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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Vanilla Sugar Cookies

Saccharine sweetness is the phrase that comes to mind when I think of sugar cookies. I have never bought sugar cookies myself, but have tasted a number of them during parties where the host orders a bunch of special cookies to celebrate the occasion. I don’t recall what designs or where the cookies were bought from, but the one thing that strikes me is the sweetness, and ironically, the blandness, of the cookie. By themselves, the cookies were beyond plain, and the icing was so sweet that I recall scraping the icing off the cookie on more than one occasion. I guess it is of no surprise that I steered well clear of making those cookies even though I’m quite a cookie monster. 

Recently however, many of my family members have had baby showers, birthday parties and weddings – all special occasions that require special sweets. I have had the pleasure of making tarts, cupcakes, cookies and cakes for them, but they usually also ordered a fondant cake or decorated cake pops or decorated cookies to go along with the treats I made to form the dessert table. Being the cheapo that I am, I felt that they were being ‘cheated’ because of the amount of money they had to pay for these customized items. So naturally, I started experimenting with them. After playing around with fondant, I have to admit that I am not much a fan of fondant because of large amount of special equipment needed to make fondant cakes (if you want to make good figurines etc) and I really hate making something I cannot eat, and fondant is one of those things. 

I then decided to tackle decorated cookies, because I thought paying S$5 for a cookie was wayyyy to expensive, and having played around with cookie decorating, I must admit that five bucks for a really complex design on a cookie might well be worth it because cookie decorating is no joke. Seriously, it is back-breaking work! Cookie decorating typically take at least two days, and after I decorated these cookies, my back, my arms and even my eyes were sore! 

The end result was pretty good, if I should say so myself - proof of which are in the pictures you see here :) It was my maiden attempt at cookie decorating, and my first time for making flood and stiff icing, and most interestingly, brush embroidery! I didn't come up with the designs myself however, these were largely inspired by Bee in Our Bonnet's 'vintage inspired cookies'. They have really good photos on how to do brush embroidery, which I found immensely helpful. 

And for the most important announcement...I have been extremely heartened by some of the comments and emails I've received in the course of starting my blog, and after tackling a huge wedding order of almost 200 miniature cakes, I believe I'm finally ready to take in orders! I am thus proud to announce that after great experimentation and approval from my family and friends, I am finally selling these decorated cookies (and other designs you might desire). Currently, I have come up with a really fantastic plain vanilla sugar cookie and plain chocolate cookie recipe. Along with that, I managed to experiment with and successfully come up with orange-nut, orange-spice and lemon variations. I also managed to experiment with a gluten-free, an egg-free and a sugar-free version for respective family members and friends who were afflicted with such problems. I even got my hands on meringue powder such that young children and pregnant women could safely eat the icing without fears of uncooked egg white! (Although I must admit that I’m not a fan of meringue powder icing because it think it tastes weird.) 

I have decided not to share the recipes (for the cookie or icing) at present, because I am planning to sell these cookies, and these cookies were the product of very extensive experimentation, because I tried out batches and batches of sugar cookies from various cookie decorating masters and sources, such as Peggy Porschen, Joy of Baking, and many others, before I finally decided on a couple of recipes and variations that I liked. Do check out Peggy Porschen's recipes out, because they are really good base recipes to begin with. 

I hope to post up a couple more photos of the cookies I've been making soon - animal themed cookies which will be perfect for a baby shower (which was actually used for a 50th birthday celebration!), 'boy' themed cookies for a cousin's birthday and 'it's a boy' themed cookies (blue onesie, pram, rattler, etc) for my new baby cousin (who is yet to arrive!)

Do check back soon ;) And email me if you are dying to try my recipe - I might be persuaded to share it with you if you're sincere.

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