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.
September, for me, has been a month of firsts. First day working for the NHS, first time on a hospital roof, first time in intensive care, first time visiting a prison (all in the name of healthcare may I add!), … and so on and so forth until… first time making sugar cookies, first time researching flooding and decorating techniques, and first time icing cookies with royal icing.
This has been a lovely challenge. For one thing, I got to play around with the flavour of the cookies, giving them a warming spice mix of ginger, cinnmon and a little mixed spice. For another, I got to use all the cutters I have been hoarding away and have never had the chance to use! So I was supposed to be sticking to the theme of Autumn, and I invested in some gorgeous autumnal gel colours to enhance my leaves and woodland creatures, but I couldnt resist also making a herd of friendly brachiosaurs as well…
Thank you Mandy for a fun challenge!
Basic Sugar Cookies
Makes Approximately 36x 10cm / 4″ 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.
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.
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.
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.
Leave to cool on cooling racks.
Once completely cooled, decorate as desired.
315g – 375g / 11oz – 13oz / 2½ – 3 cups Icing / Confectioner’s / Powdered Sugar, unsifted
2 Large Egg Whites
10ml / 2 tsp Lemon Juice
5ml / 1 tsp Almond Extract, optional
Beat egg whites with lemon juice until combined.
Sift the icing sugar to remove lumps and add it to the egg whites.
Beat on low until combined and smooth.
Use immediately or keep in an airtight container.