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 was super excited for this one because I love the idea of decorating my own cookies. Never having decorated any baked goods before, though, I certainly underestimated the difficulty of making even the simplest of designs, as you can easily see from the pics.
We were challenged to use a recipe for sugar cookies from Peggy Porschen. I adapted it somewhat as I found it called for WAY too much flour, and even reducing the flour already, my dough was quite crumbly and difficult to work with (although it did come out tasty!), so I’ve adjusted the flour amount even further in the below recipe.
I bought ready-made icing, sprinkles, luster dust, etc, and set to work decorating. I cut the cookies in leaf shapes, intending to do beautiful September colours and autumn leaves. Alas, it didn’t work out, but I did have a great time. I also cut a few owl and circle shapes for variety.
Basic Sugar Cookies – adapted from Peggy Porschen via the Daring Kitchen
1/2 cup PLUS 6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 3/4 cups flour (plus an additional 1/4 cup for use if needed)
1 cup superfine sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla. Beat in egg. Don’t overmix! Add the flour and mix until a non-sticky dough forms. Add the additional 1/4 cup if needed.
Knead the dough into a ball and divide into 2 or 3 pieces. Roll the dough out on parchment paper to about 1/2 inch thick. Stack the dough and parchment paper on a baking sheet and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Cut shapes out of the dough with cookie cutters and place on parchment paper. Re-roll dough scraps and keep cutting shapes until there’s no dough left. Refrigerate shapes for another 30- 60 minutes (note: the extra refrigeration ensures the cookies don’t spread when baking).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place cookies on lightly greased baking sheets and bake until edges are golden brown, about 10- 13 minutes.
Cool. Once cooled, decorate as desired.