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FALL TAILGATE Watching football is one of my absolute favorite pastimes. When I was a kid, I used to love hanging with my Dad on a Sunday afternoon, watching a game on television. To me, the sound of an announcer on the tube and the crowds cheering in the background conjure up the spirit of the fall. My dad hasn‘t been with us for years, but I still love football: As a young man, I began watching with my buds, and today, I unplug from the rest of the world and lounge around my house in a Giants jersey, and let the game wash over me. Sometimes family or friends will come over, but only those who know that the game rules the day and, if we‘re lucky, Lisa might cook up some snacks for us. Of course, the ultimate fan experience isn‘t in the living room, but in the sports stadium, with a tailgate party before you head in, claim your seats, and cheer until your voice goes hoarse. This chapter features some of my favorite tailgate foods, the kind of hearty, big-flavored grub you crave at a sporting event. When I head out to the ball field, I always bring a grill along, and a few of the recipes ahead assume that you do the same.

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FA L L TA I L G AT E

SPOR TY SUGAR COOKIES { M AK E S 8 T O 1 0 F O O TBAL L COOK IES; 10 TO 12 ROUN D COOK IES }

Sometimes, less is more. When you throw a true tailgate party, outside the gates of a sports venue, or even a potluck get-together at a friend‘s house, convenience and portability are crucial: For the dessert, you want something that can be made in advance, easily transported to the stadium or party location, and isn‘t sensitive to heat or cold. Cookies are the perfect answer to all those needs, and these cookies—made to mimic the look of different sports balls—set the perfect mood as you wrap up your tailgate meal and head to your seats to watch the game. This chapter is mostly about the fall, but I‘ve included instructions for making baseball, basketball, and tennis cookies as well, so you can have cookies for your favorite sports all year long.

Notes: The amounts of buttercream and fondant below assume that you are making just one type of cookie—football, baseball, basketball, or tennis ball. If you are making a variety of types, adjust amounts accordingly: you will need approximately 2 tablespoons of buttercream and 1¼ ounce of fondant for decorating each cookie (i.e., in addition to the amount used to affix the fondant to the cookie). Because these don‘t use a lot of buttercream, if you‘d rather not make your own, it‘s fine to use prepared icing that comes in little tubes in the supermarket. Because the white decorator‘s buttercream used to affix the fondant to the cookie will be spread out, you can use almost any tip to pipe it onto the cookie; a #4 plain tip is called for, below, but if you need that tip for another icing, you can use another tip (such as a #5 tip) instead. For the football cookies, which call for interchangeable tips, pipe the buttercream onto the cookie with no tip attached (just be careful not to use an ex-

cessive amount) or apply the first interchangeable tip for decorating and use that. For cookies that call for white and another color buttercream, put the necessary amount of white buttercream in a pastry bag first, then color the remaining buttercream as necessary. Sugar cookies (recipe follows), baked in desired shapes FOOTBALL COOKIES: About 1 pound dark chocolate fondant About 2 cups white Decorator‘s Buttercream (page 302) in a pastry bag fitted with a coupler #48 interchangeable basket weave tip #4 interchangeable plain tip

Roll the fondant out to ¹∕8 inch. Use the same cutter you used for the cookies to cut the fondant into the same number of footballs/ ovals.

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a

b

c

d

e

f

g

h

i

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FA L L TA I L G AT E

Lay cookies on a flat surface so they won’t break as you decorate them. Pipe some buttercream onto the top of each cookie and spread it out with a cake spatula (a). (For football cookies, apply the buttercream using the bag with no tip attached to the coupler; for round cookies, use the #4 tip or another tip; see notes, page 185.) Apply the football-shaped fondant to the cookies (b). Affix the #48 interchangeable basket weave tip to the bag, and with the ruffled side of the tip facing downward toward the cookie, pipe a line across the center of the cookie lengthwise, then a line at the front and back of the cookie to mimic the stitching on a football (c). Change to the #4 plain interchangeable tip to pipe stitching across the center line.

BASEBALL COOKIES: About 1 pound white fondant About ½ cup white Decorator‘s Buttercream (page 302) in a pastry bag fitted with #4 plain tip About 1 cup red Decorator‘s Buttercream (page 302) in a pastry bag fitted with #4 plain tip

Roll white fondant out to ¹∕8-inch thick and punch 3½-inch circles out of it using the same punch you used to make the cookies; affix to cookies with buttercream (see football instructions), and pipe red stitching to mimic a baseball (f, g). TENNIS BALL COOKIES:

BASKETBALL COOKIES: About 1 pound orange fondant About ½ cup white Decorator‘s Buttercream (page 302) in a pastry bag fitted with #4 plain tip About 1 cup brown Decorator‘s Buttercream (page 302) in a pastry bag fitted with #4 plain tip

Roll orange fondant out to 1/8-inch thick and punch 3½-inch circles out of it using the same punch you used to make the cookies; affix to cookies with buttercream (see football instructions), and pipe black stitching to mimic a basketball (d, e).

About 1 pound lime green fondant (knead together 8 ounces each of green and yellow fondant) About 2 cups white Decorator‘s Buttercream (page 302) in a pastry bag fitted with #4 plain tip

Roll lime green fondant out to 1/8-inch thick and punch 3½-inch circles out of it using the same punch you used to make the cookies; affix to cookies with white buttercream (see football instructions), and pipe white stitching to mimic a tennis ball (h, i).

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