Monday, May 31, 2010

Easy Peasy Butter Cookies Recipe

I find that these cookies are generally a crowd pleaser, and very easy to make. A beginner should be able to make these without much trouble -or utensils :)

This recipe makes ~16 cookies

Before you begin: Please read through the entire recipe + ingredients + TIPS to make sure you have everything you need, and so that you have some idea of what to do next.

I have also noted that you'll need things such a hand electric mixer, rolling pin, dusting board, cookie cutters. If you are missing any of these things... don't worry! It is preferable to have all these utensils on hand but the cookies will still turn out fine if you don't.

good luck x

P.S. I'm really sorry if these instructions are hard to follow, lengthy. I tried to make them as simple as detailed possible for beginners...but this is the first time I've ever had to write it down for anyone.

Things you need to begin with
  • Measuring cups
  • rolling pin
  • cookie cutters (5 -6cm in diameter)
  • sifter
  • 2 small bowls
  • 1 large mixing bowl
  • flouring board (A large chopping board, or a clean flat surface is sufficient :)
  • baking tray & baking paper
  • * electric hand mixer
For the basic cookie dough
  • 1 1/2 cups of plain flour
  • 2 egg yolks
  • half a block of butter ~125 g, Softened not melted
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 1/2 cup of caster sugar
  • * optional: choc chips & roughly chopped nuts. I prefer white choc chips for this recipe :)
For the icing & decoration
There's no limit as to what you can do to decorate these cookies. They're beautiful whether they are decorated, or not. Since I've done this recipe many times over, I've also included photos of other ways for decorating these cookies.

However, I'll run through the basic icing recipe.

You will need (these are rough, adjust if you need to)
  • 1/2 cup of icing sugar *
  • 1 teaspoon of butter
  • 1 -2 tablespoons of milk
  • food colouring (I prefer using gel colouring)
*if you don't have icing sugar at home, you can simply make some. Under the icing method I will explain how.

  • To make these thick, and soft -sort of like short bread cookies, roll the dough out to 1.2cm
  • Remember: cookies dough is not bread dough. There's absolutely NO NEED to start kneading the dough as if it was. If you overwork the dough, it becomes dense, and the cookies become tough.
  • If the amount of butter is a bit frightening to you -it seems to work if you replace half the amount of butter with olive spread. I use Olive Grove, but I'm sure other brands would work fine. You'll find it in the refrigerator section in the supermarket somewhere near the butter & margarine. Don't mistaken this olive spread for something you'd have with cheese & crackers hehe.

(follow this if you have all the stated utensils -read the next set of steps below if you don't)
  1. line the baking tray with baking paper
  2. The 2 small bowls: Start by separating the egg yolks from the egg whites. You don't need the egg whites for this recipe. If you don't know how, or still trying to perfect the separating process you can read this entry to see how.
  3. In the large mixing bowl, cream the butter + caster sugar + egg yolks
  4. Once you have creamed the butter, egg & sugar, add the vanilla essence and salt
  5. Begin sifting in the plain flour and continue mixing with the electric mixer until a dough mixture forms. This step shouldn't take long.
  6. Add in the nuts & choc chips if you have chosen to include them.
  7. Pre-heat your oven to 165 degrees celcius
  8. Lightly dust your flouring board
  9. Using your hands, grab some dough and form it in to a ball. The ball should be about a tennis ball size -but it really depends on how much room you have on your flouring board to work with.
    If the ball is a bit dry, hold it in your hands for a few seconds. It should warm up the dough, if it doesn't, melt a little bit of butter and add it to the mixing bowl and combine with your hands.
  10. roll out the dough to about 1.2cm in thickness and begin cutting out your cookies. At this point, a spatula may be useful when transferring your cookies to the baking tray.
  11. Bake for 10-15 minutes. I usually use a conventional oven for these cookies and 15 minutes works well for me. 10 minutes is enough for a fan forced oven
  12. Let them cool before you begin icing them
Follow steps 1&2, 7-12 as above

For steps 3-6
  • Using the large mixing bowl, sift in the plain flour
  • Add the caster sugar, egg yolks, butter, vanilla essence, salt (AND the choc chips & nuts if you want them in your cookies)
  • With a wooden spoon gently combine the mixture until it sort of looks like a bowl with bits of lots and lots dough in it
  • Use your hand to combine the dough more, so that will be ready to roll out.
You don't need to do this:
(this is for when you are making bread...and you are not :))

  • go on to step 7

How to know when the cookies are ready

  • When you stick a fork or skewer through the cookies, it should come clean
  • If you gently lift the cookies up the base should be at most a little darker than golden brown
  • The cookies may seem too soft when you take them out...and they might be haha. But these cookies do harden a bit when they rest -so it is really up to you & how hard or soft you like your cookies.
For the icing
If you've run out of icing sugar, you can use white sugar, or caster sugar. To make an ample amount of icing sugar, you can simply put 1 cup of sugar into a blender and blitz it until it becomes fine and powdery, just like icing sugar!
  1. In a small bowl, combine the icing sugar, milk and softened butter.
  2. Microwave for 10-20 seconds. Mix the icing sugar, milk & butter. You should get a gooey consistency. If it's too runny, add more icing sugar and mix.
  3. Add a bit of food colouring if you like
  4. spread a fair amount of icing on a cookie. You can add sprinkles if you like :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

The basics

Like any self taught baker, as well as others -there are few things you begin to pick up and get used to once you begin baking.

You begin to remember what to do once a recipe instructs you to:
1. cream the sugar & butter
2. fold the mixture etc.

Believe me I am no expert (I think I am still beginner to intermediate) so I think you'll find some of these tips as useful as I have.

  • If the recipe ever tells you to SIFT the flour. Do it! It is so important to do this.
  • If you ever want to separate the egg yolk from the egg white, you can do this:

  • 1 cup of self raising flour = 1 cup of all purpose plain flour + 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder + 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup wheat flour = 7/8 cup all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons wheat germ
  • to prevent cakes, brownies etc. from sticking to the bottom of your baking pan, grease the inside of the pan and then line it with baking paper -making sure that there is enough paper sticking out from the opposite edges so u can pull the cake out when it's finished baking!
  • Making butter soften faster: If you're impatient like I am, you'll be inclined to microwave your butter. I usually almost always turn the butter in liquid... so next time try grating the butter. It will melt a lot faster because it is in small pieces!

Credits go to Martha Stewart of course. My personal hero!
For other tips, go here:



This blog, unlike my others in the past does not revolve around me, as much as it does around what I love to do in the kitchen.

After a long time debating over whether I should have (yes- another) blog; I caved in. In my defense and for my own piece of mind, I did think about this for over a month and decided this: anonymity.

If anyone ever asks me if this is my blog, I will say no. Haha. Though I am sure through my various posts, I will drop many hints about who I am.

What really persuaded me to do this is my growing passion for food, the taste, the smell, the art. My ever increasing curiosity and hunger (Hah!) to learn more about food, dining & cooking. It started just under 2 years ago and is starting to pick up speed. It's sometimes worrying because I DO prioritise it over work, over studying, the gym :S at this very moment, I should actually be studying capital markets (*sigh. I feel a little bit of guilt sinking in).

Hope you guys enjoy! :)