Saturday, 20 February 2016

Vanilla Cookies

I love baking and find the repetitious process of making cookies and biscuits particularly soothing and relaxing.  I have quite a few cookie cutters in my collection, mostly purchased for a theme such as Christmas or Easter. This is one of the recipes that I use. It is crisp and buttery, not too sweet, has a delicious vanilla flavour and can be decorated in a variety of ways from a dust of icing sugar, a layer of icing or left plain. Sometimes I add a little crunch with coffee sugar crystals.

These are some that were baked for a 'hens' party, they are to be iced to look like wedding dresses and a few hearts to use up the dough.

Some new cutters that I am playing with. These were purchased from this company, an online store with an excellent range of cutters and good service.

Busy bees, I love these but the dough needs to be rolled very thinly. Unfortunately, the cutters do not work well with thick dough and are not suitable for the mass production I had in mind for the children's biscuit jar at an open garden.

Made with the same cutter after I removed the internal sections, not as cute and no detail but I can use thicker dough and will be able to stamp out one hundred cookies a little more easily. 

The baby bee, made with the small bee cutter after the internal sections were removed.

The dough 

Dividing the dough in half, it is very soft and difficult to handle unless rolled between two sheets of baking paper.

Rolling the dough between two sheets of baking paper. Refrigerate the dough for several hours or overnight. This will allow the gluten in the flour to relax and therefor the cookies to hold their shape. It also makes the dough harder, making cutting with the cookie cutters easier.

Ready to cut out. Remember to minimise the space between the cookies so that you keep the need to re roll the dough to a minimum.

Vanilla Cookies

These biscuits are very easily made in a food processor. Place all ingredients except flour and process together, and then add flour and pulse until the dough forms a ball

250 g butter
3/4cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour

coffee sugar crystals to decorate

Cream the butter and the sugar together.

Add eggs, vanilla, baking powder and mix well

Stir in flour and mix well until dough forms a soft ball.

Divide dough into two balls; roll out between two sheets of baking paper. Dough can be rolled from three to five millimetres depending on how thick you want the cookies to be. Place on a tray and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Remove top layer of baking paper. Use cutters of your choice and stamp out cookies. Place on a tray lined with cooking paper. I use the top sheet that I removed when cutting the cookies.

Optional – decorate with some coffee sugar.

Preheat oven to 170 deg C

Freeze cookies, this helps prevent the cookies from spreading. 

Bake at 170 Deg C until pale golden brown. Thin cookies will cook more quickly, approximately 10 minutes. Thicker cookies will take longer and you may need to reduce the oven temperature.

Re roll leftover dough between two sheets of baking paper, refrigerate and proceed as before.

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