Making sugar cookies
Sugar cookies are my favorite thing to bake because they are so versatile. They can be decorated to suit any theme or holiday. When I was a little girl I used to love watching and helping my Auntie make her christmas sugar cookies. They are still my favorite. For Easter I decided to make robin egg sugar cookies. Here is how I made them.
You will need:
Brown sugar ¼ cup
Granulated sugar ¾ cup
Margarine (room temp) ¾ cup
Flour 2 cups
Salt ¼ tsp
Baking soda ½ tsp
Egg (room temp) 2
Vanilla 1 tsp
Black or Brown food dye
The first step is to cream your sugars with the margarine using a paddle attachment. It is important to cream the sugars and margarine well to incorporate air into the dough,tenderizing it. Margarine is an ideal fat to use for cutout cookies due to its wide plastic range or its ability to stretch, keeping the dough soft and workable even after chilling.
Next you will add your vanilla and eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl with a spatula after each addition. Now sift or whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda before adding to the mixer. Mix just until a dough is formed. Flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic, and chill the dough for at least two hours before moving on to the next step.
Knead the dough a few times just to soften it and then lightly flour the countertop and top of your dough before rolling. Roll the dough evenly to about half a centimeter thick. When cutting, it is important to remember that different size and thickness of the cookies will affect the required bake time. Cookies of multiple sizes should not be baked on the same tray. To do so would lead to some being over or underbaked. Possibly both in the same batch. Cut out your desired shapes as close together as possible and re roll the remaining dough until it is all used up.
The cookies should be baked at about 350 degrees fahrenheit until they are just starting to brown around the edges. You can also test doneness by touching the top of the cookie to see if it is starting to set or if it is still too soft. Allow them to set for 3-5 minutes on the bake sheets before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely
The next step is to trace the outside of the cookie with piping consistency icing. The way I check the consistency is by sticking a spatula into the icing. If it can stand up straight on its own then it is stiff enough for piping. You can find more information about that here if you are unsure. Use a piping bag with a small round tip. Hold it just high enough for the icing to fall into place as you go rather than trying to draw with it. This will result in smoother, straighter lines.
It will need to dry completely before flooding so make sure to keep your piping bags and icing bowls covered with clean wet cloths to prevent them from drying out.
Once the outlines are completely dry, thin down your icing to flood consistency. It should be thin enough to flow on its own to fill in the outline. Allow to dry completely.
Arrange the cookies close together on top of parchment paper. Dip a new paintbrush or toothbrush into black or brown food dye and run your finger across it to flick the dye onto the cookies for a speckled look.
These are so cute yet so easy to make. I hope you will give them a try.