|My Eid themed cookies!|
Blog checking lines - The September 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mandy of “What the Fruitcake?!” Mandy challenged everyone to make Decorated Sugar Cookies based on recipes from Peggy Porschen and The Joy of Baking.
|A collage of all the colourful cookies!|
Hurrah! I am very happy to post my first ever Daring Bakers challenge! Now, as anyone from India will tell you, we do not make or eat sugar cookies in India. I mean, culturally it is not a part of any of our festivals or celebrations like in the U.S. So it should not come as a surprise to you that I had never baked or decorated a single cookie (sugar cookies) in my life. That's why this was truly a challenge for me as I would have never pushed myself to try something like this. I had a great time making and decorating with all the different designs. It was like playing with paint in your hands and seeing what fun stuff you can come up with.
We were supposed to decorate the cookies according to a theme, which was 'September'. This year we celebrated Eid-ul-fitr in the month of September and that's what I decided to use as my theme. Also, my niece celebrates her birthday today (Happy Birthday Heba!) and I decided to make some bright colourful cookies for her.
Cookies - I made the cookie dough and divided it into three parts and froze two of them. I wanted to do a test batch and used one part of the dough to bake and decorate. Taste wise, the cookie recipe is great. It makes a nice crispy cookie which i loved eating on its own. I am not a big fan of royal icing and thought the icing made the cookies too sweet. Next time I will just add some melted chocolate on top.
Sugar Cookie Recipe - Click here for the complete recipe and post.
Icing - For my first batch, I used a an icing recipe from I am baker which I loved. It is a very simple solution of milk and confectioners sugar. It was so easy to work with and I didn't have any trouble at all with it. No hardening, no air bubbles and I was able to color it very easily (I used Wilton gel paste colours). When I made the second batch of cookies I decided to tackle royal icing and see what all the fuss was about. I made the icing with meringue powder and it came together easily. My only mistake was making so many different colours. I wanted to make 7 colours and because of this it took a long time to get my icing bags ready. After doing all this I later realized that I didn't have enough piping tips for all the bags. Duh! All in all I had a great time decorating them and seeing the results. I did learn a lot of lessons and next time will surely keep them in mind.
1. Read, Watch and Learn - Before I started my baking, I must have read a thousand posts on how to's and watched a similar number of videos. There are so many awesome tutorials out there that after watching them I didn't feel so intimidated by the process. The website University of Cookie is a great place for beginners and each step of the process is shown in video. If you are doing this for the first time like me please visit this site!
2. Prep, prep and more prep - I cannot emphasize the importance of this step. First, figure out exactly what type of decorations you want to do and draw out your design on a paper. Colour it using the exact colours you want to use. This will give you a clear picture of how many colours you will need, what type of cookie cutters you will use etc. I had all my designs in my mind and thought I was good to go. But when you start decorating you realize you have forgotten something.
3. Time - . If the cookies are due tomorrow and you start baking them the night before - foggetaboutit! Bake them at least three days before, make the icings and decorate two days before so that the icing has enough time to dry and you can bag them without risking spoiling them.
4. Supplies - Make sure you have all the supplies before you start. I didn't have any decorating supplies and had to buy almost all of them. Piping bags and tips are the most important and I think one must have at least 3 - 4 each of numbers 1 - 3. Invest in some good supplies initially and these will last for a long time.
5. Relax - If you are new to this and screw up, just relax. there is no use getting frustrated because it's just a cookie! I did screw up a few but then I ate them up. No more evidence!
Find the sugar icing recipe at I Am baker
Find the Royal Icing Recipe at Annie's Eats
Given below are a few links to tutorials that helped me to understand the entire process and made my life so much easier!
P.S - If you are in Dubai, you can get all baking and decorating supplies at Tavola in Mercato Mall, Jumeirah or at Lakeland in Mirdiff City Center. When I went there the first time I was like a kid in a candy shop! I bought so much stuff and still could'nt get enough. So, any of you want to buy cookies from me? I have to use up my supplies after all.Happy Decorating!!