Friday, May 13, 2011

pretty sugar cookies: all shook up


Job hunting....sucks. But unfortunately it must be done, if you know, I want to be able to buy food and junk. I like food.

It's a really stressful feeling trying to find boutiques (there are so many french pastry shops in Montreal, it's a little ridiculous). You'd think that's a good thing, and in a way it is, but it also makes it difficult to select from. But what I'm really hoping for is to find something a little different. Don't get me wrong, I love French pastries (in fact, I pretty much love anything that tastes good - again, I'm no snob) but what I really love is simple home baking with some fun decorating. And well, that's not as easy to come across around here.


I've told myself that I at least have to enjoy the process as much as I can. You're thinking that I must be crazy because job hunting, well...SUCKS! But no! I must stay positive in the hopes that there's something out there for me. Right?

Hmm I wonder if praying a whole lot will work. Like condensing a normal amount of praying into a shorter time span. Alright, that's kind of silly. I think this calls for some buckling-down and persistence. And always having a smile plastered on my face. Yes, smiling is vital. People say I have a nice smile so that's one thing I can cross off I suppose.

List of places to visit
Resumes, both French and English
Portfolio
Bus pass
Good walking shoes
Pen
Smile



I was definitely doing a lot of smiling when I made these cookies. I know it's too late for a Mother's day post, but these totally count for a spring-themed post since flowers are starting to appear. Yaaaaaay flowers and vegetable patches! 

My mum's favorite flowers are daisies so these are specially made for her and I thought the hearts with the fondant roses added a nice touch with their pastel colours. All wrapped up in a nice box with pink tissue paper and pink ribbon. Yes, I love pink.

Sugar Cookies

I split the recipe in four, which yielded about 2 dozen 3" cookies. However, the recipe that I am providing is the FULL recipe. These cookies are nice and not too sweet, but I feel like they would be even better with a bit of lemon zest and juice. I think I'll try that next time.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart 2010 Holiday Cookies magazine

Ingredients

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, soft
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

Procedure

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until well incorporated. Add the flour mixture gradually and beat only until just combined. Divide dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour or overnight. 

When ready to roll out, take out dough to soften about 10 minutes. Dust counter space with a bit of flour and roll out dough to 1/4" thickness. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters and place evenly on baking sheets (they don't really expand so they can stay relatively close together). Chill for 30 minutes before baking. 


Bake for 12-14 minutes or until edges start to turn golden brown. Leave to cool completely on wire rack before decorating. 

Royal Icing

Ingredients

3 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
4 cups (500g) icing sugar, sifted

Procedure

In an electric mixer with the whisk on medium speed, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Slowly add 1/4 of the icing sugar until stiff peaks. Switch to the paddle and gradually add the rest of the sugar until thick and glossy (you may not need all of the sugar). The first picture shows about the consistency for piping/outlines and the second is for flooding. When you lift the spatula and let the icing fall back, it should disappear into the rest of the icing in a few seconds.



Tips for royal icing
  • If icing is too stiff: add a tiny bit of water or lemon juice until desired consistency (add a drop at a time!) 
  • If icing is too runny: gradually add more icing sugar until desired consistency
  • Stiff peak royal icing is used mainly as "glue" for stacking cake tiers
  • Soft-medium peak is good for piping borders
  • Runny consistency is used for flooding
  • If you're trying to pipe out borders but find that it's too hard, then your icing is probably too stiff; add a bit of water or lemon juice to thin out
  • If left uncovered, royal icing can harder quickly so make sure to always keep it covered with a wet towel on contact.
  • If well covered and wrapped, royal icing can be kept for a couple of weeks refrigerated (the high sugar content keeps it from becoming moldy)

For cookie design:

If you wish to colour your royal icing, dip a toothpick in a very small amount of gel-based food colouring and mix into icing until desired shade.

Fill a piping bag with a small round tip with the soft/medium peak royal icing and pipe a border around the edge of the cookies, or create your own shape. Leave to dry at least one hour.
Fill another piping bag or a squeeze bottle (I really must get one of those) with the runny royal icing and flood your cookies. You don't need too too much because you can spread some with a toothpick or the tip of the nozzle.


Leave to dry a couple of hours or preferably overnight until completely set. The last thing you want is to ruin your icing! If you're not adding any more designs then you're done at this point. If not, pipe lines, dots or other designs with the soft/medium peak icing and again, leave to dry completely a few hours.

Or you can make pretty flowers or anything else with rolled fondant or gumpaste and glue it with some royal icing. 

12 comments:

  1. absolutely stunning!!!! If I ever had time to actually put into presentation I would definitely try these! next special occasion :)

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  2. so gorgeous, and so perfect!! the little russian doll is too perfect as well:D

    I was relatively successful with the recipe I followed but my biggest problem was keeping the dough workable. It would get soft so quickly! The listen of ingredients looks similar and I let it refrigerate for well over an hour but I keep having to re-refrigerate to be able to cut out from it again. Do you have any idea why that would happen?

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  3. Thanks Mili!
    That tends to happen with dough sometimes if it's humid outside. It was also quite soft for me. Make sure your counter is well-floured (not too much but enough so that the dough doesn't stick) and use a spatula to lift the cookies onto the baking sheet, then refrigerate again for about 30 mins.

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  4. Lovely cookies! Good luck on the job search-I hope you find just what you're looking for. :)

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  5. I don't think I've ever seen such beautiful cookies! I wish you the best of luck when job hunting, yes I agree, it sucks! At any rate, your blog is fabulous and so I'll be following you now. And yes, praying always helps :), Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

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  6. The heart cookies are sooo beautiful! I mean the others of course, too, but the hearts are my favourite ones :D I love decorating cookies so I find your tips really helpful! Thank you for sharing, you're very talented!

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  7. one look and I could tell I would love your blog! :)

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  8. Thank you so much for all the lovely comments!

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  9. Thank you for the sweet comment on my blog. I'm so glad you stopped by because I LOVE your blog! Your photos are exquisite! I look forward to following your recipes :)

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  10. Your cookies are beautiful!

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  11. Gorgeous cookies and stunning photos!

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  12. Thank you, these are too pretty to eat! But of course I would! Pinned, thanks
    yum!

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