Before we start talking cookies, I have a big announcement to make - I'm going to climb a mountain.
Yes, you read that right.
I'll be doing a sponsored climb of Mount Snowdon on February 2nd for clean and safe water for Africa through Islamic Relief's Water4Life project. I've never done anything like this before and I am super excited!
These people really need our help and after learning of the efforts Islamic Relief is making, I really wanted to be a part of the change. Sure climbing a mountain will be hard, but it's nothing compared to what these people go through every day. And all for water... WATER! Something so many of us take for granted so easily while there are so many suffering without it.
But, I can't do it without your help! I know times are tough but any donations, no matter how small (seriously, even a £1 would make a difference!) would be really, really appreciated. Pretty please sponsor me by visiting my VirginMoney page (click here) and together we can do so much good and help change so many peoples lives.
To find out more, visit my personal/main blog - This Paper Girl Blogs.
From the bottom of my heart - THANK YOU! :)
Sugar cookies are my new go-to treats. They're real easy to make, yield a large amount and the decorating possibilities are endless!
I like to decorate them a day after they've been baked - they're still soft but easier to work with and to be honest I think they taste a LOT better that way. I decided to use my circle and heart cutters of various sizes and decorated them with royal icing. After leaving it to dry for a few hours, I drew on henna/mendhi designs using red and black edible food colouring pens.
I've grown up having my hands decorated in henna for weddings and Eids - I've never been very good at it myself and would often get my aunts or cousins to pipe the beautiful and intricate designs for me. I was always impatient and wanted to wash it off to reveal the beautiful designs printed on my skin - it was like magic! But, stern words and a look from my mum meant I would resist the urge to peel it off as it hardened and wait.
I haven't had henna applied in years but I still like to admire how beautiful they are and love the smell and wanted to translate and incorporate the memories they evoke into something that I could not only admire, but eat. Edible art is, after all, my favourite kind ;)
It turned into a bit of cookie decorating workshop with my sisters wanting to have a go as well. There were tears at one point because I had given one of them more cookies to decorate than the other ... It wasn't pretty.
I've experimented with a few recipes and I think I've finally got it just right. These have the perfect amount of sweetness, are soft and filled with melt-in-your-mouth goodness. You can't help but go "Mmmmmmm" after just one. Unfortunately I don't have my usual step-by-step pictures, but this recipe is so easy I don't think you really need them!
THE RECIPE: Preheat oven 170C/325F/Gas Mark 3. Makes 30.
For the cookies
370g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
240g unsalted butter
110g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod
For the royal icing
1 egg white
1/2 tsp lemon juice
300g icing sugar
Edible food colouring pens
For the cookies:
1. Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder and put aside.
2. Using a different bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well.
4 Add the flour mixture a little at a time (to avoid it flying everywhere!) and combine well. (I like to start off by mixing it in the bowl but once I see it all coming together I tip it onto the counter surface to work it into a dough - so much easier!)
5. Lightly flour the surface and roll the dough to about 1/4 of an inch thick and use cookie cutter of your choice.
6. Bake in the oven for approx. 10-12 minutes and place on a cooling rack to allow to completely cool.
Once cooled, you can start decorating. However, I prefer to decorate a day after.
For the royal icing:
1. Beat together the egg white and lemon juice.
2. Gradually add the icing a little at a time, making sure to incorporate well after each addition.
1. You need the consistency of the icing to be easy enough to pipe but firm enough to hold its shape. First pipe an outline of icing around each cookie and allow this to dry.
2. To flood the cookies with icing you need to thin the icing down by adding a little bit of water to make the consistency a little more runny. Be careful when doing this as you don't want it to be too runny! Add just a teaspoon of water at a time, mixing well in between each addition and stop when you get the consistency you need.
3. Flood the cookies with icing and leave to dry for a few hours.
4. Once they've dried you can draw on them whatever you like with edible food colouring pens.