Sunday, April 27, 2008

Rainy day fun

What better activity for a rainy day than a spot of colourful decorating? Inspired (yet again!) by Nigella's currently screening series 'Nigella Feasts', we decided to give her cut out cookies a go. Visiting again was my good friend Nicki, as well as her kids and nephew, so I thought this might make an enjoyable distraction for us to all get stuck into. Mostly it was, except for my controlling tendencies around my 3 year old when she wanted to upend most of the contents of the pink icing bowl onto her cookie, followed by as many silver cachous as she could cram on before I intervened. Aaaaah the joys of preschoolers! The older kids loved this though, staying quite focused and (even more importantly) quiet for a good length of time. I would definitely do this again!

It was a welcome diversion from the usual electronic forms of entertainment that one usually relies on when the weather is inclement!

Here are a selection of their masterpieces!

Here's the recipe:

Cut out Cookies

6 tablespoons soft unsalted butter (85g)
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 to 3 tablespoons just-boiled water
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
Food coloring, preferably pastes

Special equipment: cookie cutters

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. (180 C)

Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and moving towards moussiness, then beat in the egg and vanilla. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter and eggs, and mix gently but surely. If you think the finished mixture is too sticky to be rolled out, add more flour, but do so sparingly as too much will make the dough tough. Form into a fat disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Sprinkle a suitable surface with flour, place disk of dough on it, and sprinkle a little more flour on top of that. Then roll it out to a thickness of about 1/4-inch. Cut into shapes, dipping the cutter into flour as you go, and place the cookies a little apart on 2 parchment or silpat lined baking sheets.

Bake for 8 to 12 minutes; obviously it depends on the shape you're using and whether they are on the upper or lower shelf, though you can swap them around after about 5 minutes. When they're ready expect them to be tinged a pronounced gold around the edges; they'll be softish still in the middle, but set while they cool.


Maria♥ said...

Linda what a great idea and their cookies look gorgeous (I love the butterfly) ;o)


Kelly-Jane said...

The cookies look lovely, looks like lots of fun :)

cakewardrobe said...

What a fun and creative project for kids! I just had an ice cream sundae party for my friends kids.. it was so much fun!

hungryandfrozen said...

Love those photos, what a great way to entertain the kids! They must be nice children though, or there would have been icing on the floor/in someone's hair/etc...:) The finished products look awesome!