Daring Bakers: Decorated Sugar Cookies

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.

The challenge this month was to decorate cookies with a September theme. September honestly doesn’t have any special significance to me. When I was in school it did, but I finished university 7 years ago and seem to have gotten past the urge to buy notebooks and agenda’s at this time of year (although the agendas do tempt me).  So what’s happening? I’m eating fall foods, watching the leaves change colour, and waiting impatiently for the hockey season to start. (Go Habs Go!)

I have zero decorating skills, so this challenge scared the bejezus out of me.  The smart thing to do would have been to start right away and decorate as many cookies as a possibly could until I got the hang of it. That is not what I did. I waited till two days before the challenge deadline to start working. I baked the cookies Saturday, “decorated” (ie dropped splotches of colours on said cookies) on Sunday afternoon, and started writing this post Sunday night.My attempt to make the Montreal Canadiens logo was very quickly abandoned and I moved on to simple apples and leaves.

It turns out royal icing is tricky. To use it properly you need to know what the consistency is supposed to be for the edges and for flooding the center of the cookies. I think what I used for the edges was probably a flooding consistency, but without more practice I really couldn’t tell you. When I forget about the food colouring stains on my fingers I might try again.

I used the recipe as given in the challenge, but found it much too dry to roll out so I added a couple of tablespoons of milk to it.

Basic Sugar Cookies

  • 1/2 cup plus 6 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 cups plus 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  1. In a standing mixer, beat butter and sugar until well combined. Beat in the egg and lemon zest.
  2. Add flour and salt. Mix until dough just comes together.
  3. Form two disks of dough, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface until 5mm thick. Use cookie cutters or a sharp knife to cut out the desired shapes.
  5. Chill the cut dough for another 30 minutes, then bake at 350 for 8 to 12 minutes.
  6. Decorate with Royal Icing (I used the Joy of Baking recipe)

If your cookies are funny looking, don’t worry about it. Decorating and taste are not correlated.


10 thoughts on “Daring Bakers: Decorated Sugar Cookies

  1. Uh… you were scared to make these? I can’t tell at all! from the photo it looks like you’ve been decorating cookies for a while. I’ve only worked with royal icing once before and it turned out nothing like your cookies. Great job!

  2. Thanks Roxan, but I left all the funny looking ones out of the picture! The icing leaked over the sides for most of them, and my red apples turned out pink and bubbly somehow.

  3. Such cute cookies! I posted about mine, but they are technically not done yet…. I made little chalkboards for my toddler’s first day of preschool, but I still need to write letters and numbers and stuff on them. I’m starting to think that I picked a boring decoration for my cookies compared to everyone else’s, lol!

  4. I have tried and failed to decorate with royal icing…I just don’t have the skill or patience!
    Your Fall cookies came out very cute, and brilliant colors!

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