September 27, 2010

Daring Bakers Challenge September 2010 - Cookies!

This is my first month of the Daring Bakers challenge. Intimidating, yes. Fun, yes. Repeatable? Most definitely!

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. It was mandatory to make the Basic Sugar Cookie recipe provided (unless specific diet restrictions apply) and to decorate the cookies with the theme of September (I'm curious, what does September mean to you?).

September to me is a lot of things... the start of school, leaves turning color, crisp air, boots, scarves, harvesting apples and pears... and most of all acorns. All over the ground are little acorns.

I doubled this recipe and baked all the cookies off. I then had a decorating afternoon with Shirley and the kids. We used frosting and sprinkles to decorate. The kids then set up a cookie and lemonade stand. Each small cookie was 50 cents. Oggie decided that the large cookies would be $155. Yep, $155. Needless to say, we ended up selling the cookies at a major discount! ;)

Basic Sugar Cookies:

Makes Approximately 36x 10cm / 4" Cookies
200g / 7oz / ½ cup + 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
400g / 14oz / 3 cups + 3 Tbsp All Purpose / Plain Flour
200g / 7oz / 1 cup Caster Sugar / Superfine Sugar
1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
5ml / 1 tsp Vanilla Extract / Or seeds from 1 vanilla bean


Cream together the butter, sugar and any flavourings you’re using. Beat until just becoming
creamy in texture.
  • Tip: 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.
Knead into a ball and divide into 2 or 3 pieces.Roll out each portion between parchment paper to a thickness of about 5mm/1/5 inch (0.2 inch)
Refrigerate for a minimum of 30mins.
Once chilled, peel off parchment and place dough on a lightly floured surface.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.
  • Tip: 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 180°C (160°C Fan Assisted) / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.
Bake until golden around the edges, about 8-15mins depending on the size of the cookies.

  • Tip: Bake same sized cookies together otherwise mixing smaller with larger cookies could result in some cookies being baked before others are done. Also, rotate baking sheets half way through baking if your oven bakes unevenly.
Leave to cool on cooling racks.
Once completely cooled, decorate as desired.

  • Tip: If wrapped in tinfoil/cling wrap or kept in airtight containers in a cool place, un-decorated cookies can last up to a month.
I decorated with colored royal icing but you can use any frosting you would like. And of course, who doesn't love sprinkles?