Monday, September 27, 2010

Daring Bakers': Decorated Sugar Cookies

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.

While this challenge presented the Daring Bakers' with a lot of freedom to get creative, Mandy asked everyone to decorate their cookies with a theme of September.  For me September meant the beginning of a new year, a fresh start filled with love, happiness, and encouragement from family and friends. 

The base for this recipe was a basic sugar cookie which was then topped with Royal Icing.  The last time I made a cookie like this was probably when I was five or six.  I remember going to my god-mother's house and making decorated sugar cookies for hours on end.  As soon as I smelled the almond extract from the Royal Icing this time around I was immediately brought back to my days as a young baker!  

Decorated Sugar Cookies

Basic Sugar Cookie 

½ cup + 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups + 3 Tbsp flour, sifted
1 cup caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract 


Cream together the butter, sugar, beating until creamy.  (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 the dough into a ball and divide into 2 or 3 pieces.  Roll out each portion between parchment paper to a thickness of about 5mm.  Refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes.  Once chilled, peel off the parchment paper 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 30 minutes to an hour.  (Tip: It’s very important you chill them again otherwise they’ll spread while baking.)  During this round of chilling you should preheat the oven to 350°F.   

Bake until golden around the edges, about 8-15 minutes depending on the size and thickness 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.)

Leave cookies 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.)

Royal Icing


2½ - 3 cups powdered sugar
2 egg whites
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp almond extract, optional


Beat egg whites with lemon juice until combined.  Sift the powdered sugar and add it to the egg whites.  Beat on low until combined and smooth.  Use immediately or keep in an airtight container.  (Tip: Royal Icing starts to harden as soon as it’s in contact with air so make sure to cover containers with plastic wrap while not in use.)

For those who did not get to taste these cookies, hopefully the pictures will suffice.  :)


  1. Your cookies are adorable! Great job on this challenge!

  2. Great cookies, I really enjoyed eating them...the 2 I actually got to eat! Yours are great looking

  3. Yay, a fellow heart-cookie-baker :-)