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.
I have always avoided making sugar cookies with flood icing. It’s the sort of thing I just knew I would not be so great at. I guess that’s what I love about Daring Baker’s – it makes me go where I wouldn’t normally go! Part of this month’s theme was to make cookies that represent what “September” means to you. There as really only one thing that came to mind for me – colourful Fall leaves!
I have come to the discovered that flood icing is definitely easier than I imagined. Not that I’m actually very good at it, but it’s not really a difficult process. If only I had a steady hand and a creative eye!
I didn’t do the “outline with a piping bag and then flood fill” technique. Piping has never been my thing. I painted these, with a paint brush. Much easier for me and much easier to have the kids help with, as well. I did discover that consistency of icing is really important. If it’s too thin, it will run over the edges. If too thick, it will not “flood” into a flat icing. It’s not tough to get it right though by testing the consistency as detailed in the recipe below.
This is a great project to do with the kids for Thanksgiving! Just let them loose with a paint brush. The cookies can then be enjoyed right away or wrap two or three in a plastic bag, tie with a pretty bow and they would make great little gifts for Thanksgiving dinner guests to take home.
Fall Maple Leaf Iced Sugar Cookies
Summary: These are the perfect cookie to spend a Fall afternoon making with your kids. You’ll need food colouring, artist paint brushes and parchment paper for these.
- 200g / 7oz / 1/2 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
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract / Or seeds from 1 vanilla bean
- Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla. Beat until just becoming
- creamy in texture. 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 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 30 minutes
- Once chilled, peel off parchment and place dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut out (leaf) shapes with cookie cutters or a sharp knife. Arrange shapes on parchment lined baking sheets and refrigerate for another 30 minutes to an hour. 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 350° F. Bake until golden around the edges, about 8-15 minutes depending on the size of the cookies. Bake same sized cookies together otherwise mixing smaller with larger cookies could result in some cookies being baked before others are done.
- Leave to cool on cooling racks. Once completely cooled, decorate as desired.
- Royal Icing for Flooding
- Note: This icing contains un-cooked egg whites so should not be eaten by pregnant women or anyone with compromised immune systems. There are alternate royal icing recipes that use Meringue Powder though. Just google it.
- 315g / 11oz / 2 1/2 cups / Confectioner’s / Powdered Sugar, unsifted
- 2 large egg whites
- 10ml / 2 tsp Lemon Juice
- Beat egg whites with lemon juice until combined. Sift the icing sugar to remove lumps and add it to the egg whites. Beat on low until combined and smooth. Check the consistency for flooding: Drag a knife through the surface of the Royal Icing and count to 10. If the surface becomes smooth between 5 and 10 seconds, the icing is at the correct consistency. If your icing is too thick, thin it by adding a few drops of water. Mix, do the 10 second test, then if it’s still too thick, add a few more drops of water, repeat, etc. To thicken your icing, add small amounts of icing sugar until thick enough for the 10 second test.
- Use immediately or keep in an airtight container. 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.
- To Ice Leaves
- Divide icing into 3 bowls. Colour one bowl bright yellow, one bright orange and one bright red (gel food colourings work best as they don’t thin the icing like liquid colour does). Cover bowls tightly with plastic wrap while gathering cookies.
- Working with one cookie at a time, fold back the plastic wrap enough to access the icing. Dip your brush into one colour, putting a good amount of icing on the brush. Starting in the centre of the cookie, “paint” the icing on, moving it out towards the edges. You don’t want it to be too thin or too thick. An even coat that is enough to move around the cookie is what you’re looking for. Part way through, dip your brush into another colour and finish painting to achieve a mottled effect.
- I found it worked best to paint one half in one colour and the other half in another colour. It then tends to mottle in the middle and one edge, which looks most natural.
- Allow to dry then eat and enjoy!
Prep time: 30 min | Cook time: 15 min | Total time: 2 hours
Number of servings (yield): 36 cookies