Monday, September 27, 2010

Daring Bakers - Decorated Sugar Cookies

 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 knew this day would come sometime, I just didn't know when. It is the day when I hesitate to write my Daring Bakers post because I wasn't exactly thrilled with the challenge. I know, I know, and I feel terrible even typing this up. I know that our hostess worked hard to come up with a challenge, search for recipes, show examples, and give encouragement. That being said, I still really didn't like this recipe.

I'm not sure if it is because I have a great sugar cookie recipe already and this didn't exactly measure up or just because of life's circumstances those couple of days or what. I don't want to be too dreary so I'll just tell you what I didn't care for about it and be done with it. The cookies were completely blah. They really didn't taste like anything. I know that royal icing isn't supposed to have a flavor, it just adds decoration and pizazz to the cookie, but this cookie didn't have any flavor either. I also love the fact that my stand-by sugar cookie, while tasting great, also requires no refrigeration. I actually came across my stand-by recipe on another Daring Baker's blog while searching around when I was new to the club.

Okay, back to the current cookies. We were challenged to decorate a cookie based on September and what it means to us. A few years ago when I was a teacher in a public school classroom I would have chosen a myriad of school supplies or some such thing. I also thought about leaves but couldn't find a leaf cookie cutter and wasn't adventurous enough to make my own. I got to thinking and realized that while I do think of objects for September I more often than not think in terms of color. Colors for fall, like orange, brown, yellow, red, and maybe even some green are what roll through my head and flood my vision. That got me to thinking that I could use some practice on marbling colors together and just playing around with the royal icing because I've never really had a chance to do that before.

I started by using a toothpick to add some color to the icing while still wet. Once I got a feel for that, I moved on to trying out objects and designs using my fall colors. I started with the green leaf and after thinking it looked a little plain, I added some brown. I then did the same for the red leaf.

I then moved away from using white as a base, for the most part, and started swirling the other colors together to see what would happen. I had fun with this but it was a bit tedious only using little dabs of colors here and there. My designs definitely aren't perfect and there are some not quite round circles and some air bubbles in others, but on the whole I was pleased with the way they turned out.

By the time I got to these cookies I was just trying to finish. I wanted all the cookies iced and all the icing gone. I thought that they actually looked decent, for the most part, and once again realized that sometimes you can try too hard (as with the earlier cookies) and when you stop trying you might get what you wanted in the first place.

I did enjoy this challenge in that it gave me an opportunity to sit and play with royal icing for a few hours while my son was napping. I also enjoyed the fact that I didn't have to make them for anyone in particular or for any event so I could just experiment with some different techniques. I also liked the fact that I really didn't gain any calories from this challenge since I wasn't enticed to eat them.

If you would like the recipe, please email me.



Sorry to know that it wasn't exactly what you expected, but your designs are very nice!

Emma @CakeMistress

I like the autumn theme and the swirling patterns you achieved. Very lovely


Sorry you didn't like this recipe, but your cookies look great! Fab autumn colours.

shelley c.

These turned out absolutely beautifully. Sorry the challenge wasn't so exciting for you, but I am really glad that you decided to participate, because it looks like it was a great opportunity to play with the icing and get a better feel for the decorating process. I have a feeling that we are going to be seeing some amazing cookie creations from you in the future (just with your standby recipe!).


Love your designs! Great job on the challenge!

Umm Mymoonah

Looks very gorgeous, beautifully decorated.


I love all the colored patterns that you created! This recipe wasn't my favorite either. But it looks like you had some fun with the icing!


Wow i love you blog its awesome nice colors you must have did hard work on your blog. Keep up the good work. Thanks


Very pretty. I love how the cookies in the top picture look like watercolors.

Valerie Gamine

You are right about these cookies not packing very much punch flavour wise, but I think you did an excellent job at decorating them. I love the swirls and your delicate leaf patterns!

p.s. I'm so envious of you right now for living near the f/v Northwestern! :D


Oooo... I love the Fall theme and the beautiful swirls of autumn colors! Way to go on this month's challenge :)


It is a pity you didn'y like the recipe for the cookies. Here at home we loved it though theicing indeed make it really sweet. My daughter loves it. Atleast i am sure you loved doing the decorations :-)


Love the colour combination. Also the toothpick drawings - they look great!

maybelles mom

nice job. love the flooding.

Vivian Thiele

Good job with the cookies!


Totally agree with you, I was not thrilled with the challenge. But learning about this icing was new and fun. I think yours turned out great.

Aparna Balasubramanian

YOur cookies look pretty despite the fact you didn't like them. I guess some challenges do tend to be like that. :)

I made an eggless version of both so my cookies were like shorbread and the icing was lemony and tangy.


I'm really sorry that you didn't enjoy this challenge that much. I know what it's like when you have a tried and tested recipe that you love but can't use for a challenge. At least you enjoyed playing with the icing!

Thank you for taking part of the September challenge :)


Nice patterns you've got there. I will try your swirly technique next time. You didn't gain any calories from this challenge, good on you! That's my worst apprehension every month for the DB challenges! lol Thank goodness I have people at home who would help in eating!


Hey Kim,

Nothing wrong with not liking a challenge! You're a champ for doing it anyway and I think your cookies look great!

Rosa's Yummy Yums

Your cookies are very pretty! Well done.