Sunday, 19 October 2014

Ladybug Butter Cookies

This batch of ladybug butter cookies came about by accident but the neighborhood kids sure love them!

*Nomnomnom* Chiffon cake leaves taste good! Leftover from Mama's previous bake.

I was supposed to make a batch of Mickey and Minnie mouse cookies but after preparing the dough, I decided to give macarons a try. The cookie dough was made as a backup in case the macs fail. But because the macarons were a resounding success, I have some cookie dough to clear from my freezer.

The recipe for these cookies is almost the same as my previous Mickey and Minnie mouse cookies, except that I have increased the proportion of cornflour to make the cookie texture softer but still crisp and crumbly to bite. Not as melt in your mouth as say German cookies but nicely buttery and with some bite. Baking time is also increased and the temperature decreased so that the hemispherical shaped cookies can bake more evenly.

Ingredients* (makes about 50 bugs):
Red dough
47g unsalted butter
27g caster sugar
13g milk
1/2 tsp strawberry paste
1/2 tsp beetroot powder
1/4 tsp red yeast powder
1/8 tsp red powder food colouring
80g plain flour
25g corn flour
1/8 tsp salt

Black dough
139g butter
83g sugar
41g milk
1tsp vanilla extract
3 tsp charcoal powder
240g minus 3 tsp plain flour
75g corn flour
3/8 tsp salt

* You may want to triple the portion for red dough and use one-third of the portion for black dough if you prefer the bug to have a solid red coloured body instead of a black body with red shell like mine.

1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar by beating with a wooden spoon until pale and creamy. Take a few minutes to do this. You may choose to use an electric mixer for this but I prefer the control and workout :p.

2. Dissolve the salt in the milk and add strawberry paste/ vanilla extract. Dissolve the beetroot powder into the milk for the red dough as well.

3. Gradually add in the milk mixture and beat until well combined with each addition with a spatula.

4. Mix the corn flour and charcoal powder/ red yeast and red colour powder with plain flour well. Gradually add in sifted flour mixture and fold in with a spatula.

5. Shape the ladybugs and place them on baking trays lined with baking sheet. I used a round ice cube tray and melon baller to help in portioning and shaping the head and body, piping tip to cut out the dots and a toothpick to paint on the black pupils of the eyes later on after baking. A butter knife was used to draw the line on the bugs (not shown). A round cutter slightly bigger than the ice cube tray was used to cut out the red shells of the bugs. This is not necessary if you choose to use only red dough for the body.

6. Refrigerate for half an hour while you preheat the oven to 160°C. Bake for 20 minutes or until you can see some telltale browning at the base and edges. It's a bit challenging with black and red as the cookie colours. Cool on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack to cool completely. Store in airtight container. You may serve the bugs as they are like this....

Just baked!

Or you could add on some cute eyes. I had some confetti sprinkles so I picked out the white circles in the batch of rainbow coloured ones. I used marshmellow creme to stick the circles on with the help of tweezers (the circles are only about 4-5mm in size!). The pupils were drawn on using charcoal dissolved in water and the blunt end of a toothpick as a stamper. You get pupils of the same size and shape that way. Alternatively, you could use royal icing to paint the whites of the eyes...but I went for the fastest and easiest way :p.

Waiting for charcoal paint to dry and starting to look even cuter! Wonder why they look shocked?

They watched the demise of their friend, that's why!

I had fun making these and my elder kid who has been home for a few days played around with some left over dough too!

With love,
Phay Shing

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