Sunday, April 06, 2008

Cookie Crunch

I found myself with a rare free afternoon the Saturday before Easter and since I've had my Easter cookie cutter set for over a year, I decided now was as good a time as any to make my virgin attempt at cookie decorating.

And boy did I suck at it.

Patience, as anyone who knows me will tell you, is not one of my virtues. And cookie decorating requires plenty of it. Well, that and talent — which, as the pictures of my cookies will attest — is not something I am particularly blessed with in this respect.

Firstly, my cookies didn't bake to perfectly even surfaces, so the flooding didn't quite sit well. Secondly, my flooding was probably a little too thin, so it didn't render a nice opaque tone. Then there's my unsteady hand, which translated to quivering borders and, well... child-like designs would be a kind way to put it.

And then there's the patience thing again. I just couldn't wait for the icing to dry before piping in more dots and things. My dots had tails, my lines broke mid-way... I don't really need to go on, do I?

The only good thing that came out of this experiment were the cookies, which came from Peggy Porschen's Pretty Party Cakes. They are basic cocoa-flavoured sugar cookies, but they pack an intense chocolatey taste and a nice crisp texture. So I did the sane thing and cut the remaining cookie dough with a bite-size circular cutter and now serve them on a saucer with post-dinner coffee.

Chocolate Sugar Cookies
(Adapted from Peggy Porschen's Pretty Party Cakes)

200g unsalted butter
200g sugar
1 egg, beaten lightly
50g cocoa powder (I used Valrhona)
350g plain flour

1. Cream the butter and sugar until well mixed and just creamy in texture. Don't overwork or the cookies will spread during baking.

2. Beat in the egg until well combined. Add the flour and cocoa powder and mix on low speed until a dough forms.

3. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap in cling film and chill for at least an hour.

4. Place the dough on a floured surface and knead briefly.

5. Roll out to about 5mm thickness.

6. Use your cookie cutters to cut out shapes and then lay them on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.

7. Chill again for about 30 minutes.

8. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

9. Bake for 8-12 minutes, depending on size.


Blogger Dee said...

Annette, I've never posted a comment before but how could I not this time when you're so, so wrong. You so do NOT suck at cookie decorating. These are the sweetest! I'm curious, what sort of icing works best for this?

dee from choosandchews

6:11 pm  
Blogger Patricia Scarpin said...

I have that book! It's full of beautiful photos that make you want to run to the kitchen and bake.
Your cookies look stunning.

1:26 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Annette! I've been reading your blog for awhile and finally wanted to say hello :) I'm a subscriber and I think your picture/descriptions and recipes are absolutely beautiful!!

I was wondering if we could link each other! If you'd be ok with me linking you, and with linking me! My baking blog is: I'd love to be blog-friends :)

All the best,

2:14 am  
Blogger Wheeler's Frozen Dessert said...

Those cookies look delicious!

2:46 am  
Blogger Annette said...

Hi Dee, thank you. That's very sweet of you to say so :) You can use royal icing, or you can buy Wilton's Colour Flow Icing, which makes for less hassle.

Thanks Patricia. I agree. That book makes you want to break out every sugar decorating tool and ingredient and make pretty, pretty things.

Annie, thanks for your kind words. Of course I don't mind.

Thanks Wheeler's.

10:34 pm  
Blogger FooDcrazEE said...

annette- dont be so bad on urself .. . . i cant even baked a decent cookie dont even mention decorating. . . .

11:45 am  
Blogger Valisa said...

ohh annette,
I am soo jealous! I can't decorate cakes or cookies to save my life! I only use a bit of powder sugar, cream, cocoa powder or ganache. Besides lack of patience, I totally lack eyes and hands coordination I think.
Been following all your icing adventures and totally in love with the elephant - my favourite animal!
If you're in NL, I would order something. Last year, I ordered a cake for Nabila's b'day for the first time - the kids went gaga with the marzipan decoration but Nabila had a problem eating the cake itself because she is so used to home baked goodies. I wish you're closer! Your goodies look great enough to eat and I bet the cookies/cakes under it are just scrummy!

5:23 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think your cookies look lovely. Sometimes, all that flooding takes the yumminess out of the experience of biting into a cookie anyway :)

8:46 pm  
Blogger maison lobet said...

It's suprisingly difficult, isn't it, icing and decorating cookies? I gave up (but only for now) after one attempt. Your cookies look very cute though! I especially like the decorations on the bunnies.

6:54 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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10:18 pm  
Blogger Sophie said...

These are so cute! :D

5:33 am  

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