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. The theme was September and what it meant to me. My favorite part about September is the return of drinking warm beverages - particularly vanilla lattes! So I got creative and made my cookies into coffee cups with "whipped cream" and flavoured the cookies like a vanilla latte! They were delicious and definitely didn't last long in our house!
Basic Sugar Cookies
Recipe adapted from Peggy Porschen (see link above)
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 Sugar
- 1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract / Or seeds from 1 vanilla bean
- 1 1/2 tbsp finely ground high quality coffee beans
- Cream together the butter, sugar and finely ground coffee beans. 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. 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, carefully 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-decoratedcookies can last up to a month.
Next up, I made the meringue "whipped creams" to go on top of the coffee cups. It is a very simple recipe from my Joy of Cooking cookbook. I have already posted the recipe in another post of mine earlier this month - please refer to my post Lemon Meringue Dessert and make the meringue portion of the recipe. Pipe into whipped cream shapes that will fit on your cookies.
Now it's time to decorate the cookies - the fun, but time consuming part! I chose bright, fun colours and I outlined my cookies in black. Use the royal icing recipe from the Joy of Baking website listed above. I followed it exactly, but instead of flavouring with almond extract, I used vanilla.
I'm really happy with how my cookies turned out and I learned so much! I can't wait to practice my skills and really perfect my decorating techniques! There are so many options and so much creative inspiration out there on webpages and also on fellow Daring Bakers' blogs. Thanks Mandy for a great challenge!
Happy Baking My Friends!