Sunday, 25 May 2014

Your Best Ever Sugar Cookie Recipe


This simple sugar cookie recipe forms the base of pretty much every cookie I decorate, today, I am going to share the recipe and some tips on how to get even and consistent cookies. This recipe is simple to make and the results are consistent and reliable, the cookies have a softish texture and bake smooth on top, just right of decorating.

Equipment

A stand mixer 
A worktop for rolling out on
A large rolling pin (I like to use a traditional wooden one for cookies)
Marzipan spacers (Or one of those rolling pins with spacers on them)
Cookie cutters
Cookie sheet / Baking tray lined with baking parchment or a re-usable silicone sheet

Ingredients

200g / 7 oz unsalted butter or block margarine (I usually use a block of stork)
200g / 7 oz caster / superfine sugar
1 egg
400g / 14 oz plain / all purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla bean paste of other flavouring of your choice.
A little extra flour for dusting

Method

Recently I have been sharing some cupcake recipes with you, where you start by making a crumby mix, so just to show what a topsy turvy world we live in, these cookies are made using the creaming method, usually used for making cakes. 

Start by putting the 200g / 7oz of sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer with the 200g / 7oz of caster sugar and the teaspoon of flavouring. Using the "K" beater, mix on a slow speed, until just mixed together. You are not looking to incorporate air, just to mix the butter and sugar together.



Next, put the egg in and again mix on a slow speed until all just mixed together.



The mixture will be quite thick and stiff ...


... And will cling to the beater when you lift it. Can you see all those tiny black seeds from the vanilla bean paste?


Now for the flour. Add the 400g / 14oz and mix again. You may want to cover the mixer initially.

It is quite hard work, for the mixer here, I mix on slow speed and then turn the speed up a little when the mixer starts bouncing around. If the bouncing around mixer worries you, maybe try adding the flour in two batches instead.


You don't want to over work the flour, so stop mixing as soon as the mixture has come together. You can use your hands to press it together too.


The mix should be dry and feel soft to the touch


Ready to Roll

This beautiful ice cream cookie cutter is from Ecrandal, who have just the loveliest range of unusual and unique cutters.


I usually work a handful of cookie dough at a time, this reduces re-rolling which minimises cracks in your dough and provides a better texture for your cookies.

Sprinkle a little four over your work surface, position your marzipan spacers either side, plonk a good handful of cookie dough in the middle, sprinkle a little more flour over the top and roll, with your rolling pin over the marzipan spacers, until even and flat.

If you don't have, or don't want to use them, roll the cookie dough out until about 1 cm thick.


Use your cookie cutter to cut out the shapes, avoiding any cracks that may have formed in the cookie dough.


Lift the cookies on to your baking sheet. It can be helpful to use a palette knife if they are large. If you find it difficult to transfer the cookies to your baking sheet, perhaps because they are very soft, then try rolling them out of top of the baking sheet and then remove the excess cookie dough from around them.


Gather up the dough from around your cut outs and add a handful of fresh dough before rolling out and cutting again. If you want the very best results, you can put your cookies in the fridge or freezer here, which will discourage them from spreading as they cook.

Bake the cookies at 200 C / 400 F Gas Mark 6 for 8 to 12 minutes.

When the cookies are cooked, the centres will feel dry to the touch and they will be just beginning to brown around the edges.


The cookies will still be soft when just baked, so leave them to cool on their trays before lifting. Once cool they should keep, if stored in an air tight container for a month or so.


 That's all for today
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