Sunday 14 September 2014

Mickey & Minnie Mouse Cookies (with minimal artificial colouring and icing)

A birthday boy would like some Mickey Mouse cookies to share with his friends so I made these cute vanilla and strawberry version for the kids :).

My previous set of Mickey and Minnie cookies were for teachers so they were earl grey flavored and had the imprints of Mickey and Minnie. I decided to try out a more kid friendly version with less fragile cookies (so that Mickey and Minnie's ears don't break off with not-so-gentle handling) and stronger colors. The good news is, most of it is colored naturally! While most Mickey cookies you see from the internet are covered in icing, this is a lower sugar version with the icing only appearing as white dots on the cookies :).

Ingredients (makes about 40 cookies):
Black dough
139g unsalted butter at room temperature
83g caster sugar
41g fresh milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/8 tsp salt
3 tsp charcoal powder
300g minus 3 tsp of plain flour
15g corn flour

Red dough
47g unsalted butter at room temperature
27g caster sugar
13g milk
1/2 tsp strawberry paste
3/4 tsp beetroot powder (omit if you don't have but add more artificial colouring)
1/8 tsp salt
100g plain flour
5g corn flour
1/4 tsp red powder food colouring

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 powder with plain flour well. Gradually add in sifted flour mixture and fold in with a spatula. Roll the ball of dough between two sheets of baking paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight. Roll to a thickness of 1/4" (about 5mm) for the black dough and 1/16" (2mm) for the red dough.

5. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 2 baking trays with baking sheets.

6. Use the Mickey mouse cookie cutter to cut out  black mouse-shaped cookies. Use a round cookie cutter of about the same diameter as the Mickey cutter to cut out red circles. Cut the circle into half with a bench scraper or knife. Attach the semi-circle onto the bottom half of Mickey. You may brush the cookie with a bit of milk to help the parts stick together. If the dough gets too sticky, you may add a bit of flour.

7. To create Minnie, add a bow onto the Mickey cookies. I don't have a ribbon/ bow cutter so I improvised with a jumbo straw and the smallest heart-shaped cutter that I have.

8. Place the cookies about 2cm apart and bake for 13-15 minutes. Because of the color of the cookies, it is tricky to tell if they look done. Usually I look out for slight browning at the cookie edges to tell if its done. I had to scrutinise the cookies to see the telltale browning. Cool for 5 minutes on the tray before transferring onto a cooling rack.

To rework any leftover dough, roll it out between baking sheets again and refrigerate until needed. I mentioned using 2 trays while working with the cookies is to minimize idle time while reworking the dough and baking. I find that it is not necessary to flour the surface for this batch of cookies as I am not making any imprint on the surface.

9. When the cookies have cooled completely, add white dots using royal icing and a Wilton #3 tip. I used the just-add-water type of royal icing mix. You may also make it with meringue powder/ powdered egg whites. Dry the iced cookies in the oven at 60-70°C for about 20 minutes. You may dry them out in the open but I prefer to speed up the process. These dry much faster than conventional Mickey iced cookies whereby the entire cookie surface is covered with icing.

10. Cool the cookies on the cooling rack again. Keep them in airtight container once they are cooled. I packed them in sealed bags once they have cooled.

All packed! 20 sets of Mickey and Minnie!

I used a ratio of 1:3 for red:black dough. It turned out that there was a bit too much red dough and just enough black dough. I would use a ratio of 1:4 in the future. If you prefer a lighter textured cookie, you may follow my previous recipe of half plain flour and half corn flour. These kiddy Mickey and Minnie cookies were designed to remain intact when the kids bring them home.

So what did I do with the extra red dough? My kids had fun with "playdoh" :).

Happy birthday Frederic!

With love,
Phay Shing

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