Not too long ago I made some macarons decorated with little bees (view post here). I really wanted to send some to a friend, but in the past I’ve been burned badly trying to ship macarons. What to do? What to do? Turn them into sugar cookies instead! Much more mail-friendly. I adapted the decoration to give those bees a flower to fly to, and to get busy. Then I got busy myself… The cookie dough recipe is a recent incorporation into the Bewitching Kitchen. It produces very sharp edges and I also like the texture of the cookie after baking.
NEAT EDGES SUGAR COOKIES
(adapted from Baking a Moment)
1 cup (227g) unsalted butter,cubed, cold
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
zest of 1 lemon or half an orange
3 1/2 cups (420g) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (60g) cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia extract (or vanilla, or lemon extract)
your favorite recipe of Royal Icing (I use Tanya’s)
Heat the oven to 350 F and line baking sheets with parchment. Sift the flour, cornstarch and salt, and set aside. Mix the sugar with the zest rubbing it well to release the oils. Cream the butter with the flavored sugar, just until smooth and combined.
Mix in the eggs and Fiori di Sicilia (or other flavoring extract) until incorporated. Add the flour mixture on low-speed, in three portions. The mixture will seem very dry and sandy at first, but after a couple of minutes the mixer it will start to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
Remove the dough from the bowl, cut in two pieces and wrap one in plastic. Roll the second piece of dough out between 2 sheets of parchment paper, to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Cut into rounds, press a detail flower using another type of cutter, and freeze for 10 minutes. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the cookie. I like to have a slight golden tone at the edges.
Cool on a rack and decorate as desired. For the bee decoration you’ll need yellow, and white Royal Icing with flooding consistency, and orange Royal Icing in orange (very small amount, just for the bee’s body).
to print the recipe, click here
Comments: At the risk of sounding repetitive, I must say I had a considerable amount of fun making these cookies. Perhaps because I made those according to my own imagination, did not follow any design found in the internetic world. I am usually not fully satisfied with my bakes, but this batch of cookies ended up just the way I wanted. What more can a poor baker wish for?
For Royal Icing, I used my default recipe, which you can find in Tanya’s blog. I started flooding the white flower, let it crust. Added a layer of additional icing to the center, and some sanding sugar. Then I flooded the yellow part. Waited for it to crust and piped the bee body. Then, patience was called for. I placed the cookies away from sight and did not touch them until next day. You really want to have the icing fully set before moving on to the next step. A food pen does the rest, details of bee body, wings, and flight path. Finally, I painted the center of the flower with gold.
As to the cookie dough recipe, I’ve settled on this one for the past 6 weeks or so. I’ve tweaked it quite a bit, and this version is probably my favorite, although by now you probably know I rarely leave a recipe alone for too long… The amount of cornstarch can vary from 1/2 cup to 1/3 cup (60 to 40g), and the edges will show a slight difference in sharpness depending on how much you use. I suggest you play around with it and decide what is the magical combination that suits your needs and taste. I prefer to add a tiny amount of baking powder, rather than leaving the recipe without.
Before I leave you, a little announcement. Since I’ve been making sugar cookies on a weekly basis, I will publish posts that group my favorite designs under the title “Joy Cookie Club.” There will be no recipe, just a brief description of the techniques used to decorate them. I hope you will enjoy those posts, the first one should be published in the near future.
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