Updated: Dec 16, 2021
Christmas is just around the corner, are you stumped on what to bake for your sweet-toothed guests? Fret not, we have just the right recipe for you! Surprise your guests with these scrumptious vanilla cookies shaped in Christmas-related icons, and we're sure that it will leave them breathless at the first bite!
Bring along your family and loved ones to work on this mouth-watering confectionery together!
225g / 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (or use salted, skip salt!)
1 cup (220g) white sugar (preferably caster / superfine)
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg (55-60g / 1.9-2oz)
3 cups (450g) flour (plain / all purpose)
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
500g / 1 lb icing sugar / powdered sugar, sifted (add extra for adjusting)
¼ cup (60ml) egg white (2 small eggs or 1.5 large eggs)
2 tbsp corn syrup (or 1.5 tbsp glucose syrup)
1.5 tbsp water (add more when needed)
liquid/gel food dye (go by eye for quantity) (Note 3)
Preheat Oven to 180°C / 350°F (160°C fan). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until creamy (1 minute on speed 5)
Add egg and vanilla, beat until completely combined.
Add flour, baking powder, and salt.
Start mixing slowly, then beat until the flour is incorporated - it will be clumpy.
Dust work surface with flour, scrape dough out of bowl. Pat together then cut in half, then shape into 2 discs.
Roll out to 0.3cm / 1/8" (for thinner, crispier cookies) or 0.6cm / 1/4" (for thicker, softer cookies), sprinkling with flour under and over the dough so it doesn't stick.
Use cookie cutters to press out shapes and use a knife or spatula to transfer shapes to prepared baking sheets. (Keep dough that doesn't fit in the oven in the fridge).
Bake for 10 minutes, swapping trays halfway (Note 1), until the surface is pale golden and the edges are just beginning to turn light golden.
Allow cookies to cool completely on trays (they will finish cooking on the trays).
Place icing ingredients in a large bowl and beat for 1 minute on speed 5 until smooth and glossy (start on low then speed up).
Divide icing into different bowls for colouring. Add food dye and mix – keep adding colouring until you achieve the colour you are after. If icing gets too thin, add more icing sugar.
Icing consistency test: Should be able to draw a figure 8 on the surface and you can see if for 2 seconds before sinking in and disappearing. Should be thick enough to pipe details but thin enough to spread smoothly on surface of cookie. ADJUST icing – thinner with water (1/2 tsp at a time), thicker with more icing sugar.
Transfer icing into disposable piping bags or ziplock bags.
Snip a tiny bit off the corner. Smaller hole = better detail in icing. Remember: You can cut hole bigger, but not smaller! OR using very thin piping nozzle.
Decorate with sprinkles etc while wet (so they stick). Or dry completely before piping on details.
To fill a large surface, use toothpick to spread.
Swap trays halfway - put both trays in the oven with one in the middle of the oven and the other underneath. Halfway through the bake time, switch them around so the one underneath moves to the top shelf, and the tray on top moves to the shelf underneath. This ensures they both bake evenly because the top shelf bakes faster than the shelf underneath.
Storage - Keep in an airtight container for a week. After this, they are still edible and totally delicious but they will start to dry out.
Food colouring comes in 2 forms – liquid and gels. Gels are stronger so you need less.
Tip: Red icing requires a lot of colouring, about 3/4 tsp (for 1/3 of the icing mixture).
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