Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Classic Shortbread with Royal Icing

I am not very keen in cookie cos I find it takes alot of effort to shape! But the little one has been eyeing on the bear cookie cutter that we have. Today I finally ran out of excuse to refuse his request (to bake cookie). *Exasperated!*

So let's start...

I picked this recipe (by cos it is simple... only 4 ingredients, and the best thing - it's eggless!

Also, the sandy texture of shortbread appeals to me more than cookie. For coffee lover, you may add 1tsp of freeze-dried instant coffee (like Nescafe) granules into the dough. Flecks of coffee makes it a capuccino shortcake.

Waiting for the icing to dry up.


Classic Shortbread

1 cup (240g) unsalted butter, softened.

2/3 cup sugar (I use icing sugar to get a finer texture & reduce by 2 tbsp)

1/4 tsp salt

2.5 cup all purpose flour

  1. Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy.

  2. Stir in flour to make a stiff dough.

  3. On a lightly floured surface, lightly knead to make a smooth dough. (note: do not overknead or the cookie will become very tough)
  4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15min. (this is to firm up the dough to make it more manageable)

  5. Preheat oven to 350F/180C.

  6. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/2" thick. (I use a non-tappered chopstick on both sides of the dough to get uniform thickness.

  7. Cut out the cookie with cookie cutter. Place them about 2" apart on the baking sheet.

  8. Lower the oven to 325F/160C and bake for 20-25min. This cookie should not brown.

  9. Leave to cool completely on wire rack.


Royal Icing

1 cup (110g) icing sugar
1 tbsp meringue powder
30~50ml warm water

  1. Beat the sugar and meringue powder util combined.
  2. Add water and beat on high speed until very glossy and stiff peak (approx 5~7min.
  3. Add more water or sugar to get the right consistency (when you lift up the beater, the icing falling back into the bowl should remain on the surface of the icing for a few seconds before disappearing.)
  4. The icing needs to be used immediately or stored in an airtight container as it hardens when exposed to air.

Meringue powder is dried egg white powder. Some bakers use fresh egg white that supposedly taste better but I damn afraid of salmonella! You can get meringue powder from most bake supplies shop. I got mine from B-I-Y.

Alternatively you can buy the ready-to-use cookie icing from B-I-Y (under Wilton brand). It comes in a ready-to-squeeze bottle. Expensive ($12+ per bottle) but it is real convenient - just twist the cap and you can pipe the cookie direct away. No piping bag, no tip, no mixing.

I like royal icing cos it dries up a to smooth and hard matte surface. To give this as a gift, you can write your message on the cookie with edible marker pen. You can see Bevis doodling on his cookie "board".

BTW, you can see he vast difference in professional frosting. *SHY SHY*

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