Saturday, September 25, 2010

sugar cookies

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.

For this challenge, we were allowed to pick a theme of our choice but it had to relate to the month of September.  For my cookies, I decided to choose "autumn" as the theme.

Basic Sugar Cookies:
Makes Approximately 36x 10cm / 4" Cookies
½ cup + 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
3 cups + 3 Tbsp All Purpose / Plain Flour
1 cup Caster Sugar / Superfine Sugar
1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
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/1/5 inch (0.2 inch)
• Refrigerate for a minimum of 30mins.
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 30mins 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 (160°C Fan Assisted) / 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.
Tip: Rotate baking sheets half way through baking if your oven bakes unevenly.
• 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.

Royal Icing:
2½ - 3 cups Icing / Confectioner’s / Powdered Sugar, unsifted
2 Large Egg Whites
2 tsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp Almond Extract, optional

• Beat egg whites with lemon juice until combined.
Tip: It’s important that the bowls/spoons/spatulas and beaters you use are thoroughly cleaned and grease free.
• Sift the icing sugar to remove lumps and add it to the egg whites.
Tip: There are 2 amounts of icing sugar, the lesser amount is good for a flooding consistency, and the larger amount is for outlining, but you can add even more for a much thicker consistency good for writing. If you add too much icing sugar or would like to make a thinner consistency, add very small amounts of water, a few drops at a time, until you reach the consistency you need.
• Beat on low until combined and smooth.
• Use immediately or keep in an airtight container.
Tip: Royal Icing starts to harden as soon as it’s in contact with air so make sure to cover containers with plastic wrap while not in use.


Mary said...

Beautiful leaves and acorns! I love your colours--I could not make a good orange this time round. Can't wait to see what you have in store for us this coming challenge!

Mess Maker said...

Thanks Mary! I was actually going for a red icing, but didn't like it so decided to add yellow to it. I liked the orange much better than the wishy-washy red I had started out with.

And I hope you enjoy the October challenge! I'm looking forward to it!

Tia said...

I really like your use of colors and how they bleed/blend into each other.

Christina said...

Love the fall colors :) Beautiful job on the challenge!

Renata said...

Your cookies are beautiful! I love orange, and yours is so bright!
I'm very curious to find out what you're going to challenge us to do this month! Can't wait!

Marcellina said...

Just checked out your blog ! Your cookies are beautiful. I love the way the colour blend. I'd like to try that next time...if I have enough icing bags! Can't wait to see what you have up your sleeve for the October challenge!

Ruth H. said...

I love the beautiful simplicity of your cookies. They really represent Fall nicely, and are incredibly tempting!!

Happy Cook said...

Love the cookie decorations. Came to your blog as you are hosting DB this month. I am really curious to see what you are going to challeng us with. Something with apple butter as i see such delicous bottles in you earlier post :-)

mindy said...

These are really lovely cookies! Good job and THANKS for the next challenge:):):)

Foodessa said...

Such pretty cookies...great idea for the holidays approaching.

Flavourful wishes,

Torviewtoronto said...

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