Friday, December 11, 2009

Cookie Cutter Creativity

Back when I had a real job... whenever I wasn't doing a good enough job... my boss would crab at my lack of creativity and accuse me of taking a cookie cutter approach.

That was a confusing way to insult me because I've tried to make perfectly consistent cut out cookies since my daughter was a baby and it's a whole lot harder than it looks.

This is my theory as to why most of us leave the creative cookie cutting to Pillsbury:

After we turn 40, we figure out that women's magazines are filled with re-touched photos of flawed people.

Once we realize that Angelina Jolie could very well be fat and ugly in real life, we feel a whole lot better about ourselves.

For some odd reason, we haven't quite accepted the fact that food photography gets the same specialty treatment.

I can assure you that it does.

I once spent 16 hours at a photo shoot because a far too meticulous art director needed to place the peas in the pasta salad in precisely the right spots.

While I suppose that works for magazines, it's no fun at all in real life.

So, perhaps we could just ignore those unrealistic standards. Haul out the cookie cutters, roll up our sleeves and think... Picasso, Dali, and Pollock ~ Oh, yeah! Most definitely Jackson Pollock!

Because there are a whole lot of creative masters out there who happily failed Art Class 101.

Simple Sugar Cookies
No matter how they look, they all taste delightful. This recipe makes 3 dozen average size cookies or 1 gigantic cookie sculpture (in case you'd like to pay tribute to Gaudi!)
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1.25 teaspoons baking powder

Meet my Cookie Monsters:

    How to:
    1. Beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in egg and vanilla.
    2. Add flour and baking powder in intervals. (Dough will seem too dry but it will improve when chilled.)
    3. Divide dough into four equal parts and refrigerate about an hour.
    4. Roll out dough between 2 sheets of waxed paper, 1/4 inch thick for crisp cookies or 1/3 inch thick for soft cookies.
    5. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters and and bake for 7-8 minutes @ 375 F.
    Hot Tip!

    Be sure to eat lots of cookie dough.

    This dramatically reduces the amount of time you spend baking the cookies.

    * Cookies need no adjustments when baking at high altitude.


    Melospiza said...

    I LOVE the tip.

    Also, now I want cookies. I'm going to have to try and make me some sugar cookies this year, I believe.

    Iron Needles said...

    Which of these photos are YOUR cookies? Or are all of them yours?

    jodi (bloomingwriter) said...

    Want. sugar. cookies. NOW! And I have to go get ingredients for hubsters mincemeat.
    Love the way your critters have also spiffed up for Christmas too.

    KC said...

    Yeah, I love photoshop! Great cookie monsters:) I can't wait to get the new niece to make some.

    fairegarden said...

    Oh Kate, my mouth is watering! You are so right about getting those cut outs to look like the magazines. We have tried for many years, and finally ended up letting the kids decorate them. They had fun, no stress for us except the clean up and the best tasting cookies in the world. You are on the mark, they taste great no matter what they look like. We will for sure make some this year and let the others do the decorating. All good.

    Kate said...

    Thanks, Melospiza;
    My motto is fairly simple: cookies are good food. We should eat some every day.

    Hey, Iron;
    That's awfully kind of you thinking that any of those pictures are MY cookie creations. We all have our special talents. They make 'em. I eat 'em! :D

    Hi, Jodi;
    Love the new sunflower! We need your mincemeat recipe.

    KC -- you've got a new picture, too! Very cute! Where would we be without the magical wonders of photoshop??

    Hi, Frances;
    I hear ya. It's loads more fun watching the cookie monsters do all the hard work. :D

    Gail said...

    Your talents are many, your flowers are beautiful and your cookies made me hungry!

    Kate said...

    Thank you, Gail, and welcome!

    Very kind of you to say... I just stopped by your blog and loved the music! What can we do to adopt out that darling puppy? I'd love to help however I can.

    Carol said...

    What fun everyone seems to be having while baking your yummy looking cookies! Festive and great shots too! I like the analogy you made with your old boss. Carol

    Grace Peterson said...

    Kate, You're very funny. But it's true isn't it? Now, finally, thanks to you, I've got a legitimate reason to dig into the dough...YUM. I love your cookie monsters and their talent definitey shows. Your boss was mean. I hope you told him/her to take that job and shove it. [Sarcasm alert.] Cheers.

    Kate said...

    Hi, Grace!
    I did. As in the 'shove it' part you mentioned. 12 years a freelancer and so far, no regrets. Well... maybe paid healthcare. Blah, blah, blah... Loved your last post. It made me very happy.

    Kate said...

    Hi, Carol! Do you sell your photos? I suppose you probably do... I should scope out your blog a bit better. I do love my zen moment when I visit you.

    jan said...

    Man, I need to find some cookie monsters to come and bake cookies for me! The snow bedecked tree outside the window looks very christmasy!

    small cabin plans said...

    I want cookies for Christmas! They are nice treats for the children when they visit me here in my humble home.

    Old Bookworm said...

    I love cookies!! Your posts are causing me to gain weight just looking at them. :) That old boss didn't know what kind of jewel he had in you so I'm glad you left him behind. I love your blog Kate. And especially cookies :)

    Granny J said...

    16 hours -- that is a record for a food photo shoot, I'd guess! My one time food photo scene was at the Chicago Playboy club, where I was assigned one of their girlie photographers. He nearly went crazy while I worked with the home economists to brighten a tan plate with a brown filet and potato in its jacket. said...

    Yummy! Now those are the type of trees I like to see in the winter. Thanks for the tip.

    geefe alba said...

    Great post! :) I get to try your cookie recipe and get few glimpses of your fascinating life and principles. And I can have more tips and ideas on gardening. just a perfect read! ;p I also like the apple pie recipe which has rosemary as its added ingredient. hope you'll like it too.

    Anonymous said...

    Hey, something is wrong with your site in Opera, you should check into it.