Wednesday 10 October 2007

A new arrival

I'm back from my trip to Toronto and I had an amazingly good time. For starters, it was one of the few times that my whole family got together for an entire week and after almost 11 years away from home, I must say that this was a rare treat indeed. I also got to do many cool things on this vacation including enjoying a fine omakase meal at a great Japanese restaurant and attending two cooking classes, one on decorating cookies and the other on decorating cupcakes. To top it all off, my sister gave birth to her first child. Yes, I am now officially an aunt!

Now, a momentous occasion like this most certainly calls for some sort of celebratory baking. T put my newly acquired skills to the test, I chose to make some baby-themed sugar cookies. Making sugar cookies are easy as pie but in order to create the perfect canvas for decorating it is important that your dough is well chilled so that minimal spread occurs during the baking process. I choose to refrigerate my dough after cutting them out into shapes for about 15 minutes before baking. It is also important not to over brown the cookies in the oven - they should be removed as soon as the edges start to pick up some colour.

Similarly, it is important to achieve the right consistency for the royal icing. The icing used to outline the cookies should be of soft-peak consistency whereas the icing for the floodwork (for the inside of the cookie) should be of a runny consistency. For my cookies, I used cutters in the shapes of a baby pram, a rubber duckie, a square and a flower, and decorated them with white and pink royal icing. I still need some practice to get my outline edges perfectly straight but overall, I was pretty happy with these given it was my first time making decorated cookies like these on my own.

For those of you who may be interested, here are also some pictures of the cookies that I made during the previously mentioned cooking class. If you've never tried making cookies like these, do give them a go. I have to warn you though that's its seriously addictive. The good thing though is that given the range of cookie cutter shapes available, there's always an excuse to make some.

Sugar Cookies

6 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
2 cups unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.

Use an electric mixer to cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs. Add flour mixture and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Stir in vanilla extract. Wrap dough in plastic; chill for about 3o minutes.

On a floured surface, roll dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet and refrigerate until firm about 15 minutes. Bake at 325F until edges just start to brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Cookies may be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Makes a seriously huge amount of cookies

Royal icing

5 tbsp meringue powder
3 oz water
1 lb icing sugar

Measure all ingredients into a bowl and beat on the lowest speed of your mixer for 15 minutes for full peak royal icing. After mixing, the icing should be covered with a damp cloth if being used and well-covered when being stored.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful cookies and great job on the icing!