Monday, September 27, 2010
Decorated Sugar Cookies - Daring Bakers Style
The September 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mandy of "What the Fruitcake?!" Mandy challenged everyone to make Decorated Sugar Cookies based on recipes from Peggy Porschen and The Joy of Baking.
Who doesn't love sugar cookies?!? I sure do. Not only are they delcious, they are a great way to spend time with the kids. Our challenge this month was to decorate cookies in a "September" theme. Well, to me September means back to school. I didn't have any "school" specifc cookies cutters tho and I didn't feel like buying new ones so I improvised. The schoool bus is really a tombstone cookie cutter, the school is a "haunted house" cutter and the apple is really a "pumpkin" cutter! Enjoy.
Basic Sugar Cookies:
Makes approximately 36 x 10cm / 4 inch cookies
200g / 7oz / ½ cup + 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
400g / 14oz / 3 cups + 3 Tbsp All Purpose / Plain Flour
200g / 7oz / 1 cup Caster Sugar / Superfine Sugar
1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
5ml / 1 tsp Vanilla Extract / Or seeds from 1 vanilla bean
Cream together the butter, sugar and any flavourings you’re using. Beat until just becoming creamy in texture.
Tip: Don’t over mix otherwise you’ll incorporate too much air and the cookies will spread during baking, losing their shape.
Beat in the egg until well combined, make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add the sifted flour and mix on low until a non sticky dough forms.
Knead into a ball and divide into 2 or 3 pieces.
Roll out each portion between parchment paper to a thickness of about 5mm/0.25 inch
Refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Tip: Recipes commonly just wrap the whole ball of dough in clingwrap and then refrigerate it for an hour or overnight, but by rolling the dough between parchment, this shortens the chilling time and then it’s also been rolled out while still soft making it easier and quicker.
Once chilled, peel off parchment and place dough on a lightly floured surface.
Cut out shapes with cookie cutters or a sharp knife.
Arrange shapes on parchment lined baking sheets and refrigerate for another 30 minutes to an hour.
Tip: It’s very important you chill them again otherwise they’ll spread while baking.
Re-roll scraps and follow the above process until all scraps are used up.
Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.
Bake until golden around the edges, about 8-15mins depending on the size of the cookies.
Tip: Bake same sized cookies together otherwise mixing smaller with larger cookies could result in some cookies being baked before others are done.
Leave to cool on cooling racks.
Once completely cooled, decorate as desired.
Tip: If wrapped in tinfoil/cling wrap or kept in airtight containers in a cool place, un-decorated cookies can last up to a month.
I buy pre-made Royal Icing Powder form my local cake decorating store. All I have to do is add water to my desired consistency and then I add colour gels to the icing. I prefer to put the icing in little plastic decorating bottles - I find it easier to use than my decorating bags. It is also easier to store left over in the fridge when it is in bottles vs bags.