A recipe for brains (cookies)

braincookiesAfter a hard days work, sometimes all you want to do is come home and make (eat) cookies.  So, naturally, I made these delightful sugar cookies shaped to look like brain bits.  And, I have to admit, painting the royal icing on to look like white and grey matter was pretty satisfying.  You too can amaze/disgust your colleagues by bringing these to work!

Sugar cookies

1 stick o’ butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven to 350.   Mix the butter, sugar and vanilla together until it gets smooth and creamy.  Whip in an egg.  Make sure it’s not too cold so stuff doesn’t separate.  Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix until its combined.  It will be crumbly.

Dump everything onto a clean counter or piece of parchment paper and squish it together to make a disk.  Using flour to keep it from sticking everywhere, roll the dough out so that it is only 1/8-1/4 inches thick.

Cut into brain shapes.  I used a butterfly cookie cutter and just squared off two of the sides so it looked like this, but really you could freeform this with a knife and it would look great.

Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and cook to perfection (about 15-20 minutes).

Let them cool.  Except for that one…that one needs to be eaten.

Royal Icing

1 lb powdered sugar
3 Tbs meringue powder (apparently this is a thing you can buy this at Walmart, craft stores, and some grocery stores.  It comes in a white canister and can be found by cake decorations)
At least 5 Tbs water
Pink/Red and Green food coloring
Sandwich bags

Mix everything together and whip it until it looks glossy like meringue.  It should be a stiff toothpaste-like consistency at first.  I separated about 1/4 of it and used it to outline the “white matter”.  Another 1/4 I dyed red to outline the “grey matter”.  To create the outlines, I just put the icing in a sandwich bag and snipped a small hole in the corner and used it like a pastry bag.

I then added more water to the remaining 1/2 of the icing so that if you dipped a spoon into it and pulled it out, a ribbon of icing would run off the spoon back into the bowl and would hold its shape for a few seconds before disappearing.  1/4 of this thinner icing I dyed light pink for the “white matter”.  The other 1/4 I used the pink and the green together to get more of a flesh tone.  I used toothpicks to apply the icing to the cookies; basically, you just goober it on and as long as it’s not too thick, it will fill in the outlines you have created with the white and the red icing and you can use the toothpick to fill in any holes you see.  Let them dry about an hour.

This was oddly therapeutic for me, as I hope it will be for you!