Well it's about time I shared my recipe with everyone! I've not intentionally been keeping it a secret, I've just been lazy, mainly. Every time I needed to make dough I've been in a rush with no time to photograph what I'm up to, and whenever I've had the time to take photos, I've got a freezer full of slabs of dough already!
For my Dark Chocolate recipe click here
and for my Christmas Spice recipe, click here!
For the longest time, I used the Peggy Porschen sugar cookie recipe from her book Pretty Party Cakes so it wasn't mine to share. That recipe works just fine (at the time of writing, you can see it in the 'browse' section on the Amazon listing). It has a lovely buttery flavour, is very simple and barely spreads at all. However I found it a little dense - it really suits a more crunchy bake or it just seems underdone, and I wanted something still crunchy but more delicate. I also wanted to reduce the intense sweet effect of eating the cookie with royal icing on top.
So I fiddled around and came up with a cookie which is a little shortbread-like, but with egg for strength. It's crunchy but due to the cornflour and powdered sugar has a finer softer texture, and is less sweet to counteract the icing. It isn't the perfect 'no spread' recipe, though it holds shapes very well and can achieve a perfectly smooth surface, and I think it achieves a nice balance between flavour, texture and spreading. (Don't forget to check out my post with tips and tricks to bake perfectly shaped cookies for decorating and all my information on royal icing)
(I measure in metric weights apart from the teaspoons of flavouring, but have attempted to convert to the nearest imperial and US cup equivalents, though I'm not sure how well that's turned out. If possible, stick to the metric measurements!).
Well without further ado, here it is:
Butter, room temperature 250g (9 oz or 1 cup or 2 1/4 sticks)
Icing sugar (AKA powdered sugar) 170g (6 oz or 1 1/3 cups)
One medium egg
Plain flour (all purpose flour) 385g (13 5/8 oz or 3 cups)
Cornflour (cornstarch) 100g (3 5/8 oz or 7/10 cup)
Vanilla powder 3/4 tsp (or seeds from two pods)
Salt 3/4 to 1 tsp
Large grip-seal airtight food bags (10" x 14") or parchment paper sheets
- Sift the flours, salt and vanilla powder together and set aside.
- Mix the butter and sugar until thoroughly incorporated, but do not 'cream'. You do not want to whip excess air into the dough.
- Lightly beat the egg then add to the butter and sugar mixture, with one tablespoon of the flour mix and mix until thoroughly incorporated.
- Add half the flours and set the mixer on low, adding the second half as soon as the first has just mixed in. Once the dough has formed, stop mixing - overmixing can cause the cookies to become tought and flakey.
- Cut the dough in half and form two rough discs. Place these in the food bags (or wrapped in clingfilm) in the fridge for half to one hour.
- Either roll the discs out to the desired thickness inside the food bags (I use 1/4 inch thick cookie slats), or between sheets of parchment. This way avoids using extra flour on the dough. Place the slabs of dough in the fridge or freezer overnight (I always use my dough from frozen). If you've used parchment sheets, make sure to wrap the whole lot in cling film to stop the dough drying out.
- Preheat oven to 155c fan.
- Cut cookies out from the frozen slabs of dough using sharp metal cutters. If you have weaker plastic cutters, wait ten minutes for the dough to warm a little. If you're using 3D printed cutters wait for the dough to become soft first. Place the cut shapes on baking trays with at least an inch between each one. Try to keep roughly the same sized cookies on the same trays and arrange them so that any 'appendages' are pointing inwards, away from the sides, to reduce burning. If the dough is not longer stiff and cold by the time the tray is ready, place in the freezer for at least ten minutes.
- Bake the tray of cold/frozen cookies for between 15 and 20 minutes until their edges turn lightly golden. Extra large cookies can be cooked for longer at a lower temperature eg 120c, to ensure the centres are baked without the edges burning.
[Updated 26/07/2016 ]