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 new challenge was fun, fun, fun, so thank you Mandy! Mandy challenged us to make the cookies, which were straight forward and simple, and decorate them, which was challenging! She also gave up free range for the theme, which had to do with the month of September. First of all I love making cookies of all sorts, and to decorate them it is even better. It took me a while to decide what to use as the theme, as I quite never thought of September as a month that has a particular meaning (besides the marking of a new school year). I first thought of making flowers, then I thought of leaves as it is Autumn after all, but apparently in don't own either shape in my huge collection of cookie cutters, not sure how this happened. I then decided to try this composition I saw years ago in a cake store as a sample for their cookie decorating class. I thought it was so beautiful and clever, and for years I have wanted to make it but never got around to it. I thought it was great to start early on Halloween, one of my favorite times of the year. I don't think that this cookie will be eaten, we'll keep it for decoration.
Basic Sugar Cookies:
Makes Approximately 36x 10cm / 4" Cookies
200g / 7oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
400g / 14oz all purpose flour
200g / 7oz / 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 flavorings 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 30 minutes.
• 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 / 350°F.
• Bake until golden around the edges, about 8-15 minutes depending on the size of the cookies.
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
• Sift the icing sugar to remove lumps and add it to the egg whites.
• Tip: I’ve listed 2 amounts of icing sugar, the lesser amount is good for a flooding consistency, and the larger amount is for outlining, but you can add even more for a much thicker consistency good for writing. If you add too much icing sugar or would like to make a thinner consistency, add very small amounts of water, a few drops at a time, until you reach the consistency you need.
• Beat on low until combined and smooth.
• Use immediately or keep in an airtight container.
Thanks go to Cat for choosing this month's challenge and to Lisa of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice, the creators of the Daring Bakers' challenge. To check other daring bakers' creations, please check the daring kitchen's site. To see the complete recipe and more detailed information on how to decorate please check Mandy's post here.