Monday, July 16, 2012

Sugar Cookie Tutorial

Lets talk about sugar cookies.........

Most of my friends have heard a wee bit about sugar cookies lately. When people ask me what I have been up to I mention something vague about sugar cookies and let the conversation wander elsewhere. The thing is......I have a secret little hobby/obsession with making and decorating sugar cookies, and to most people (but defiantly my housemate) this can seem a little weird. I try to keep it on the down low, I try not to bring it up too much, but lets be honest here........I really just love it. Today when I checked my bank account to see how much 'play money' I would have for the week I was overcome with joy at the idea of buying a new cookie cutter........Its strange, whatever.

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.

One really helpful tip I've learnt is to roll the dough out between two sheets of baking paper, and use wooden spoons as guides to keep the dough even. This way you have cookies that are all the same size and they don't dry out because of the addition of extra flour.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Make a hole in the middle of the mix and add egg, vanilla and syrup.
  3. Mix everything together.
  4. 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.
  5. Roll out between two pieces of baking paper.
  6. Use a cookie cutter to cut shapes. 
  7. Place shapes in the fridge on a tray lined with baking paper to rest for 30 minutes to an hour until firm. 
  8. 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:

Royal Icing Recipe   

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