Self Isolation: New Baking Skills - How to bake and decorate cookies?

Self Isolation: New Baking Skills - How to bake and decorate cookies?

Published : 03/21/2020 - Categories : PME Blog | Trade PMECake

Times are tough right now for everyone across the world and as we're told to stay in and self isolate we thought it may be a nice time to learn new skills. We have put together a full rundown of how to decorate amazing cookies for you to share with your friends and family once this horrible time comes to an end.

(We know that some of you are finding it hard to find the most basic ingredients right now so we ask very kindly for everyone to buy responsibly as there is no need to panic buy)

So let's start!

Cookies are great as they allow you to really get into the decorating just as much as the baking but there are many key skills you must learn first to really get those cookies looking fabulous - move over Buscuiteer!

Let's start with the BAKING

The recipe below makes 24-36 cut out Vanilla Almond Cookies:

Ingredients:

  • 400 grams of all-purpose flour
  • 225 grams of unsalted butter, softened
  • 150 grams of icing sugar
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

Method:

  • Cream together the butter and icing sugar in a bowl
  • Add the egg, vanilla and almond extract to the butter and icing sugar mixture and beat until well combined
  • Slowly add the combined dry ingredients until the dough becomes firm and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough is sticky, add a tablespoon at a time of flour until the dough is no longer sticky
  • Let the dough rest for 3-5 minutes
  • Roll out the dough on parchment paper to a thickness approximately half a centimetre
  • Cut into the desired shape using a cookie cutter
  • Bake at 200c (or 180c fan) for 7-10 minutes

Baking Hacks:

  • Use rubber guide rings to roll the cookies to a uniform thickness
  • Use parchment paper for even baking and a quicker clean up
  • Dust the rolling pin to help prevent sticking
  • Allow cookies to completely cool before moving or handling - this will reduce breakages

Time for the DECORATING

Cookie decorating is a lot more complicated than most people think. The icing method you see on decorated cookies is actually a traditional icing method known as Royal Icing.

Basic Royal Icing Method

Ingredients:

  • 450 grams of icing sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of meringue powder
  • 250ml of warm water

Method:

  • Gently combine dry ingredients with a mixer
  • Slowly add into the mixed dry ingredients half of the water. The mixture will begin to look thick and lumpy
  • Continue mixing and slowly add the remaining water until the mixture becomes very thick and gloopy
  • Turn the mixer onto high speed and whip for 2-4 minutes until the mixture is thick enough for form medium-soft peaks.

HOLD UP! Cover your royal icing with a damp towel to reduce the exposure to air. Royal Icing will set very quickly if left out making it unusable.

Now, let's understand the 3 types of Royal Icing consistencies.

  1. Stiff Icing - Flow piped flowers and glueing together gingerbread houses
  2. Piping Icing - For details, writing and outlining cookies before flooding (Consistency of Toothpaste)
  3. Flood icing - Used to fill outlined sections (Consistency of ice cream syrups)

Preparing Royal Icing

  • Colouring royal icing is easy - just add a small amount of PME Paste Food Colouring. They are thick so they don't change the consistency of the icing
  • To move to a less stiff royal icing mixture simply add more water and mix!
  • Remember Icing will darken over time so don’t worry if your icing is not as dark as you would like
  • Use a PME 1.5 icing tube for the perfect outlines of your cookies. 
  • NEVER forget to cover your icing as the royal icing will set in minutes
  • Use a PME Scribe Modelling Tool to remove air bubbles from flooded icing and to help spread out the icing.

The fun part:

  1. Using piping icing outline the areas that you would like to flood onto the cookie.
  2. Fill the outlined sections with the flood icing
  3. Let the icing dry
  4. Now go over the icing that has set with more piping icing to add those finishing touches.
  5. This is your cue to go crazy! Don't forget to add sprinkles and use edible food pens for even more detail

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