Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Decorated Sugar Cookies - September 2010 Daring Bakers Challenge

It's that time of the month again. Not THAT time of the month. The Daring Bakers Challenge time of the month.

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.

I'm not very confident with my piping skills that even though I've been wanting to try making this before, I always talk myself out of it. But I guess now that I'm part of the Daring Bakers..I've to coerce force dare myself to do it.

The challenge also required us to decorate the cookies with a September theme. My hubby's godson is turning 1 in September and I've been asked to bake his Toy Story birthday cake. So, I thought..how about some matching cookies right? Spread the calories errr..the love.

The recipe we used is from Peggy Porschen, whose name I've seen in a lot of baking sites. She seems to be a master of all things cookie related so I'm glad that I now have a really great recipe for basic sugar cookies. There are so many recipes out there from the back of the sugar sack to the back of a carton of butter.

I drew a sketch of what I wanted my cookies to look like.

sweetopia_bannerDid I mention I'm not really good with piping? The decorating part of the challenge intimidated me. So, I'm going to send all of you guys to Marian of Sweetopia. She has written this amazing tutorial on Cookie Decorating. I followed all her tips and tricks. (But still didn't come close to what she can do). *sigh*

Here are the recipes I used. Some people use a thicker consistency icing to outline their cookie shape and then a runnier one to fill it in.  I didn't want to have to prepare two icings for each color, prepare two piping bags, etc. so I used Marian's recipe for Royal Icing on her site.


  • ½ cup + 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups + 3 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup ugar
  • 1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract


Cream together the butter, sugar and any flavourings you’re using. Beat until just becoming
creamy in texture. Don’t over mix otherwise you’ll incorporate too much air and the cookies will spread during baking, losing their shape.

 Beat in the egg until well combined, make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add the sifted flour and mix on low until a non sticky dough forms.

I switched to a dough hook when it came time to add the flour.

 Knead into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or overnight.

Once chilled, place dough in a lightly floured surface and roll out to a thickness of 1/5 inch (0.2 in). Cut out shapes with cookie cutters or a sharp knife. Arrange shapes on parchment lined baking sheets and refrigerate for another 30mins to an hour. It’s very important you chill them again otherwise they’ll spread while baking. Re-roll scraps and follow the above process until all scraps are used up.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake until golden around the edges, about 8-15mins depending on the size of the cookies. Rotate baking sheets half way through baking if your oven bakes unevenly. Leave to cool on cooling racks. Once completely cooled, decorate as desired. If kept in airtight containers in a cool place, un-decorated cookies can last up to a month.

(from Sweetopia)


Beat all ingredients until icing forms peaks (7-10 minutes at low speed with a heavy-duty mixer, 10-12 minutes at high speed with a hand-held mixer)

Once you have made the icing, it needs to be thinned a bit to create the best consistency for decorating.  Add just drops of water at a time to make the icing runnier.  Drag a butter knife through the surface of your royal icing and count to 10.  If the icing surface becomes smooth in anywhere between 5-10 seconds, then your icing is ready to use.  If it takes longer than approximately 10 seconds, the icing is too thick.  Slowly add more water.  If your icing surface smoothes over in less than 5-10 seconds, it is too runny.  Mix your icing longer or slowly add more sifted icing sugar to thicken it.

Make sure you have everything set up and ready before you start decorating.  And here's a video on how to fold your parchment paper into parchment cones.

1 comment:

  1. These cookies look delicious, I am going to try them today. Can't wait to see how they turn out.
    Thanks so much for the detailed instructions and great pics..


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