maandag 27 september 2010
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.
Basic Sugar Cookies > Ingredients:
- 200g + 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
- 400g + 3 Tbsp All Purpose / Plain Flour
- 200g Caster Sugar / Superfine Sugar
- 1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
- 5ml / 1 tsp Vanilla Extract / Or seeds from 1 vanilla bean
Basic Sugar Cookies > Directions:
1. 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.
2. 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.
Tip: I don’t have a stand mixer so I find it easier to switch to dough hooks at this stage to avoid flour flying everywhere.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Bake until golden around the edges, about 8-15mins depending onthe 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 > Ingredients:
- 315g – 375g Icing / Confectioner’s / Powdered Sugar, unsifted
- 2 Large Egg Whites
- 10ml / 2 tsp Lemon Juice
- 5ml / 1 tsp Almond Extract, optional
Royal Icing > Directions:
1. 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.
2. Sift the icing sugar to remove lumps and add it to the egg whites.
Tip: I’ve listed 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.
3. 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.
Decorating your cookies: Royal Icing
The most important thing when it comes to decorating with Royal Icing is the consistency.
There are two ways of flooding your cookies. Some like to do the outline with a thicker icing and then flood with a thinner icing. Some like to use the same icing to do both which saves time and you don’t have to have two different piping bags for each colour you’re using.
Consistency: Mix your royal icing according to the recipe/instructions Drag a knife through the surface of the Royal Icing and count to 10 If the surface becomes smooth between 5 & 10 seconds, the icing is at the correct consistency Tip: If your icing is too thick, thin it by adding a few drops of water. Mix, do the 10 second test, then if it’s still too thick, add a few more drops of water, repeat, etc. Tip: To thicken your icing, add small amounts of icing sugar until thick enough for the 10 second test
General Royal Icing Tips:
- Keep a damp cloth handy while decorating your cookies so that if you’re switching between different icing bags, you can keep the tips covered with the damp cloth so that the icing doesn’t dry and clog them.
- If your icing tips do clog, use a toothpick or pin to unclog them.
- Always pipe a little bit of royal icing onto a board/paper towel before you begin to make sure there are no air bubbles.
- Remember to always cover bowls containing royal icing wither cling wrap, a damp cloth or sealable lid so that the surface doesn’t dry.
- Don’t store anything decorated with royal icing in the fridge otherwise the royal icing will become tacky.