Happy Thanksgiving! I am staycation-ing in Brooklyn and thoroughly enjoying the cozy lounging I plan to do this weekend – it’s really gotten cold outside! Being at home is also giving me the chance to bake up a storm, and I recently made these cookies, which are an excellent addition to your dessert table – tonight, or any night.
These pie cookies are incredibly cute, and go perfectly with the work of one of my favorite artists, Fernando Botero. The combination = pies and thighs! Botero’s very distinct style is characterized by round, inflated forms and bright, precise colors. Botero was greatly inspired by earlier masters, and he made his own versions of their masterpieces.
In both After the Arnolfini Van Eyck (1978) and The Arnolfini (After Van Eyck) (1997), Botero clearly references Jan Van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait, one of the most famous (and my favorite) paintings in the world. One of the main differences between the two portraits is Botero’s treatment of the background. In the earlier version, the figures take up more space – especially the groom’s hat! Starting in the 1980s, many of Botero’s portraits emphasized the background and picture environment more, and in these two works it is a very subtle difference. Both pictures include all the same elements and details – the ornate red bed, shoes on the floor, dog, mirror with the reflection, the window and windowsill, and the same costumes on the bride and groom. However, the earlier version is a little less defined and darker than the 1997 version, which is lighter, brighter, and more established.
These cookies are also light, bright and pretty clearly adorable slices of pie, so start letting your butter get to room temperature and get to baking!
Pumpkin Pie-esque Sugar Cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup white whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup + 2 tablespoon sugar
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
To make the dough:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients through the salt, and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar for a couple of minutes on medium speed, until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed and add the egg and vanilla, mixing thoroughly. Add the dry mixture in 2 additions – add half first, mix and scrape the bowl, then add the second half. Mix dough until combined and divide into two equal discs. Wrap both in plastic wrap and chill for about 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 350ºF, and remove one disc of dough at a time. Lightly flour your workspace, and gently roll the dough out thin using a floured rolling pin. Cut your cookie shapes out. I used one shaped like a pie slice (similar here). Space out on a parchment or silicone mat-lined cookie sheet and bake for about 10-12 minutes. You want the cookies to brown slightly around the edges. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before icing.
Royal Icing with Egg Whites:
5 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
7 tablespoons liquid egg whites
½ teaspoon lemon juice
dash of vanilla extract
food coloring in desired colors
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine confectioner’s sugar and egg whites and mix until smooth. add in the lemon juice, mix, add the vanilla, and mix. Beat for 1-2 minutes, until fluffy and smooth. Divide into smaller bowls and beat in food coloring.
Fit a plastic pastry bag with a thin metal tip and spoon in the icing. Feel free to decorate as much or as little as you want. I was super inspired by Patti Paige’s awesome book You Can’t Judge a Cookie by It’s Cutter, and I tried my best outlined, decorated cookie. To do this on the pie slice cookie, I started by outlining the entire cookie in light yellow icing. I then filled the top in, to mimic a buttery top crust. Fill the rectangular “pie-filling” with whatever icing you want. I chose orange to make my cookies pumpkin pie-eque, but you could also do a purple-y blue for blueberry pie or a bright red for cherry pie. The pie’s the limit!
Let the icing set for at least an hour before eating, preferably a few hours.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! I hope you enjoy a day of food and family, with these cookies on your dessert table!
Recipe adapted from You Can’t Judge a Cookie by Its Cutter, makes about 2 dozen medium/large cookies
Featured art: Fernando Botero, After the Arnolfini Van Eyck, 1978, oil canvas
Fernando Botero, The Arnolfini (After Van Eyck), 1997, oil on canvas