I spent all day Saturday in the kitchen, from 8am until 5pm, with maybe a two hour break where I was having coffee with a friend. I loved it, I really did, but I need to explain how hectic my small apartment can get when I am on a mission. I also have a very small kitchen, as you can see from the picture below. I always have some dishes drying, given how much I actually use my kitchen, and I am constantly moving things around to find space where I need it. But hey, we make do.
Firstly, in order to use space efficiently, I have a collapsible dining table, which also works as my desk, extra kitchen counter, and has drawers full of cutlery, kitchen utensils, napkins and place mats. Usually, I have one side extended so that I have a space to eat from. However, on Saturday (for the first time since I moved in), I had to open up the second side due to how much baking I was doing.
On top of that I’d done some laundry on Friday, and so my drying rack was sitting in the living room as well. I keep meaning to buy a taller, slimmer rack – but I am yet to get round to it. So for now, I use the one I have.
While shimmy-ing around the various bits of furniture in my flat, I was in the throes of making two batches of cookies. It probably helped that I was awake by 5am, and out of bed by 6, so that I could get shopping done as soon as the supermarket opened, and get my dough chilling in the fridge.
One batch of cookies that I was making, unfortunately for you, will remain a secret. But for this, I need to go off on a tangent. My dad never used to cook that much, mainly due to being so busy with work. He’d always make a mean curry every so often, but it was always Mum who was in the kitchen. However, since retiring, he’s found happiness in the kitchen with fresh produce and incredible ingredients. While Mum ad I will adapt a recipe to our tastes, Dad still very much likes to follow a recipe to the letter. The things he has whipped up in the in the kitchen continue to impress me, and I have very much enjoyed the meals he has made whenever I have stayed with them.
Back to the point: Dad and I both have a sweet tooth. Dessert was always a go for us, Mum not so much. But Mum and Dad have always enjoyed chocolate after dinner with their wine. It was always part of their routine.
I’m not sure what made Dad decide to try his hand at chocolate chip cookies (I really should just ask him), but he has found a delicious recipe for cookies. The best part? He is adapting it all the time to try different flavours of chocolate, or by adding coffee or dulce de leche.
Anyway, those are the cookies you won’t get the recipe for. If you want to try them, you’ll just have to hope that I make them for you (or ask Dad to make them if you’re ever in his company).
But, today, you do get a recipe for sugar cookies – perfect for those Christmas cookie cutters. I have to say, that these cookies can get VERY soft – my reindeer lost their antlers when I moved them from rack to plate. Luckily for me, these were a trial run for cookies that I plan to make in a few weeks time.
Therefore, I would highly recommend making the cookies about a centimetre thick, or as close to as possible, and make sure that you keep your dough as cold as possible before going into the oven.
The icing is very simple, and every baker has their own style. Mine uses cornstarch to make sure it hardens, otherwise simply use as much icing sugar and milk as you need to make the consistency that you like. Roughly, I used a tablespoon of milk to a cup of icing sugar – but you can adjust this to what you need it for. I used cocoa powder for the brown icing, and red food colouring for the red icing. Chocolate chips make the eyes.
Clearly, my piping and icing skills need work – but hey, I’m an amateur and still learning. Here’s hoping my piping skills improve.
I slighlty adapted the following recipe from It’s Fitting’s “The Best Sugar Cookies Ever”
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
- Beat the butter and sugar together with a handheld electric whisk, at medium speed, until mixed together.
- Add eggs and vanilla, and mix together until light and creamy.
- In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. Then slowly add these to the butter mixture, mixing well until a dough forms.
- Place the ball of dough in plastic wrap, and allow it to chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of three hours. This step is required due to how soft the cookies can get when the dough is not cold enough.
- Flour your counter liberally, and roll out your dough to the desired thickness. If using cookie cutters that are fiddly or delicate shapes, I recommend a thickness of about 1cm. Once cookies are cut, place the cookies onto a lined baking tray, or baking sheet, and leave to chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
- Bake at 180C for 10 minutes, but keep an eye on them. Take them out of the oven when they have just started to turn a golden brown at the edges.
- Allow the cookies to cool on the baking tray for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack until completely cool.
- These cookies are best stored in the fridge, so as to maintain their shape.
- Once completely cool, feel free to ice them however you like (or eat them plain). Another option would be to melt some chocolate and dunk the cookies in, before allowing them to cool in the fridge so that the chocolate can set.
With cookies, the world is your oyster!
And I promise to work on my piping skills in the mean time.