Daring Bakers September: Sugar cookies and royal icing

The September 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mandy of What the Fruitcake?! Mandy challenged everyone to make decorated sugar cookies based on recipes from Peggy Porschen and The Joy of Baking.

I was super excited to see this challenge because one of the things I am really interested in learning to do better is decorating…  Believe it or not, I have not made sugar cookies since I was a kid either so it was a fun challenge to look forward to.  I consulted my baking diva friends Jen of My Kitchen Addiction and Gail of One Tough Cookie (if you have not checked out their sites, you should. After you read this post, of course!).  They did warn me that the decorating part might be challenging with a hand injury…

In terms of the actual cookie, Jen suggested I go with Michael Ruhlman’s sugar cookie recipe from his book (and app) Ratio.  It was fairly simple and I could even do it fairly one handed…

They turned out pretty well… (yes, I realise there are some inconsistencies in terms of thickness there but pretty good for one-handed cookies!)

Onto the icing. I am not a big fan of royal icing myself but decided to go for it. I know I could have made pretty butter cream that would have been easier to decorate with but soldiered on following Gail’s instructions…

I was happy when my icing reached the desired consistency…

And I managed to get it into a piping bag.  But that’s when the trouble started.  Holding the bag in the proper position to decorate hurt my hand. With the brace on, I couldn’t hold it properly at all. Resulting in an ungodly mess..

What’s a girl to do?  Realising I couldn’t pipe to save my life, I decided to go the Macguyver route…  I called for reinforcements…

And managed to clumsily smear some of the icing on and played with the silver dragées

And tried again with the piping around the edge (I *am* a Taurus you know. We are very stubborn)…

To no avail.

So I just went very heavy handed with the coloured sugar…

The most important thing? They tasted good!  The cookies were perfect, the icing was the right consistency and because I had smeared it on, it wasn’t too thick.  I enjoyed these and will look forward to making them again.  Baking and decorating classes are on my list of future things to undertake…

So, do you think I have what it takes to be The Next Food Blog Star? (haha – I didn’t pick this cookie cutter shape for no reason, ok?).  Check out my latest entry on Project Food Blog and vote me through the the next round. You have to be a Foodbuzz member but all it takes is a couple of clicks. Once you’re done, you can click on the red heart at the top of the post to vote for me.  I have an awesome entry planned for the next round which you definitely want to see…

Many thanks in advance.

74 Responses to Daring Bakers September: Sugar cookies and royal icing

  1. Jenn September 27, 2010 at 09:22 #

    They are great! And your piping looks much better than mine would! Love all the glittery sparkles too 🙂

  2. andrea @ Food Not Fuss September 27, 2010 at 09:35 #

    Haha — awww, they came out great! Probably still better than I would have done, even with two good hands! 🙂

  3. 5 Star Foodie September 27, 2010 at 09:43 #

    pretty cookies – love the purple glitter sparkles! Voted for you!

  4. Tracy September 27, 2010 at 09:54 #

    So pretty! Great job on the challenge!

  5. Gail September 27, 2010 at 10:07 #

    First of all, you accomplished this task with one hand tied behind your back, for all intents and purposes. Can you imagine what you could have achieved with both hands, you MacGyver, you?
    Your perseverance is inspiring, Mardi.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite September 28, 2010 at 22:14 #

      Gail, thanks for virtually holding my hand through this. I think I need to come to NYC for a few lessons…

  6. Sharlene (Wheels and Lollipops) September 27, 2010 at 10:10 #

    Mardi, these came out great !

  7. RavieNomNoms September 27, 2010 at 10:27 #

    They are so pretty! I love the purple color

  8. Conor @ HoldtheBeef September 27, 2010 at 11:00 #

    You and your poor hand. What a pain, and what a pain.

    THank god for MacGyver, and thank god for the good old smear technique. It’s beautifully rustic! It’s homely! It’s completely hidden by the sugar! 😀

    I have to say though, when I first quickly glanced at the first photo, the colour of the icing makes it look like the dragées are stuck on with Blu Tack! Delicious Blu Tack, of course.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite September 28, 2010 at 22:13 #

      Geez I should have just stuck Blu Tack on all the cookies and pretended it was icing. Noone would have known. Oh, except me, who ate all the (I only made 8) cookies…

  9. Evelyne@CheapEthnicEatz September 27, 2010 at 11:12 #

    You are a one handed trooper! I am a Taurus too, totally understand. Great cookies and wish you made one gold star, for the one you deserve single-handedly! Off to vote!

  10. Ruth H. September 27, 2010 at 12:02 #

    Ok, your one-handed piping is better than my two-handed attempt!! Your perseverence (doesn’t that sound nicer than stubbornness?) paid off in some very pretty, sparkly cookies. Great work, and please heal that hand up!!

  11. Roxan September 27, 2010 at 12:08 #

    Aw, you did a great job with the improvising! I think the cookies look fantastic. Purple is my favorite color!

  12. shayma September 27, 2010 at 12:28 #

    v pretty biscuits. love purple sweet stuff. x shayma

  13. Tia September 27, 2010 at 13:04 #

    great color! I love the sparkly purple princess cookies 🙂

  14. Belinda @zomppa September 27, 2010 at 13:24 #

    These are too cute! Can I order some now for the holidays? =)

  15. Trix September 27, 2010 at 14:17 #

    Don’t feel bad – my piping skills are pretty dismal, and I even had baking and pastry in culinary!! But the colored sugar was a genius save – Poppa Trix says I’m a magpie because I am always drawn to glittery things, so I love all that shiny purple!!

  16. Joy September 27, 2010 at 15:09 #

    That looks great.

  17. Andrea@High/Low September 27, 2010 at 16:07 #

    Pretty purple cookies – especially made one-handed! Going off to vote for you now!

  18. Kate at Serendipity September 27, 2010 at 16:20 #



    I’m in heaven. Gimme a couple with a glass of milk and I’m set for the afternoon.

    You’ve hurt your hand? I’m going to have to do some exploring here to find out what’s going on. Oh, Man. I go away for a little while and you HURT yourself? What am I gonna do with you?

    Heh, I’m back.

  19. Christina September 27, 2010 at 16:21 #

    Sparkles make everything better 🙂 Beautiful cookies. They look so yummy 🙂

  20. Barbara Bakes September 27, 2010 at 17:52 #

    I’m a Taurus too! I knew we were a lot a like! All the sprinkles on your cookies are perfect for a star. Next time just tell us that was you plan!

  21. Daydreamer Desserts September 27, 2010 at 18:22 #

    Mardi, you are relentless my friend! Look at you go, you’ve definitely earned 5 stars in my book!

  22. Magic of Spice September 27, 2010 at 19:58 #

    They are all so pretty 🙂

  23. penny aka jeroxie September 28, 2010 at 00:09 #

    How pretty! heavy handed? I thought it was pretty darn good.

  24. maybelles mom September 28, 2010 at 06:15 #

    wow, how did you get this down so well with the #pfb2010 stuff. I must say my DB post was a pictures only affair.

  25. Romy September 28, 2010 at 07:18 #

    Props for even attempting the challenge with a hand injury! Your stars are beautiful.

  26. Evan @swEEts September 28, 2010 at 08:05 #

    Pretty darn good for your first attempt at sugar cookies since you were a kid! Royal icing is definitely a tricky little guy.. you have to get the consistency just right and it takes patience ha I’ve learned the hard way as well! You are most certainly a star though 🙂

  27. Jamie September 28, 2010 at 08:12 #

    Oh poor you! There should be a tv show for people baking with braces on their hands! I think your cookies turned out gorgeous! Love the color and love the sprinkles. They are beautiful!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite September 28, 2010 at 22:08 #

      Yes definitely it’s been interesting to see what will and won’t fly with my hand. Thanks for the compliment – coming from you that means a lot!

  28. K A B L O O E Y September 28, 2010 at 11:54 #

    Voted for you again, of course. Also saw some pretty cool blogs over there, but still like you best. I’m also a Taurus, but somehow my stubbornness just turns into trouble, not diligence. Great job!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite September 28, 2010 at 22:08 #

      Aw Carrie – love that you still like me the best 🙂 And yes, I have known my fair share of trouble too!

  29. Camille Cares September 28, 2010 at 13:27 #

    Wow, those cookies are fantastic. I bet you hear that all the time. You claimed you were injured, but from here it looks like you grabbed that bull by the horns and came out a winner.

  30. Kim September 28, 2010 at 21:35 #

    I wouldn’t have known you did that one handed. I think the use of dusting sugar looks great! Nice job on the challenge and I hope your hand gets better.

  31. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction September 28, 2010 at 22:34 #

    I am still astonished that you even attempted a pastry bag with a sore hand! You recovered well, and I think your cookies look pretty. I’m sure they tasted great, too!

  32. Jen @keepitsimplefoods September 29, 2010 at 14:44 #

    These are magical!

  33. MandyM October 1, 2010 at 17:47 #

    Wow! One handed cookies! You’re a great example to all of us DBers 😀

    Thank you so much for taking part of the September challenge, one handed and all, your cookies are gorgeous 🙂

  34. Lora October 2, 2010 at 12:40 #

    Love those purple stars!

  35. Kocinera October 2, 2010 at 20:20 #

    Piping is totally a pain, but you did it like a pro! Your cookies look sooo cute! Loving the purple!

  36. Rose Silver October 6, 2010 at 14:13 #

    I tried to put icing on my cookies using two hands before but it came up a mess. Lol. But your one handed cookie recipe is really great! It came out very cute and delicious. I probably should tie my hand before putting some icing on my cookies to looks the same as yours. Lol. You really did a great job on that. Cute little glittery cookie.

  37. make my day October 14, 2010 at 23:03 #

    you’re always so honest in your cooking…turning a negative into a posititve! solutions! sometimes not so perfect is more perfect. cheers kari

  38. Melanie Bear October 15, 2010 at 00:49 #

    Haha! I think you have the guts to be the next food blog star! Those are truly creative and yummy in the photos. I can’t wait to try this one with my kids especially with my only daughter. This is perfect for her birthday. Thanks for giving us an idea.

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