Iced sugar cookies are an easy way to brighten up a party. They are quick to make, have that ‘wow’ factor and kids absolutely love them (although parents might not like sugar after-effects on their children 🙂 )
I use Peggy Porchsen’s recipe which makes about 25 medium cookies
200g unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
1 egg lightly beaten
400g plain flour
and then I also used a capful of vanilla extract.
Time to get out my trusty KitchenAid and add the sugar and butter. Unlike cakes, where you cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, you want to mix both ingredients until it just starts to become creamy and change colour. We are not looking to create air in our cookies and if we were to overbeat, the cookies would spread when we baked them in the oven.
Next we beat in the egg and slowly add the sifted flour until everything is combined and a dough has formed
Then it is time to wrap our cookie dough in cling wrap and refridgerate for an hour.
The reason why it is important to refridgerate cookie dough is that it gives the gluten from the flour time to relax. The more you mix flour, the more gluten develops and this will result in rubbery cookies. So… rest your cookie dough for at least 30 mins.
Next it is time to roll our dough
I like to roll my dough between two pieces of baking paper as it stops the dough sticking to the rolling pin.
I’m going to make farm animal cookies later on in the week, but today I wanted to make circular cookies with the children’s names on them that I can attach to their party bags. To be able to attach these, I needed to make a small hole at the top of the cookie using a skewer so that I can use it thread the ribbon/string through.
At this point you can refridgerate your cookies for another 30mins (if you can be bothered 🙂 ), or just place them in a preheated oven for about 10-12 mins.
While the cookies were baking, I made up a batch of royal icing by mixing 2 eggwhites, 500g icing sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice. I whipped them using my whipping attachment for about 4-5mins.
Royal icing is basically used in 3 consistencies…. stiff-peak (for piping flowers), soft-peak (for outlinines, borders & dots) and runny consistency (for filling in the centres of spaces). I find it easiest to make my royal icing stiff-peak and then watering it down to either soft-peak or running consistency using a few drops of water.
I put some white icing to the side and then used the remaining red food colouring to get as vibrant a red as possible, and found that the liquid of the colouring was enough to get a soft-peak consistency.
I filled up my piping bag and piped an outline on the cookies and also an outline around the hole at the top.
After some practice, you will easily work out how to get the right consistency of icing. If the icing is too stiff, then your outline will start breaking off. If it is too runny, you simply wont be able to pipe a line.
I then added some water to my red icing to get running consistency and filled up an empty squeezie bottle (I purchased a few of these off ebay).
Time to fill the cookies!
I find it is easy to use a toothpick to help spread the icing to the borders
Once you have iced all of the cookies it is really imporant to let them dry out in the oven. To do this, place the oven on the lowest setting (mine is 50 degrees) and let them sit there for 30mins or thereabouts. It wont be a disaster if you forget this step, but it will mean your cookies start to become quite moist from the icing.
While my cookies were drying I got my white icing to the right consistency (soft-peak) and had a few practice runs at writing. Piping words are not my specialty!! But I figure kids wont be able to tell the difference 🙂