Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Singapore Flag Brown Sugar Cookies

As national day approaches, I thought it would be fitting to bake something patriotic. Here are some brown sugar cookies dressed up as Singapore flags!

Not very professionally done but I just wanted to have fun and share the joy with kids in my neighborhood. This is a semi-planned bake as I had lots of leftover cookie dough from my upcoming birthday bake. My friend and her family loved everything about the elephant birthday cake I made for her little boy so much that she wanted an encore for her girl, but with a different design. Here's a sneak preview...

I used fresh beetroot juice to color it pink so no artificial coloring was used at all. But for the Singapore flag, I had to add a bit of red gel coloring to give it a deeper and brighter red color. Even then, I am pretty pleased to be using a lot less artificial coloring than I normally would. I have to thank Susanne for inspiring me to try :).

I began by preparing beetroot juice.
1. Peel and chop 2 beetroots into small cubes and boil for 10-15 minutes in about 100ml of water in a small covered saucepan.
2. Blend the beetroot with whatever remaining water there is in the saucepan.
3. Place the pureed beetroot in filter paper or cloth and squeeze as hard as you can to extract the juice. You may freeze whatever leftover juice there is in ice cube trays.

In order to print moon and stars on multiple flags on rather small cookies,  I made a template on a clear plastic sheet.

This photo was taken before I filed the rough edges with a nail file.

The recipe for brown sugar cookies is the same one I have been using as kids really love it. This time I scaled it down to a small quantity of dough so you may want to double, triple or quadruple the recipe.

Ingredients (makes about 12 Singapore flags):
87g plain flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
28g unsalted butter
37g light brown sugar
1 tbs golden syrup
1/4 egg (about 12g)
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Royal icing mix (sifted)**You may make your own royal icing from scratch.
Beetroot juice
Cool boiled water
Red gel food coloring

1. Sift first 3 ingredients together.

2. Rub in butter until it resembles breadcrumbs.

3. Stir in the sugar.

4. Combine egg, golden syrup and vanilla essence, then add to the flour mixture. Knead until smooth.

5. Place the ball of dough between 2 baking sheets or cling wrap and roll to 1/4" thick. Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.

6. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Cut dough into 4 x 6cm rectangles and place on a tray lined with baking sheet. Make sure there is at least 2 cm spacing between cookies as they will expand. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Let the cookies sit on the tray for 5 minutes before moving them onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

7. Prepare royal icing for icing the cookies. Add a bit of beetroot juice to some royal icing sugar until it reaches a consistency of toothpaste. Add some red food coloring until desired shade is reached. Use a wilton #3 tip to pipe a rectangle. Empty the icing into a bowl and add a bit more juice to thin it until consistency is like thickened cream. Use a teaspoon the carefully scoop some into the red rectangle and use a toothpick to spread the icing to fill the rectangle.

8. In a similar way, add a bit of water to some royal icing sugar in another bowl until the consistency is like toothpaste. Pipe a white rectangle under the red one and then fill it.

9. Use the template to paint in the moon and mark out the position of the stars when the red icing is dry. I find that because the stars are so tiny, the template doesn't print them out very well. I used a toothpick to paint each star instead... you can see, I gave up painting the last 2 stars :p. Too time consuming! I didn't ice one cookie at all as I didn't have time.

10. Dry the iced cookies in the oven at 90-100 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes as they tend to get a bit soft after icing with royal icing premix. Store in air tight container after cooling down the cookies.

My kids get to eat the not so pretty ones...

...but they are still pretty yummy!

All the mummies of the neighborhood kiddies went "Wow!" over the cookies and the kiddies can't wait to eat. Glad to share :).

Happy birthday Singapore!

With love,
Phay Shing

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