Chocolate Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Happy belated Memorial Day! My bake challenge was using royal icing, so I tried a flooding technique to make these patriotic chocolate sugar cookies.

I ALMOST put this into a baking fail category. What you don’t see in that fabulous picture above are the unattractive ones 🙁 But some turned out okay, so here we are!

the technique and what not to do

Flooding with royal icing involves getting just the right consistency to pipe an outline on a cookie, then making a runnier icing to “flood” the inside with. Being the reasonable person I am, I went and outlined them all at once, then flooded them all at once.

HOWEVER – royal icing dries very, very quickly. Like within minutes. I wanted a neat zig-zag look, but it started to dry so fast that I wasn’t able to decorate all 30 or so cookies quick enough before it started to harden.

Another FYI – royal icing is sickeningly sweet. I loved the cookie recipe here more than the icing; in the future I may add some almond extract to the icing for an almond/chocolate combo.

Do you like the American flag cookie? My fabulous 12-year-old daughter did that one 🙂

The recipe is from Joy of Baking and can be found here.

Chocolate Babka

Chocolate + bread = why didn’t I bake this before??

I’ve been looking forward to making this since I printed it out. Besides sounding delicious, the beautiful photos of swirly babka bread I found online are drool-worthy.

Side note – Can I just say how much fun baking bread is?? I keep renewing over and over again my Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day book from the library (review here!). Something about the fact that yeast is ALIVE and you add stuff to make it grow and then enjoy what you’ve made is so awesome to me.

back to babka

This recipe had been sitting for a while in my to-bake pile, but when the Reddit bake challenge of Poland came up, I decided babka it is…and it must be chocolate babka!

As I’m typing this, I realize I have no idea if chocolate babka is authentically Polish, but either way it was delish!

If you’ve tried your hand at homemade cinnamon rolls, you’ll find these start off similarly – make your dough, let is rise, punch it down, roll it out and spread stuff on it, then roll it into a log. Babka differs in that you aren’t cutting the log into small circles, but instead cutting along the length of it and braiding together.

This recipe make 2 loaves, and practice apparently makes *improved* because my second loaf definitely looked more attractive than the first. I must make 10 more loaves of this bread to nail an appropriate swirl 🙂

It is so hard to wait for warm bread to cool before eating! It really was tastier after cooling. If we had a lot left, I’m pretty sure I would’ve cut it into slices and made French toast out of it 😉

Thank you to the recipe developers at King Arthur Flour – this one is yet another winner! Recipe here.


Dulce de Leche Shortbread Cookies

I’m not typically a shortbread fan, BUT these were pretty good! Perhaps it was the Mexican style caramel filling called Dulce de Leche that won me over 🙂

Reddit bake challenge this week was Mexico – I would assume to commemorate Cinco de Mayo. I’ve done Mexican chocolate type recipes and flan, but dulce de leche was new to me, so went with it.

Dulce de leche literally means “candy of milk.” SIGN ME UP! It is the color and consistency of creamy caramel, but definitely not quite the same flavor. You can buy it in cans (if you can find it!), but I just made it myself using this recipe. Super easy, as it’s literally heating sweetened condensed milk until it’s lightly brown.

After whipping up a shortbread dough, I used a melon baller to place a little indent inside and piped in some dulce de leche. A salty/sweet combo always rocks, so I went ahead and sprinkled on some flaked sea salt.

Shortbread still isn’t my favorite, but the sweet gooey moisture from the caramel really balances out the dry crumbly texture. These are worth making!

Recipe for homemade dulce de leche is here.

Recipe for the cookies are here.