SweetSugarBelle's Iced Cookies

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I've been toying with the idea of creating my own iced sugar cookies. They're a bit like zoo biscuits, like we get back home in South Africa, but you can make them in any size or shape you like. The idea is that you bake a simple sugar cookie biscuit base and then top that with royal icing in your preferred colours and patterns.

Now it just so happens all of this 'if only I had an occasion' wishing happened at exactly the same time that our dear friends Nicole and Gareth happened to have a baby shower. For real. Who was I to challenge the voice of fate? So, after much searching on the great internets, I found a really great site filled with loads of inspirational cookie pictures and, best of all, a recipe: SweetSugarBelle.

This is my absolute favourite cookie of hers:

Aren't they a hoot? Yes, I know, bad pun. But the cookies are lovely. How do you bring yourself to eat something so pretty?

So - after much searching I discovered that we folk here in the UK don't have the same ingredients and whatnots as those over the pond in the USA. There was a little improvisation required. Meringue powder? No. Royal Icing Sugar Powder? Yes!

So I whipped up a batch of cookie dough a la SweetSugarBelle's recipe (which you can find here) and hoped for the best. The dough was incredibly soft so I let it rest for a bit. When I came back, it was much more pliable and rolled easily. I used my flower plungers to make miniature flower-shaped cookies which cooked really quickly and easily. Some of the earlier ones spread a little, but I found that leaving the dough a bit longer prevents this from happening and you get quite nice flower-shaped cut-outs.

Then I outlined all of the flowers using slightly thicker royal icing and a size 2 piping nozzle. You can find SweetSugarBelle's recipe here, but I used Royal Icing Sugar Powder from Sugar Spoon, and that worked just fine. After that dries, you need to flood the inside of the cookie with a softer, thinner royal icing (I used the same icing to maintain the colour, but added in a few drops of water which I mixed through to create a gloopy texture that self-levelled quite quickly). As you can see above, I experimented with flooding different amounts and I found that the more you add, the nicer the cookie looks. I also found that my stiff piping icing was perhaps a touch too stiff and that it should be allowed to move a little bit. 

Then, once dried, you can experiment with different toppings. These aren't so nice (boo) but I got a good idea of what works and what doesn't work. For example, see all the air bubbles in the yellow middles? I should have popped those out as you really notice them when dried! Also, the yellow centres should have been filled in the first layer, not on top - they don't look so nice sticking out like that. You can make lots of different shapes with your piping icing, and things (like that blue and green sugar crunch) stick rather well. Also, I think that the pastel colours are nice, but a drop or two more of colouring gel would have been much better.

After all that experimenting, I figured I'd go ahead and get baby-shaped cutters to have some more appropriate cookies for the big day. 

... and while I was there, I also picked up some cupcake cutters and a teapot shape. 

... and some frilly-edged scalloped squares. Uh oh. 

I also got a piping bottle and two flooding bottles (squeezy sauce bottles, one with a coupler and nozzle lid). Back home I used to get these squeezy bottle pens (like glitter glue pens, but empty) that allowed you to make very accurate outlines on fabrics and other hand-painted items. I think those would work brilliantly, but I can't seem to find them anywhere here! I'm sure they're just called something else and I'll have to find out. 

The baby shower is on Saturday. I'm going to make a back-up swiss roll for just in case

You Might Also Like