Sunday, December 20, 2015
I'm horrible at decorating. Whether it's my home, myself or my baked goods, I'm just no good at making my treats look pretty and presentable. Which is why, when I decided to make these vanilla sugar cookies, I was a bit nervous about how I would decorate them because who am I kidding? I'm the person who quit George Brown's baking decorating course one class in because the teacher got mad at me when I got chocolate all over myself. (I'm messy that way and proud of it and who the hell was she to make me feel bad over a bit of chocolate on my uniform and hands and maybe my mouth?)
Anyway, I, like many other sane, hungry people, love looking at photos of perfectly decorated desserts on Instagram. It really makes me wonder how long it takes them not only to decorate their wares but to set up the shot so that the photo turns out so impeccably perfect that it makes me want to hit myself with a whisk. Or a wooden spoon.
True, I could practice. And believe me, I've tried. I tried and tried and tried when I took (AND COMPLETED, GOD DAMNIT) the baking arts 101 class at George Brown. My cakes looked as if three-year-olds decorated them. Actually, three-year-olds would probably do a better job and they have that whole youth and cuteness thing going for them, so what's my excuse?
Before my wedding, I decided to make not one but three wedding cakes and made them I did (#fuckyes #iamaqueen) but on the morning of our wedding I handed off all decorating and icing duties to my soon-to-be-husband/cake decorator because I knew he would do a better job. And he did, bless him and his cute little baker's hands.
Back to the cookies at hand. I knew I wouldn't have Instagram-perfect cookies, but that vain part of me did want them to look kind of decent for all 200 (HAHA!) of my followers, so off to the Dollar Store I went, where I purchased Christmas-coloured sprinkles and other toppings, so that if my icing turned out to shit, I would just cover that shit up with tons of CANDY.
Cookies turned out great, icing was standard and I had the best time pouring sprinkles on top of the icing while listening to Adele on maximum volume.
Needless to say, I jacked up the Instagram filter to make them look #onpoint.
Onwards, we go!
P.S. Is anyone as obsessed with/horrified about "Making a Murderer"? Turn on Netflix now while you give this recipe a try.
Adapted from the Butter Baked Goods book
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cups icing sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp pure vanilla
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 2/3 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- food colouring (optional)
You will need: 2 cookie sheets lined with parchment paper, cookie cutters
Makes about 24 cookies
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Onto a large piece of parchment paper, sift together the flour and baking powder. Set aside. (Note: I sifted these into a small bowl because I was too scared I would dump it all on the ground if I put it on paper. That's my problem; you'll probably do just fine.)
3. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars on medium to high speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again.
4. Turn the mixer to low and add the dry ingredients and mix until fully combined.
5. Shape the dough into a large disk about 1 inch thick and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
6. Divide the disk into two and place half the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. (Note: my dough cracked a bit during this process, but I let it warm up a bit and kept rolling it and kneading it a bit until it stuck together.)
7. Use the cookie cutter to cut out about 12 cookies. Carefully transfer to the prepared cookie sheets and place about 1/2 inch apart. You'll probably have extra scraps so feel free to use them again (mush together and roll out) and make more cookies.
8. Use a rolling pin to roll out the second disk of dough and repeat step 7.
9. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until the cookies are lightly browned around the edges.
10. Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool for about 10 minutes on the sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
11. After the cookies have completely cooled, get to the icing. Throw all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix to combine.
12. Spread icing on the cookies using a knife or small spatula.
13. Add whatever decorations you want!
Eat them, you hungry beasts!