Monday, 13 February 2017

Valentine's Day Themed Sugar Cookies

If you read my goals for 2017, you'll know that this year I wanted to try some new recipes, and since I've never cooked anything by myself, basically anything counts as a "new recipe". Earlier this month I made buttercream frosting for the first time to practice piping roses onto a cake. The frosting was delicious, but the roses ended up being a bit flat. It wasn't too bad for my first try, but I hope to get better in the future.

The second recipe I tried was this one for sugar cookies (except I just used regular white sugar, and I also included 2 teaspoons of baking powder). I chose this recipe because I thought it seemed easy, as what I really wanted to focus on was decorating them, but I was very wrong. Baking cookies is so much harder than baking a cake. Dough is so annoying and messy to work with!

I usually run to Daniel for help with anything because he always seems to know what to do, but I purposely chose to make these while he wasn't home so I couldn't do that, and it honestly almost ended in tears. I couldn't figure out why the dough wasn't sticking together, and I hadn't even added all the flour yet. The recipe I was following just said to mix everything until combined, but my dough wasn't having any of that, so I had to compromise, which was terrifying seeing as I had no idea what I was doing.

I decided to add another egg to the mix to try and make the dough stick together better. I was concerned that this would alter the overall taste of the cookies, so I was pleasantly surprised when I tried one and it tasted delicious. After I added the egg, it was still only just sticking together, so I covered my bench in flour, took the dough out of the mixing bowl, and started kneading it with my hands. As a self-confessed germ-a-phobe, this was tricky for me. Flour got everywhere and the dough made its way under all my newly grown nails. It was quite uncomfortable.

I kneaded it until it stuck together and actually looked like dough, then I cut out a bunch of I's, hearts and U's with some Valentine's themed cookie cutters I got from Coles. I didn't end up using all the flour because I didn't want to risk the dough not sticking together again, and I was worried that they wouldn't turn out right, but they did, and I was so proud of myself.

Once upon a time I would hesitate to even use a toaster while I was home alone, because I don't like making noise or doing anything that could possible end in injury or damage to the house when no one else is around, and now I am baking cookies from scratch - and using the oven - all by myself. It may not seem like much to other people, but it's a huge step for me.

The icing, however, did not turn out how I planned at all. I followed this recipe, and separated it into two batches, colouring one batch red and the other pink. I wanted to do swirly hearts and dots like the recipe showed you, but it just didn't work. The icing was too thin and all the lines I did would bleed and end up three times their size within a few minutes. I was so disappointed, and nearly gave up there, but I knew I had some really cute sprinkles so I decided to ice the cookies in one colour and decorate them with sprinkles instead, and I really liked how they turned out.

Next time I think I'll try a royal icing recipe that uses meringue powder, as that may help the thickness of it, or I'll just use more icing sugar and less water. I did love working with buttercream frosting as it's so thick it doesn't go anywhere once you've piped it onto your food, but royal icing is just so quick and easy to make, and I would like to get better at working with it. Practice makes perfect!

Until next time,
Indya xx