I often ask for presents from here because there are often good sales on items I'd like, and I can use them again and again to create wonderful food.
One such thing I treated myself to was a set of stacking star-shape cookie cutters, so that I could create a stack of stars that looked something like this. This photo is from Lakeland's own website as I have not yet decorated and stacked my own stars.
|Credit: Lakeland. Star cookie cutters. Beautiful!|
You will need:
300g unsalted butter, softened
300g caster sugar
2 small eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract - I found that this was not enough so used 2 teaspoons in my Penguin batch
a pinch of salt - I did not use salt; I used slightly salted Flora Light
600g plain flour, sifted - Sifting does not really matter much (sifting is a bit of a Women's Institute-style myth. It's the mixing that does it, not the sifting. However don't use self-raising flour, it makes the cookies too puffy and dry.
Reheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), gas 4.
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add the beaten eggs, vanilla and salt and mix well. Gradually add the flour and mix until incorporated. Bring together into a dough, divide into 2 balls, wrap and chill for 1 hour.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface to a thickness of 3-4mm. Dip cookie cutters in flour before each use. You need 2 cookies of each size. Arrange them on prepared baking trays.
Bake the cookies on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for about 12 minutes, or until firm and golden, swapping the trays over if necessary. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
NOW for the PENGUINS. I do like penguins! I made some last year to adorn the 2014 Christmas Cake - as can be seen below:
|Which way to the South Pole? Penguin alert. Credit: SimoneySunday|
So with a few tweaks - as I mentioned - I found it a little too low in flavour for my palate, I added extra vanilla flavouring and a teaspoon of cinnamon to make it a little more punchy. I also reduced the sugar element slightly as the icing itself will be sweet enough.
I used Fondant icing for the black and royal icing for the white, but I think next year I will try to learn liquid icing techniques as this took AGES to shape and cut the icing. I also used a small piping bag of red icing to fill in the beak, and some gold balls for the eyes.
And here are the end results - the march of the penguins.
|Hallo mate! @SimoneySunday|
|Marching onward - the Penguin brigade @SimoneySunday|