Thursday 23 January 2014

Patchwork Valentine Sugar Cookies

   These patchwork Valentine sugar cookies are quite cute if I do say so myself. They're so easy, too, and great for kids to make. Things rarely go well for me in the kitchen, but these came out really nicely by my standards. I used a simple sugar cookie recipe from an old cooking book, a ravioli cutter, a heart cookie cutter and some colouring gel.

   To make the sugar cookies:
100g softened butter
100g sugar
1 small egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla essense or other flavouring
175g plain flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder

   To colour:
Food colouring, gel type. I used Sugarflair pink and purple

   To shape:
Ravioli cutter (can be found in most cooking shops or large supermarkets; alternatively I bought mine from ebay, new of course)
Heart shaped cookie cutter (or any other shape, really)

1) Cream the softened butter and sugar together.

2) Mix in the egg and flavouring until it's all adequately combined.

3) In another bowl, mix the flour and baking powder together and then combine it slowly into the wet mixture. The mix will become stiff and if it gets too stiff for your mixer then get ready to mix it with your hands.

4) Separate the mixture into the number of colours you'd like. I used light pink, dark pink and purple, so I separated it into three balls. There's no need to chill or freeze this mixture.

5) Place a dab of coloured gel onto one of the balls of dough and kneed it throughout it. Coloured gel is potent stuff so in this case, less is more. Be very, very conservative with the colour. Don't add any more until it's thoroughly mixed and the dough is one solid colour and not marbled, and even then only do it if the colour isn't dark or vibrant enough. I added too much pink the first time around, so while I intended to make the lightest pink dough first, it became the dark pink one. I added much less the second time around for the light pink dough, and then for the third ball I added purple, not pink.
Note: the dough will probably be darker when it's been coloured than it will be when it comes out of the oven, so don't worry if it seems a little on the dark side because it will lighten.

6) Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/350 F. Dust the work surface with flour and roll out one ball of dough at a time. When you're satisfied with the thickness, about 1/4 inch, take your ravioli cutter and run it through the dough to make rectangles or squares. The dough may look little but remember you have more in reserve so don't be put off.

7) Once you've got all your little patchwork pieces ready, start layering them on top of one another. The bottom sides will probably be floury and I had trouble getting them to stick down, but I found halfway through that a tiny drop of water between each piece helps. When you've gotten them all layed out together, press them down a little to make sure they're all doing their absolute bestest to stick together.

8) Take your cookie cutter and cut your shapes as it if was normal dough, though you can of course be more aware of where you're cutting to make the colours and arrangement more aesthetically pleasing. I used a few different sized hearts to try to make the most of the layered dough.

9) When I was finished, instead of attempting to separate the pieces and reroll and recut them, I just combined the leftover dough and marbled it then cut a few more hearts out of it. Then did the usual kiddy thing of getting bored and just rolling it out into three strips and plaiting it to use up the rest.

10) Put the cookies on a baking tray or cookie sheet and put them in the oven for 10 minutes. When they're done, take them out and let them cool before transferring them to a cooling rack.

Optional: you can make little bows or buttons from fondant or gumpaste and fix them to the biscuits with a little icing, or use an embossed rolling pin or mat to make fondant lace.

1 comment:

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