Sugar cookies

In the past two years I've had the great fortune to make friends with Belle Harris of Belleisimo Cookies. Every year in October I shut down cake production because of the hot, humid weather. I don't have aircon in my home and I can't stand the added stress of cake designing  in the heat. So Belle suggested I give cookies a go. 

Sugar cookies are a whole other art form to sugar craft with fondant. The cookie dough is a soft eating cookie, and you need to go to great lengths to keep your cookie in it's shape and level on the top. Sugar cookies take ages to make because the icing needs eight to 12 hours to dry. I've achieved a level of competence in my cookies, but Belle is at mastery level. You can check some of her cookie instructional a on youtube. 

Meanwhile, here is my sugar cookie recipe, which I've adjusted to suit my style. 

250g butter
200g pure icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 medium egg
425g plain flour 

1. Beat the butter and sugar until it is very pale and fluffy. 
2. Add the egg and vanilla and continue to beat until combined. 
3. Add the flour and stir until combined. It really is best to do this by hand, not with a mixer, if you don't want your cookies to be tough. Stand the cookie dough for 15mins. 
4. Roll small batches of cookie dough out  on baking paper lightly dusted with more flour. Your dough needs to be about 4mm thick. I use wooden skewers as spacers to get the height right. 
Carefully press your preferred cookie cutter into the dough. Do not lift it! Slide a large palette knife under the cutter and dough, lift the two together and transfer to a cookie sheet lined with baking paper.  Position the cookie, remove the cutter and go again! Keep repeating until all the dough is used. 
5. Bake in moderate oven for 22mins or until golden brown. You may find your oven cooks the cookies faster or slower than my oven. You'll need to work out what is best for you. 
6. When you first take the cookies out of the oven smooth their tops with a fondant smoother. This is to flatten their tops and pop any air bubbles. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool. 

I'll write another post later this week to explain how to do the flood icing. 


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