Saturday, January 14, 2012
One tip for cutting out the elephant shapes; dip the cutter in flour first so that the dough slides out better, especially with a slim shape like the elephant trunk. I use a silicon pastry brush to dust off the excess flour.
SUGAR COOKIE RECIPE:
2 1/2 cups butter (at room temperature)
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
seeds from 1 vanilla bean (or 3 tsp vanilla)
5 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1. Cream the butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer on low to medium speed. (Use the paddle attachment). Mix until thoroughly incorporated – for about one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a plastic spatula and mix again for a few seconds more.
Over mixing the butter and sugar in this step will cause too much air to be incorporated into the dough. If you’d like a light and fluffy cookie, that’s ideal, however the dough will spread more during baking; not ideal if you’d like the cookie to hold its shape.
2. Add eggs slowly and mix. Scrape down the bowl with your spatula at least once and mix again.
3. Cut open your vanilla bean and scrape the seeds out. Add to mixing bowl. Alternatively, add liquid vanilla extract. Stir briefly.
4. Sift your dry ingredients together. (Flour, baking powder and salt).
5. Add all of the flour mixture to the bowl. Place a large tea towel or two small tea towels between the edge of the bowl and the electric mixer so that the flour won’t escape. Mix on low speed for 3o seconds. Remove the tea towels and observe the dough mixing; when it clumps around the paddle attachment it’s ready. It’s also important at this stage not to over mix the dough (the glutens in the flour develop and the dough can become tough).
6. Roll the dough out between 2 large pieces of parchment paper. Place on a baking sheet and into the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.
7. Roll out the dough further if you need to, and cut out cookie shapes. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Re-roll scraps and repeat.
8. Put cookie dough shapes back into the fridge for 10 minutes to 1 hour to chill again. They will then hold their shape better when baked.
9. Preheat your oven to 350°F or 176°C.
10. Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes or until the edges become golden brown. The baking time will depend on the size of your cookie.
11. Let cookies cool to room temperature and decorate!
You can find my favorite royal icing recipe here. The consistency of icing is key for easy decorating.
6 oz (3/4 cup) of warm water
5 Tablespoons Meringue Powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 kilogram (2.25 lbs.) powdered icing sugar
*** Note; if your meringue powder has no vanilla flavour (vanillin powder) in it, add a teaspoon of clear vanilla to this recipe.
In mixer bowl, pour in the warm water and the meringue powder. Mix it with a whisk by hand until it is frothy and thickened…about 30 seconds.
Add the cream of tartar and mix for 30 seconds more.
Pour in all the icing sugar at once and place the bowl on the mixer.
Using the paddle attachment on the LOWEST speed, mix slowly for a full 10 minutes. Icing will get thick and creamy.
Cover the bowl with a dampened tea-towel to prevent crusting and drying.
Tint with food colourings or thin the icing with small amounts of warm water to reach the desired consistency.
What you’ll need:
Piping Tip #2
Small fondant rolling pin
Fondant and heart punch cutter (*Optional – Heart can be piped with icing)
Gel paste colors
Outline the elephant shape with royal icing. For detailed decorating tips, this tutorial may be helpful for you.
With the same icing, flood, or fill in your shape.
Let the base dry for at least 6-12 hours.
Add the ear by outlining and filling in right away.
Add a small black dot of icing for the eye. Let the ear and eye dry for a minimum of 6-12 hours.
Roll out your white fondant to about 2mm thick, and punch out a heart shape.
Adhere fondant heart to ear with a dab of icing.