I'm late. I'm beyond late. For a very important date, indeed. My Daring Bakers entry is due on this blog the 27th of each month. As you know, it's nearly three days into the next month. Whoops. I have good reason though. You see, I took a trip east, to New York City, and upon my arrival home (a few days shy of my DB due date, mind you) I contracted my second cold flu in two weeks. Therefore, I feel I had good reason to be late. Sheer exhaustion. My butt required to be relaxed in my sofa, sipping tea, snuggled in with a blanket, recovering. Not rolling out sugar cookie dough.
During my trip I missed a dear friends 26th birthday. So, being the multi-tasking daring baker that I am, I combined her much deserved birthday cake, with my daring bakers challenge. It wasn't intentional, at first I simply intended to spend the day baking, both cookies and cake. But as they both neared the finish line, I could not help but put the two together. It turned out quite beautiful, if I do say so myself!
The cake is a 6 inch, tall, 4 layer best chocolate cake ever with a generous schmear of brown butter cinnamon frosting which I stumbled across at the always lovely My Kitchen Addiction. Each cookie was cut with a very small tart tin, I loved the scalloped look. Every other cookie got a dusting of sanding sugar and itty bitty white sprinkles, baked up, and then gently placed around the bottom edge. Two cookies were left, one plain, one sprinkle, so I quickly wrote 26 on the plain cookie and supported them against each other atop the cake. Couldn't have been a bigger hit, more delicious, or elegant but fun (and what an oh so easy way to decorate a cake while squeezing in one more baked confection to the mix).
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
• 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.