Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Making Christmas Sugar Cookies

It's beginning to look and feel a lot like Christmas because I've finally baked some Christmas cookies yesterday. Yep, I only started baking on Christmas Day minus 2! I spent considerably long time to bake the cookies yesterday because I had to cut the cookies and bake them in two batches at two different times in a day as my Little Miss was making noises halfway into my baking ventures.

Have you baked any cookies this Christmas?

Anyway, here's the modified recipe that I use to make the cut-out butter cookies yesterday. These butter cookies are very easy to make, taste great and are not too sugary - just nice to balance the sugar icing on top. I adapted the recipe from here.

Christmas stars, shining so bright green on me.

Christmas Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:
  • 4 cups Flour, sifted 
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1 stick Butter, unsalted and in room temperature
  • 1 cup Icing sugar or fine granulated sugar
  • 1 Egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp Vanilla essence
  • 1 tsp Almond essence, optional
  • 1 tbs Milk
  • More flour for rolling out the dough

Tutorial:
  1. Sift together flour and baking powder, set aside.
  2. Cream butter and icing sugar by using high-speed electric mixer until the butter is light in colour.
  3. Add egg, vanilla and almond essences and milk. Beat to combine.
  4. Gradually fold the flour into the mixture by using spatula until the dough is incorporated and doesn't stick to the bowl.
  5. Chill the dough in the fridge for 15 or 30 mins.
  6. Sprinkle your working surface and rolling pin with some flour before rolling out the dough (to 1/4 inch thickness) and cutting it into the shapes you desire. If the cookies become too warm during rolling, place them in the fridge for 10 minutes to chill.
  7. Once cut, place the cookies at least once inch apart on baking trays that are already lined with parchment paper.
  8. Bake the cookies in a preheated oven (170 degree Celcius) for about 9-10 minutes or until the cookies are just beginning to turn brown on the edges
  9. Sit the cookies on the baking sheet for few minutes after removing them from the oven then completely cool the cookies before icing their tops.

Cookies, anyone?

For the sugar icing of my Christmas cookies, I've made up my mind not to use royal icing (although its final look on cookies is so wonderful) because the raw egg whites on royal icing may not be safe for kids or other adults with compromised immune system. I can't find meringue powder and was not sure if the eggs I keep at home are pasteurized either. As such, after gathering few recipes online, I've decided to use the below recipe for the simple cookies icing.

Merry Christmas!

Easy Cookies Icing/Frosting

Ingredients:
  • 1 and 1/2 cups Icing sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 tbs Vanilla essence
  • 1 tsp Light corn syrup (for the glossy effect), optional**
  • 3-4 tbs Liquid milk, at room temperature
  • Food colouring

Tutorial:
  1. Mix the icing sugar, milk, corn syrup and vanilla extract by using electric mixer.
  2. Beat the icing until you reach the perfect spreading consistency. If the icing is too thick, add more milk or syrup.
  3. Divide the icing into separate bowls and add in the food colouring as desired.
  4. Place the cookies on piping bag for icing. Make sure the cookies are not hot when frosting them. Start outlining the cookies with icing, before flooding them.
  5. Allow the icing on cookies set for 2-3 hours or until it is completely harden before storing them in air-tight containers.

By the way, I added few drops of almond essence on my icing yesterday and kind of regretted with the final taste afterwards. Vanilla essence or lemon juice should have done the job well for this. As such, I omitted almond essence from the above recipe for better results.
** I didn't have any corn syrup at home so I substituted this particular ingredient by boiling 1 tsp of granulated sugar with 1 and 1/2 of water. I just boiled these two together on a small fire until they are well mixed without turning the mixture into caramel.

Long processes, I know! But making decorated sugar cookies does take time and energy and that's why they are so special. But you will surely enjoy making them especially during this festive season. After all, Christmas only comes once in a year, aye?

Happy holiday and don't forget to stand a chance to win yourself some belated Christmas presents by joining this giveaway! This contest ends this weekend so hurry up! It's now or never.

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