Hello everybody and welcome back to my second week of learning how to bake delicious sugar cookies and decorate with royal icing! Earlier this week before I began the mixing, cutting, baking, and decorating process for this weeks project, I ran a poll on Twitter and asked all of you which design you would like to see for this week. For week one I used a simple circle cookie cutter, this week I still wanted to keep it simple but add a cookie cutter with a more diverse pattern. The cookie cutter options that I incorporated in the poll were of the following shapes: a cloud, cacti, and a mermaids tail. With sixty four percent of the vote, cacti won!
If you read my post from week one, Sugar Cookies and Royal Icing, you may remember that the recipe I used ended in failure. The cookies did have one positive as they kept their assigned shape, but when tasting the cookies the positive outlook went out the window and I was left with forty unpleasant baked dough disks. The cookies reminded me of an old baking soda flavour, almost as though the dough was stale even after using all fresh ingredients. This week my main objective was to find a recipe that not only tasted amazing but also kept its shape, was easy to roll out, and had a smooth consistency. After a quick text conversation with my mom about the sugar cookie recipe failure, she sent me a link to a sugar cookie recipe titled The Best Sugar Cookies that one of her coworkers had previously used, and I am happy to announce that it was a victory!
I began the process with setting out all of my ingredients and then in two separate bowls I combined the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients. I followed the recipe as precisely as possible as I wanted the finished product to not only look pretty but also be edible this time around. Once the ingredients were combined into one large bowl, I kneaded the dough into a smooth ball and then divided the dough into two halves.
Once the dough was halved I placed each portion onto a piece of parchment paper, rolled it out to be around a quarter inch thick, moved the dough onto two baking sheets, and placed both trays into the fridge for two hours. I am also happy to report that this week I purchased a real rolling pin so I no longer needed to roll my dough with an empty bath and body works candle. During the time frame that the cookies were chilling in the fridge I reread the recipe over six times just to ensure that I had not made a mistake (and I also went to the gym hoping that the cookies would turn out and I could eat several of them that evening).
Once the dough was completely chilled I took out the trays and began to cut the dough sheets into cacti shapes. Once complete I moved each individual cookie onto another baking sheet and placed them into the oven at 425 degrees for eleven minutes. As they baked I used the same recipe as last week for the royal icing as I know that it works well. I have ordered meringue powder off of amazon (so that I am able to try another royal icing recipe and method in the upcoming weeks) since Bulk Barn, Walmart, and the Co-op grocery store do not carry it due to Covid-19 and the products manufacturer. I added in a couple drops of lime green food colouring and one drop of teal food colouring to the icing mixture to make a smooth and vibrant green. The eleven minute timer came to an end, I pulled the baking sheet out of the oven, and transferred them onto a cooling rack for twenty minutes.
To end off my second week of my sugar cookie and royal icing learning project, I got to finally complete my favourite part of the whole process which is decorating each cookie. I decided to decorate nine cookies again this week, scooping the icing into piping bags and dispersing the mixture onto the cactus cookies. Once the base portion of the icing was dried I went in with another layer of icing to add lines for texture, or on other cookies I applied some magenta coloured icing to create flowers. Once again I allowed them to dry and am happy to annouce that I was thrilled with the taste and texture of both the cookie itself and the icing, as well as the way the icing dried on top of the cookie.
Next week I will be using the same sugar cookie recipe, but a new cookie cutter will be introduced as well as a new royal icing recipe! If you would like to participate in the choosing of next weeks cookie cutter you can follow me on Twitter! I will see you all back here next week with another learning project update! Thank you for reading!