Thursday, 25 October 2012

Cupcake Sugar Cookies

The great thing about writing a blog and sharing all your thoughts is you end up stumbling upon other great blogs and ideas. This post is an example of just that. I had never made sugar cookies before and don't generally ice my biscuits or cookies but after seeing this concept on another blog I decided it was something I definitely wanted to try. There is no doubt these pretty 'cupcakes' were time consuming, but just look at the result, weren't they worth the time? Not only do they look great, but they were actually a front runner for one of my favourite biscuits I've ever made. At first when they came out of the oven they were quite hard to bite into, but once topped with the colourful royal icing they were just the right texture.


Cupcake Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:
Cookies                                                                          
200g butter at room temperature                                
280g sugar                                                                   
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract                                          
1 egg                                                                              
400g plain flour
a pinch of salt

Royal Icing
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
310g icing sugar
Food colouring

Method:
For the Cookies
  1. Put the butter, sugar and vanilla extract in a free-standing electric mixer and cream until light and fluffy (You can also use a handheld whisk). 
  2. Add the egg and mix well, scraping the sides of the bowl intermittently to ensure all the ingredients are incorporated well.
  3. Add the flour and salt, mixing well. The dough should look light, feel soft and be easy to handle.
  4. Dust a clean surface with flour and roll out the dough using a rolling pin. Cut out the shapes of your choice ( I chose these pretty cupcakes) . Place the cookies on a well greased or lined baking tray (you will need at least two large trays) and bake for 10 minutes at 170C.  
  5. The cookies should be very light golden on the outer edges and paler in the centre.  Once cooked remove the cookies from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
For the Royal Icing
Beat the egg white and lemon juice together in a free standing mixer. Gradually add the icing sugar and contune to whisk until the icing forms stiff peaks. (Word to the wise, making royal icing can be hard in your machinery so take it easy!). Seperate mixture out and add desired colours.


The Assembly
These cookies were inspired by a post on an amazing blog entitled 'Bake at 350'. This blog is truly inspirational when it comes to decorating cookies and biscuits. This blog inspired me to try icing biscuits which I had never done before. You will need the following tools to get going:
- cocktail sticks
- a piping bag (with a small and medium sized nozzle)
- sweets or coloured fondant icing for the top of the cupcake
- royal icing (colours of your choice)
- Sprinkles

What to do.....
1. I used a very thin nozzle and stiff royal icing coloured brown for the outline of the design.
2. I then mixed up some green royal icing, and added a little water to make it 'runny'. When my 
    brown outline was completely dried, I put a slightly bigger nozzle on a piping bag and 'pooled' 
    the green icing onto the cookie. I used a cocktail stick to push the icing right into the outlined 
    edges, ensuring to burst any obvious air bubbles.
3. I then repeated the process with the pink icing for the top of the cupcake.
4. Finally I added the lined detail for the base of the cupcake and sprinkles on top.

E-D's Notes
- Handy tip....when filling your piping bag, place the piping bag 
  into a pint glass and then fill it with icing (as pictured above). 
  Makes life a lot easier and also makes minimal mess.
- I love this trio of cupcake cutters I got as a gift. You can buy 
  them on Amazon.co.uk, see the link below.
- I tried using a funnel initially to pool the icing on the cookies  
  and it was a disaster.....wouldn't recommend it. Using different 
  sized nozzles on a piping bag is definitely a stress free 
  alternative!

E-D's Links
Cupcake Cutters (Amazon)
Bake at 350

            
     This 'Sugar Cookie' recipe was adapted from 'The Hummingbird Bakery' cookbook.

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