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.
This was the first Daring Baker’s challenge that we got to make together, since we only joined in July and Krista went home for the summer, so we were excited to see what our first joint effort in the kitchen would be.
Our first thoughts were… sugar cookies… really? What is so daring about sugar cookies? But these were to be no ordinary sugar cookies, these were to be beautifully decorated sugar cookies. Our host challenged us to decorate our cookies in a September theme, whatever that meant to us. To the two of us, September brings back memories of back to school, when you’re all excited to start off the year fresh. A new back to school outfit, new lunch box, new books, new pens and pencils and new crayons! In choosing what we wanted to make, we decided to kick the challenge up a notch and attempt a 3D creation… the crayon box, complete with cookie crayons.
We followed the recipe below but added in a little food dye when shaping the cookies to make each crayon a different colour. We used royal icing to decorate our crayons (recipe below), which proved to be one of the trickier parts of the whole process.
Basic Sugar Cookies
Makes Approximately 36x 10cm / 4″ Cookies
½ cup + 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
3 cups + 3 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
1 cup Sugar
1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp Vanilla Extract or seeds from 1 vanilla bean
STEP 1) Cream together the butter, sugar and any flavourings you’re using. Beat until just becoming
creamy in texture.
NOTE: Don’t over mix otherwise you’ll incorporate too much air and the cookies will spread during
baking, losing their shape.
STEP 2) 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.
STEP 3) Knead into a ball and divide into 2 or 3 pieces. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 30mins.
STEP 4) Divide dough into 24 equal pieces. Add food colouring and mix well.
[To make regular sugar cookies roll out the dough and cut into shapes.]
STEP 5) Roll dough into crayon sized cylindars and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
STEP 6) Preheat oven to 180°C/ 350°F
STEP 7) Bake until golden around the edges, about 8-15mins depending on the size of the cookies.
STEP 8 ) Cool & Decorate!
ROYAL ICING- INGREDIENTS
315g – 375g / 2½ – 3 cups Icing Sugar, unsifted
2 Large Egg Whites
2 tsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp Almond Extract, optional
STEP 1)Beat egg whites with lemon juice until combined.
Tip: It’s important that the bowls/spoons/spatulas and beaters you use are thoroughly cleaned and
STEP 2) Sift the icing sugar to remove lumps and add it to the egg whites. Beat on low until combined and smooth.
• Tip: Royal Icing starts to harden as soon as it’s in contact with air so make sure to cover containers with plastic wrap while not in use.
DECORATING CRAYON COOKIES
STEP 1) To make our cookies look like crayons we began by adding a tip to each of the cookies using a piping bag and some really really thick royal icing (emphasis on the really thick!). [NOTE: Krista’s super smart method of keeping the cookies upright while the icing dried. We cut cross slits into the bottom of an empty egg carton!]
STEP 2) Once the tips were hardened we poured a thinner consistency of royal icing over top of the entire cookie.
STEP 3) When this was dry we added the details on each cookie using a thick consistency of royal icing.
STEP 4) We put the crayon box together much like a ginger bread house and decorated it to look like a real crayola crayon box.
We really liked how our cookies turned out. They were a lot of fun (though a lot of work was involved). We will definitely make decorated sugar cookies again. And are happy to have this skill added to our repertoire. Thank you Mandy for this challenge!
We can’t wait to see the October Challenge!