This is a dual purpose post. My first intention is an October cookie suggestion that can be made with or without cookie stamps. This is my Scottish grandmother’s brown sugar shortbread with added pumpkin pie spice. Four simple ingredients that can be ready in 5 minutes if the butter is already at room temperature.
My second intention was to take a closer look at embossed rolling pins. For my birthday, I was given a pumpkin embossed rolling pin with the idea that maybe it could be an addition to the My Kitchen Wand line. I had taken a look about five years ago and decided on a different path but I thought going back was worth a try as there are many lovely patterns available as well as the opportunity to create your own.
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 – 2 Tbsp. Pumpkin Pie spice
The original recipe called for a pinch of baking soda. I left it out for these cookies as leavening agents of any kind tend to alter the finished cookies more than recipes with none. The more the cookies expand, the less the details will be visible.
If Pumpkin Pie spice is on the shelf, lovely! If not mix up some with 1 Tbsp. cinnamon, 2 tsp. ginger, 1 tsp. allspice, 1/2 tsp. each of nutmeg. cloves and cardamon. Sift the ingredients through a small hand sieve, mix well, bottle and label. There are many variations around so an extra 1/2 teaspoon more or less of anything is perfectly fine.
In a medium bowl combine the butter and sugar until well mixed and then add in the flour and spice. This can easily be done by hand. If using a hand mixer, it will be necessary to gather the mix together and squeeze into a ball before using. This dough is firm enough to move directly on to rolling and cutting.
The simplest way is to roll out the dough and using the cookie cutters of your choice, cut the cookies. Transfer to an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F., until the edges are lightly browned. The length of time will be different for everyone based on the thickness of the cookies and the specific oven, so paying attention to the first batch is advised. Mine were in for 11 minutes.
One way of making sure all the cookies are the same depth and will need about the same time (outside cookies often bake faster than inside cookies) is to use a guide as shown in the second to last picture. By rolling over the guides and not the cookie dough a common height is achieved. Mine are simple balsam rods, found in most hardware stores. They come in half a dozen widths.
Kicking your cookies up to the next level by baking in images can be done several ways. First up was the embossed pumpkin rolling pin. It was the very first time being used and the cookie dough stuck to the rolling pin. Everything cleaned up and second attempt went much better.
The pin although new already had broken sections and my friend said she had sorted through to find the best one.That is not unexpected as it is a wooden product. I also occasionally have issues with breaks in cookie stamps. Both knots in the wood and pressure can lead to cracks. Choose a design that has a minimum of thin pieces and you will probably have better luck.Finished Pumpkin Shortbread with the embossed rolling pin.
The depth of the cut on an embossed rolling pin is important. The deeper the cut the taller the impression and the more detail will remain once baked. This rolling pin was only half the depth of the pumpkin rolling pin meaning the image would likely not survive baking. The deeper the cut the more costly the rolling pin as production is based on the length of time the laser is working.
The handles did not roll smoothly, making a good, even final press in any of the cookie doughs I tried impossible. The rolling pin was dry and it pulled the dough. I tried flour and oil with equally unsuccessful results. Rolling with hands over the top of the pin and maintaining even pressure didn’t work well either, hence, its new home. I am sorry about that as I thought it was a pretty pattern.
The third thing I have begun to notice with an embossed rolling pin is that there are fewer cookies per roll. It doesn’t have to be that way but if you try to place the cookie cutter in ways to make the cookies as pretty as possible, there will be more space between each cookie. That will mean additional rollouts and more flour being added which will ultimately make the dough/cookies tougher.
When choosing the embossed rolling pin route, go for an image without thin lines that can easily break, with deep cuts for creating better images and one that is smoothly sanded and has a food safe oil finish. Additionally consider how often it will be used. Go for one that has a year round application unless there is lots of space in your kitchen.
Here is why I personally prefer open topped cookie stamps. The image itself is cut out so that when pressed down on a cookie. The dough is not restricted, can rise higher and a better impression is created. (They may look clear now but the dough will still expand once baked.)
The circles can be as close together as possible making for more cookies per rollout and with a set there are more image choices to rotate.
If your experience with embossed rolling pins has been wonderful, please share why you love them in the comment section on Facebook and what you do to have such a happy time with yours. We would all love to learn!
If a set of cookie stamps is appealing, the link is here.
Pumpkin Spice Shortbread from My Kitchen Wand