Friday, May 13, 2011

When my nieces came to play...

In the battle of the bulge, I generally aim to avoid baking sweet and buttery items. I like sweet things just a little too much and have no self control when it comes to a fresh batch of cookies. But what better excuse to indulge than when my gorgeous nieces, Meg and Elisha, came to my house for a sleep-over? After all, cooking together is a bonding experience, so really it was my duty as an aunt to lead such an endeavor. After all, no girly sleep-over is complete without some sweet treats and I was dying to try out my new alphabet cookie cutters.

We used a basic sugar cookie recipe, which we decorated with coloured sugar. There seems to be some debate over whether the coloured sugar should be added before or after baking. Add it before and it sticks nicely to the dough shapes, but the colours are paler after being baked. Sprinkle the sugar on after, and you need something like corn syrup or egg white to help the sugar stick. We decided to go for the latter and were quite happy with the results.

Sugar Cookies

1 cup self raising flour
1 cup plain flour
Pinch salt
125g butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tpsn of vanilla essence
milk (if too dry)

For the coloured sugar:
1 cup castor sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup (or use 1-2 egg whites)
food colouring
  1. Preheat oven to 180ÂșC.
  2. Mix butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
  3. Add egg, flour and salt, mix well. If mixture is too dry then add some milk.
  4. Knead lightly and roll out on a floured board to about 5mm.
  5. Cut out in desired shapes and place on a greased cookie tray.
  6. Bake for 15 mins, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool completely before decorating.
  7. While the cookies are baking and cooling, make the coloured sugar: place 1/4 cup castor sugar into four seperate, small ziplock bags (or small bowls). If you are only using one colour, you will only need one bag/bowl.
  8. Add a few drops of food colouring, seal the bag and shake until the colour is evenly distributed through the sugar. Add more colouring until you reach the desired depth of colour. Repeat for each colour. You can even try blending colours to make new colours (e.g. red and blue to make purple).
  9. When cool, mix the corn syrup (or egg white) with a teaspoon of water. Apply a very small amount to each cookie with a pastry brush. Sprinkly with coloured sugar. Shake of excess.

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