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.
In all honesty, decorated cookies are not really my forte. I love them. I love to look at them. No doubt, I love to eat them. But, I do not love to make them. For me, they are a bit time consuming. Besides that, my hands just do do not acquire the patience or the precision required to make these delicate works of art.
So, when I saw this month's Daring Baker's Challenge, I can't say I was terribly jazzed about the thoughts of the drippy icing, the piping, the flooding, the drying with little Runwilder fingers trying to touch them every few minutes....I'll be honest, I started to bow out for this month. But, after mulling it over, I decided just to go with a simple design so that I would not lose all patience and sling them to the backyard for the squirrels. And, what better (and simple) design to make since September has ushered in football season. Here in the South football is serious business. Mr. Sweets believes it is morally imperative that one only cheer for one team. And its a viscous (and sometimes a bit tacky) few months among the rival team fans. I just try to be quite and stay out of trouble as much as possible, so I made my football cookies "team neutral"
The appearance was just so-so for me. They are what they are, but there was nothing terribly intricate about their general detail to begin with. The sugar cookie recipe provided by Mandy of “What the Fruitcake?! was really incredible. I would have loved to have this cookie with no icing at all. Now, my little Runwilder Princesses declared these cookies to be the best cookies ever. Though... now that I think about it, I think they say that every time I make cookies. The icing is S-U-P-E-R sweet and chocolaty(probably why they love them so much). Not that that's a problem, but its always good to know something like that, especially if your don't like to indulge in a little sugar shock every afternoon ;)
Decorated Sugar Cookies
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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
Quick Pour Chocolate Fondant :
From All Recipes
- 6 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 5 fluid ounces water
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 3 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
In a saucepan, combine confectioners' sugar, water and corn syrup. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches a temperature of 92 degrees F (33 degrees C.) Remove from heat and stir in chopped chocolate and almond extract until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.