Another edition of Moose does ridiculous things (or otherwise has ridiculous motivations for perfectly normal things when done in a different context). This edition involves ham cookies. Yes. Ham.
Perhaps you’re thinking that I made ham-flavored cookies (I wanted to, but didn’t have time), or maybe cut sliced ham into…the shape of cookies? I don’t really know what that means. But actually, what I did was to find possibly the one vendor in the world who makes ham shaped cookie cutters and used it to make ham shaped sugar cookies. Which I then decorated to look like hams. Duh.
Why would anyone want ham shaped cookie cutters? Well…it has to do with Rabbit. Rabbit and I use the word “ham” with each other like Smurfs use the word “smurf” with each other. “How you smurfin’?” “Hey, did you ham the protocol already?” You know…totally normal stuff. (I don’t think we’ve ever asked each other whether the protocol was hammed. We work on separate projects and wouldn’t have a shared protocol.)
Why the word “ham”? That’s mostly Rabbit’s fault. He used to interject “ham” into sentences when talking to me. I just took it to extremes, as I am wont to do. I think he’s since stopped trying to use “ham” as an interjection around me. Doesn’t matter. I’ve already fixated on this. And because of it, I really wanted to give him a ham for a housewarming gift. Like a whole HoneyBaked ham. I was pretty set on this except…it would be kind of mean. It’s only Rabbit and his wife at home who would eat the ham. There’s Kid Rabbit, but he’s pretty small still. He probably doesn’t eat ham yet. Even a small ham is a lot for two people to finish (and kind of expensive for what would essentially be a gag gift). And there’s also the thing that Rabbit and Mrs. Rabbit don’t even really like ham. It would take even longer to finish that way. But I was set and intent on getting them a ham. So…now what?
Make ham-shaped cookies. Duh.
So I did.
I actually had to make several test hams because 1) I’ve never used this sugar cookie recipe before, 2) I’ve only used royal icing one other time in my life, 3) I had a hard time figuring out the best environment in which to dry the icing (on cookies).
The recipe I used for the sugar cookies was one I found on the Kitchn. And I can tell you that they taste great. It’s one of the best sugar cookies I’ve ever had and I typically am not a fan of sugar cookies. I think the lemon rind in the dough gives it enough brightness to cut through the cloying sweetness. But…it was really difficult to work with. It’s advertised as a very easy dough to roll out and cut out. Um…I did not find it so. I think part of the problem is the volumetric measurements, for flour at least. I tried the recipe twice and I typically weigh my flour (once at 90g:1 cup, because this is what manufacturer has listed, and then 120g:1 cup, which is closer to a generic measurement across all brands of AP flours). I upped the weight of my flour each time but it was still super soft and sticky, even after chilling it for over 24hr. You could tell the difference in handling the dough with the different flour quantities, but it was still too soft and sticky to be easy to work with. That’s why I prefer weight measurements when baking. I don’t have to guess at how much flour “3 cups” actually is.
Nevertheless, I pushed through and made my ham cookies. The cookie cutter I have is big, 5.5″. It’s about as big as my hand. It is utterly ridiculous and I like it. I did actually find other cookie cutter manufacturers who made ham shaped cookie cutters, but they only made ham steak shaped cookie cutters…which isn’t funny. I only found one manufacturer that made a bone-in ham haunch shaped cookie cutter, which was more in line with what I was going for. It even comes as a set so you know approximately where the manufacturer was thinking when they designed the cutter. And they make them in several different sizes.
Icing the cookies was a bit of an ordeal too. Like I said, I’ve only used royal icing one other time and it was easier the last time because I was piping onto wax paper so it wasn’t much of an ordeal to dry. I didn’t have to worry about the texture of the cookie after icing or whether or not moisture in the cookie would affect the icing. As it turned out, my first batch of iced test hams were too wet. The icing never dried properly. It was sad. I watered down the icing too much and it just wouldn’t set, even after 24hr. Also, it was very humid that day, which made it even harder to dry the icing. But at least I kind of figured out on how I wanted the hams to look.
The second batch of iced test hams fared better. I ended up making the white icing too thin and it had a hard time setting up. I also employed the oven in helping initially set the icing. I used the lowest convection setting on the oven and turned it off after about a minute reaching temp while I was mixing up the next color of icing. By the time I was finished, the icing on the cookies were set enough so that I could pipe the next color without having them bleed into each other. I also used half parchment paper cones to pipe half the time and Ziploc bags the other half. The parchment cones were much easier to control.
I apparently don’t have a picture of the second batch of iced test hams?
The third batch of iced hams ended up being the final product. Mostly because I just didn’t have any more time to play around with icing ham cookies. Icing set just fine this time, even though it was cold and humid still. I still used the oven to quick set the icing for the next color. And I used only parchment cones to ice. I think I actually might have made the icing too dry because the green hams dried a bit on the lumpy side. Oh well. Good enough. Rabbit got his bag of assorted hams.