Friday, December 19, 2008
I saw these very pretty Snowflake Cookies at Shelby's blog, The Life And Loves Of Grumpy’s Honeybunch. I saw the pictures accompanying her post and knew I had to try my hand at making them. Doesn’t the name of that blog tempt you to go there and take a look? Do hop over and you’ll see lots more than snowflake cookies.
Now, I don’t have snowflake cookie cutters or icing/ piping equipment but that wasn’t stopping me. (They’re on my long, long list of things I’m going to ask Santa to bring me in the next few years!)
So I dug out my cookie cutters and the one closest to a snowflake was a star shaped one. I know snowflakes have 5 points and my star shaped one has only 5, but as far as I’m concerned this is unimportant. If it comes to that, it doesn’t ever snow where I live and I haven’t seen snow either (this one’s on my “things I’m going to do some day” list).
And I made some snowflake (or star/ starfish) cookies!
These cookies are easy to make but icing and decorating them takes a lot of time to do. I made the cookies on an evening then iced them the next morning and did the final decorating in the evening. After drying overnight, they were ready for packing on the third day.
And this is one cookie which definitely turns out better without little hands helping out until its time to eat them!
I used Nicole’s recipe, from the Baking Bites, for Soft Cutout Christmas Cookies as I wanted my cookies to be soft. The only thing different I did was to leave out the egg as I felt the cookie dough had enough fat and leavening agents in it. I also substituted buttermilk with milk and vinegar. I think this also made up for the absence of the egg.
Here is Nicole’s recipe with my minor changes.
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
½ cup milk + 1 tbsp vinegar
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 ¾ cup all purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp almond extract
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and keep aside.
In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the milk and vingar mixture and beat well.
Add the sifted flour mixture and mix everything till well blended. Divide the dough into two portions, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface till ¼” thick. Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter and place on a greased cookie sheet.
Gather the scraps, roll again and cut out more cookies. If the dough feels sticky refrigerate for about 15 minutes. Repeat with the other piece of refrigerated dough.
Bake the cookies at 190C for about 6 to 10 minutes till the edges are firm and the cookies are a pale brown. Cool on a rack.
For the icing, I used simple sugar or glace icing. It is eggless and when dry, it becomes shiny and hard and is perfect to pack for gifting. The consistency of the icing is very also very easy to adjust. For thicker icing, add more icing sugar and the icing can be thinned to required consistency by adding milk.
The amounts given below are not enough to ice all the cookies made with the above recipe. I made the icing with 1 cup of icing sugar at a time, first for flooding the cookies and then again for decorating the cookies. I still had cookies which I left plain. You would need to judge how much icing you need depending on the size of your cookies and how you want to decorate them. This icing is so easy to make that it’s not a problem to make it in two or three batches.
1 cup icing sugar
½ to 1 tbsp milk
½ tsp vanilla extract (optional)
¼ tsp salt (optional)
Put the icing sugar, salt and vanilla extract in a bowl. I find that little bit of salt balances out the cloying sweetness of icing sugar.
Add the milk, one tsp at a time, and mix well with a spoon till the icing is of the consistency you require. Add the food colour a drop at a time and mix to achieve the shade of colour you want.
For flooding the cookie ( that is covering the cookie with the base coat of icing) you will need a slightly thinner consistency.
I filled a ziplock bag with the icing for flooding my cookies. Cut a very small opening at the end of the bag and trace the outline of the cookie. Then press out a little icing inot the middle of the cookie and using the tip of the bag spread it to fill the outline so the cookie is covered with a layer of icing. Allow this layer to harden. It will take about 4 hours at least.
Once the base coat of icing is dry, fill another ziplock bag with the icing for decorating and cut off a very small piece from the tip. If the hole at the tip of the bag is bigger, you will get very thick lines of icing on your cookie. Decorate as you desire.
Allow another 4 hours for the icing to dry and harden. The cookies are now ready to be eaten or packed.
If you are planning to try this for the first time I would advise some reading up on how to decorate these cookies. I did. Hannah of BitterSweet shares some very good decorating advice on her blog.