Thursday, July 5, 2012

Star Spangled Sugar Cookies and Firework Pretzel Sticks

I hope that everyone had a great 4th of July holiday! I celebrated the birth of America with great friends, food, and lots of sunshine. I spent the day on Ft. Desoto beach and somehow only managed to come home a slightly darker color than off-white. I was at the beach for over 7 hours and didn't even get a tan! How does that happen!? I did however manage not to get a sunburn, which is rare for me. I guess next time I won't apply sunscreen every 30 minutes. It is a shame for a Floridian to be as white as I am. I could seriously give Casper a run for his money. I used to tan constantly, but I finally gave up in attempts to not resemble a strap of leather when I am 40. Oh, I almost forgot! My feet were attacked by an army of ants.

Despite the lack of tan and hundred ant bites, I had a really fun day! I don't know if I have said it before, but Ryan and I are a really goofy couple. We are two of a kind in every sense of the word, and our weirdness together is what makes us great (in my opinion). We went to Walmart a few days ago and really prepared for the 4th of July holiday. Below is a picture of Ryan in all his glory. And yes, he really wore this to the beach:

Look at that shirt - I have the best fiance ever, seriously! Any man who will wear that shirt out in public to see me smile is a keeper. I complimented Ryan's outfit by wearing a picnic table cloth patterned bathing suit, a giant t-shirt featuring a dog in a U.S Marines uniform with an American flag, and ridiculously tacky red, white, blue star earrings. Sexy would be an understatement.

When it comes to holidays I am a bit of a dork, I think it is the teacher in me. I love to make holidays fun and festive. So, when we were invited to a beach picnic for the 4th I knew I had to make some 4th of July worthy treats! First on the list? These star spangled red, white, and blue iced sugar cookies. Have you ever had a Loft House sugar cookie? (I always see them at Walmart). These cookies taste pretty much just like those. I am in love.

Sugar Cookies
Adapted from The Galley Gourmet
5 1/2 to 6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (16 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
3 extra large eggs at room temperature
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sour cream

In a large bowl whisk 5 1/2 cups of the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and eggs; scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Mix in the sour cream until well blended. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture until a sticky dough forms. Add up to an additional 1/2 cup of flour to achieve a soft, but still slightly sticky dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough in half and shape into rectangles about 1 1/2 inches thick. Wrap each rectangle in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 425ยบ F. Lightly flour a sheet of parchment or silicone pastry mat. Working with one rectangle of dough at a time, roll each out to 1/4 inch thickness. Using a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out the cookies and transfer them to a parchment lined baking sheet. Re-roll scraps and cut out.

Bake for 7 minutes until pale golden. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Cookie Icing
1 cup (16 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
5 cups confectioners' sugar
4-6 Tablespoons milk
Food coloring

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, salt, and vanilla. With the mixer on low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar one cup at a time until smooth. Add the milk one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency. Add food coloring of your choice.

When the cookies are cool, frost the tops with the frosting and decorate with sprinkles.  Allow the cookies to set out until the frosting has set. Store in an airtight container between sheets of parchment for several hours or overnight to allow the flavors to develop.

Pour yourself a glass of milk and enjoy!

My second treat is a staple in my house come any holiday. I love making candy coated pretzel sticks because they are easy, fun, and versatile for every holiday! When I make these, they do not last long. I find it funny that one of the easiest things to make is what everyone seems to fight over! I promise if you make these, you will become very popular at any party or event! 

Pretzel Sticks
Bag of pretzel rods
Candy melts, any flavor
Sprinkles, coconut, M&M's and any other toppings

Melt candy according to package directions. Using a knife, cover 3/4 of pretzel rod with candy coating and immediately cover with chosen toppings. Transfer decorated pretzel sticks to parchment paper until candy has hardened. 

The toppings are limitless, which makes these little things so fun! I thought the colors resembled fireworks. What do you think?


  1. It is just so much fun to decorate things with a theme in mind!! You cookies and pretzels turned out so cute:-)

  2. omg i could never decorate like that! you've got talent girl! and those shorts up there are pretty rad

    1. Thank you! They took HOURS to finish, so your compliment means a lot! :)

  3. Cute cookies! And I love your fiance's shirt! Hilarious!

  4. I love those pretzel sticks!! Gotta make them for my mom's 4th of July bday next year :)

    1. I hope you do! I make them for almost every holiday. So easy and people love them! :)

  5. These are SO cute and I love the presentation! Excited to be your newest follower! Thank you for finding my blog and leaving me a cute comment!

    1. Awe, thank you so much! So excited you stopped by. You are very welcome for the comment. I love your blog :)

  6. the pretzel sticks look AMAZING. i love salty & sweet!

    1. I love salty and sweet too! Thanks so much for stopping by! :)

  7. Love this pretzel fireworks! Incredibly fun and yummy