Safety Lights Are For Dudes – Experimenting Holztmann Style


I bought a Ghostbusters logo cutter from Etsy awhile back. Recently when my friends and I were going to watch the 2016 movie together, I decided that was an excuse to run some random experiments:

Question 1: can you put white food colouring in buttery cookie dough to make it come out more white or will it just be slightly less yellow?

Question 2: can you use an inner-stamp-style cutter plus a knife to effectively have a patchwork-style cutter for cookies?

Question 3: if yes to 2, is it feasible for many cookies or is it horribly tedious?

For the first question, I knew from experience that you can add colour to cookie dough but that there’s often a yellowish tinge. For instance, light blue tends to come out fairly turquoise. So I wasn’t sure if the white (I used Americolor Bright White gel) would carry itself enough against the yellow or if baking would just make it turn golden-brown anyway.

I made a batch of what’s become my usual UK non-spreading cookie dough and separated it into thirds, tinting one white and another with Americolor Super Red. I started with a small amount and kneaded it in, repeating until I liked the result:

coloured dough

White-tinted dough on the left, uncoloured in the middle, red on the right.

Clearly the white made the dough itself very white compared to the yellow untinted stuff! That was promising…

I then rolled it out and cut several white and red logos. I put the white ones on the lined pan directly. Then, using a small, sharp knife, I cut the circle and diagonal out of the white ones and cut the ghost out of the red ones (taking care in that case to keep the long zig zag intact). Then I assembled them right on the baking tray, pushing the sides up against each other but not doing any particular pinching or adhering beyond that.

preparing the pieces 1

It was easiest to start with the ghost’s top half in place, put the little bit of red above his shoulder, put the zig zag in place but opened at the bottom, slide the ghost’s lower half into place, and then close the bottom of the circle up around him.

assembly 2

assembly 3

assembled cookie

The finished assembled cookie, ready for baking.

By assembling directly on the tray, you don’t have to move it, meaning you can let it bake together and not have to fiddle with making the pieces stick together or hold the round shape for a transfer from work surface to tray.

And I’ve got some pretty cool stuff cookin’ up over here if you just want to turn your heads…

baked cookie

The baked cookie!

Woot woot, it worked! It all baked together into one solid cookie, and other than mild browning at the small fingery bits, it stayed pretty white!

Here’s a comparison of several white ones with a no-colour one in the middle:

undyed in middle

You can see what a clear difference the white food gel made.

Although given my theme to this post, this is probably a better version of that image:

cookies with wig and hat

The hat is too much, right? Is it the wig or the hat?

So here are the answers:

Question 1: YES you can add white food colouring (at least Americolor Bright White) to cookie dough, it makes it much whiter, and it even stays white in baking (except for the actual browned edges).

Question 2: YES you can use an interior-stamp-type cutter to do multicoloured cookies patchwork style, as long as you’re prepared to sit there and cut the bits out individually.

Question 3: YES it is horribly tedious. I knew there were about four to eight people coming to this event and I wanted an extra for Peo, so I made 12 and then I was seriously sick of the picky little cutting. If you’re considering doing this sort of thing for cookies for sale, CHARGE ACCORDINGLY because it’s time-consuming and fiddly and annoying. If the cutter did the inner part all the way through it wouldn’t be too bad, but the delicate hand-cutting part is slow, achy work.

But in the end everyone loved the cookies and you know Holtzmann would have eaten them too, particularly if something horrible was happening across the room. And she’d want you to eat them so your blood sugar doesn’t get too low and you end up getting possessed. These are some of the many reasons why we love her, salty parabolas and all.

holtzmann winking

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