A vanilla sugar cookie in homage of the Queen’s favourite breed
These cookies can be made and enjoyed in their own right, or as part of my three-tiered cake for the Queen’s birthday: read the full article on how to assemble the cake.
200g soft salted butter, room temperature
200g golden caster sugar
Seeds of 1 vanilla pod or 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 medium free range egg, lightly beaten
400g plain flour, sifted plus extra for dusting
Guide sticks/marzipan spacers (not essential)
Preheat the oven to 180C. Pop your butter and sugar along with the vanilla into your mixing bowl and mix on slow or by hand until just combined. Don’t be tempted to beat like a sponge mix until creamy, or your cookies will spread when baking. The mix should look granulated, but be all incorporated.
Add the egg now on a slow speed with your mixer, or mix with a wooden spoon—though you might prefer to get stuck in with your hands, it’s easier and quicker—until fully incorporated. Tip the flour into the mixture—the whole amount at once is fine—and mix to form a dough. If the mix is a little sticky, additional four may be required or if dry, add a few drops of water.
You will know it’s right when the whole dough comes together without leaving sticky traces on the bowl and it forms into a nice, shiny, pliable ball in your bowl.
Roll the dough out on a clean, floured surface using plenty of plain flour to prevent sticking.
If you have them, use guide sticks for rolling out the dough to ensure you get an even thickness. If not, no problem, just take care to apply even pressure and roll to an approx depth of 5mm to make sure they all bake evenly.
Once your dough is rolled out, you can cut your shapes out with corgi cookie cutters or a card template if you don’t have one.
Use a palette knife or a thin cake slice to pick up your cookies and place on a greaseproof-lined baking sheet, with a little space in between each cookie.
Pop them in the oven and bake for around 10-12 mins for small to medium sized cookies—check them after 10 mins, as all ovens vary. The cookies should be a light golden brown, firm and springy to touch. To test, press your finger on the dough (don’t burn yourself, though!)—if it leaves an indentation, they’re not quite ready. Cool on a rack when ready and then decorate as required—see my cake decoration article for details.
ALTERNATIVE: You can use this basic recipe and change the flavours by adding the zest of 2 oranges or lemons for a subtle flavour, or even add festive spices to the mix. For a chocolate version, substitute approx 25g of plain flour with some powdered cocoa.
Recipe: Juliet Sear
Images: John Holdship