The single best cookie recipe to have
Makes 12 large cookies or 24 small cookies
200g caster sugar
400g organic all purpose flour, sifted
Seed of 1 vanilla bean
1 tsp vanilla essence (recipe on this link)
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla seeds and essence, then beat on medium speed until well incorporated.
Add the flour to the butter mixture and beat on low just until combined.
Raise the speed and beat for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until all are very well incorporated. Transfer the cookie dough to a plastic bag or wrap with cling film, and refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling out.
It is essential that the dough does not get overworked or heated, especially for cutouts, as the butter will shorten and the dough will over spread in the oven. That will ruin the shape. For properly shaped cookies that snap, keep the dough refrigerated, and after cutting the shapes, place the whole tray back in the fridge, for at least 15 minutes, to cool before baking.
After cooling for 30 minutes in the fridge, take the dough out and cut it into 4 portions. Work with 1 portion at a time, keeping the remaining 3 in the fridge.
Preheat your oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with baking paper. Set aside.
Place the one quarter of cookie dough between 2 sheets of baking paper and roll to about 1/5 inch thick. Using the desired shape cookie cutters or (templates and a super sharp knife), cut out the shapes. Then carefully release the dough from the baking sheet, and transfer to the lined baking tray.
When the tray is full, place in the fridge for 15 minutes. After cooling, place the sheet on the middle rack in the preheated oven and bake for 18-20 minutes for large ones, and 15-18 minutes for smaller ones. The cookies should be golden brown at the bottom and on the edges.
Carefully, transfer the cookies onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
Do not attempt to decorate cookies before they are completely cooled.
The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. They can be had as is with coffee, tea or milk. Otherwise they can be decorated if need be.
- Use the same cookie cutters to cut rolled out Fondant, then stick on the cookie. One very simple way to stick fondant on a cookie is to brush a very small amount of Piping Gel or Jam on the cookie, and that will act as glue.
- Create definition by tracing over the edges and creating details with Royal Icing (recipe on this link).
- Use Royal icing to create borders around the edges and over the desired detail areas, then fill with thinned royal icing (a drizzling consistency icing). This technique is very much like that of glass art, where you draw with a tube and then fill in with colour.
- Dust with cocoa Powder or Icing Sugar. If using a stencil sheet you can create shapes by dusting over it, and then when you remove the sheet, you will have the desired shapes in sugar.
- Create 3D shapes out of fondant or Gumpaste and stick them to the cookie.
- Create flowers or roses in the colours of the flag out of fondant and stick atop the cookies.
- Make toothpick flags of different themes and stick them on top of the cookies…etc