Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Daring Bakers: Decorated Sugar Cookies

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.

Mandy added an extra challenge to the challenge by making it themed. We were to make decorated sugar cookies with a theme of "September".

I thought I'd make it a little "Diary in Cookies" to chronicle some of the more interesting happenings in my family this month. The big event this month was "back to school" after an extra long summer break.

This is my son's first year of middle school. Guess what time the middle school bus comes.

6:30 a.m.!

Oh sweet mother! I do not want to hear this at 5:45 am:

I'm not a morning person. This is about what I look like in the morning.

But... I'm slow but surely (sort of) getting used to it (I think, maybe).

September hasn't been all school and early rousing... we've had some fun too; like family birthday parties.

And watching the Cincinnati Reds as they march their way toward the playoffs (YEA!).

Another noteworthy event from this month was that my husband spent most of it in Thailand, on assignment with his job.

And... that's about it for September!

I used a slightly different method for coloring the cookies than using colored icings. You see, I despise coloring icing. I don't know why, but I do. Instead, I outlined all of my cookies in black and then filled in with white. I then let them sit overnight for the royal icing to harden some.

Then I used edible markers in some cases...

and watered down food coloring in others. When using this method, I dab the first bit of paint onto a paper towel so I don't lay down too much color. You have to be careful not to wet the royal icing too much.

I guess I need to admit that I don't use this coloring method often, mostly because I'm not crazy about hard royal icing on my cookies. But if you don't mind royal icing, it can be a time saver when you aren't making a large quantity of cookies. If you try it, you need to experiment to make sure the cookies turn out like you want... it's a little less predictable than coloring with paint on paper.

OK, If you'd like to see the recipes we used this month, please visit Mandy's site. She's got them posted. I have to admit that I prefer my own sugar cookie recipe just a bit more, so I'll post it here. But be sure to stop by Mandy's site, she's got some excellent tips and how-to photos.

Thanks Mandy, for a great challenge!

Melissa's Sugar Cookies

This is my go-to sugar cookie recipe that I got from a friend and cookie-decorator extraordinaire. These cookies are soft and cakey with just a hint of salt. This recipe is perfect for cut-out cookies or, any other sugar cookie needs, such as Halloween mummies.

1 C. sugar
1 C. salted butter
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2-1/2 to 3 C self-rising flour

Cream butter and sugar together. Add egg and vanilla and mix well. Add 2-1/2 C. flour. If dough is sticky to the touch keep adding flour until no longer sticky. I typically use about 2-3/4 cups flour.

Dough does not need to be chilled, but can be. If the kitchen is warm, I will chill my pan of cut out cookie shapes before baking to keep them from spreading in the oven.

For cut out cookies, roll to desired thickness (I use a smidge thicker than 1/4 inch), cut shapes with cookie cutters and lay on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 6-9 minutes. I like them just set with no brown edges. Watch the tops while baking, when they no longer have a sheen, they're done.

If you want, stop by my "no cookie cutter? no problem" post to see how I roll them to a perfect thickness every time.

OK, see you next month!


natalia said...

Ciao ! I absolutely love your diary cookies ! And your method is very interestig I'll keep it in mind !

Christina said...

Great looking cookies! Those pens look pretty cool too.

Mary said...

You've told a great story of September with your cookies! But 6:30 for the bus--poor you!

Renata said...

I was so much worried about getting cookie cutters in specific shapes... all you needed was a round cutter to make such beautifully decorated cookies. Great job on this challenge!
You are very talented!

Julie said...

I love these, and the diary theme is so creative! I was going to play with watercolors (watered-down food coloring), too, but I got too tired after messing around with coloring icing and piping gel.

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

Hehe this is genius. Such an easy alternative. And it looks soo good. I was stunned when I saw your pictures :)

Pamela said...

Those cookies are amazing!