As of this week, I’ve been blogging for two years. TWO YEARS! I’m merely a toddler in blog years, but it still seems like an accomplishment that I’ve stuck with this project for so long. Some days it’s easy to feel like I haven’t made it far enough in the blogging world – but when I really look back on where I was, I can’t help but see that I’ve at least made progress. That day two years ago when I anxiously hit the “publish” button on my first post was the result of 6 months of hands-on behind the scenes prep work and over two years of brain preparation. Since then, I’ve made so many new friends and gained new skills. I think I’ve become a better recipe developer and hopefully a better writer. I’ve become a real (amateur) food photographer, taking over Robert’s beautiful work to put my hand in the ring. The photography has now become one of my favorite parts of the blogging process. I’ve experimented with new illustration styles (like this, this and this), traveled to meet people and learn new things (and will hopefully do a lot more of that in the future), written some guest posts for blogs I truly admire (like Food52 and A Couple Cooks), and I’ve been on a couple podcasts (The Dinner Special and ChoppedCon). These are all things I had HOPED I would do with my blog, so I can’t even tell you how happy I am to be where I am right now.
Clearly, this blog is shaping up to be a lot of what I had hoped for and more. It’s nice to pour your heart and soul into something that actually gives back to you in so many ways.
Blog readers, for example – They (you) are some of the sweetest people on the planet. The comments you leave for me here and on social media totally make my day. When I hear about someone who made my wedding cupcakes or my grandmother’s hot milk cake, or they made pizza for the first time using my favorite homemade method, it warms my heart. You guys are the best.
I also need to say thank you to my amazing husband, Robert. He has supported me and this blog 100% from the very beginning and encouraged me to pursue this. He photographed my food for me in the first year and three months of this blog (tolerating me during photo shoots when I was a ball of stress), and then helped me transition into being my own photographer. (It helps that he’s a Photoshop wizard.) He’s my ultimate taste-tester, he proofreads my posts when it’s well past our bedtime, and he’s understanding when we don’t eat a “real dinner” because we’re taste-testing a new waffle recipe for the third time that week. This blog wouldn’t be what it is without his patience and support. Thanks, bebe. xoxo
That’s enough gushing. Let’s talk about cookies:
PIE CRUST ANIMAL COOKIES
This recipe epitomizes what this blog is all about for me: making something with your hands and having fun with food. It’s about making something from scratch (including that pie dough! It’s actually really easy) and enjoying the process of making food. To be honest, it was also an excuse for me to have some fun with my animal cookie cutters and the dinosaur ones Robert gave me for Christmas last year.
Surprisingly, I’ve never been a huge fan of pie. I could actually turn that down, whereas cake has to be really terrible for me to turn it down. But I’ve been enjoying pie more, especially after I learned how to make pie crust last year. A good homemade pie with a homemade crust is a thing of beauty.
The only pie crust I’ve made is the “all butter crust” from the Four and Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book. If you want to make amazing pies, get this book. I’m serious. I’ve made this crust several times now and it has never failed me, even when I was a virgin pie crust maker. I had always been afraid to make homemade crust because my perception was that it was a stressful process. But with the method from this book, I find it to be quite relaxing. If you slice up your butter and put it in the fridge until the moment you’re ready for it, and you have your vinegar ice water ready to go, this stuff is “as easy as pie” to make. (Wait – where did that phrase come from? Pies are kind of fussy … EXCEPT FOR THIS CRUST RECIPE.)
So yes, I enjoy pie … but I like pie crust the most. The crust to filling ratio in a normal pie is usually way off for my tastes. That’s where these cookies come in – They’re all crust! They’re fantastic all on their own (obviously), but they’re also delicious if you slather them with jam or Nutella (or both).
You do have to plan ahead to let the crust chill, but the actual dough mixing part doesn’t take much time at all. You could squeeze it in after dinner one evening and chill it overnight, or you could even make it in the morning and bake the cookies later that day. Just do me a favor and make your pie crust from scratch. This is not the time for that rolled up frozen pie crust from the dessert aisle at the grocery store. These cookies are LITERALLY just pie crust, so you want it to be an amazing crust. I promise it’s not that hard, and these cookies will taste so much better.
SWITCH IT UP
This would be a perfect opportunity to use a flavored butter. I recently received some samples of Epicurean flavored butters, and I was thinking these cookies would be great with their pumpkin spice or maple butter. OR, you could do a savory compound butter, sprinkle them with flake salt instead of sugar, and serve them as a “dinner cookie.” It could be a nice alternative to a biscuit. Who wouldn’t love a dinner cookie?
SURVEY + GIVEAWAY
Hey reader, I appreciate you! You guys keep me coming back to share my stories, and I try to make my recipes the best they can be since I know lovely people like you are paying attention. So, I want to know more about you.
Would you please fill out this survey for me? It should help me get to know you better, plus figure out what you’d like to see more of and how I can make my content even better for you. When you fill out the survey you will be entered into a giveaway to win a print of your choice from my Etsy shop AND a cookbook of your choice. (It must be available on Amazon so I can easily get it and ship it to you.) This is just my little way of saying thank you.
CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE SURVEY
The giveaway will close on Friday, December 18th at 11:59pm.
THANKS FOR AN AMAZING TWO YEARS, INTERNET!
Illustration at top created with Photoshop and Illustrator.
Prints of my illustrations are available in my Etsy shop, and you can find prints plus other items with my work on them in my Society6 shop.
DON’T FORGET: get 30% off in my Etsy shop through the end of November with the coupon code “2YEARS”
- 2½ cups (325 g) all purpose flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- ½ pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 cup cold water
- ¼ cup cider vinegar
- 1 cup ice
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp water
- raw sugar (for sprinkling on top)
- Place your cut butter on a plate and put it in the refrigerator until you're ready to use it.
- Stir the flour, salt and sugar together in a large bowl.
- Combine the cold water, cider vinegar and ice in a liquid measuring cup with a spout. Set aside.
- Add the cold butter to the flour mixture and toss it around to coat it with flour. "Cut it in" using a bench scraper, pastry cutter or your hands (or a food processor). Try to do this quickly and work until you have pea-sized pieces of butter.
- Add 1-2 tbsp of the ice water mixture to your butter and flour mixture. Using your hands, bench scraper or spatula, etc., work it in until fully incorporated.
- Keep adding 1-2 tbsp of the ice water mixture and mixing it in just until the dough comes together in a ball. There may be some dry spots hanging around. Use your hands to pinch it all together in a ball.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, but preferably overnight.
- When you're ready to make the cookies, heat the oven to 375°F and prepare some baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Whisk together the egg and 1 tsp of water in a small bowl and set aside.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and cut into 3 pieces. Keep one piece out and put the other two back in the fridge.
- On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about a ⅛ - ¼ inch thickness. (You should also flour your rolling pin.) Flip the dough over and rotate it as you roll it out, and add more flour as needed if things are sticking together.
- Use cookie cutters or biscuit cutters to pull shapes out of the dough. I found it easiest to hold the cookie cutter down on the dough and pull the excess dough away from the edges. Place the "cookies" on your parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving 1-2 inches between them. Re-roll out your scraps and keep cutting until you don't have any dough left.
- Brush the cookies with the egg wash and sprinkle them with raw sugar before putting them in the oven.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown on top.
- Repeat with the remaining dough from the refrigerator.
- The cookies are best eaten within one to two days.