Cookie baking is fun - particularly when you have simple and easy to bake sugar cookie recipes to follow. But the most enjoyable aspect is the decorating. This is what turns a plain ordinary cookie into an edible work of art. You really are limited only by your imagination.
The first step of course is to make the cookies. There is no creaming butter and sugar involved. The dough is worked in a food processor. Nothing could be easier.
Ingredients you will need:
9 oz / 280 g /2 ½ cups plain / all-purpose flour
5 ½ oz / 170g unsalted butter, chopped
3 tablespoons caster / superfine sugar
2 egg yolks beaten with 4 tablespoons ice-cold water
Preheat the oven to 400oF / 200oC. Line two baking sheets with parchment or baking paper.
In the bowl of a food processer, process the flour and butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add the salt and sugar and process again until just combined, being careful not to overprocess the mixture.
With the motor still running, add the egg yolk mixture and process using the pulse button until it forms a glossy ball.
Remove from processer, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Remove from the fridge and divide the mixture into smaller portions for rolling. While rolling one portion, keep the remainder refrigerated. Roll the dough out to a ¼ inch / 6 mm thickness. Using cutters, cut out shapes, placing the cutters as close to the edges as possible to minimise the number of times you re-roll the dough. Repeat with the remaining dough, then combine all the leftover dough and re-roll.
Place onto the baking sheets allowing room for spreading and bake for 10-15 minutes or until a golden color.
Remove them from the oven and leave on the baking sheets for 2-3 minutes before lifting them onto wire racks to cool.
Allow to cool completely before icing and decorating.
Now comes the fun part, icing and decorating. Glace icing is perfect for this sugar cookie recipe. It can be drizzled over the top or piped into simple designs.
This glace icing recipe is sufficient to ice 24 cookies.
1 cup icing / confectioners sugar
A few drops of vanilla essence
1 tablespoon of hot water
A few drops of food coloring (if required)
Sift the icing sugar into a bowl then add the vanilla essence. Gradually stir in the hot water until the mixture is the consistency of thick cream. Add the water a few drops at a time until you have the desired consistency. If you find you have added too much water and the icing is too runny, simply add more icing sugar.
Spoon a little icing into the centre, then using the back of the spoon, spread out to cover the entire cookie. Glace icing sets very quickly, so if you are adding other decorations, you will need to work quickly before the icing sets.
Glace icing is also extremely versatile. It is perfect for feathering and drizzling.
To create a feathered effect, cover the cookie with icing as above, then pipe several straight parallel lines of icing in a contrasting color across the top. Take a toothpick and draw lines in the opposite direction, gently dragging the color through the icing.
Alternatively, pipe lines of icing, or, if you want to be adventurous, pipe designs over the tops of your cookies.
Really, the possibilities are endless.
Having a large collection of sugar cookie recipes that you can decorate in creative ways is great fun.