Fall is a great time to learn a new skill. Maybe it’s because I miss school (never thought I’d be saything that…) or maybe it’s because I’ve been watching too much Cake Boss. Regardless, I decided (along with willing companions) to join a cake decorating class! Hurray for learning!
So for those of you who have never taken one of these classes, they make you do “homework”. This week it was to have at least 6 “flat” cookies made. I imagine they wanted you to bring sugar cookies… but I decided to make shortbread cookies instead!
The name shortbread refers to the “short” crumbly texture. This from the fat inhibiting the gluten (flour protein) to form long strands found in chewier cookie recipes. Shortbread was traditionally made with one part white sugar, two parts butter, and three parts oatmeal flour. Aside from switching oatmeal flour to all purpose, you’ll see that this general idea still holds true! I got this recipe from the always helpful Joy Of Bakin, if you want to see the original, click here, or follow the copied version below:
- 2 C All purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 C (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1/2 C Icing/Confectioners sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Directions for this recipe are pretty straight forward, since there are only 5 ingredients…. First, mix together yoru salt and flour and set aside. Then in a seperate bowl or in your mixer beat the butter until creamy. Next add in the sugar, and beat until it is smooth (about 2 minutes). Afterwards beat in the vanilla extract. Once this is incorperated, with a spatula/wooden spoon, mix in the salt & flour mixture.
Once this is done, you can wrap it up into a log. Put it in the fridge & cut into rounds later. This is one my favorite ways to make cookies because of how simple it is! For a fun alternative, you could also sheet it (roll it out into a flattened square), cool it (put it in the fridge) and later using a cookie cutter make it into shapes.
Eventually, it was time for the first class. After buying this huge box full of equipment, the instructor begins to tell us just a portion of what I never knew about cake decorating. For example, did you know there are 3 different types of buttercream icings? Thick, medium and thin. We then learned when to use them and how to make them. This week we practiced using our star tips (#18)! Although it was overwhelming, the good news is, that when practicing cake decorating, you get to eat all of your mistakes!