I’m going to be honest and say that I was very happy to find out that this month’s Daring Baker challenge was all about making and decorating sugar cookies. I’m not much of a cookie person, but my daughter is, and it is a nice change to be doing something other than cake and buttercream.
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. You can find the detailed challenge for this month at the Daring Baker site or Mandy‘s blog.
I know that perhaps baking sugar cookies in not much of a challenge for many. Actually, the real challenge is to get creative with decorating the cookies around the theme of “September’, whatever September means to each one of us.
Say September, and the first thing that comes to my mind is “birthday”. My mother and I both celebrate our birthdays in September so that’s what my theme is for this challenge. On the south-western coast of India, September is also the month when the 3 month long monsoon season is almost over. The austerity of these months (no fishing, no agricultural activity, etc), once again, gives way to more plentiful and happy times.
I love the rains, but with the monsoon gone, suddenly there is more colour everywhere. It is once again time for warm days but cooler nights, and of course, the season for weddings.
(“Birthday Cake” Cookies, Tile Cookies and “Mehendi” Cookies)
I decorated my cookies with all this in mind. So you’ll find birthday cakes, as well as mehendi (an essential part of Indian weddings and other auspicious occasions) inspired designs on my cookies. You’ll also find many of the bright and beautiful colours of my September on my butterflies and other cookies. That’s not quite the rainbow I mentioned in my post title but close enough.
Most of you who follow my blog will know that I always try to attempt my Daring Baker challenges eggless or with as few eggs as possible. This month I was happy I could make both the sugar cookies and the icing without eggs.
I wonder why these are called sugar cookies when you consider that they contain as much or more butter than sugar, until they are decorated!
(Flower Tile Cookies)
I have made decorated eggless sugar cookies before, but decided I would get as creative as I could in the time I had on hand. I had every intention of doing this month’s challenge early and even made my cookies 10 days back.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the time to decorate them till a couple of days ago. When I finally opened the cookie box, more than half of them were gone! Apparently, no one was aware I had wanted to decorate them.
So I first baked another batch of cookies and then spent the better part of my afternoon the past two days sitting down to decorating the cookies.
Making the sugar cookies in themselves are easy, and do not take much time. It is the decorating that takes time because for some designs each coat of icing has to dry completely, before you can do the next part.
The cookies also need to dry really well before they can be stored. Remember these cookies should be stored in airtight containers at room temperature, as storing them in the fridge will make them sticky and tacky.
I used Eleanor’s Sugar Cookies, reduced the butter a bit and substituted 2 cups of all purpose flour with whole wheat flour. The nice thing with this recipe is that the cookie dough does not need refrigeration, unlike most other sugar cookie recipes. You can mix up the dough, roll it out straightaway, cut out the shapes and bake them all at one go.