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.
For this month’s challenge, we were supposed to bake sugar cookies and decorate them with a theme of September- whatever September means to you. There’s nothing really special to me about September. No anniversaries or birthdays. So I decided to decorate them in a football theme! I did Alabama and Auburn since I can pull for both, but I do root for AL when they play each other (I’m a switch-over).
I’m not very good at making desserts look pretty. I’d much rather make something more complicated that tastes delicious. The details of decorating aren’t exciting to me so I wasn’t too thrilled to make and decorate sugar cookies. I don’t have all the special equipment for piping so I just used a plastic baggie and cut the tip. But the cookies turned out to be tasty and the icing was perfect.
Basic Sugar Cookies:
Makes Approximately 36 4″ Cookies
½ cup + 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
3 cups + 3 Tbsp All Purpose / Plain Flour
1 cup Caster Sugar / Superfine Sugar
1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
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.
• 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 350°F.
• 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.
2½ – 3 cups Icing / Confectioner’s / Powdered Sugar, unsifted
2 Large Egg Whites
2 tsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp Almond Extract, optional
• 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
• Sift the icing sugar to remove lumps and add it to the egg whites.
• Beat on low until combined and smooth.
• Use immediately or keep in an airtight container.
• 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.