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Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Sugar Cookies

I'm not really a fan of sugar cookies. But then I was stumbled upon the beautiful sugar cookies made by Marianne in from Sweetopia. 'How could she make such a beautiful and detail icing decoration?', I wondered. I saw her video in youtube and yet she made it look so easy. Made me wanto to test myself, my patience.
I was quite struggling for the first few cookies, but then I was getting slightly better. Let's just say that it does need lots of patience and practices. But decorating cookies is a super super fun thing to do! Now I can't wait to do it again. I just need to find someone to finish all those cookies that I made first (As much as I want to eat it, I have to remind myself, and my husband, that it's not good for our diet!).

Sugar Cookies
makes 3 dozens

For the cookies
2  1/2 cups butter (at room temperature)
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
seeds from 1 vanilla bean (or 3 tsp vanilla)
5 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

1. Cream the butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer on low to medium speed.  (Use the paddle attachment).  Mix until thoroughly incorporated – for about one minute.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a plastic spatula and mix again for a few seconds more.
Over mixing the butter and sugar in this step will cause too much air to be incorporated into the dough.  If you'd like a light and fluffy cookie, that's ideal, however the dough will spread more during baking; not ideal if you'd like the cookie to hold its shape.
2. Add eggs slowly and mix.  Scrape down the bowl with your spatula at least once and mix again.
3. Cut open your vanilla bean and scrape the seeds out.  Add to mixing bowl.  Alternatively, add liquid vanilla extract.  Stir briefly.
4. Sift your dry ingredients together.  (Flour, baking powder and salt).
5. Add all of the flour mixture to the bowl.  Place a large tea towel or two small tea towels between the edge of the bowl and the electric mixer so that the flour won't escape.  Mix on low speed for 3o seconds.  Remove the tea towels and observe the dough mixing; when it clumps around the paddle attachment it's ready.  It's also important at this stage not to over mix the dough (the glutens in the flour develop and the dough can become tough).
6. Roll the dough out between 2 large pieces of parchment paper.  Place on a baking sheet and into the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.
7. Roll out the dough further if you need to, and cut out cookie shapes.  Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Re-roll scraps and repeat.
8. Put cookie dough shapes back into the fridge for 10 minutes to 1 hour to chill again.  They will then hold their shape better when baked.
9. Preheat your oven to 350°F or 176°C.
10. Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes or until the edges become golden brown.  The baking time will depend on the size of your cookie.
11. Let cookies cool to room temperature and decorate!

For the Royal Icing
2.25 lbs (1 kg) powdered sugar
3/4 cup warm water
5 tablespoons meringue powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1. Add water and meringue powder to mixer bowl. Mix with hand whisk for 30 seconds.
2. Add cream of tartar. Mix with hand whisk for 30 seconds.
3. Add all of the powdered sugar. Mix with paddle attachment in slow speed for 10 minutes.
4. Divide into small bowls and add food coloring as you need.

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