Thursday, 6 August 2015

SG50 Icing-Free Shortbread Cookies

I have a request for some cookies to fit the theme of SG50 as our nation celebrates her 50th birthday in a couple of day's time. These cookies are really easy to make if you have the right cookie cutters. Being icing-free, these cookies are perfect for those who prefer less sweet bakes.

I used a 7cm heart shaped cookie cutter to make the heart-shaped Singapore flags. Use edible marker to demarcate where you would like the boundary between red and white parts of the flag. You may use a small strip of sticky tape if you don't have edible marker. You may use a round cup to cut out circles too if you don't have a heart-shaped cutter, or use a homemade template made out of plastic file. Use a small knife to trace out the heart shape on the dough. Or, simply make a rectangular flag :). No cutters required. Just use a knife/ bench scraper and ruler.

Edible marker marking the position of the boundary. Please don't mark the whole length like I did. Some of the ink near the bottom stained the white dough.

The method of making the flag design is similar to my Singapore flag mooncakes and chiffon cakepops, using the same type of round cookie cutter and fondant star cutter.

Ingredients (makes about 20 heart-shaped flags):
Red dough
60g icing sugar
120g unsalted butter (I used Lurpak)
160g plain flour
20g cornflour
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp strawberry emulco
A few drops of red gel colouring

White dough
40g icing sugar
80g unsalted butter
106g plain flour
14g cornflour
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
A few drops of white colouring (optional)

1. For each colour of dough, sift together icing sugar, plain flour, cornflour and salt. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or butter knife until mixture resembles fine crumbs.

2. Add strawberry emulco/vanilla extract and coloring. Mix well with a wooden spoon or your hands. Form a ball of dough and knead until the colour is even.

3. Portion out about 4-5tbs worth of white dough and roll it to about 2-3mm thick between two baking sheets. Divide the rest of the red dough and white dough into two portions. Roll the dough to 5-6mm thick between two baking sheets. Freeze or refrigerate the dough until firm. At least 30 minutes.

4. Use a knife or bench scraper to cut a straight line of dough. Align the marking on the heart cutter and cut out the respective halves of the heart.

5. Place the cutouts onto baking tray lined with baking sheet. At any time the dough is too soft to work with, simply put back in the fridge or freezer for it to firm up. I always use a freezer pack as my work surface to keep the dough chilled and firm longer. The reason why I recommend dividing the dough into two is, you have a workable dough at any one time as you reroll and freeze the worked portion. Gently press the dough at the boundary such that they stick to each other.

6. Use a small round cutter to cut out the crescent moon and stick it on. Use the fondant star cutter to cut out the stars. Lightly dust the star cutter with some flour before using or the dough may get stuck on the cutter. You may use straws to cut out the moon and stars if you don't have special cookie/fondant cutters. Refer to my mooncake post for the example.

I made one "special" cookie :p

7. Chill the whole tray of cookie cutouts in the fridge or freezer while preheating the oven to 150°C. Set the oven rack to second lowest position. Bake for 15-18 minutes, rotating the tray halfway through baking. Watch the cookies carefully for browning! Once they show telltale signs of browning, they are done.

8. Cool the cookies on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack. Store the cookies in airtight container when completely cooled. They can keep well for a month.

Freshly baked!

Happy birthday Singapore!

With lots of love,
Phay Shing

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