I love making sugar cookies although the most fun for me is decorating them. Because I'm not a very visual person I realised that I really needed to start with some sketch designs because when I freehand stuff without a sketch, it can be a bit of a disaster.
I'm thinking of the unexpectedly obscene banana carving that I did once.
While I was drawing them it struck me how houses sometimes look like people's faces so I went with that theme and made them horror faces.I started with six Halloween colours (black, white, orange, purple, yellow and green) and layered from there adding one red shade.
During this time I also made some cookies for Nina. You see we've had this ongoing tab. Whenever we go out we split the bill and one of us pays and then I either owe her or she owes me. Currently I owe her $7.30 but she asked that instead of giving her the actual money she wanted it in cookies. So I cut out $7.30 in cookies and baked them for her. She then said, "I hope I can wear the cookie $ around my neck like a rapper. What good is a cookie if I can't show it off!!!!???"
Thanks to Sammie for the candy pumpkins!
Alas I had not baked the $7.30 with holes in the dough so that I could thread string through them so I made some more $ signs, added some royal icing on them and some edible gold paint and made her a necklace. She loved them in the way that only a slightly demented slash eccentric person would. She even brought along her rapper hat and sunglasses for the presentation.
Rappers with cookies calendar anyone?
"I'm going to write a new song. 'I ain't got no cookies in the bank, cookies in the bank, cookies in the bank..." she vowed. As for our respective partners, all they could do is wonder what sort of conversations we have when we're together.
Yes Dear Reader, I take exercise advice from this woman ;)
So tell me Dear Reader, do you think people would find your conversations odd? Would you wear a cookie necklace? Do you like decorating cakes or cookies or do you prefer the actual baking?
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Share your creations by tagging @notquitenigella on Instagram with the hashtag #notquitenigella
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 2.5 hours (plus drying time)
Cooking time: 15 minutes
- 85g/3ozs butter, softened
- 140g/5ozs/3/4 cup white caster superfine sugar
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 200g//7ozs. all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 egg whites
- 300g/10.6ozs icing or confectioners sugar plus more if needed
- Colouring gels in black, orange, purple, red, forest green and yellow
Step 1 - Beat the butter and sugar together for 3-4 minutes until white on medium high speed. Add the egg and beat together. Then on low speed add the flour and spices until just combined. Knead for a few seconds and form a ball.
Step 2 - Tear two large sheets of parchment and roll out the dough to fit a large baking tray. Lay it on the tray and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Step 3 - Preheat oven to 200C/400F and line two baking trays with parchment. Dip a house cutter in flour and cut out houses using the cutter. Bake for 12-15 minutes until done. Cool completely.
Step 4 - Place the icing sugar in a food processor and process until all the lumps are gone. Add the egg whites and process until smooth. Check the consistency. If a line holds then it is ready. If the line blurs and becomes indistinct then sift in more icing sugar until you get a pipeable consistency.
Step 5 - Take seven bowls and then add the colour to six of them leaving one white. Place 2 teaspoons of each icing in 6 small piping bags. Pipe an outline around the perimeter of the cookies and allow to set. Place the piping bags in an airtight container as you don't want them to dry out as you'll need them later.
Flooding the piping outline with icing
Step 6 - Add a few drops of water to the bowls of icing. You want to make it more liquid in texture. Flood the outline with the more liquid icing. Allow to set completely (you may have to leave these for a few hours, I left them overnight).
Decorating with royal icing
Step 7 - Draw patterns on the cookies giving each cookie its own distinct personality. I sketched a rough idea of what I wanted to draw.
Step 8 - You can also use edible colours to paint very small details.