The kids are finally at school and, like many moms, I now have exactly two hours before I walk to pick them up. Because my business is baking, I am left with two options:
Ignore the baking I need to do and just eat the sugar sprinkles on my kitchen counter.
Follow my plan and get it done with time to enjoy some cookies tonight with hubby.
Since I can never have too many cookies, I'll go with option 2.
Here's a simple step-by-step guide so you too can create simple, delish cookies for your family to enjoy.
On your mark...
Move your oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven. Take out all the recipe ingredients and put them in a pile on the counter.
Prepare your workspace. For me, this is usually my kitchen table but your countertop works well too. Use one half for rolling out your dough and the other half for cooling and drying your masterpieces. Also, cut four pieces of parchment paper to fit your flat cookie sheets and prepare a small bowl of flour.
My no-chill sugar cookie recipe is my go-to cookie recipe (see below). It's super quick and I don't risk it becoming a science experiment found in my fridge 6 months from now.
Get ready to roll! When the dough is ready, take one half and place it on one of the unfloured parchment sheets. Pat it out gently with your hands into a rough circle then roll the dough to about 1/4 thick. Any thinner and you'll just end up with hard, burned cookies. The thicker the better. If the dough starts to stick to the pin (or empty wine bottle), add a bit of flour.
For perfectly shaped cookies, dip your cutter in flour and cut 6-8 cookies with at least one inch between them. Then, instead of lifting the cookies off the paper, use your fingers to take away the excess dough. Then put the parchment, with the cookies, onto the cookie sheet and into the oven.
Repeat the procedure with the remaining dough using up all the scraps. Each batch takes only about 6-7 minutes to bake, so keep a watchful eye and use a timer lest you get sidetracked. You want to look for just-browned bottoms and golden edges to know when the cookies are done. Sometimes they may be soft in the centres, but not sticky.
While the last batch is cooling, it's now time to make the icing. My icing recipe is simple - icing sugar and milk. Start with about 1 cup of sugar and add about 1-2 teaspoons of milk. You will have the right consistency if you can drop a spoonful of icing into the bowl and it takes about 10 seconds to be fully absorbed with no lines. If it's less, add a spoonful of sugar at a time. If you can barely scrape it off the spoon, add a 1/4 teaspoon of milk at a time until it's right. Tint it with a non-watering paste food colour then scrape the icing into a disposable zip-top bag.
By the time the icing is done, your cookies should be cool enough to decorate. Cut a small hole in the corner of the bag and outline the cookies. While the icing is still wet sprinkle the cookies with edible cake sparkles and voila. Delish, professional looking cookies. While they dry, wash up and set the kettle on the stove. By the time your tea is steeped, you can now look at your masterpieces with a critical eye and decide which ones should be taste-tested.
Then all that's left to do is polish off the last crumb, put your mug in the dishwasher and dash off to pick up the kids.
Go to the next page for a yummy Sugar Cookies recipe!
Rolled Sugar cookies
1 cup/250g butter softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. In large mixing bowl, cream butter with sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add in egg, vanilla and almond extracts. Mix flour, baking powder and salt; add 1 cup at a time to butter mixture, mixing after each addition.
3. Do not chill dough.