I love that your cat lets you take it for walks.

    There’s allergies galore here and we are pet-less. It’s sad sometimes when I see such pretty creatures as yours.

    • emma schultz 2011/10/22 at 15:56 #

      sarah, aww, crazy shelter cat. I’m impressed by how not crazy my cat is. I’ve towed her across the country many times, and while she hates the travel, she’s fine twenty minutes after she’s out of the car for good. Taking walks at travel plazas with her is the best:)

      I grew up with cute little rodents because of allergies; it was nice, but much less fun than a kitty cutey cat!

  2. Xiaolu 2011/10/21 at 14:27 #

    So cute! Yay for our first decorated cookies =D.

  3. Brianne 2011/10/21 at 15:15 #

    Oh, Emma. You do have a beautiful cat! And I love that Harry Potter cookie…it cracked me up! I’ve made sugar cookies more times than I can count, but my family’s recipe is really cakey and therefore not conducive to royal icing. I find royal icing kind of frightening, but I’d love to try and conquer it.

    Show those models who’s BOSS!

    • emma schultz 2011/10/23 at 09:40 #

      Brianne, these are definitely not cakey sugar cookies. If they were, I might have had more trouble eating eight in one sitting than I did. That sounds like I challenge I’d like to try, though. The icing isn’t difficult, but I could have definitely used a finer tip for my pastry bag. As you can tell, mine was quite big, and thus difficult for fine details.

      The models aren’t capable of running in R (damn you nonlinear mixed effects!), so I have to teach myself SYSTAT in two days, ack:(

  4. Silvia 2011/10/21 at 16:12 #

    What a beautiful cat!
    I’d love to have a cat again, but unfortunately my living situation at the moment is not very cat friendly.

    • emma schultz 2011/10/23 at 09:42 #

      Silvia: What a bummer; my cat really lights up my life. I’m thankful for whatever jerk abandoned her, since it means we now get to be together.

      I hope that someday soon you can find yourself a cat friend:)

      • Silvia 2011/10/23 at 16:36 #

        I greq up with a very independent cat that could come and go as he liked.. and that’s also the kind of cat I visit on the farm.
        And as long as I cannot offer that kind of freedom to a cat, I would not feel good to have one… being locked inside a flat, left alone all day long…

        I enjoy being with cats whenever I can; so on the farm I always get cat time.

        • emma schultz 2011/10/23 at 22:03 #

          Ah, a cat of independence. My cat loves everyone so much that if I let her outside without supervision, I’m sure she would go home with anyone. And also, she just takes off, so I feel like she could get very far very quickly and get lost. I wonder if she was really abandoned at all, or if she just strayed too far from home. Perhaps someone out there once loved her (nearly) as much as I do today.

          I’m glad you get some cat time into your schedule, how wonderful:)

  5. Simply Life 2011/10/21 at 16:46 #

    oh those cookies are too fun!

  6. Charlotte Rose 2011/10/22 at 03:43 #

    I love your cat! I unfortunately am allergic to cats and dog but “when I grow up,” Im going to have a big yard so I can have a Siamese or calico cat. Life goals, life goals :)
    Also, I am going to try to duplicate your Harry Potter pumpkin. My parents brought me pumpkins for my dorm room and I am so excited to carve them.

    • emma schultz 2011/10/23 at 09:46 #

      Charlotte Rose: Allergies are so sad. I’ll share a secret with you – I’m allergic to cats too. I’ve had hives from cats before, it’s been so bad. But I think that after living with a cat (and vacuuming frequently, too), my allergies are lessened. So hopefully, your life goal can definitely become a reality, and SOON!

      Have fun carving your punkins! We’ve got one that we have to figure out something for… our upstairs neighbors carved a cute kitty face into theirs, so I guess we could have a pumpkin cat-off…:)

  7. Mum 2011/10/22 at 15:14 #

    Oh, Beata, beautiful one, so lovely to see you again; she is the sweetest little kitty, for sure! Wonderful to see that thing that she does with her cute little paws(when she’s lying on her back on the sidewalk). I do miss seeing all of you, thanks for a little “slice of Bangor life”.:-)
    I like what Brianne said: “Show those models who’s boss!” I know that you will do it!

    • emma schultz 2011/10/23 at 09:49 #

      Mum, all this affection is going to go to Beata’s head. She’s sitting next to me as I type, and I’m sure she’s read all these comments about her beauty and grown vainer than ever !

      In the words of me, “She’s just soooo cuuute!!”

      This was a teeny tiny slice of Bangor life, as I’ve been so darn busy, but I knew you’d like it. Those cat pictures were especially for you. Look how her fur ruffles in the breeze. She’s just sooo cuute!

      Ugg@ the models. I’m trying, they’re failing, I’m failing by extension. I’ll figure something out.

      • Mum 2011/10/24 at 16:32 #

        BEST CAT EVER
        No ifs, ands or buts.

  8. Hannah 2011/10/23 at 18:00 #

    LOVE. As soon as I saw the glasses I thought “that looks like Harry Potter!”, and then I saw the scar above and thought “That IS Harry Potter! Oh how I love this woman!”

    Also, Psychic Cat! I’ve finally been able to properly meet (insofar as I can, halfway across the world) Psychic Cat. And, Emma, she is The Gorgeous. As you know, I’m a dog person in my heart, but your Beata is just possibly the most gorgeous cat I’ve ever seen, with the fluffiness and the colours and those eyes and the psychicness… Hurrah!

    • emma schultz 2011/10/23 at 22:09 #

      Hannah, I do believe this is the sweetest comment you have ever left for me. It prompted my fella to query “Do you think you’ll ever meet her?” to which I immediately responded “Well oh my gosh I HOPE SO!!”

      Love.

      I’m glad that through your dog-colored lenses, you were able to see the gorge(ous) that is my cute wee cat. The Gorgeous, I mean.

      Her eyes ARE beautiful, aren’t they? Aren’t they, liddle widdly kittikins?? But I digress. Hurrah! Hope you had a most excellent weekend:)

      • Hannah 2011/10/23 at 23:06 #

        I am The Smiles, like your cat is The Gorgeous :) Though I would have interjected with “I KNOW SO!!” if I was in the room. Wait, if I was in the room, then of course it would be “know” not “hope”, because we would right then be meeting, so… where was I?

        Oh, right. Still here in Australia. Pout.

        Teehe, so if the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, then the way to Emma’s heart is through her cat. I’m down-diggity with that ;)

        I had… both a most wonderful and a terribly not-wonderful weekend. Twas confusing for my heart. But I’ll focus on the good here :)

  9. Jessica 2011/11/08 at 01:50 #

    Oooooh, what a beautiful kitty!! Those eyes…! I’m envious of your ability to take her on walks (or her ability to take you on walks, I should say?). My cat tries to back out of her leash, so I gave up maybe too early long ago. Alright, I could go on and on about cats. Love the cookies, too! (eee, Harry Potter!)

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