Recipe: Foolproof Sugar Cookies (unicorn-shaped!)
Vanessa gave me a unicorn cookie cutter. With the husband away and a bit of procrastination, I found myself having plenty of time to whip up a quick batch of cookies.
They’re easy to make and plenty tasty! Soft in the centre, crisp around the edges. They also bake fast. Here’s my recipe:
Makes about 10 big unicorn cookies
170g unsalted butter
150 g granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp peppermint extract (gives your cookies a refreshing aroma, but won’t affect the taste)
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup all-purpose flour for dusting the table
2 egg whites
300g icing sugar
1 tsp of lemon juice
Large bowl for cookie dough
Baking paper or silicone mat
Bowl for icing
Two ziplock bags or piping bags
In Singapore, the heat is great so butter melts quickly. So you’ll have to work fast. As the butter melts while you’re cutting your cookie shapes, you’ll notice that the cookies begin to take on a cracked surface. Ensure you’re working in a cool area, or work with smaller batches.
1. In your large bowl, cream the room temperature butter and granulated sugar together till the mixture is fluffy.
2. Add the egg, vanilla extract, peppermint extract and mix.
3. Add the baking soda and salt to the mixture.
4. Finally, add the flour in batches till it reaches a dough consistency. Like playdoh, it should be pliable and smooth. Add more flour if you feel the mixture is too soft.
5. Break the dough into two portions and wrap each one in cling wrap and place it into the fridge.
TIP: Roll the dough portions into balls and press down gently with your palms. The flattened pieces of dough should make rolling them out easier later
6. Leave the dough in your fridge for about an hour. Two, if your dough is exceptionally soft. It should be soft, but not squishy.
TIP: If you must, put it in the freezer for 15 minutes.
7. After the dough chills, take out the first batch and lay it on a floured surface. Dust your rolling pin too and roll out the dough to about 6 or 10mm. Too thin and it’ll break, too thick and it will be more cake than cookie.
8. Set your oven to 180 deg C, (I do this now because the time taken to cut my cookie shapes is just about the time to heat up my oven) and cut out your cookie shapes and lay them onto a baking tray.
9. Pop the cookies into the oven and cook them for about 7 to 10 minutes. You’ll have to keep an eye on them, the perfect cookie is golden around the edges and pale-ish at the centre.
10. Once they look good, pop them out and put them on a wire rack to cool.
TIP: Don’t panic, they’ll be a little soft at first, but leave them to cool and they’ll harden to the perfect sugar cookie consistency.
My recipe is derived from one that uses meringue powder. It is what gives frosted cookies that shiny glazed look. But because I don’t have access to meringue powder… I use this recipe instead! Also, no corn syrup! Phew!
1. In a large bowl, add the icing sugar, egg whites and lemon juice.
2. Whisk like there’s no tomorrow.
The mixture will slowly look like soft marshmallow cream, then as you continue whisking, they’ll turn into stiff peaks. Just what you need.
3. Use a spatula to scrap the sides of the bowl down and pop about half of the mixture into a piping bag (I used a ziplock bag and snipped the end off once all the icing sugar was inside.) This icing will form the outline of your cookie shape.
4. Add about a tablespoon of water to the remaining mixture (add more till it reaches the consistency you want – go slow though. It’s easier to rescue hard icing than watered-down icing) and mix. This will be the flood icing to fill the cookie. Add into piping bag.
5. Decorate as you must!
TIP: To add colour, we suggest using a pinprick of colour by dipping a toothpick into the food colouring and then into the icing. Also, gel food colouring works better as the colours are more vibrant and it won’t water down your icing.