Saturday, 3 May 2014

Fruit Platter Brown Sugar Cookies

I have a birthday cake request with a special message for a little boy and I thought it would be really cool to make the message using cookies. This is a trial bake and I decided to have some fun and make some "fruit" cookies :).

Aren't they cute? These bite-sized cookies are only about 3-4cm in size. They are fairly easy to make as egg separation is not involved and no electric mixer is required, but you must have patience. My kids had fun playing with leftover dough and these are some of their creations, including a very long caterpillar and not-so-flat roti prata.

If you don't have fruit shaped cutters, you can still make a stunning plate of fruit cookies using regular shaped cutters. Round cutters for oranges and kiwi slices, semi-circle (cut round cut-outs into half) for watermelon and lemon/lime slices and star cutters for starfruit slices.

I adapted the recipe for gingerbread man to make these brown sugar vanilla cookies.

175g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
57g unsalted butter (I used "butter" that contains only 20% dairy as the little boy has some dairy intolerance)
75g light brown sugar
2 tbs golden syrup
1/2 egg
1 tsp vanilla essence

Royal icing sugar
Gel food coloring
Some cocoa powder for brown color

1. Sift the first three ingredients together.
2. Rub in the butter until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
3. Stir in the brown sugar.
4. Combine egg, golden syrup and vanilla essence in another bowl, then add to the flour mixture.
5. Knead the dough until smooth. Roll it between two baking sheets or cling wrap until 0.5cm thick. Refrigerate for at least half an hour. I refrigerated mine overnight.
6. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
7. Cut the dough using cookie cutters and place on a baking tray lined with baking sheet. Leave some space between the cookies as they will expand during baking. At any time the dough becomes too soft to handle, just put it back in the fridge for 10 minutes before reworking it. I find it helpful to place some reusable freezer packs under the dough while cutting out the shapes to keep the dough cold for a longer time.
8. Depending on the size of your cookies, your baking time may be anywhere from 7 minutes (like mine) to 12 minutes for larger cookies. Bake until golden and puffed. Let the cookies sit on the tray for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool. Cool completely before decorating with icing.
9. Prepare some royal icing (I used the just-add-water type but you may make your own using egg whites or egg white powder.) and add gel food coloring until you obtain the desired shade. Amount of icing should be more than enough to cover the area required.  Consistency of the icing should be toothpaste-like. Use a #2 or #3 wilton tip to pipe the outline of the design.
10. Empty the piping bag into a small bowl and add water a drop at a time until consistency of the icing is like thickened cream (able to flow and does not leave any peaks when you drop the icing into the mixture). Place the icing into piping bag with corner snipped off and flood the outlined cookies with the diluted icing. Use a toothpick or piping tip to ease the icing into corners.
11. Let the icing dry completely before storing in airtight container.
12. I find that my cookies tend to get a little soft after icing with store-bought royal icing so I bake them in the oven again at 100 degrees Celsius for half an hour to dry them out.

Hubby and kids gave a thumbs up for these cookies :). Will be giving away some.

With love,
Phay Shing

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