Sunday night, I was feeling a little grouchy about the fact that I was probably going to have to try to leave the house early the next morning to go buy a cake at Schnucks and take it to a play date for my MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) small group. One of our members (who I really like...I wasn't grouchy about getting something for her...I was grouchy about getting something) is moving before our next meeting and our mentor mom suggested to me that we turn the play date into a going away party. Since I found out about this with just a couple days notice and two of our moms just had babies (like 2 and 4 weeks ago) I figured making phone calls about it would just lead to guilt rather than actual cards or presents for the leaving mom.
So, a cake was the solution...one I would feel awkward about soliciting donations for later.
Wait...I'll make my own. No, I don't have any cake mix and the thought of making one from scratch at 9 PM didn't seem like a good idea.
A decorated cookie would be a good solution. But, how to make a big one without it being mushy in the middle?
I worked at The Original Cookie Company the summer before I started grad school. So, you would think I would have some expertise in this, but no. On my last day at The OCC, I took several bags of the frozen pre-portioned cookie dough with me (not really stealing---we were given a lot of product, it was just usually baked first), only to find that it would not bake in a regular oven. Various temperatures and baking times all produced the same doughy result. Somehow, that dough only worked in that oven...I've decided I don't want to think too hard about that.
So, a little internet research helped me out. I have a Pampered Chef baking stone and knew that there were recipes out there that used it when making a cookie crust for various fruit pizzas, etc. So, I looked that up. They all said to use refrigerated cookie dough. So I kept the baking temperature and times and looked for "quick and easy" sugar cookie recipe. I found one that I liked because it made a soft dough (easy to form into a crust) and required no refrigeration.
In about fifteen minutes I whipped up the dough and had the thing in the oven. The cookie went over the side of the pan a little bit, but other than that came out well. The next morning I decorated it with buttercream icing (Martha Stewart's recipe that I used when creating Eli's birthday cake a few weeks ago). All through this process, I kept thinking, "And if it doesn't turn out, I can still go to Schnucks." I was a littler nervous taking it to the play date because I hadn't actually tasted it yet, but it got RAVE reviews! Loved by mothers and their preschoolers alike.
So, I'm happy to now add this recipe to my short list of special occasion things I can make (Eva has requested it for her Birthday DAY dinner...cupcakes for her birthday PARTY day) and share it with you.
*Sugar Cookie Cake*
Mix together one at a time:
2/3 c. oil
¾ c. sugar
2 c. flour
2 T baking powder
½ t salt
1 t nutmeg (I added this to the original recipe...I like the way it makes sugar cookies taste, but you can omit it if you wish)
Spread on ungreased baking stone. Bake at 350 for 16-18 minutes.
*Buttercream icing to decorate*:
1 stick butter
½ tsp. vanilla
1 ½ c. powdered sugar
food coloring as needed.
Mix butter, vanilla and sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy; about 2 minutes; add the food coloring and mix till blended.
(I use disposable pastry bags and my Wilton tips. Just put a tip into the bottom of the bag and snip off enough for the decorative part to stick out. Cuff the bag and scoop in the icing. Pretty easy clean-up. Also, I never took a cake decorating class. I just have my trial-by-fire experience from The OCC and the kids' birthday cakes. Note, though, how I just made my border where I wanted it to be...hopefully distracting you from the fact that the cookie cake is not perfectly round and actually going over the side of the stone a little bit in some parts.)
So, there...it didn't take very long and I didn't have to spend any money. Grouchy mood averted! :)