Aug 10, 2013

D143: Well, well, well... if it isn't the old alphabet...

I've had it in mind to make bikkies of ones, exclamation marks and the letters of Bub's name for her first birthday, and ice them too, of course.  A few weeks ago I bought some Fred & Friends Letter Pressed Cookie Cutters and Letter Pressed Numbers.  The cutters and the boxes were full of promise and I was delightedly keen to go.  

Tomorrow were seeing our family for Bub's birthday, so I'm doing a test run for next weekend when we see Hubs family and aaaaaall our friends (well, many of them).  I'd like for the biscuits to be the party favour, but I'll skip it altogether if they don't come up to scratch.

Below are some tips for working with this product.  
TLDR? Roll out the dough, and cut and stamp the biscuits before chilling. Stamp the biscuits deeply, chill them for a full 30mins, bake till browned (for me, 12mins).

I'm familiar with the CTAW biscuit recipe (which rises quite a bit) so decided to try the one recommended with the stamps.  Here it is, somewhat summarised.  I had to make changes anyway, so am taking liberties with the presentation*:

Fred's Favourite Sugar Cookies*

  • 1 cup (250g) butter
  • 1 sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cups flour

  1. Cream the butter and sugar till fluffy
  2. Add egg and vanilla, mix thoroughly
  3. Sift together dry ingredients
  4. Add dry ingredient to mixture in two batches. Ensure it's thoroughly mixed.
  5. Split sought in two and roll out each between two sheets of parchment or grease proof paper. 
  6. Chill for 30mins.
  7. Use stamps to cut and impress dough.
  8. Bake for 8-10 mins, or until biscuits are browned around the edges.

Steps 5 - 7 are where I had concerns.
The stamps have rounded edges and are not that sharp. Even if I was to create a rectangular shape, and even if I could perfectly tessellate the stamps into that rectangle, there would still be off-cuts at the corners and under the stamp edge.
I wasn't sure of the purpose of the chilling.  Was it a binding/resting step? Or was it to control the spread and rise of the biscuits?  If so, that progress would be lost when the offcuts were kneaded, re-rolled and cut again.

So, I experimented. I rolled, cut and pressed all my biscuits and lay them on parchment in three batches.

The first batch was not chilled.  Also, I was still learning how deeply to press the stamps.
It was doing the 1 when I realised how much deeper I should be pressing.
The second batch were well pressed and chilled for 10mins.
See the slight bulge on the sides? That's how hard you press.
The last batch was well pressed, chilled for the full 30mins, and baked 12mins.
Finally, she figures it out.  Hope these ones are crunchy too.
So there you have it!  Press well, chill well, bake well.
I wonder if chilling the CTAW bikkie recipe would have the same effect...

In other news, I won't have my sewing project ready for my family's gathering.  If you've been reading for the last few days you've probably figured out that I've been sewing a birthday bunting for Bub.  I'm really pleased with how its going, but I've only done three letters of 18 and some flags.  This makes me a quite sad really, but I should spend the morning making a second thing for the arvo tea and icing these bikkies (more practise for next week). I won't have time to sew on the rest of the letters, the rest of the flags and sew the bunting together.  I don't know where the day went :(

*It's worth mentioning, the recipe on the Letters box was wrong.  It listed "1 egg" twice and didn't list flour at all.  If I hadn't bought the Numbers box - with a recipe that was the same in every other way - I couldn't have used their recipe.  Admittedly, this did not bode well for the quality of the product, but Bub slept for 7hrs in a row last night so optimism lined the day.

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