Sugar Cookies-Banh Tay Ngot

Vietnamese food


   Too many cooks spoil the soup.  What is happened to Sugar Cookies with great bakers?  I consider they are my teachers in my heart even they did not directly teach me but through tutoring in writing and you tube. It is not easy to pick which one to learn and try first:  different combinations of egg, flour, sugar, baking powder and flavor.  Let me show you how I learned.  I save their works in writing and pictures and compared them and applied them.  You can see the product of my studying here.  Here is more information about the perfect cookies from the Fine cooking Magazine. 
   This recipe adapted from The best sugar cookie of Nancy Olson, the pastry chef.  I pick this one because of the lemon zest, vanilla extract and vanilla bean is used for flavor and less butter than others.  If you do not have vanilla bean just use a tsp pure vanilla extract or your favorite flavor lemon, orange, almond.  The tiny black vanilla seeds add an attractive look and taste to these cookies.
The dough:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup/4 oz/1 stick unsalted butter, soften at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 lemon zest (optional )
1/2 vanilla bean seeds (optional), use a small knife to split and scrape the seeds out of the pot, save the peel for another use.
2 Tbs heavy cream or whipped cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together.
2.  Whisk butter,sugar, lemon zest, vanilla extract, and vanilla seeds until well combine.  Add egg and whisk until completely incorporated.  Add cream and flour alternate to the egg mixture with a low speed until a uniform mass formed.  Press the dough into a flat disk on a plastic wrap and wrap tightly.  Refrigerate overnight or until firm enough to handle.
3. Preheat oven to 300 oF, take the dough out . and roll the dough out between two layers of plastic wrap or parchment paper to 1/4-1/8 in thickness and cut to desired shapes with cookie cutters.  Place cookies 1/2-1 in. apart on parchment lined baking or cookie pan. Put the whole baking pan in the freeze 15 minutes.  Take it out and put chilled cookies with parchment paper to another baking pan (room temperature).  Bake until the edge light brown about 8-10 minutes.  Let they cool in baking sheet about 10 minutes.  Remove and cool completely on wired rack before decorating.  Store cooled cookies in air tight containers before decorating.

*Note:
        This dough is a lightly sticky and sweet but the cookies are delightful .  If it gets too soft, just put it into the fridge or freezer for 5-15 minutes or add 1/4-1/2 cup flour to the dough.  If you plan to decorate with a lot of royal icing, reduce sugar to 1/2 cup.
The royal icing:
2 Cups powder sugar
1.5 Tbs egg white powder (Meringue Powder)
4 Tbs warm water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract or 1 tsp lemon juice
Gel food color
Food writer pen
Sparkling sugar, sprinkles, etc.

   Combine powder sugar with the egg white powder.  Add water and whisk until thicken and reach to the desired consistency of icing .  For spreading, add a little water 1/2 to 1 tsp at a time, whisk and use a spoon to drop the icing back to the bowl. If the icing naturally smooth itself out in 10 seconds it is ready.  If it is too thin add a little powder sugar.  Divide the icing into small bowls and color each as desired.  Store in air tight containers at room temperature.  It is good for a few weeks.  
   Use a small knife or spatula spread a thin layer of icing to one side of the cookie. Let it dried overnight.
The next day, dip the side of the cookie to the icing and dip to the sugar or sprinkles. Let it dried for a couple hours and write your message with food writer.
   The roses are made from chocolate plastic.  


      Use a small amount of chocolate plastic (your fingers tip size) .  Knead and add color.  Use your finger to  flattening the chocolate out like paper thin/the thinner will make flowers look real  Cut into small circles (1/2 in. diameter).  Then cut it in half or not if you are not get use to do tiny flowers.  Use fingers’ tip to thin out the outer petal and roll one like the center white in the picture.  Continue add another circle overlap with the second one-need 2 or 3 for the first layer and 4-5 for the next one. Bend and shape the petals’edges to match the rose naturally.  Cut the bottom to the height and the angle suitable for your taste.  Put a small amount of the royal icing on the cookie and attack the roses.  Are you still there?  Take time to stop and smell the roses today.


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