Monday, 24 October 2011

Sugar Cookies

The sugar cookie is such a simple and versatile cookie. 

Perfectly delicious on its own or it can be made extra special using cookie cutters. Once decorated they can be a special treat suitable for any tea party!

I decided to make these particular sugar cookies for a Tea Party themed Baby Shower. 

I had chosen the teacup and teapot cookie cutters specifically for this purpose and I’m sure I will get plenty of use out of them in future too (Tea Party themed cookies from now on!).

I have to admit that it was a little frustrating when the baked cookies came out of the oven looking less than ideal. 

They had spread out quite a bit and were not particularly looking like they were heading to a tea party but luckily I was planning to add icing touches to embellish the finished cookie.

My mission was to force the brain to assume they were destined for a tea party through the creative use of sugar and an icing pen.

I had made an impulse buy of an icing pen (for the bargain price of only £3.99) on a little lunch time excursion to Clas Ohlson. I’m loving it and have put it to good use with these cookies.  

I am already envisioning Christmas cookies with sprinkles and icing galore!

Recipe from Joy of Baking:

Makes about 36 cookies.

3 cups (390 grams) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda. 

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). 

Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat until combined.

Add the flour mixture and beat until you have a smooth dough. Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about one hour or until firm enough to roll.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 

Remove one half of the chilled dough from the refrigerator and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch (1 cm). Keep turning the dough as you roll, making sure the dough does not stick to the counter.  Cut out desired shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter and transfer cookies to baking sheet.

Place the baking sheets with the unbaked cookies in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to chill the dough which prevents the cookies from spreading and losing their shape while baking.

Note: If you are not going to frost the baked cookies, you can sprinkle the unbaked cookies with sparkling sugar. 

Bake cookies for about 8-10 minutes (depending on size) or until the edges are just starting to brown. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Frosted cookies will keep several days in an airtight container. Store between layers of parchment paper or wax paper.

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