From all the fabulous comments and feedback I have received, I know many of you are really enjoying my ‘bake me I’m yours…cookie‘ book. It is a book I loved creating and I’ve still got the cookie decorating bug! Read on for my gingerbread recipe plus decorating tips to help you surprise and delight your friends and family.
Decorated cookies make excellent gifts
I’ve found decorated cookies make excellent small gifts… what I do, is make a batch of different shapes, shoes and handbags for my girlfriends, animals and cupcakes for my nieces and nephews, flowers for my mother etc. I decorate one or two for each and then once the icing has crusted over I pop each into a cookie bag and tie it with a ribbon. I find everyone is thrilled to receive their surprise gift and I love seeing the smiles of delight that are the result, a wonderful reward for just a little bit of effort.
Baking cookies to decorate
Decorated cookies are of course by their very nature, not as straight forward as cookies that have just been baked for their texture and flavour. A decorated cookie has to be made from a dough that doesn’t spread too much whilst baking and ideally one that keeps well so that the decoration can be completed in advance.
My cookie book contains three recipes that I have found particularly successful – if you’ve not tried any yet, here’s a gingerbread recipe to get you started:
125g (4oz) butter
60ml (4tbsp) black treacle
225g (8oz) soft brown sugar
450g (1 lb) Plain flour
15ml (1 tbsp) ground ginger
7.5ml (1 ½ tsp) cinnamon
5ml (1tsp) bicarbonate of soda
15ml (1 tbsp) milk
1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC/ 325ºF/ Gas Mark 3
2. Place butter, treacle and sugar into a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved and the butter melted. Cool slightly
3. Sieve the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Pour the melted mixture into the dry ingredients and stir.
4. Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in the milk and add to the mixture. Combine to make a dough, adding more milk if necessary.
5. Place the dough in a plastic bag and chill in the fridge for 40 minutes.
6. Continue as for vanilla cookies then bake for 10-15 minutes depending on the size of the cookies.
Decorating a large number of cookies
Cookies are currently very popular as wedding favours and for party gifts so if you plan to make and decorate large quantities, I suggest that you chose a design that is straight forward with decoration that is quick to apply, such as stencils or embossing. Also, use production line techniques i.e. do everything in stages:
- Bake the cookies,
- Cover the cooled baked cookies
- Gradually add the decoration to all the cookies one step at a time, rather than trying to decorate the cookies one by one.
Decorating special one-off cookies
For these special cookies, you can be more adventurous. I love spending time adding details that I know the recipients will really appreciate. The beauty of cookies is that they are much quicker to create than decorated cakes! Also, they make an excellent canvas on which to be highly creative, something special friends always appreciate…each cookie can also be different so you never get bored!
If you have a copy of my cookie book I’d love to hear how you are getting on….are you hooked to?
Happy baking and decorating