Easter Cookie Tutorial

These cookies are iced using the ‘Outlining and Flooding’ technique which is simple to learn. The outline works as a dam or wall to hold the runny icing which you use to fill in the main parts of the cookie.
I made these cookies in 3 delightful flavours: chocolate, vanilla and gingerbread.
 

Chocolate Cookie Recipe

makes about 24 medium-sized cookies
275g plain flour
100g self raising flour
75g cocoa powder
125g granulated sugar
125g salted butter, diced
125g golden syrup
1 large egg, beaten
Sift flours and cocoa, add sugar and mix well.
Add butter and using finger tips rub till mix resembles breadcrumbs.
Make a well and add syrup and egg.
Stop as soon as a ball has formed.
Cover and chill till ready to use or roll and use immediately.

170C for 14-18 mins

Vanilla Cookie Recipe

makes about 24 medium-sized cookies

200g unsalted soft butter

200g caster sugar
seeds from one vanilla pod or 2 tsp of best vanilla essence
1 egg, lightly beaten
400g plain flour
In the mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla till well mixed and just creamy in texture. Do not overwork or cookies will spread during baking.

Beat in the egg till well combined.

Add the  flour and mix on low speed until a dough forms.
Cover with cling and place in fridge for at least 1 hour.
Place dough on floured surface and knead briefly.
Roll out to 5mm thick.
Cut out your shapes, then, using a palette knife, lay them on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.
Chill again for about 30 mins.
Preheat oven to 180C/170C fan and bake for about 10 mins, depending on size, until golden brown at the edges.
Transfer cookies to a wire rack and allow to cool before decorating.

Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

makes about 24 medium-sized cookies
90g butter
150g soft brown sugar
90g golden/corn syrup
425g Plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
2tsp ground ginger
1tsp mixed spice
1 medium egg (beaten)
Gently heat butter, sugar and syrup until dissolved.
Cool slightly for five mins.
Pre-heat oven 180C and lightly grease baking trays.
Sift flour, baking powder and spices tog into mixing bowl and make a well in centre.
Add melted mixture and egg into the centre. Bind tog with knife then use hands to form soft dough.
Sprinkle work surface with flour and roll out the gingerbread to 3mm (1/8″)

Bake in centre of oven for 13 mins.

Transfer cooked gingerbread to a cooling rack.
I have been using a homemade Cookie Leveller to roll out my cookie dough. I have all the instructions if you would like to make one.
Cookie Leveller click here
 

Royal Icing Recipe click here

A thicker consistancy icing is used to outline the cookie shape and then a thinner one (like custard) to fill in.

Outlining

Outline your cookies first and leave at least 15 minutes before you flood the inside of the ‘dam’ (outline). If the outline is a dark colour, it is best to wait 24 hours so that the colours don’t bleed into each other.
Outlining the egg
To outline the cookie hold the bag at 45 degrees and position the tip on your cookie. Put enough pressure on the bag so that the icing comes out and you can start moving in the direction that you want your icing to go. Start lifting the pipping bag till it is a few centimetres above your cookie and the icing just falls in a continuous line onto the cookie below. Come back closer to the cookie at corners and when finishing also reduce or stop pressure on the bag to go more slowly or to stop.

Flooding

Use a number 3,4 or 5 sized piping tip depending on the size of your cookie. Fill in one area at a time quickly zig zagging back and forth. Don’t worry if you haven’t filled in every spot: speed is more important at this point. To fill in these little missed bits just use your piping tip, toothpick or small paintbrush (used only for food), to push the icing into your missed bits.
Using a squeezy bottle to fill in with icing
Using a toothpick to fill in the missing bits

Decorating

Bunnies with White Tummies
Outline and flood your bunny with your chosen colour and immediately add a circle of white icing for the tummy. The icing will quickly sink down till a smooth or slightly domed tummy area remains.
Once completely dry add cheeks and front paws.
Add nose and eyes once cheeks are dry or almost dry.

Bunnies with Spots 

Outline and flood your bunny with your chosen colour and immediately add little blobs of white icing to make the dots.
Once completely dry add the bow using a No.00 piping nozzle.  
Pretty Little Easter Eggs
Outline and flood your eggs with your chosen colour and immediately add little blobs of white icing to make the dots.
Once completely dry add the bow using a No.00 piping nozzle.
Yellow Chicks
Outline and flood your chicks with yellow and when completely dry add little feather details, a pink beak and an eye.
Bunny Faces
Outline and flood each face with your chosen colour leaving the centre of the ears icing free.
Once dry add the cheeks in the same colour.
Once completely dry use a contrasting colour to make the nose, whiskers and middle ear. While still wet sprinkle the ears with coloured sugar sand or similar. If you are worried about the sprinkles sticking to the nose and whiskers you can add the nose and whiskers after the sprinkles have been added.
Finnish by making the eyes.

Storing

Let the cookies dry for 24 hours before you package them.
Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place out of the sun (sunlight can fade the colours). The cookies can keep for up to 2 months but I prefer to use them up within a month.
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Retro Birthday Cake

This stunning 8″ round cake is a Vanilla Buttermilk Cake layered with Swiss Lemon Meringue Buttercream and covered in sugar-paste.
One thing I really like about this particular buttermilk cake is that it is essentially a one bowl cake, not following the regular cake pattern of creamed butter and sugar, eggs added one by one and then alternating dry and wet ingredients. That’s the good part. The bad part is that it is imperative that you scrape down the bowl often, all the way to the bottom, overdoing it even. Otherwise, little deposits of unmixed butter or flour will sneak up on you.
Otherwise, the cake is really quite simple.
Vanilla Buttermilk Cake 8’ round / 7’ square cake
Ingredients
700 ml cake flour
 (replace 6 tbsp plain flour with corn flour) explained below
470 ml sugar
4.5 teaspoons baking powder
0.4 teaspoon salt
230 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
245 ml plus 60ml buttermilk
4 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
 
Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 160C / 325°F. Butter an 8-inch round cake tin. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.
2. Combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixer bowl. With the mixer on low speed, blend for 30 seconds. Add the butter and 245 ml of the buttermilk. Mix on low speed briefly to blend; then raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and the remaining 60 ml buttermilk until well blended. Pour one-third of the egg mixture into the cake batter at a time, folding it in completely after each addition.
4. Bake for 2 hours, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
5. Turn the cake out onto a wire rack by placing a rack on top of the pan, inverting it, and lifting off the pan. Peel off the paper liner and let cool completely. When cool, place a cardboard cake board on top of the cake, invert again, and lift off the rack. Wrap the cake on its board completely in plastic, so it doesn’t dry out, and refrigerate.
What is Cake Flour?
Replace 2 Tablespoons per cup (per 240ml) of all purpose flour (plain flour) with cornstarch (corn flour) to reduce the gluten content without sacrificing volume.
Recipes that call specifically for cake flour should have liquid volumes calibrated accordingly, so the won’t turn out dry, as long as you don’t ADD the corn flour, but incorporate it, so that the dry volume is the same.
Commercial cake flour is also finer than regular flour. Sifting a few times through with the cornstarch or zipping through a food processor can really help when you’re trying for a lighter-textured cake. “All-purpose flour” seems to be labeled “plain flour” in Australia.

Swiss Lemon Meringue Buttercream

This all-purpose buttercream has an ultra-silky, stable texture that spreads beautifully over cakes and cupcakes, and can be piped into perfect peaks and patterns.
The recipe makes enough to fill a 3 layered 8″ cake or for 24 (or 18 if piping a tall topping)  cupcakes.

Ingredients

4 large egg whites
250g Caster Sugar
pinch of salt
250g Unsalted butter/ softened
1.5 lemons, zest only

Directions

Combine egg whites, sugar, and salt in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).
Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.
With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all butter has been added, whisk in lemon zest and a little yellow food colouring gel (optional). Switch to the paddle attachment, and continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula, and continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth. Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes

Once the cake is layered with the buttercream it needs a crumb coat. Swiss Meringue Buttercream is not much use for this as it is quite soft. On this occassion I have added a very thin coating of white chocolate ganache but could have used a crusting decorators buttercream instead.
This nice firm crumb coat will make it easy to get a nice finnish on the sugar paste covering.

Brush the cake with a thin layer of water (boiled and cooled) this will help the sugar paste stick to the cake.
I used just under 1 kilo of white sugar paste to cover the cake and coloured a further 200g pink, 200g orange and 200g yellow.
I used a pizza cutter to cut out Paisley pattern teardrops, triangles, long ovals, circles and flowers then randomly placed them all over the cake. I stuck them down with some edible glue but a little water would have worked just as well.
Back view
Side view

Butterfly Cookies Step by Step Tutorial

These cookies are iced using the ‘Outlining and Flooding’ technique which is simple to learn. The outline works as a dam or wall to hold the runny icing which you use to fill in the main parts of the cookie.


Buttery Sugar Cookies Recipe click here
Cookie Leveller click here


Royal Icing Recipe click here
Traditionally a thicker consistancy icing is used to outline the cookie shape and then a thinner one to fill in. I have come to prefer using the same icing to outline and flood my cookies because it saves time preparing and filling icing bags twice for each colour.
Outlining
Outline your cookies first and leave at least 15 minutes before you flood the inside of the ‘dam’ (outline). If the outline is a dark colour as here, it is best to wait 24 hours so that the colours don’t bleed into each other.

Sweetopia

To outline the cookie hold the bag at 45 degrees and position the tip on your cookie. Put enough pressure on the bag so that the icing comes out and you can start moving in the direction that you want your icing to go. Start lifting the pipping bag till it is a few centimetres above your cookie and the icing just falls in a continuous line onto the cookie below. Come back closer to the cookie at corners and when finishing also reduce or stop pressure on the bag to go more slowly or to stop.

Flooding
Use a number 3,4 or 5 sized piping tip depending on the size of your cookie. Fill in one area at a time quickly zig zagging back and forth. Don’t worry if you haven’t filled in every spot: speed is more important at this point. To fill in these little missed bits just use your piping tip, toothpick or small paintbrush (used only for food), to push the icing into your missed bits.

Decorating
To colour the wings by ‘melding’ several colours into each other then you must do it straight away. The base layer starts to dry quickly so you need to add your next colours as fast as possible.

Sweetopia

Add two black lines of icing with a contracting colour in-between then drag through the lines with a cocktail stick or a pin. Have a look at some pictures of real butterflies to get an idea of what it is that you want to achieve.

The ‘eye’ of the butterfly is then made by layering a few coloured dots on top of each other, with the black as the final coloured dot.

Storing
Let the cookies dry for 24 hours before you package them.
Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place out of the sun (sunlight can fade the colours). The cookies can keep for up to 3 months but I prefer to use them up within a month.

I would like to thank Sweetopia for the original idea and for 3 images.

Happy Valentine’s Day Cookies Tutorial



Here is another treat for you to make for your loved one this Valentine’s day!


These cookies are not difficult to make and are decorated with Royal Icing and can be as simple or elaborate as you like.
 
I now use this gorgeous recipe for all my cookies. The cream cheese gives them a lovely flavour and texture and the consistency of the dough makes it easy to cut out shapes with cutters.
 
Buttery Sugar Cookies
250g softened butter
85g of softened cream cheese
150g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
510g (3 cups) plain flour
Cream butter and cream cheese using K beater until light and fluffy. Add sugar egg & vanilla. Beat at a medium speed scraping down the side of the bowl often until creamy.
Reduce speed to low and add flour, beat very lightly until combined again scraping down the bowl.



Divide dough into 2 equal portions and wrap in plastic warp and refrigerate until firm (at least 2 hours). Or place in freezer for when you need them.The dough can last up to a week in a airtight container…they do go a little soft, but suppose to be like that…(not a crunchy biscuit)
Heat oven to 160 (fan). Sometimes I even lower the temp to 150, they don’t take long to cook, just enough so when you lightly touch them they do not make an indent in the cookie.


 Roll out dough on baking paper. 



Cut out cookies and bake for 7 to 10 mins until edges are very lightly browned. 

Click here to find out how to make and use my cookie dough leveller!
 


Remove from cooking sheets and cool completely on wire rack.
 
Outline and fill the cookies at the same time using RI (Royal Icing) with a number 2 piping nozzle and remember that RI takes 24 hours to set.


Royal Icing
Traditional royal icing is made with real egg white, however, because of the slight chance of salmonella poisoning, I now prefer to use dried egg white instead.
20g (3/4 oz) dried egg white
90ml (2.5fl oz) cold water
500g (1lb 2 0z) icing sugar


method
Mix egg white and water in a bowl until smooth.
Sieve the icing sugar into a grease free bowl.
Tip in the egg mixture and beat on the slowest speed for 5 mins until the icing stands up in peaks.


Planet Cake Royal Icing using real egg whites.
250-300g pure icing sugar, sifted
2-4 drops acetic acid (white vinegar)
1 egg white


method
Beat icing sugar, acetic acid and egg white with electric beater on medium-high speed for 4 minutes for ‘soft peak’. Add extra sugar if the icing is too soft.
Achieving the right consistency for Royal Icing can be difficult but practise makes perfect, so if icing is too thick or too thin just empty your piping bag and add more water/vinegar or icing sugar. You will soon work it out.

Place icing in airtight plastic bowl with a lid. Lay a piece of cling film directly on top of the icing and replace the lid.
DONT put the cookies in an airtight container until they are set (24 hours to set) need the air to help dry out..



Pipe on your designs once the cookies are set using a number 2 piping nozzle. If you would like to use my designs then click on the image above to enlarge and then copy the same or similar on your cookies. 
For the straight lines, in particular, touch the cookie with the nozzle at the beginning and end of line only, pulling your line of icing in the air. This way you get the straightest line possible. For the heart-shaped outlines you sort of hold the nozzle above your cookie and let the icing gently fall/glide into place. Do not drag the nozzle along the cookie surface at any time. Very few of my cookies are identical as I adapt my designs as I go. Feel free to experiment.


Suggested timeline for making the Valentine’s Day Cookies:
Day One – Baking
Day Two – Outlining, filling, and letting cookies dry overnight.
Day Three – Detail piping


These lovely little cookies last for ages, just keep on eating the odd one to make sure the rest are fresh, LOL! Remember to keep them out of strong sunlight so that the colours don’t fade.
 
Another little artwork to brighten up your day!