Monday, September 27

Daring Baker's September

And it was just in time for my little man's birthday as well.

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.

Basic Sugar Cookies:
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 Caster Sugar / Superfine Sugar
1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
5ml / 1 tsp Vanilla Extract / Or seeds from 1 vanilla bean I used beans of course :D Thanks Wems!

• Cream together the butter, sugar and any flavourings you’re using. 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.
• Tip: I don’t have a stand mixer so I find it easier to switch to dough hooks at this stage to avoid
flour flying everywhere.
• 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, 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-decorated
cookies can last up to a month.

As always when do I follow directions - I didn't roll between parchment, I found the dough relatively easy to handle and just rolled and cut and then popped them into the fridge for about an hour. My oven isn't playing nice with biscuits lately, so some were over brown - I also think I need new cookie sheets, but they were scrumptious and I will stick to this recipe for cut out biscuits in the future.

We also had to pipe the cookies - and since it was William's Birthday - he picked Pirates - what a shock! So skull and crossbone cutter picked up from Baking Pleasures which fortunately or not is about 1/2 hour drive from me. Awesome service I must say. I used royal icing, making the outer a thicker black icing (a tip colour your icing chocolate first and then add the black food colouring) and then flooded the inner with white, using an edible marker for the features. They were scoffed down by a class of year 1's and their teachers. It made a nice change from cupcakes.

And this one was drawn by little Miss Katherine - who is 4!


  1. Lovely helper Miss Katherine! She must've had a great time!

  2. These cookies are so cute! Using the edible ink looks like a great idea for details.

  3. Oh these are super-cute! I love the design, and how the little ones can join it and decorate too.

  4. Aww... your cookies are too cute! Or were they suppose to be spooky? I dunno, but they sure look delish! Great job on this month's challenge.

  5. Ahhh, skulls and bones... Thought they were little ghosts at first sight. They're cute anyway :-)