Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sugar Cookies Go Tribal

Like most girls born and brought up in Britain, I've long been an avid follower of fashion trends. Whether I followed trends religiously or not, I used to enjoy getting my monthly Elle subscription and perusing the highstreet shops on a weekly basis, wanting to know which handbag was currently coveted by celebrities and who wore what at the Grammy's (Rihanna looked great at this years!). Moving to Dubai just magnified everything two-fold since here is where luxury fashion is offered in abundance and you really can't escape the elaborate shop windows displays and huge billboards.
However that all changed after I got married and moved to Zanzibar! As a tiny island on the east coast of Africa its safe to say that for the first time in my life I had no idea what was the 'in' thing. Because my focus changed (busy baking!!) it was only on the rare off-chance when I browsed websites online that I got to have a taste of what was happening in "consumer land". And, well, one trend has surely stood out over the past year that there was no way even I could have missed it...
The tribal trend has been everywhere. Having been translated from the runway onto the highstreet, tribal has given fashion a fun splash of pattern and colour. From Moroccan to African and Aztec prints, I've been especially loving the way its been used in nail art, and I am the proud owner of a pair of Aztec print harem pants.
And so that is where my idea for these cookies came about..!
I have to admit I'm terrible at decorating cookies, as much as I love the idea of it, and everytime I look at a royal icing recipe it just seems to daunting and complicated for me to attempt (...am I wrong?). So I just used good old icing pens and buttercream frosting. But I've been wanting to make these tribal inspired sugar cookies for a while, because I thought it was just too brilliant an idea to pass up on as it provided the perfect opportunity for a fun cookie. And whats more fun for a girl than the combination of fashion and cookies?!
I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out, though I'm sure royal icing would have been much much easier in terms of flooding and filling areas.
This sugar cookie recipe is a goto recipe for me which I found on the back of a Wiltons product package. It produces lovely soft biscuits with crisp edges and a beautiful golden colour. Cut using cookie cutters into whatever shape you like, and as a blank canvas for decorating these cookies are all yours!
Sugar Cookies
Makes 24 cookies
1 cup softened butter
1 and a half cups caster or refined sugar
1 egg
1 and a half teaspoons vanilla essence
2 and three quarter cups all-purpose flour
2 tspns baking powder
Half tspn salt
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius and line a baking tray with parchment paper. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla essence. In a seperate bowl mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture one cup at a time, slowly forming into a soft dough. Divide the dough into two or three, and roll out on a floured surface to a 3-4mm thickness. Using a cookie cutter, cut out shapes and place onto baking tray. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Leave to cool before decorating.
N.B. You will find that the dough is quite soft and breaks easily so care does need to be taken when cutting out the shapes and transferring to tray, but if you find the dough to be too soft just work in a little more flour.

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