You may remember Ruth Clemens from the BBC’s first series of The Great British Bake off. She has just brought out her first cake decorating book ‘The Busy Girls Guide to Cake Decorating’ by David and Charles and it’s packed full of clever cake recipes and easy ways to get beautifully decorated cakes. She shares her simple tricks that make the cakes look top notch. What better reason than to bake some cute strawberries cookies than on a Bank Holiday Monday? Try the recipe here…
Vanilla sugar cookies
These cookies are the perfect base for decorating– they keep their shape well and have a beautifully smooth texture.
Ingredients (for 24 cookies)
225g (8oz) butter, softened
225g (8oz) caster (superfine) sugar
1 large egg
5ml (1 tsp) vanilla bean paste (or the seeds of 1 vanilla pod, or 5ml/1 tsp vanilla extract)
375g (131/4oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC (fan)/180ºC/350ºF/Gas 4. Grease or line a baking tray.
2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well. Add the flour and thoroughly mix to form a dough.
4. Split the dough in half. Roll out each half between two sheets of greaseproof (wax) paper to approx 4mm (1∕8in) thick and place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes or until firm.
5. Cut out the cookies using your chosen cutter. Place on the greased or lined baking tray, chill again for a further 15 minutes or until they are completely hard again. The chilling stops the cookies from spreading and will help them keep their shape while baking.
6. Keep re-rolling the scraps, cutting and chilling again between two sheets of greaseproof (wax) paper until you have used up all the dough.
7. Bake in the oven for approximately10 minutes until the cookies are golden brown on the edges.
8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray. If the cookies have spread out of shape, re-cut them with your cutter or a knife while still warm.
To make the strawberry cookies
12 large and 12 small heart cookies
Sugarpaste: red, white and green
Cutters: large and small heart cookie, small square
Gold sugar dragees (decorative ebible balls)
1. Take a small ball of red sugarpaste and knead into the white sugarpaste to create a pink blush colour.
2. Roll out the red sugarpaste to a 3mm(1⁄8in) thickness. Cut out six large hearts using the large heart cookie cutter and six small hearts using the small heart cookie cutter. Repeat using the pink blush sugarpaste.
3. Brush the top of each cookie with a little water and attach the sugarpaste hearts in place, pressing down lightly to secure.
4. Roll out the green sugarpaste to a 2mm (1⁄16in). Using the heart cutters again, cut out 24 strawberry hulls (12 large, 12 small) using the top part of the cutters only.
5. Trim down the cut outs and take out the ‘V’ shapes using the corner of a small square cutter. Secure in place on the strawberries with a dab of water.
6. Shape 24 stalks from the green sugarpaste and fix in place with water.
7. Using the end of a paintbrush, make small indentations for the seeds. Apply a dot of water to each indentation and fill with a gold dragee. Press each dragee down lightly with your fingertip to help them stay in place.
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Emma Morton Turner, Guest Editor
View all posts by Emma Morton Turner, Guest Editor