I always look forward to the Fourth of July. The weather is warm and the days are long. The thing I like most about the upcoming holiday– it’s pretty much stress-free. Unlike Thanksgiving and Christmas, there’s not a lot of planning and preparation involved; just get out the folding chairs, grill up some meat, and your Fourth of July party is good to go. It’s a holiday you can truly relax on your day off from work.
If you’re looking for a Fourth of July treat that won’t interrupt your R & R, then I have a simple cookie idea that might be worth trying. I say “simple” because it doesn’t require a Kopykake and uses only three colors to complete.
Ever hear of barn stars? It’s possible you’ve seen them around. They are common finds in antique shops and home decor stores like Pottery Barn. I thought patriotic barn star cookies would be great to share around the grill next week with your BBQ buddies.
To make these cookies, you’ll need a star cookie cutter. Any star cutter will do, however, I love this Wilton star nesting cookie cutter set (shown below) for its variety of sizes. I used the 3 largest stars from the set for this particular batch of cookies.
For the dough, I thought it would be the perfect time to try out Sugarbelle’s red velvet roll-out cookie recipe. I always associate red velvet with summer (I’m not sure why) and its dark red color is fitting for the occasion.
The trick to making these cookies easy to decorate is the prep work before baking them. First, cut out the star and place it on a baking sheet. Then using a knife, align the blade with one tip of the star to the corner on the opposite side. Lightly press down into the dough just enough to leave an imprint of a line. If you do this five times around, all the lines should meet at a single point in the middle.
After baking, the star cookies should look like the following picture…
These dough lines will be your guides through the icing process. It will be straight lines from here on out!
That reminds me, there’s an icing trick I should mention, especially if you are new to decorating cookies with royal icing. Piping straight lines is really easy if you use the right technique. Gail, from One Tough Cookie, made a great video showing just how it’s done.
Gail’s video was one of the first tips I learned when I started decorating cookies. It’s a great reminder for me not to drag a tip across a cookie, which I still tend to do out of habit.
Now let’s get started! You will need:
Red piping and flood icing.
White piping and flood icing. (I used ivory to achieve a more rustic look.)
Blue piping and flood icing.
With red piping icing, outline four alternating triangle sections. It doesn’t really matter which sections you pick; there isn’t much of a difference when they lay together on a platter.
Flood the sections with red flood icing. Let the icing set for about 15 minutes before moving on.
Between the red sections, outline the three triangle sections with white (or ivory) piping icing.
Flood those white sections with white flood icing.
Outline the remaining three triangle sections with blue piping icing.
Fill the two outer sections with blue flood icing first. (This gives the star more dimension if you flood them in this order.) While the blue icing is still wet, add dots with white piping icing. Let these sections for about 15 minutes before moving on.
7. Fill the last remaining section with blue flood icing, adding the white dots as well.
Once the icing had time to set, clean up the edge by outlining over the sections again with the coordinating colors.
The flag design was just one way of decorating these stars. Using the same icing I had on hand, I made different color combinations, still utilizing the dough lines as guides. Grouping all them together on a platter makes for an interesting batch.
I think these cookies were some of the quickest I’ve made. The icing process isn’t too complicated and the design is fairly simple. Once I got into an icing groove, I was able to finish two dozen cookies in about an hour.
Well I hope everyone’s summer is off to a great start. And here’s to a happy and relaxing Fourth of July next week!
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