I must confess these are long overdue. Little baby Jacob (whose parents write over at The Patient Cook) is now a month old. I’m really a terrible procrastinator. Although the aim was to post a step by step, I ended up doing this in such a rush that I didn’t take enough pictures. It’s hard to take pictures when your entire kitchen bench is covered in fondant, colours and just general mess. Plus, I’d quite like to sustain the illusion that I’m a neat, tidy and very organised cook.
First of all, I’ve found the perfect sugar cookie recipe from the lovely Katrina over at In Katrina’s Kitchen. She says it’s the best and it is – I’m naturally mildly skeptical when anyone says something’s the best, after all, taste is subjective right? But there’s a lot to like about this recipe and not much I’d change.
The cookies keep their shape when baked, if you’re wondering how much – I used the same cutter for the cookie dough and the fondant, so you can see exactly how much the dough has spread, which is not much at all. This dough doesn’t require chilling and they bake up to a lovely medium-soft texture (though you can bake them longer if you like crunch). The only thing I’ve done is convert the ingredients to weight measurements for consistency – there’s variation between American and Australian cups and 25g here or there can effect the texture and spreadiness (for lack of a better word) of a cookie.
Here’s a couple of tips for your next sugar cookie adventure –
Don’t overbake your cookies
If it’s golden brown, it’s going to be crunchy. Which is totally fine if you like it that way, but I don’t like that hard texture.
Use fondant for a perfect finish
Holy crap I wish someone had told me this! How have I never though of this before? Why on earth have I been making royal icing, colouring it, adjusting it’s consistency for flood or fill, or learning about 10, 12 or 15 second icing when I can just use fondant. It’s like play dough, but for adults.
I know it’s not for everyone, but I actually like the slightly chewy, not overly sweet taste of fondant. And I definitely much prefer it to the overly sweet icing that goes on cookies. Plus, with fondant, the cookies are stackable straight away and don’t take up all my bench space to dry. And, AND (can you tell I’m really excited about this revelation) you can get so many different effects with it, just look at all the different ‘fabrics’ I made for the onesies. It was actually a bit like being a clothing designer.
They take a fraction of the time, is a whole lot more fun and the colour doesn’t run all over your teeth like royal icing. What’s not to like?
- 225g butter, softened
- 220g white sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 470g (3 cups) all purpose flour
- pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 180C.
- In the bowl of your mixer, with the paddle attachment cream butter and sugar until smooth.
- Beat in vanilla and egg.
- Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the mixer bowl and mix. The dough will be very stiff. If it becomes too stiff for your mixer turn out the dough onto a countertop surface. Wet your hands and finish off kneading the dough by hand.
- Divide into workable batches, roll out onto a floured surface and cut. You want these cookies to be on the thicker side (closer to ¼" thickness rather than ⅛).
- Bake for 8 minutes, rotating in between if your oven is temperamental like mine - this ensures they brown evenly. Let cool on the cookie sheet until firm enough to transfer to a cooling rack.