Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Angel Wings

 This year, I wanted to do a cookie/holiday treat tray that was a little different. I wanted to add new cookies that I've never made before. While on my quest to find desirable holiday cookies I came across these Angel Wings that were featured on Sugar and Grace. They were originally found in a Taste of Home 2009 magazine. (If you want to see some adorable pictures of her Angel Wings then you should check out her site. She's a photographer, where as I am not. My pictures will never be award winning, but they get the point across.)
   These cookies are light and buttery, with a crisp sugar coating and a hint of cinnamon flavor. It's almost as if they were made with store bought puff pastry, but they weren't. They are made 100% from scratch and that gives you just a little bit of bragging rites. You don't have to tell anyone how easy they are, just take the praises that follow after people try your new cookie concoction.
   While these cookies are easy, they do take some planning and forethought. The dough needs to be made in advance. Make it in the morning, if you want to serve it in the evening - or better yet, you can make it a day or two a head of time. I made mine 2 days before I baked it. I made them for my holiday cookie trays and I'm making another batch today for a cookie exchange party the kids and I are attending tomorrow. In a world that is filled with so many amazing cookie recipes, I'm glad I found these. (FYI: if you don't want to make them to give away, they are wonderful to enjoy with a hot beverage, and the dough freezes well for later baking.)
    Enough talking, let's get baking.

The first step is to cut up the butter. 1 cup (2 sticks) of cold butter needs to be cubed up. I like salted butter, but unsalted works just as well.

Add the butter to a bowl containing 1 1/2 cups AP flour. Cut the butter into the flour using two knives or a pastry cutter. 

Your looking for most of the butter to be in pea-sized pieces with a few larger chunks still remaining. Like this:

Next, add in 1/2 cup of sour cream.

Gently mix everything, until the sour cream is mostly worked in (I used a fork, but a rubber spatula would would too.)

Now push the dough down and fold it over on itself. Repeating until it is no longer crumbly. Just press . . .

And fold . . .

When it is one mass, then divide it into fourths.

See all the lovely layers created by folding it over on itself? They will help the cookie bake up light a flaky.

Take each section of the dough and form it into a rectangular (ish) shape. 

Then wrap it up in plastic wrap (I like Press n Seal), nice and tight.

Place your little bundles in the fridge until you're read for them. (Like I said before, you can do this one day ahead or two like I did.)

On the day you want to bake them, take one bundle out at a time. Have a bowl ready with 2/3 cup sugar. Place a large piece of parchment paper down on a flat work surface and sprinkle the paper with 2 Tbsp of the sugar. This is what you are rolling the dough out on (instead of flour) to prevent sticking. The rolling sugar is also the only time that the dough is sweetened, so don't skimp!

Next, unwrap one bundle and roll the dough into the remaining sugar, covering all sides.

Gently roll out the dough, working from the middle out, adding more sugar as the dough gets sticky.

You want to roll it out into a 12x5 rectangle. My first one ended up being more of an oval than a rectangle,

so I just folded in the edges,

and rolled them flat. My rolling pin is about 12 inches long, so I use that as my guide. This is close enough.

Next, lightly score the dough in half (I used the measuring spoon). You just want to get an idea of where the middle is.

Sprinkle 3/4 tsp of ground cinnamon onto the dough. I usually do 1/4 tsp for each side and then do the last 1/4 tsp over both sides. 

Roll each end up (like rolling cinnamon rolls) towards the center. Stop at the middle line.

When both ends are rolled in you have a scroll shape. These are going to be your Angel Wings.

Wrap the whole thing up in plastic wrap (I just use the same piece the dough was wrapped in before), and place it in the freezer. (The recipe said 30 minutes, but I left mine for 1 hour and it was o.k.) If you are looking to freeze this dough in advance for later baking, this would be the step that you stop at. Make sure it is wrapped tightly, and place in a labeled zip-top freezer bag with all the air removed. Then, when you want to bake it, let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes - just until it is able to be cut. And you can bake immediately. :) I love time savers and planning ahead.

When all the dough sections have been turned into angel wings scrolls (above), and they have been freezing for 30 minutes, you can get the sugar ready.
   To the remaining sugar in the bowl, add 1 Tbsp of large sugar crystals. The original recipe calls for Turbanado sugar, but I don't keep that on hand. I do, however, have this white sparkling sugar for making my girls birthday cakes "sparkle." It works beautifully.

One Tbsp is all you need. See the lovely large crystals?

Mix it in with the regular granulated sugar, so that it's evenly distributed.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Remove the dough from the freezer (again one at a time, so they stay as cold as possible). And cut each scroll into 1/2 inch pieces.

Roll each piece into the sugar you just prepared, covering both sides.

Place the cookies 2 inches apart on a parchment line baking sheet.

Bake for 17 minutes, and this is how they come out. Beautiful.

 Now, just add it to your cookie tray, or enjoy them with a hot beverage. They really are something special.
Here's the recipe:
from Sugar and Spice

Angel Wings

1 cup cold butter, cubed
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon, divided
2/3 cup sugar
1 Tbs Turnbinado sugar or Sparkling Sugar

Cut the butter into the flour using a pastry cutter, until the butter is mostly in pea-sized pieces. Stir in the sour cream until just combined. Press down the dough and fold over onto itself, repeating until the dough comes together into a solid mass. Divide the dough into four equal parts. Shape each fourth into a rectangular shape and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for several hours or up to 2 days. 
  Place a large sheet of parchment paper on a clean work surface. Put 2/3 cup granulated sugar in a bowl. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp of the sugar on the parchment paper. Remove the dough from the fridge, one bundle at a time. Unwrap the dough and roll all sides in the bowl of sugar. Then, using a rolling pin, roll the dough out on the sugar coated parchment paper. Add more sugar as needed to prevent the dough from sticking. Roll the dough into a 12x5 inch rectangle. Gently mark the dough dough the middle, creating two 6x5 visual halves. (Just score the dough, but DO NOT CUT it.) Sprinkle the dough evenly with 3/4 tsp cinnamon. Roll each half of the dough toward the middle line, making a scroll shape. Wrap the scroll tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for 30 minutes. Repeat with all the remaining dough bundles. (At this point you can leave in the freezer for later baking.)
   When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375F. Add 1 Tbsp Turbinado or Sparkling Sugar to the remaining sugar in the bowl used before. Mix well. Take one scroll out of the freezer at a time. Cut into 1/2 in pieces and roll each piece in the sugar. Place 2 inches apart on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 17-20 minutes, until golden brown. Let set on baking sheet before moving.

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