February was a busy month for me cookie making. Generally I'm not a big baker, but I do like to create, and baking for friends is great fun. I'm not an expert, there are plenty of people who are - if you start googling iced cookies you will be amazed what you'll see. I'm a rank amateur compared to most, but I enjoy looking at the finished product and thinking "I did that!"
I also bought a heat gun, one that strips wallpaper, or in my case dries icing faster. Hubby despairs of me, just when he thought I had every single kitchen gadget you could ever own, I buy a power tool. It's quite cool actually, I can feel the testosterone surging when I switch it on - I think he's just jealous.
The cookie recipe I use is so easy to use. You can re-roll the leftover dough pieces until the very last cookie is cut, and the dough freezes in it's 'raw' state. You can also freeze the cooked iced and un-iced cookies.
The icing recipe I use is from http://sweetopia.net and tastes fabulous, you can adjust the consistency depending on how you want to decorate the cookies. I pipe by outlines on with an icing bag and when they set pipe a slightly runnier version of the icing in the middle which results in a nice smooth cookie. You can spread the icing on with a knife or dip the cookies in the icing if you prefer. It uses meringue powder, for those in Doha, I buy egg white powder from Lulu's - also I sift the icing sugar here twice to get rid of all the lumps. You can also pipe the icing onto baking parchment to make cupcake toppers (like the wee birds above), just pipe lots of extra ones, as they're fragile and break easily.
- 2 cups sugar
- 350 grams butter, softened
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 5 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, add in the eggs one at a time, beating well before adding the next one. Beat in the vanilla essence
- Sift the dry ingredients together and add to the wet mixture. Mix well. Pop dough into the fridge for at least half and hour to firm up
- Heat the oven to 190 degrees celcius (375 degrees fahrenheit).
- Line a baking tray with baking paper, roll out the dough to 1/2 centimetre thick and cut into shapes with a cookie cutter, place on the baking try and bake for about 6 -7 minutes until golden brown on the bottom and starting to colour on the top. Watch carefully as the difference btetween cooked and burnt is less than a minute.
- Take out and leave on the baking tray to cook a little bit more (or pop straight onto a cooling rack if they're already golden brown). Cool on a rack, and ice or freeze.
Royal Icing for Cookies
- 180 mls warm water
- 5 tablespoons meringue powder (I use egg white powder)
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 kilo icing sugar, sifted twice
- Mix the warm water and meringue powder together in the bowl of a mixer and whisk by hand for 30 seconds, add the cream of tartar and whisk for another 30 seconds.
- Add in all of the icing sugar (I mix by hand here to incorporate it, otherwise the mixer sends the icing sugar flying and my kitchen looks like it's been snowing)
- Using the mixer on the lowest speed, beat the meringue for 10 minutes until thick and glossy.
- Thin the mixture to the consistency you like by adding a teaspoon of water at a time and beat.
- Tint with icing colours and pipe, spread or dip onto the cookies. Let set and then scoff! or package up for gifts.