I ventured online to see if there was any other people out there like me, and guess what.....THERE TOTALLY IS! Heaps of them too. This made me feel a little better about it. The thing is though, people have whole business's based on selling these little cookies......and are making a killing out of it! Not so strange now huh?
I think its addictive because its so totally satisfying to watch yourself improve, and they make amazing little presents.....and a pretty damn good breakfast too. So here are my main tips if you want to get started.
Firstly I totally recommend checking out a blog called Sweetopia. Its what got me started. There are heaps of videos on how to fill icing bags, how to pipe and flood your cookie (see fancy cooking icing terms!)
The basic icing used is a royal icing, which is made of egg white and icing sugar. The problem with this is egg white when uncooked if left out for a long period of time can give you food poisoning. Most decorators use something called meringue powder to eliminate this problem. I searched and searched for it in the supermarket but they didn't sell it. It is for sale online though. I did however find a product called 'pavlova powder' it come in a little egg shaped container and is usually sold next to the crystallised jelly in a supermarket. It seems to do the same job, and I've been really happy with the results.
My other advice is to read lots of books and blogs.....there are so many good ones out there. My basic recipe I'm using at the moment is a vanilla sugar cookie from a book called 'Biscuiteers Book of Iced Biscuits.' The recipe is posted below......If you guys get interested and want some more tips let me know and I'll do some more sugar cookie recipes for you!
Vanilla sugar cookies:
1tsp vanilla essence
350g plain flour
100g self raising flour
125g granulated sugar (I just use caster sugar)
125g butter diced
125g golden syrup
1 egg lightly beaten
What to do:
- Crumb together flours sugar and butter. This can be done with your fingertips, the paddle attachment of a kitchen aid or a food processor. Basically you just want the mix to look like breadcrumbs.
- Make a hole in the middle of the mix and add egg, vanilla and syrup.
- Mix everything together.
- Pour out onto the table and pull the mix together with your hands. Try not to overwork it, but you may need to scrunch it together a bit to make it all come together.
- Roll out between two pieces of baking paper.
- Use a cookie cutter to cut shapes.
- Place shapes in the fridge on a tray lined with baking paper to rest for 30 minutes to an hour until firm.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 170 for 14 to 18 minutes.
You Improve really quickly.....below is my first batch through to some I made just the other day......and you can see how in only a few times making them they have gotten so much better!
The Royal Icing Recipe I have used below is from Sweetopia
Check it out at: http://sweetopia.net/2012/01/royal-icing-recipe-free-illustrated-recipe/