Friday, 12 February 2010
I have been extra slow in baking cookies for this festive season. Partly because I didn't have any intention to make any cookies, and partly I guess age is really catching up on me. I had to rest my stiff neck and shoulders for 2 days after spending one whole morning making pineapple tarts. My eye-sight is also failing, my presbyopia is getting worst...it is getting difficult and tiring to focus on objects up close. So I stopped baking and did some spring cleaning instead.
Early this morning, after spending 9 minutes on a 1-km jog around the estate (I know, I am extremely slow!), I felt all charged up and I found myself spending the rest of the morning baking two batches of butter cookies...rolled and piped ones.
I worked on the piped cookies first as I was feeling excited at the thought of piping cookies...this is something I have not done before. The recipe is straight forward and down right simple...requires minimum ingredients and the dough was done in no time. The only difficult part was piping them! I thought I could use my Wilton 2D decorating tip as it gives very impressive rosettes just like this one I did. To my dismay, the tip is not suitable for piping the cookies, the dough which pass through the gaps on the tip was just too thin. Fortunately I have another huge star tip, a Wilton 1C, this one worked quite well. Although I was able to pipe decent looking rosettes they are nothing close to what I had in mind. I can only blame my lack of skill. I am quite hopeless at piping...I do not know the right technique to position the tip and I am totally clueless how to create a nice swirl?! I though it would be easier to pipe pretty swirls with a cookie dough since it is firm, but I was wrong :'(
These piped cookies are also commonly known as Melting Moments. As the name implies, they literally melts in your mouth. The dough is made by the creaming method, that is, creaming butter with icing sugar to give a soft and crumbly texture. Icing sugar is used instead of caster sugar to prevent the cookies from spreading. Although the finer the sugar granules, the more spreading they cause, icing sugar which contains cornstarch will actually help the cookies to hold their shape better. Corn flour is also used alongside plain flour to create the tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture.
These delicate butter cookies are a great treat! I like the simple flavour...butter and vanilla. I am glad I did the right thing of stocking up blocks of Lurpark unsalted butter when it was on sale ;) The Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon pure vanilla extract lends the cookies a full and rich vanilla flavour. My only regrets, I should have added vanilla paste instead ^_^'
175g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
40g icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
175g plain flour
40g cornflour (cornstarch)
- With an electric mixer, cream butter and icing sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and beat for a few seconds.
- Sift the flour and cornflour together over the butter mixture and mix until smooth.
- Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large star-shaped piping nozzle. Pipe into the required shapes on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Space the shapes well apart.
- Bake the cookies in preheated oven at 180degC for 12 minutes or until they are a pale golden colour. Leave for a few minutes on the baking tray to firm up slightly before transferring to wire rack to cool.
Note: To prevent the cookies from spreading and hold the shape better, after piping, chill the tray of unbaked cookies in the fridge for about 30mins before baking.