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.
It was great fun making cookies and decorating them. This was the first time I made the cookies and the icing and used ziplock bags as piping bags. I am writing down the recipes below. Hope they come in use in future.
Ingredients – Sugar Cookie / Basic Cookie Dough
3/4 cup butter
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
Cream the sugar and butter together. Make sure the butter is at room temperature. Do not over mix. This is to avoid too much air being incorporated in the mixture.
Add the egg and vanilla extract.
Slowly add cupfuls of the flour till it is incorporated completely. The cookie dough should be smooth. If it is crumbly, add 2-3 teaspoons of water. The dough should just come together and not get gooey.
Divide the dough into three parts. Wrap in parchment paper or cling film and refrigerate for atleast 30 mins.
Take out one portion of the dough at a time. Roll it out in between a large piece of folded parchment paper or on a lightly floured work surface. Keep the thickness even and upto 5 mm. Cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters or with a sharp knife.
Carefully place the cut outs on a baking try and refrigerate for 30 mins. This will avoid the cookie from spreading while baking. It is best to refrigerate the cookies after cutting them instead of refrigerating the dough for a long period of time as this will give best results.
Heat the oven to 180C and bake the cookie for 8-10 mins till the edges are lightly browned. Rotate the cookie sheet half way to ensure even baking of all cookies. If you have cookies of separate sizes, it would be best to bake similar cookies together to ensure even baking .
Let the cookies cool on the baking tray completely before removing. Store in an airtight container for upto 1 month.
Ingredients – Royal icing
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
3 tsp lemon juice
5 tsp cornstarch
5-6 tsp milk
Food colouring (optional)
Mix icing sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch.
Add milk by teaspoonfuls at a time till you get the right consistency. Add more icing sugar to thicken and more milk to thin it.
To add different colours, divide the icing into separate bowls and then add colours. If the colours are water based, it would be best to add more icing sugar to get the consistency right. Also, it is preferable to use dry colours with royal icing to get desired colour as water based colours tend to become lighter.
You can either use piping bags or use ziplock bags or make bags out of parchment paper also. If you don’t have piping nozzles, you can just snip of a teeny-tiny bit at the end of the ziplock bag/parchment paper bag.
Keep the icing covered with wet towels to avoid drying up. If the tip of the bag gets clogged, unclog with toothpick.
Decorate the sugar cookies as you please. Once done, let the cookies dry up completely before storing. They will store well in a air tight container for upto a month.