holiday baking

Holiday Baking with Peggy Porschen

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You may remember me writing about my favorite bakery, right in the heart of London. I wrote about it in THIS POST about Europe, and her amazing confections always make me festive around the holidays! I dream of being as incredible as her in the decorating/baking department, and each year, I love making these delicious cookies with my children. Baking holds special memories for me, and I hope it also creates new ones for my girls! (All images via Peggy Porschen website, 2017)

Sugar cookie recipe
via Peggy Proschen's cookbook, "Cookies"

Makes about 25 medium-sized or 12 large cookies

  • 200g unsalted soft butter 
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten 
  • 400g plain flour, plus more for dusting

Optional flavours

  • For vanilla cookies, add seeds from 1 vanilla pod 
  • For lemon cookies, add finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • For orange cookies, add finely grated zest of 1 orange 
  • For chocolate cookies, replace 50g of the plain flour with 50g cocoa powder
  1. Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and chosen flavouring until well mixed and just becoming creamy in texture. Don’t overwork, or the cookies will spread during baking.
  2. Beat in the egg until well combined. Add the flour and mix on low speed until a dough forms. Gather it into a ball, wrap it in cling film and chill it for at least 1 hour.
  3. Place the dough on a floured surface and knead it briefly. Using marzipan spacers, roll it out to an even thickness.
  4. Use cookie cutters to cut out the desired shapes and, using a palette knife, lay these on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Chill again for about 30 minutes and preheat the oven to 180C/160Cfan/350F/gas 4.
  5. Bake for 6–10 minutes, depending on size, until golden brown at the edges. Leave to cool on a wire rack. Wrapped in foil or cling film, they will keep well in a cool dry place for up to a month.

Tip Always bake equally sized cookies together to make sure they cook in the same time. If you mix different sizes, the smaller ones are already cooked when the larger ones are still raw in the middle.

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Royal Icing Recipe via Peggy Porschen's
"Pretty Party Cakes" cookbook

  • 25g merriwhite (dried egg white powder)
  • 1kg icing sugar, sifted

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Equipment
  • Sieve

Kitchen Aid / electric mixer
spoon
sealable plastic container
j-cloth
Method

Mix the merriwhite with 150ml water and pass through a sieve to get rid of any lumps.
Place the icing sugar in the clean bowl of an electric mixer, add about three-quarters of the merriwhite mixture and the lemon juice, and start mixing on low speed.
Once the sugar and the merriwhite are well combined, check the consistency. If the sides of the bowl still look dry and crumbly, add some more merriwhite until the icing looks almost smooth but not wet.
Keep mixing for about 4-5 minutes, until it has reached stiff-peak consistency.
Spoon into a plastic container, cover with a clean damp j-cloth and the lid. Store at room temperature.
Royal Icing Consistencies

Simply thin down your basic royal icing with water, a little bit at a time, mixing with a palette knife, until you have the right consistency. Keep your icing covered with cling film or a damp cloth when not using it, to stop it from drying out.

Stiff-peak consistency: for piping sugar flowers and leaves
Soft-peak consistency: for piping lines, dots and borders
Runny consistency: for filling in the centres of spaces

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