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Daring Bakers: Decorated Sugar Cookies

September 28, 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.

This month, we were asked to decorate cookies in the profesh way, not just throwing on some dots and colored sprinkles, a-thank-you-very-much. I must say that I enjoyed this, but I have had a little little bit of experience with decorating cookies. As in, I took a class last year at a bakery in town, where the head decorater helped us all out and they looked perfect. Clearly, I haven’t practiced since then, and the real profesh wasn’t around to fix my mistakes 😉

We were also asked to decorate the cookies in some way that is meaningful to us, as related to the month of September, and all I could think of was school and football. Well, that’s not exactly true. I also thought of leaves, but let’s be honest, that kind of artistry was not in the cards for myself. And so, even though University of Kentucky football technically starts in August, I decorated some blue and white (and again, let’s be honest, that’s just a pre-cursor to basketball season), and threw in some ’07s (the year I graduated) for fun.

On hindsight, I should’ve used this year, 2010 or 2011. But then again, I don’t know anyone who is graduating this year. And also, people don’t normally graduate in September, because that’s not how things roll around here, so this entire exercise was ill-conceived. Hey, I drew a paw print! Blue and White up at the top! Distract!

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

Directions
• 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.

Royal Icing:

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

Directions

• 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.

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