Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Easter Hat Cookies

Easter bonnets are quintessentially Easter.  When I was a small girl, getting a new Easter hat was a big part of Easter for my mom, my sisters and me. Some how though, through the years we changed from wearing Easter hats to eating them.

  Many, many  years ago  in the William Sonoma catalog I saw Easter bonnet cookies, a round sugar cookies decorated as an Easter bonnet. I admired those cookies and I thought they were pretty expensive, so I decided to make my own.  The hat brim is a crispy lemon sugar cookie and the crown is a piece of  marzipan covered in  poured fondant and decorated with icing ribbons and flowers. Both the fondant and marzipan recipes are from the Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum.  These cute little hats  have become an Easter tradition for our family and friends.

I won't lie and tell you they are easy to make. It is difficult to work with poured fondant. Keeping it thin enough to flow around the cookies before it cools and hardens can be tricky. But the end result is well worth the time spent. 

Hat Cookies
 ¾ cup butter
1 ¼ cup sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon grated lemon find
3 cups AP flour
¼ teaspoon salt.

Beat butter until soft. Gradually and the sugar and blend until light and creamy. Beat in the eggs, vanilla and lemon rind.
Sift flour and salt together. Stir the flour gradually into the butter mixture until well blended. The last of the flour may have to be kneaded in by hand. Chill the dough for several hours.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Roll the dough very thin and cut cookies using the 3 in round scalloped edge cutter. I use a sleeve on my rolling pin to keep the dough from sticking Place on silpat covered sheet and bake about 8 minutes.

Poured fondant
Cake Bible
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup corn syrup
optional 1 tsp.vanilla or 1/4 tsp. almond extract

Food Processor
In a medium heavy saucepan combine sugar, water, and corn syrup. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Stop stirring and allow the syrup to cook to the soft -ball stage (238F).  Immediately pour syrup into the food processor.
Allow the syrup to cool to exactly 140F. About 25 to 35 minutes.Set a timer  Add the optional flavoring and process for 2 to 3 minutes or until the fondant becomes opaque.  Pour the fondant into a heatproof container, such as a 2cup glass measuring cup lined with a small heavy-duty plastic freezer bag. Close bag without sealing.  When completely cool and firm, expel the air, seal bag, remove from container. Store at room temperature for at least 24hours.

Cake Bible
7 ounces almond paste
3.5 ounces poured fondant flavored with almond extract (1/3 cup)
1/2 - 1 cup powdered sugar

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process for a few seconds until blended. The marzipan will be in pieces  dump it onto a counter and knead until smooth.Wrap air tight and allow to rest 1 hour.

Royal Icing

2 tablespoons mergaine powder
4 tablespoon water
2 2/3 cup powdered sugar.
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of stand mixer. Beat until light and fluffy about 6 to 8 minutes. Scrape sides of bowl as necessary.

To assemble cookies:
Make a simple syrup : bring to a boil 1 cup of suagr with 1/2 cup water. As soon a the mixture boils remove form heat, pour into a heat proof cup.
Roll marzipan in to a log, with a diameter slightly smaller than size of a quarter.  Slice long into 3/8 inch slices. flatted slightly and round edges so the fondant slides over them.
Place each  marzipan crown  in the center of a cookie.
In a double boiler melt a small amount of the fondant with about 1 tablespoon of simple syrup. Once melted remove the double boiler  from  the heat but keep the fondant over the hot water. Color with gel colors to the desired color.  Add simple syrup a little at a time until fondant is thin enough to pour over cookies. If the fondant gets to cool and thick return pan to the heat for a minute or two.
Working quickly, spoon fondant over the cookie, starting in the center and working your way around the cookie. It takes practice to get a smooth even layer.
Allow the fondant to cool and harden for several hours or over night.
Decorate with royal icing.
printable recipe

Happy Easter!