Well, maybe in a few years. In the meantime, we’ll get into the spirit of things by serving up these mini tennis ball cookies – simple sugar cookies with a shiny, glow-green glaze.
How’s this for hitting the sweet spot?
Yes, the cookies are a bit time-consuming to make, but I promise they taste as good as they look. And as Sophie (above, in the shades) will tell you, sometimes looking good is worth a little extra effort.
Because this cookie dough can be rolled out into any shape, I usually freeze half the batch so I’m always ready for special occasions. For example, maybe we’ll celebrate New Jersey Day on December 18th, to commemorate the date that New Jersey became a state (in 1787).
Or maybe not, but you get the idea.
Glazed Tennis Ball Cookies
Makes about 5 dozen 2-inch cookies
For the cookies:
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 ½ cups flour
For the glaze:
- 1/3 cup butter
- 2 cups confectioner’s (powdered) sugar, sifted to remove lumps
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
- 2 to 4 teaspoons hot water
- Yellow and green food color
Make the cookies:
In a mixer bowl, combine butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla; beat until smooth. Add baking powder, salt and flour and mix on low until incorporated. Divide the dough into two discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for one hour or store in freezer until ready to bake.
Heat oven to 400ºF. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. On a work surface with parchment paper below and plastic wrap on top (to prevent rolling pin from sticking), roll out dough to about 1/8” (3mm) thickness. Use a small (approx. 2” diameter) biscuit cutter to cut out as many circles as possible. Place circles onto baking sheets, approximately 2 inches apart. Repeat with remaining dough – returning dough to freezer if necessary to help maintain crisp circle shapes.
For those with an aversion to rolling pins, try this method – inspired from a Food Network show I saw on tortilla-making. Form room-temperature dough into walnut-sized balls and arrange on baking sheet-sized parchment paper. (Cold dough will crack around the edges.) Cover balls with plastic wrap and flatten them with a meat tenderizer or other heavy, flat-bottomed object. The cookies won’t be quite as perfect as the rolled-out versions, but once they’re glazed you can barely tell the difference.
Bake for approximately 8 minutes or until lightly browned. (Rotate baking sheets halfway through baking if necessary.) Cool on wire rack, or just slide the whole cookie-lined sheet onto a counter to cool.
Decorate/Make the glaze:
Fit a small round decorating tip inside a disposable pastry bag. Fold the top of the bag inside out to make a cuff, and set in a tall glass.
In a small saucepan, melt butter. Whisk in sugar and vanilla.
Whisk in hot water (from the tap is fine), 1 teaspoon at a time, until smooth and spreadable. (It should have the consistency of chocolate syrup.)
For the white ball lines, spoon about 1/3 cup of glaze into prepared pastry bag, and then turn up the cuff and twist the bag closed.
To tint the rest of the glaze “tennis ball” color, stir in 3 big squeezes of yellow with a tiny drop of green. Mix thoroughly and then glaze cookies quickly using an offset spatula or butter knife. Glaze hardens quickly so no time for chitchat. If it starts to harden too soon, zap for a few seconds in the microwave or stir in a tiny drop of hot water.
When all cookies are glazed yellow-green, add white lines by piping two curved lines with the pastry bag. (If you didn’t sift the powdered sugar, you might end up with lumps that clog the pastry tip; this is more annoying that the slight inconvenience of sifting sugar.)
Allow glaze to harden to the touch before storing cookies in an airtight container. For crisper cookies, store in and eat right out of the freezer.