There are more friends than my previous Peppa cookie bake with Emily elephant, Pedro pony and Zoe zebra included. I also added a bit of almond and vanilla extract to the royal icing to improve the flavour of the already yummy brown sugar cookies.
For your covenience, I shall type out the recipes for the cookie and royal icing.
Brown sugar cookie (makes 20 cookiepops)
174g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
56g unsalted butter
74g light brown sugar
41g (2tbs) golden syrup
24g (1/2) egg
1 tsp vanilla extract/ vanilla bean paste
1. Prepare the templates of all the characters on baking sheet or clear plastic sheet. The templates are about 6-8cm in length.
2. Sift together plain flour, salt and baking soda. Rub in butter until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in brown sugar. Mix all wet ingredients together in a small bowl. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture and knead into a ball of dough.
2. Roll the dough between two baking sheets to thickness of 4mm. You may want to divide the dough into two portions. Chill the dough until firm. You may make this the day before.
Note: If you are making regular cookies and not cookiepops, roll the dough to thickness of 5-6mm.
3. Cut out the dough using the template and a small knife. Place the cut-out on baking tray lined with baking sheet. Place an ice-cream stick as shown below and press it down a little. Make another cut-out and place on top of the previous one. Gently press it down. If the dough is too soft to handle, return it back into the fridge to firm it up. I use reusable freezer packs as my work surface to keep the dough chilled for a longer time. Two batches of dough also means that if the first batch is soft, you have another firm batch to work with as you chill the first batch. You can see my plastic template in the picture too.
Emily elephant cut-out
4. Chill the whole tray of cookie cut-outs as you preheat the oven to 160°C. Bake for 15-18minutes or until golden brown. Cool the cookies on baking tray for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.
Freshly baked! Can you guess whose silhouette is it?
You may store these in airtight container until you are ready to ice the cookies. These can keep for up to a month at room temperature.
250g icing sugar
18g meringue powder
A few drops of vanilla extract (optional)
A few drops of oil-free almond flavouring or caramel essence (optional)
A few drops of white gel colouring (use only for parts that require pure white)
1. Sift together sugar and meringue powder. Gradually add water and flavourings and whisk for 5-6 minutes. You may use electric mixer or hand whisk. I prefer the latter nowadays because I find that electric mixer introduces too much air bubbles in the icing which affects the finishing of the iced cookie.
2. Adjust the consistency of the icing if necessary by adding more water or sugar. Any peaks in the icing should disappear within 10 seconds.
I made the icing a day before and kept in an airtight container with cling wrap touching the icing surface. Just stir the icing well before using. I used cocoa powder to colour brown and charcoal powder to colour black.
With cooking, housework and kids to deal with as well, breaking up a bake to many short sessions makes it manageable :). It took me 3 days to ice all 20 cookiepops. All of them iced free-hand!
Day 1 and I was seeing stars already!
Day 2...hmm looks like I can't use wet-on-wet icing for Zoe's face.
Day 3. Finally done!!!
Tips on icing cookies:
1. Arm yourself with a damp paper towel to wipe off any mistakes before icing hardens.
2. Use a toothpick to ease the icing into small corners or for drawing very fine features.
3. You may oven dry at 60°C using the fan mode to speed things up but be careful not to leave it in the oven too long as the oil from the cookie base will seep into the icing and make it look patchy.
4. Store the cookies in airtight container only when completely dry.
5. You may use piping bags fitted with piping tips or a squeeze bottle but I find that a lot of icing is wasted. I just cut a small hole in ziplock bags. I only use piping tips if I need very neat outlines.
6. Use wet-on-wet icing technique (adding icing on top of wet icing) if you want the features to be flat. Wait for the bottom layer of icing to dry if you want the feature to stick out.
7. Practice makes perfect! I am still practising and learning :). Mastering the right consistency for icing takes time.
Update: I have another request for this set of cookies and I iced Zoe differently. No more weird stripes!
Update 27/8/16: Please checkout this updated post for brown sugar cookies and royal icing.
For the first time, we are joining 16 fabulous cooking bloggers to bring you the chance to start the Year of the Ram in the best way - by winning an ang pow! Leave a comment in the Combined CNY Giveaway Post for a chance to win!