I make sugar cookies several times a year for many of our favorite holidays. Cookies for Santa are traditionally sugar cookie stars or trees, and what would Halloween be without a sugar cookie pumpkin or witch. We prefer large, at least palm sized sugar cookies. I roll them out on fairly thick and bake them until the bottoms just barely begin to brown, so that they are so soft and tender they almost fall apart.
So when they posted the September Daring Bakers’ challenge I was confident in my sugar cookie baking ability. However, I’ve never used royal icing and I really need to work on my decorating skills. So I thought it would be fun to invite a couple of my foodie friends, Maria, Two Peas and Their Pod and Tiffany, Food Finery, and her sweet daughter, Kennedy, over to help bake and decorate sugar cookies with me.
I tried to be prepared before they came over. I made and chilled the dough and I even rolled out half of the dough so we could get right to work. The part that I really messed up preparing for was the decorating. I didn’t have the proper tips; my royal icing was too thick to properly flood the cookies; and who knew that you had to let the flooded cookies dry for at least 2 -3 hrs before finishing the decoration. But we did the best we could with what I gave them to work with and had a great time making cookies and enjoying each other’s company.
I’m hoping they’ll let me host a do-over soon. Because after they left I visited, Brown Eyed Baker, she had posted some gorgeous decorated sugar cookies with a great tutorial on how to decorate with royal icing. Now the next time I try decorating with royal icing, I will be prepared. Of course, after I read the instructions on Brown Eyed Baker, I took a look at the challenge recipe and all the the same information was there if I had taken the time to read the entire challenge.
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. The theme for the cookies was “September”. Whatever happens in our life in September, that’s what our cookies were to be about. For me, September is all about football. I’ve had a son playing football for the past 10 years and I love cheering them on from the sidelines. So of course, I had to have some football cookies.
I have a favorite sugar cookie recipe adapted from a recipe given to me by my sister-in-law that I’ve been using for years, but I also made the Daring Bakers recipe. I was so surprised to see the side by side comparison of the two cookies.
My sugar cookie recipe, the cookie on the top, includes baking soda and baking powder and produces a very tender sugar cookie, but it also puffs up more and doesn’t maintain it’s shape as well as the Daring Bakers recipe. So if the shape of the cookie is very important I would recommend the Daring Baker recipe. If you’re looking for a softer, more tender cookie, give my old favorite a try.
Decorated Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing
- 3 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
Sift together flour, baking powder and baking soda. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter, or pulse in a food processor until mixture looks like sand. Mix in sugar. Mix in beaten eggs and knead into a ball. Divide into two pieces and form into two disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for one hour. Cut out shapes and place on baking sheets. Bake at 375º 6 to 8 minutes.
Thanks Mandy for helping me to step out of my comfort zone and try my hand at decorating. I am now even more impressed with the beautiful cookies and cakes that I see daily on your blogs. Stop by the Daring Kitchen to see of slideshow of the fabulous cookies the Daring Bakers whipped up.