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Maple Leaf Cookies

September 27, 2010

My heart sank just a little bit when I saw the Daring Baker’s Challenge this month: decorate cookies, not exactly my thing, I stay away from it because its something I’ve never been particularly good at and I don’t really see the point. Making something that looks pretty is one thing, spending hours painstakingly icing cookies is another. It turns out that icing cookies is exceedingly therapeutic and while it may not become the mainstay of my baking I may do it again.

The September theme was easy, I had a maple leaf cookie cutter my flatmate had given me on leaving Canada, which has lain unused forever since. September may be a touch too early for the beautiful autumn colours of the maple trees but I saw occasional hints of auburn amongst the brilliant greens while I was in Montreal. September is strewn with birthdays, including mine so the rest of the cookies became cupcakes.

Drawing a cupcake on a cookie is easier said than done and many of mine turned out rather less than well and my lack of colour selection only served to enhanced their odd-looking nature. I have blue and red food colourings, both of which are very bright, the red has a habit of making everything go an awful Barbie pink, unless you use large quantities of it and the blue is almost electric in colour. It turns out that when you mix them together you get sludge brown, so my hope for shades of purple was dashed and my colour palate remained very limited.

The cookie recipe itself though is great, I added a dash of almond essence and the cookies (that weren’t over cooked) were beautiful and kept really well. Making royal icing from scratch is another lesson I’ve learned, so easy. If only my decorating skills were up to par…

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.

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Cookie Recipe

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100g butter

200g plain flour

100g caster sugar

1/2 egg, beaten

1 tsp almond essence

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Cream together the butter, sugar and almond until light and fluffy.

Beat in the egg.

Stir in the flour until combined to form a dough.

Knead into a ball and chill for 30 mins.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to ~5mm thick.

Cut out cookies and arrange on a lined baking sheet.

Chill for 30 mins+ so help cookies hold their shape in the oven.

Bake at 180˚C for ~ 10 mins, until the cookies are showing the slightest hint of becoming golden around the edges.

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Royal Icing

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175g icing sugar

1 egg white

5ml lemon juice

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Beat egg white and lemon juice until soft peaks form.

Sift in icing sugar and beat until combined.

Stir in food colourings.

For a stiffer/ runnier consistency add more icing sugar/ water.

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