Fireworks Cookies

Independence Day.

For this Marine Corps family, the Fourth of July is all about celebrating. Celebrating freedom. Celebrating friends. Celebrating family (that includes our Marine Corps family!) Celebrating life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Celebrating those who have gone before us to give us the freedoms we enjoy today. Celebrating the members of our armed forces who serve to ensure that we keep those freedoms. Celebrating the Marine Corps and the families that make it the community we’re proud to call “ours.”

And celebrating the fact that we can call ourselves citizens of the greatest nation in the world.

I’m proud to be an American.

I’m proud of my Marine and the sacrifices that he makes for our country.

And I’m proud to serve my country as a military spouse.

I could think of nothing more patriotic to bake in celebration of this holiday than these fireworks cookies. The red, white, and blue designs just scream “I LOVE AMERICA!”

So go ahead. Bust out the red and blue food coloring and go to town on these scrumptious sugar cookies. Make Uncle Sam proud.

God bless you and yours on this holiday weekend!

And God bless the United States of America!

Fireworks Cookies
As seen in Martha Stewart Living July 2011

Active time: 5+ hours
Start to finish: 8+ hours
Makes 5 dozen

Ingredients
For the cookies
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 1/2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
zest of 1/2 lemon
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

For the icing
1 cup water
1/2 cup meringue powder
1 pound powdered sugar
gel-paste food coloring in Red Red & Royal Blue

Directions
For the cookies
In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick. Cut out cookies using various-sized round cookie cutters. Place cookies 1 inch apart on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.

Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely before decorating.

For the icing
Whisk water and meringue powder with a mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Add sugar, and beat until icing holds a robbonlike trail on the surface for 5 seconds when beater is raised (it should be the consistency of glue).

Transfer 2/3 of the white icing to a squeeze bottle or pastry bag fitted with a larger tip. Divide the remaining icing in half, and tint one half using red food coloring and one half using blue until desired colors are achieved.

Transfer red and blue icings to separate squeeze bottles or pastry bags fitted with smaller tips.

Icing can be made ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container with a damp paper towel covering the surface, for up to 1 week.

To decorate the cookies
“Flood” 1 cookie with white icing, coating its surface but leaving a 1/4-inch border.

Immediately pipe a dot of tinted icing in the center of cookie, then pipe concentric circles, alternating colors if you’d like.

Using a toothpick or a skewer, create bursts by dragging the wet icing out from the center. Work in 1 direction, or alternate dragging inward, then outward. Curve the lines for a pinwheel effect.

Repeat with remaining cookies and icings.

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